Disobedience

This is one of the many reviews that have come out of WorldFest in Houston. Check the WorldFest tag to see them all!

WorldFest isn’t known for its big releases. No, it is an independent movie festival, so seeing one of those giant movies that is going to win an Oscars would probably be very rare.

On that note, for the film Disobedience, it is probably the first time I heard of a movie months before I knew it would be at WorldFest. It was directed by Sebastián Lelio, who directed Gloria a few years ago (haven’t seen yet still, but a remake soon with him still at the helm for America), and A Fantastic Woman, which just won best foreign film.

Needless to say, I was excited about his next film. Hell, very provocative posters for this film have gone up and maybe that is why it is famous (okay, that is the reason). Let’s bring on the sexy times.

Group
Nothing sexier than candles, flames, beards, and dark clothing.

The story opens up with Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser) is giving a sermon about the differences between Man, Angels, and Beasts, and the idea of choice. Oh, this is totally a synagogue as well, very very conservative Jewish. Somewhere in Great Britain, a little local community. The women sitting on the second story only. And then he goes and dies.

His one and only daughter, Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz) is living in NYC. She left the community she grew up in, abandoned her family, to live alone. She is a bit of disgrace. No one talks to her anymore. But someone sent a message through the grapevine that her father was dead, their Rabbi and spiritual leader, so she heads back over ready to face her past and her peers.

The ceremonies take place at the home of Dovid Kuperman (Alessandro Nivola), Rav’s spiritual son, whom he took in when he was in his teen years to begin his devout training, so sort of a brother to Ronit. He is now married to Esti (Rachel McAdams), a big shocker to Ronit. They invite her to stay in their guest room while she deals with her father’s loss and the annoyance from the community.

We learn of course that some members of the group had an intense past. This past is why Ronit ended up leaving their community, seemingly never to return. How dare she mess that up, right?

Kiss
Rachel and Rachel standing on a street. R-A-C-H-E-L-I-N-G.

Setting this in a conservative Jewish community with very little out of it first took me awhile to figure out where this film was set. It is a modern film, it just took until the last 20-30 minutes before someone pulled out a cell phone for any reason. It could have been in the 60’s/70’s, or it could have been modern, given their conservative nature, who knows!

The three main leads give really good acting performances. Weisz is the powerhouse here, Nivola has his moments at the end, and for the most part McAdams is a quiet force building over time. They all feel very vulnerable and real in their roles, giving an extra umph to the story.

It just took forever for the story to really grow and move forward. It was definitely boring. I am fine with a slow burn story, but it was hard to keep my eyes open early on and even by the end there was still some struggles.

I like that we got an in depth look at a community that is old dealing with “modern issues”, and it seems to be something that the director is playing with lately. It is something worth being told, but the payout doesn’t feel necessarily worth it.

2 out of 4.

Super Troopers 2

Super Troopers came out 17 years ago. 17 years! That is insane.

It was Broken Lizard’s first hit and some people still love it the most to this day. Personally, Beerfest is my favorite (Which also promised a sequel which looks way less fun), but they also had Club Dread and The Slammin’ Salmon (my second favorite). Either way, they have a specific humor and have tackled different subjects, all of which can appeal to different audiences.

The production of this one took a long time though, but internet persistence has pushed on. Hell, they had to make an Indiegogo campaign to get movie funding, and surpassed their goal. They did a neat thing, I believe the first film to do this, offering actually theater tickets when it came out, not just digital copies in the future.

There is an audience for Super Troopers 2, and finally they have delivered it to them, for better or for worse.

Lowe
Looks like this group has sunk to a new all time Lowe.

The sequel is set a few years after the first film. The first film ended with our heroes (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske, Paul Soter) not as actual police officers, doing things in Vermont. Well, it turns out that time is done. Due to an incident with Fred Savage. They are off the force and doing /other/ jobs.

But not for long! You see, when Canada and USA had their borders lined out, in turns out there was a mistake near Vermont. The official border stones put in were seemingly ignored, and a small town that has been in the Canada side for hundreds of years should actually have been on US soil. With this new land, through a chaotic transition period, they have the need for a temporary police force to help with the transition.

So they are rehired for a couple of weeks, and sure, if they do good enough, they can be full time and work this new area. It just turns out that these Canadians, finding out they are switching countries are not the happiest tools in the shed. Nice Canadian is a myth. They are basically going into a war zone.

We have Rob Lowe as the mayor, Emmanuelle Chriqui is some sort of town leader as well. We also have Brian Cox returning as the captain, and introducing Will Sasso, Tyler Labine, and Hayes MacArthur as Mounties.

Mountie
Guess they might have to just MOUNT up and take this head on. Hockey puck. Maple Leafs. Sorry.

Honestly, I thought this movie would be a train wreck. Maybe a moose wreck, the Canadian version. Comedy sequel two decades later? They have never really worked, even for a more modern one like this one.

But still, it wasn’t that bad. That is the best praise I am going to say. There were a few scenes that had me laughing really hard. Specifically the scenes involving “sorry” and “reverse French dialogue” were the best. I enjoyed that it did have a lot of Canadian jokes, and not just the standard normal Canadian jokes. Yes, they still had those, but some of them were more obscure, and varied.

The three lads who played the Mounties went really hard for the French-Canadian accent, so most of what they said was amusing on that basic level.

Of course the plot is weak, the acting is weak, and the twists are obvious. They aren’t as important for those who are rushing to see this film though. It has its moments, but it is far away from a great comedy on all levels.

2 out of 4.

Blockers

I was very excited when I saw the trailer for Blockers. Not due to the actors, or the plot, or the humor in the trailer. Just the title alone.

I really hoped that the title of the film was officially a picture of a rooster and the word Blockers. I can’t tell you if any film title has officially just been a picture, or included a picture, but I was excited that this one might be one of the first in a good while.

Unfortunately, no. It is just called Blockers. Sure, rooster imagery abundant on the posters. But it is not the same.

It is just not the same.

Parents
Look at all these cocks right here.

Ah, growing up. The joys of being a parent. Movies and stuff. Mitchell (John Cena), Lisa (Leslie Mann), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) met each other on their daughters first day of school. They became best friends, so they had to be friends. Their daughters (respectively) are Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), Julie (Kathryn Newton), and Sam (Gideon Adlon), who are all dealing with their own issues, both in terms of their relationships with their parents and their relationships with boys.

But like all movies, prom is set up to be this big special night, so they are determined to make it special. They make a sex pact. They are all going to lose their virginity that night and it will make them closer together, so what when college happens, they don´t lose their friendship or anything.

The parents find out after they have left and aren´t sure what to do. Just kidding, they are going to find their daughters and put a stop to this madness before their daughters lives are ruined.

Also starring Jimmy Bellinger, Sarayu Blue, Gary Cole, Gina Gershon, Ramona Young, Miles Robbins, Hannibal Buress, and Graham Phillips.

Kids
Fuck that fedora is cool.

The most apparent thing about this movie is that it was directed by a woman. Kay Cannon has worked on some pretty woman based shows you would have heard about, and directed this film to make sure the woman’s voice was key. If this was directed by a dude, the parents would have been more egregious, the daughters would have had no real point of view scenes to speak their minds, and it would have been entirely forgettable.

Surprisingly, there was a wonderful amount of great arguments and feminist ideals presented by the daughters and other adults throughout the film. It was clear that our three leads were being shit heads and not thinking in a way that was beneficial to their daughters. Hell, even one of our leads for some time had great intentions as well. The message hits over and over again, without feeling like a lecture, and wanting to make a point as obvious as possible for those watching at home. Because this is just a comedic work of fiction, but it seems like its goal might be really to reach the audience, to help them learn how to better and more fairly treat their daughters.

Moving on.

Also I laughed a bunch. The acting wasn’t amazing. Cena was probably one of the lower points for me. The daughters and other teenagers really carried the film, and yes, surprisingly, Barinholtz’s character. I can’t say this is a movie I would want to watch over and over again, but it did the trick and was way better than it should have been.

3 out of 4.

Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow is one of those films that seemingly comes out of nowhere and feels like it is part of something bigger. Like, is this an extended universe? It is certainly based off of a book, although I would have guessed a graphic novel.

In fact, from the trailers, one might just assume this is the Black Widow standalone film we have been waiting for. Russian school to train girls to be assassins and to use their bodies as weapons. Secrets. Yeah, this is just Black Widow.

But instead of Scarlett Johansson, we got Jennifer Lawrence, so that Disney doesn’t try and sue anyone’s ass off.

Red Dress
And if they sue anyone’s ass, they would potentially think twice before taking hers.

Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is one of the best ballerina’s in Moscow. She has risen up by her boot straps to train hard and become the best. Her mom is sick and relies on her job for doctors and a place to live. Oh, Dominika is also the niece of Vanya Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), someone high up in the Russian politics/military ladder, so maybe not entirely by her own bootstraps.

Then one day, an accident occurs, her leg gets broken on the stage, and her dancing career is done. That means her mom’s life is in jeopardy. Thankfully, her uncle knows a program that she can join. If she can find herself helping the Russian government, then the Russian government can find themselves helping her.

This is unfortunately a Sparrow program, to train young men and women officers to seduce anyone to get information needed, along with the ability to kill them should it come up. Oh good, selling his niece’s body to the government, what a swell family.

All of this ties into a separate plot, about American Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), a member of the CIA who was also in Russia, dealing with a mole in their government, who accidentally put a target on his and the mole’s back.

Also starring Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Bill Camp, Jeremy Irons, Sakina Jaffrey, and Ciarán Hinds.

Mirror
See, I could probably withstand one Jennifer Lawrence. But two? One in mirror land?

Red Sparrow is one of those films that is going to appear to be much smarter than a normal movie, and it is unashamed about that. Because after all, the viewer has to be tricked and sold lies as well so the bigger reveals are more exciting.

However, before things could be revealed, I was left annoyed and bored with the movie already. It has layers and layers and layers of plot. Characters coming and going with some importance to the story. And you have to suffer through it all in order to get to the “cool ending.”

But it tries way too hard to be layered. It is so easy to get lost in it, that interest is unfortunately lost. I just didn’t care by the end about any of the characters. I didn’t care who would get quadruple crossed, who the mole was, or how people would get out of their tough situations.

It is over two hours long and full of itself.

It still had some decent moments early on, when I cared about where it was going. Some very different acting from Lawrence, and Schoenaerts does an amazing visual Putin. But this film is now forgettable for me, and not the Black Window solo film we deserved.

2 out of 4.

On Body and Soul

What comes from Hungary? Some lame jokes, some World War I starters, and that is about all I can think of from my America centrist point of view.

So hey, I was excited for them just for having a film nominated for Best Foreign Film. Dozens of countries every year submit a film and only five are ever chosen, and only one wins. If Hungary has a rich film history, I am unfortunately unaware of it. If I have reviewed a Hungarian film before, then I totally forgot about it (just checked, shit, they had Son of Saul and White God. Totally forgot which country. Good job, Hungary!).

And now they have On Body and Soul. And I am thankful for Netflix for buying this film up so that lame uncultured swine like myself can watch it before the Oscars, and not five months after the fact.

Sleep
This is the kinky way Hungarians sleep together.

Taking place in some in Hungary, I have to assume, we have a slaughterhouse. They do good work there. Or at least, they kill cows and sell that meat for money. People have jobs, people are not sad.

Endre (Géza Morcsányi) is the CFO of the place, and is pretty complacent with his life. He is old, he is stagnant, he has a small group of friends. And a new girl starts to work there, much younger. Her name is Mária (Alexandra Borbély) and she is the quality inspector. She checks the cows and makes sure they have the appropriate grade rankings based on, you know, cow stuff.

Endre tries to talk to her, but she is off putting. Mária is very autistic, including a perfect memory and loves precision, so she makes some people upset when she is giving cows a lower grade than normal for technically correct reasons.

After an event occurs at the shop, a psychiatrist (Réka Tenki) is brought in to ask everyone questions to determine who the most likely culprit is. She is the first to find out that Endre and Mária are sharing a dream, where they are deer in a wintry forest. This connection is brought up to them, and it is up to them to figure out what to do with this knowledge, if anything.

Deer
You know, just being a deer, doing deer stuff.

On Body and Soul was a very touching film. Not physically touching, given how much Mária hated physical contact (note: I really enjoyed the mashed potatoes imagery). Just emotionally touching. Two lost souls who are very different, who find each other in an extraordinary way.

Not that I am implying there is a happy ending, just that technically, they find each other.

The Endre character is interesting in that he is supposed to be a normalish guy. A guy who has just been around for a loooong time and now is just drifting peacefully into retirement or death or something. I found at various points in the film that I hated him and found him endearing.

Mária is the real star though, and of course, Borbély. This is not some ¨hey look at the weirdo, being all autistic¨ sort of film, and it does not feel like it is making fun of people on the spectrum. We get to see her with a lot of struggles and a lot of pain. Seriously, a ton of pain. We get to see her grow, or attempt to grow, as she determines if she even can try to love another person.

There are some gross moments, there are some graphic moments (it is a slaughterhouse after all). But in the end, I still really enjoyed it the same.

3 out of 4.

Fifty Shades Freed

With Fifty Shades Freed coming out, it makes it the second trilogy to end in 2018 already, and it is only halfway through February! The other one was of course Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which was also complete shit.

I don’t know a lot about the point of this trilogy, but looking at the ad spots online, on youtube, on Hulu, the one thing I realized is that whatever the plot was, they certainly did not want to show it to the viewer. They just wanted us to see people being rich, doing some sexy stuff, and being rich. Rich, sex, rich.

Maybe that is the main point of the movie? Maybe they expect the plot to just maintain “oh, their relationship!” and it be an okay story overall.

edding
Is the wedding the climax, or just the beginning?

The movie begins with the saying of I do from our leads (Which is answers that question). After all, he proposed at the end of the second film, we don’t need to see them planning for it and all that shit. Let’s just see Anastasia become Anastasia Grey (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) stays the same. Which is one of those plots about the movie, him staying the same.

Now we can watch them traveling the world, honeymooning, sexing, being rich. You know. But some guy goes and steals some data from Grey’s company, cutting it short! Oh snap! Now we have some man, or some lady, trying to do bad things to them, and he has “no idea at all why!”. Security is beefed up and some things are a little bit less sexy.

But don’t worry, we still have time to deal with other issues. Like how they never even talked about when they would want kids or if they wanted kids at all. Perfect thing to do post marriage. On that note, that weird ex mistress of his that taught him all of his kinks? You’d think that would be important, but in this movie, it is basically just dealt with in a single scene and ignored the whole way through after it. Yay!

These people are in this movie: Brant Daughtery, Bruce Altman, Eloise Mumford, Eric Johnson, Hiro Kanagawa, Kristen Alter, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Max Martini, and Rita Ora.

SmallBoat
Will the SeaDoo scene be the new boat scene from the previous film?

This film is shit, and everyone knows it is shit. The people who put it out know it is shit. The reason the plot is hard to tell is because there is no discernible plot in the whole movie. Bad plot reasons for man to be bugging them. Characters act stupid and don’t understand what is being told to them, and intentionally characters put off obviously important information until it is too late. We have a couple who still doesn’t make sense together, who just get really kinky around each other I guess. Whatever happens never really looks like love.

We have a main character male who is emotionally and physically abusive at times, yes still in this movie. We have a cartoon bad guy. We have a scene where someone gets slapped twice and kicked in the stomach causing a short term coma, some how.

The infamous boat scene was recreated almost with a house they go to in Colorado. Watching the car go up the driveway, we then see several angles around the house, switch switch switch. It is still full of romantic (maybe? hard to tell when it all sounds the same) pop music, to fill any sort of space they might have for character growth.

And just in case you forgot the other films, near the end, we get to see a long montage of the first two movies, of their romance scenes and travels. Yes, we still see that damn boat again in this film. They did it just to troll me.

And then at some point the movie ends, without resolving one of the major plot issues their relationship had with his ex mistress lady he couldn’t ever stop confiding in. Hooray!

0 out of 4.

The Shape of Water

People don’t like Guillermo del Toro like I like Guillermo del Toro. Wanna know how I know? Because I gave Crimson Peak 3 stars. Great film, you should check it out. Decently creepy, and very beautiful.

Unfortunately, we are never going to get the Hellboy 3 he invisioned (now that the reboot is coming), but it seems to me like The Shape of Water is him telling an offshoot Hellboy story without needing Hellboy. Or at least, a prequel about Abe before he joined the B.P.R.D.

And I am a bit annoyed that this review is coming to you so late in the year, well after the wide releases, because I wanted to be in the forefront, waving my del Toro flag around, hoping that my eyes bleed from beautiful awkwardness.

Egg
There it is, love at first sight.

Way back a long time ago, long long ago. Let’s say the 1960’s. Yeah, that sounds good. Somewhere in Baltimore, close to DC, lived a mute girl by the name of, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins). She led a simple life, generally alone in her world. She would wake up late at night, bathe, masturbate, eat, and head to work because she worked as an overnight cleaning lady.

She had a friend, Zelda (Octavia Spencer.) who worked with her and did all the talking for the duo. She also had a neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), an eccentric artist who a lot of strong opinions on everything. But she has no one to love, to really be intimate with, outside of the occasional Giles snuggles.

Well, at work one night, a strange shipment comes in, and their head of security (David Hewlett) says it is their most important thing ever! It comes with its own team of scientists, led by Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) and some sort of federal agent, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). And sure enough yeah, it is some sort of Creature from the Black Lagoon! Or at least an Amphibian Man
(Doug Jones) from the Amazon Rain forest and rivers where he was worshiped as a god.

Oh fun! A creature that people are afraid of, who is being abused, who also has communication problems and is alone. Well, Elisa seems to have a connection to him. She feels his pain and wants to put him at ease. And when his life is on the line and other countries want him dead as well, she is going to have to put a lot more of herself out there than ever before.

Also starring Morgan Kelly as a below adequate pie flinger.

Shannon
Michael Shannon desires only above average pie flingers.

At this day and age, it is very hard to give us a sort of “star crossed lovers” story and have it believable. We get it. People can be with anyone at this point. Romance against all odds.

So what about a woman and an amphibian man. Not a man who turned into a fish creature, but you know, some entity that evolved on its own, completely separate from humans, despite being humanoid. See, this is the new stuff that storytellers need to be tackling, the things that the Republicans have been warning us against.

Hawkins gives an astounding performance as our mute lead, and I am surprised there currently is not a giant campaign against her taking actual mute actresses work, or whatever. She does an amazing job, doing so much with those eyes and her smile. Shannon and Stuhlbarg are a bit cartoon-y, but that is okay given what they end up doing. Shannon’s villainness started off slow but really escalated near the end during the climax. I was very scared in the scene with Spencer.

Jenkins continues his eccentric small characters that he has been doing recently, and Spencer is unfortunately playing a role she keeps getting put into. She needs a better agent to showcase her range instead of the same thing over and over.

The film is stunning to look at, the Amphibian Man is detailed in every facet (and orifice). Doug Jones is finally being acknowledged for his astounding work in the creature field. There are so many positive things to say, but really, just see it for yourself for a different experience.

By and by, this is probably the finest piece of interspecies erotic ever written.

4 out of 4.

Bright

Bright was meant to be this big Netflix release at the end of the year, one of their first Blockbuster films. So of course they brought in Will Smith for this adventure.

And hell, they made it R, so we can get the killing, the swearing, and the boobs. Just going to go all out. They even did pre-screenings of the film for press! The night before it was on Netflix, sure, but they were trying.

And then everyone hated it. I heard a lot of things, like how it was meant to be the worst film of the year, terrible, whatever. So something I meant to ignore I was now contractually obligated to write about. Statistically, everyone who sees this review would have seen it by the time I publish this, which in my head is currently “whenever.”

Duo
“Say whenever again, I dare you.” – Samuel wilL. Smith.

In the year, I dunno, probably this one, in a city much like LA, we have one notable difference. Fantasy races also exist in our world, or at least just a few. We got elves, we got orcs, we got fairies, and as far as I can tell that is it. Sorry people who love dwarves. Two thousand years ago there was some Dark One that came and tried to destroy the world, the Orcs were on his side, the “good guys” won and the orcs were hated ever since, despite being citizens of the world as well. So they get shit upon by everyone.

Oh and magic! And specifically, magic wands which are super rare. The only people who can use the wands are called Brights, who are usually elves. Humans have been Brights in the past but it is like, 1 in a million chance of being a Bright. Oh, and the only way to know if you are a Bright is to try and use a wand, if you aren’t a Bright, you will explode. good times.

Now that world building is done, we have a cop duo, Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), the only orc cop for diversity reasons. Also no one wants to work with Ward cause he is a dick, or moral, or something. Ward hates it, Jakoby just wants to be a good guy, and Ward recently got shot on a call as his partner was getting food, so he is angry a lot.

After thirty minutes of exposition and shit talking to the Orc, we eventually have the duo discover an actual wand, and an elf who is talking gibberish and warnings. Before they can turn everything over, they find out that a lot of people want the wand for their own power hungry ways, including other cops ready to sweep this incident under the rug.

So our duo has to run around town at night, protecting an elf and the wand, from groups who want it, or else maybe the world will end. Who knows!

Also starring Alex Meraz, (Noomi Rapace), Edgar Ramirez, Happy Anderson, Lucy Fry, Margaret Cho, and Veronica Ngo.

Trio
Elves are rich and elves are hipster druggies.

Was Bright the worst movie of the year? Hell no. In fact, not even the worst movie I have seen on Netflix as an “original film” this year. It doesn’t mean it is good, it is still bad, but it wasn’t dog shit terrible.

However, the intro is going to turn so many people off. It is going for a parallel of their world and our world’s view on races, but they put it to 11. The first 30 minutes or whatever is just people railing into the orc cop, from all sides, constantly. If you want abuse, you will get it, and by then people will have made up their minds. They get over it eventually, but it puts a bad taste into everyone’s mouth. It is far too heavy handed.

After that, it is only an okay story. Nothing too original, the fantasy elements are only somewhat there, and really, the ending is obvious. The acting is mediocre and the effects are also mediocre. So a mostly blah movie with a bad intro is of course, a bad grade.

The bottom line? Netflix wanted to turn this movie in to a franchise of films or a TV show (along the lines of the Marvel series) or something. And you know what? It probably still will. The world building is there already, they have a lot of room for other fantasy growth, and most importantly, they have a shit ton of people talking about this film.

I don’t know how Netflix in particular makes money from their movies/shows, given everything comes with the submission fee. But almost everyone I know has talked about watching this movie since it came out, due to the hype and the bad talk. So this movie probably put up amazing numbers besides the PR buzz. Expect more Bright in the future, whether you want it or not.

1 out of 4.

Thelma

When you hear the name Thelma, you really only think of one thing. Well, technically two things. You think of Thelma, and you think of Louise. You don’t even need to have seen the movie to have understood the reference. If you didn’t, then well, you suck at pop culture.

When looking up Thelma pictures, I was flooded with a lot from the 1991 film, despite putting a year in the google search as well.

But there was ANOTHER girl in these images as well. Because it turns out we had a Thelma movie in 2011, from the Philippines, about a girl with powers.

Huh, this is a Norwegian movie about a girl with powers. Today you just learned that Thelma is the most powerful female name around the world.

Brain
Blows your mind a bit, doesn’t it?

In Oslo, Thelma (Eili Harboe) is finally going to university, so she can learn at an accelerated pace and discover new things about the world. You see, she grew up in a smaller area. Her family didn’t have direct neighbors, but land around a lake, which is a real sweet spot for fishing, or skating, depending on the time of the year. Her father (Henrik Rafaelsen) is a huge Christian man, and her mother (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) also that, is in a wheel chair.

But yeah! College! Time to study all the time! And apparently, have seizures. In the middle of a study hall, in front of future friends, pissing her pants. The doctor finds it strange, as she apparently has no history of seizures. She just wants this thing to be kept secret from her parents. Thankfully she is an adult now, and doctor to doctor conversations will not trickle to her parents officially, even if her dad is also a doctor.

The seizure did do something good though. It helped Thelma meet Anja (Kaya Wilkins), who just seems like the most special girl she knows. She definitely likes Anja, AS A FRIEND OF COURSE. There is no way that Thelma, good Christian girl, would ever be tempted into something sinful like being a lesbian. Yet still, she has a way about her, and Thelma cannot but feel something unique there. However, whenever her mind gets a hold of situation, she gets into that shaky, seizure-y territory again. And when she gets there, some bad things have happened. Unexplainable things. Dangerous things.

Also starring a lot of Norwegian people. If there are any Swedish or Finnish people, I wouldn’t have noticed!

Love
I just see all Scandinavians as the same, to be honest.*

Thelma was a wonderful movie. It was a slow and careful. It moved at a speed that almost made me hate it, as I just wanted answers faster. I had to be patient and let the movie unravel. But even the very first scene, a flashback (can a flashback be the first scene, technically?), of our main character and father was haunting. It took a long time for that one to be answered, it certainly didn’t go the way I expected.

Thelma is a strange coming of age story. It starts with our protagonist already “of age” but just slightly underdeveloped mentally due to a closed upbringing. It has her alone for most of the film when it comes to her emotions and problems, because of fear of her parents, fear of regression, and fear of change. And it has some magic stuff too.

The magic isn’t some wonderful power of invisibility, or flight. It is a lot more accidentally sinister, in account of it being a repressed power that she really doesn’t have a lot of control over. You know, like Frozen. But in this version of Frozen, the parents don’t die and the power gets actively oppressed by others, not just the main character.

I was scared, I cried, and I loved Thelma. Good job Norway. This is officially their selection to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Picture. At this point, I hope it gets nominated.

Beach Rats

Beach Rats is not the sequel to Mallrats. No, that was supposed to be called Mallbrats, but got cancelled, because Kevin Smith never does the things we actually want him to do anymore.

Instead of people hanging around the mall, just chilling, doing drugs, talking about pop culture, this film is about people hanging around beaches, mostly chilling, doing some drugs, and talking about, well, drugs and stupid stuff mostly. But hey, they are both set in the same state!

Oh, and this film is not a comedy, it is definitely a regular drama, with some intense moments in there. There is vulgarity as well, but on a whole new level.

Now I just hope someone turns the two films into one cohesive picture somehow.

Shirtless
Don’t worry, you get to see many dudes without pants as well.

Frankie (Harris Dickinson) is a bit of a confused early 20-something boy. He already has the unfortunate circumstances of living poor, on the Jersey shore. He doesn’t have a lot of smarts, but he does understand drugs. His dad (Neal Huff) is dying of the cancer and taking his time doing so, but it allows him to get some pills. His mom (Kate Hodge) doesn’t want him hanging out with his loser friends, who are always up to no good. And Frankie also likes to chat up older dudes on the internet for the two d’s – dicks and drugs.

Oh yeah, Frankie is living a closeted life, ashamed by it, knowing his family, his friends, everyone will shun him. He is already jobless and still at home, he would get thrown out in a heartbeat.

But a local girl, Simone (Madeline Weinstein, not related to the famous ones), is for whatever into his goofy head. And he is able to use family issues and drugs why he has problems getting erect around her. so they begin to date. Everyone needs a good beard.

And most of the film is him hanging out, dealing with his family, dealing with the girl, making poor choices, and experiencing his desires anyway possible.

Featuring a lot of people who won’t matter, including these people: Anton Selyaninov, David Ivanov, Frank Hajak, Harrison Sheehan, and Nicole Flyus.

Beard
Beards can distract others when you’re thinking about penises.

While watching this film, I went and found out who was the director. It was Eliza Hittman. That didn’t surprise me because I knew her, or that I expected a very specific director, I just didn’t expect a her.

For a woman to dive so well into the psyche of a young male, pretending to be tough and dumb, while hiding his sexuality, I mean, I just naturally assumed a gay man was making this film. Maybe something pseudo-biographical. I am not saying it is odd when someone of a different gender directs a movie clearly not in their focus area, because it happens a lot. Usually it is just a male director, trying to do a female centric film, and just being incredibly wrong. Then the film doesn’t sell well, and they say people don’t see women movies. But now I am ranting on a different topic.

What I am really getting at is that Eliza Hittman Hittman might secretly be a gay twenty something Jersey shore boy. An extreme case of living in the closet.

Beach Rats feels very personal, very real. It also had a lot of subtle tension near the end. I was really worried that the worst sorts of disaster would occur. My mind got more carried away with the possibilities, thankfully far more than the film took the scenes. There was a lot of potential for just terrible ending after terrible ending. I mean terrible in that the circumstances were terrible, not that the ending was bad.

Dickinson does a really good first time lead performance. I can only say real and personal so many times, but it fits here too. This could have been a documentary about some young adults in New Jersey and I would have believed it.

Beach Rats was made for a very niche audience. It will have aspects that make a lot of people uncomfortable. But it is good that it fills such a niche, because this niche is hugely underrepresented still ii film.

3 out of 4.

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