Tag: Caleb Landry Jones

The Florida Project

When I think of Florida, I rarely think of projects. I usually just think of Ponce De Leon, Disney World, Recounts, and Flo Rida.

And it turns out that The Florida Project wants me to think about Disney World, as apparently Disney World was first called The Florida Project in initial design phases.

This movie is brought to us by Sean Barker, who famously brought us Tangerine by filming the whole things on iPhones. Don’t worry, this film is filmed with traditional cameras. Well, except the ending, that one was filmed on iPhones for legal reasons.

Legal reasons like how creepy it would be if he filmed a whole movie on his phone of 6 year olds.

Welcome to the Magic Castle! which is just a motel in Kissimmee, Florida, right outside of Disney World! It is a cheap place, but it relies mostly on tourists who doesn’t want to stay in the fancier hotels in order to save money. And at this motel lives a girl Moonee (Brooklynn Prince). Yes that is right, I said lives. She lives in a single room with her mother (Bria Vinaite). They get around the rules by leaving the motel once a month to go to another hotel, so they aren’t officially “living there” like a lot of people at this same motel.

Her mom is in a rough place, being a young single mother. She has no discernible skills, outside of slightly good looks, but she has still been recently fired from the club she worked at. Now they have to rely on more handouts, borrowing more money from friends, and scamming tourists in order to survive. If necessary, she also will have to resort to selling her body.

In order to not go insane, six year old Moonee basically has free control over her life. She can wander around the city, across the various motels with her friend Scooty (Christopher Rivera) and new friend, Jancey (Valeria Cotto). They like to pray pranks and be general nuisances on the public. Moonee has close to no filter, and will yell and scream if necessary. She doesn’t fully understand the problems her mom has to deal with, but she doesn’t care as long as she can continue on her free spirited ways.

Also featuring Willem Dafoe as the most considerate motel manager I have ever seen. And also Caleb Landry Jones, Mela Murder, and Macon Blair.

Really he is just everyone’s dad in this movie. All of them.

The Florida Project gives a unique look at what I have to imagine is a real subculture of people, not just in Florida, but around the world. Families who are practically homeless and living in cheap motels with reasonable managers turning a blind eye every day. A lot of the better aspects is just watching how these people live, what they do with their spare time and their justifications for their actions.

It is clear watching this why children put through these measures would grow up to be unreasonable entitled individuals. The kind who take handouts while voting Republican thanks to the American dream. The kind who end up in prison systems because they never had a fair shot of growing up in a good environment.

And the kids are just so realistic, kids being kids, running around, causing trouble, being inquisitive creatures that are learning on the streets. I can’t imagine those actor kids are actually that shitty, so they are actually acting on some level and they do their own impressive performance. Dafoe in this movie is probably his least likely role ever. A caring man, who has patience, and empathy in others. That is not normal for Dafoe’s choice of roles. It was so bizarre given the actor, and it is likely to earn him nominations at the same time.

The Florida Project is quirky, but faithful to the people whose story it tells. It is not a group of wholesome people, but they are not villains either. It does a great job of toeing the line. The only thing I’d really want is a better conclusion and more information on what happens after the credits role.

3 out of 4.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I try my best to avoid most trailers for films, but I give myself some exceptions. I will watch a real teaser trailer occasionally, as they are the ones who don’t spoil the whole thing. Teaser trailers especially for superhero films or Pixar/Disney stuff, even though some of the teasers are downright terrible.

But sometimes a film comes along with such a unique name, that I just need to know what it is about, right away. I will watch it right away, intrigued, which is what a movie title should do. Unlike every other film I review this week after this movie, because all of their titles are shit, regardless of film quality.

Only some offense meant for the films this week that I won’t name. Back to this title. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri just grabs the viewer by the balls and tells them to get ready for a very fucking specific story.

Even better, despite being an original story, it might have been inspired by a true event. In Minnesota last year, a citizen took out a billboard calling out the sheriff with vulgar language. If you read a news article, it seems like a completely bull shit story, so who cares about that guy. But when I saw it in person I had my wife look it up on her phone (I was driving) because the gossip just had to be too good.

Again, a shit story, but it felt juicy, so I am glad to see this film do something much better with the concept.

And I will only show you one of the billboards in this review, neener neener.

Mildred (Frances McDormand) has a problem. A problem letting go and moving on with her life, after her dad was found dead, burned alive, after being raped. A heinous, terrible crime, and honestly, it makes sense for her to not get over it. Her daughter was still a teenager and they are in such a small town, it is inexcusable and unprecedented for this to have happened.

But what is even worse, in her mind, is that the local police force seems to have given up on finding the killer. She hasn’t heard from them in 8 months and she is rightfully pissed off. So she spends most of her savings on renting out three billboards near her home, ones that have been seemingly forgotten about, to call out the local Sheriff (Woody Harrelson).

This causes quite a stir, more so than the rape/murder. The town likes the sheriff, he is a good guy, and he has goddamn cancer. Mildred doesn’t care, she just wants answers to her questions, even though she knows it will not bring her daughter back. Mildred is going to be burning several bridges to get what she needs, metaphorically and slightly literally (buildings are like bridges, right?). Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Also starring Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Amanda Warren, Malaya Rivera Drew, Peter Dinklage, Sandy Martin, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving, and Clarke Peters.

Two Cops near a billboard outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Three Billboards is a hard movie, with a hard topic, with, you guessed it, hard characters. It earned a hard R rating, when it comes to language, violence, and the occasional gore. No, not on any hardcore graphical porn level, sorry folks, just everything else.

McDormand carries the film on her poor fragile shoulders where the whole thing just feels incredibly realistic. Her grief and anger can only be described as real grief and anger. Harrelson as a supporting character still feels a bit like Harrelson, but from a different angle that I haven’t seen much before. Rockwell does one of the biggest changes, as he puts all of his charismatic roles in the past to play this disgusting, morally terrible individual. He is racist, xenophobic, crass, yet caring in strange ways. Oh, and he doesn’t even dance. Can Sam Rockwell be in a film where he doesn’t dance?

The story is an emotional and moving piece. After all, everyone deals with loss in their own ways, and McDormand’s character comes from the place of a woman who feels like she has nothing left to lose (except her son, which she admittedly forgets somewhat about). But again, it is more than just her story in this small town of individuals. At least four or five other characters get shining moments, even if just a little bit, as parts of their stories fortunately (or unfortunately) intersect with her own.

I would describe only one scene that I did not like at all, and it involved a flashback. The words used were too specific and forced, they instantly drew me out of the movie. Thankfully the strong story and characters were quick to draw me back in.

Living in a small town, like a real small town, will get quite annoying when everyone knows everyone’s business, including the law enforcers. I didn’t grow up in an environment like this personally, but based on what I have seen in other films and stories from others, it definitely seems to grasp that feeling.

Three Billboards is not a film for everyone, which is shame, given how likely it will end up on my end of the year list.

4 out of 4.

Get Out

For most films I try to avoid the trailers and ads and just go in blind. For Get Out, I did see the opening trailer, and I did feel like I understood a lot about the film, things I would have liked to not guess on.

Going into the film, I had my whole theory ready on why the events of the film would happen. It is a horror, mystery, and potential for comedy, and I was worried the trailers gave it all away. (Don’t worry, they didn’t).

Either way, the trailer did a good job of hyping up the film. Add on the excitement of Jordan Peele directing his first film ever, and writing this one on his own. He wants to show he has the chops to create content on his own.

Aw, look at the happy couple.

Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is a photographer, good dude, and he is black. Don’t worry, his color matters. Because he is dating Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) a white woman for a few months now. And he has agreed to go and visit her parents home for a weekend, and no, they don’t know she is black.

But he heads up. They are in a rich mansion by a lake, very secluded. His friend Rod (LilRel Howery) is watching his dog, and he hopes they don’t get upset. But hey, they don’t! After all, her dad (Bradley Whitford) would have voted for Obama for a third term, so he can’t be racist. The mom (Catherine Keener), is a psychiatrist who uses hypnosis and is willing to help him quit smoking.

Hypnosis! Yay!

Despite their totally not racist antics, they do have two people who work at their house, who happen to be black. Georgina (Betty Gabriel), their maid, and Walter (Marcus Henderson), their groundskeeper. And they act very strange. Like they have no real personality, like they are…trapped.

Nah, white people can’t be that crazy. Right?

Featuring Caleb Landry Jones as the brother, Lakeith Stanfield as the first victim, and Stephen Root as a blind art dealer.

Should he get out or are they just out to get him? Who knows!

Get Out is amazeballs and that is not a word I get to use to often in a review. Last year we had an early horror film get a 4 out of 4, and it was The Witch, for feeling truly evil, authentic, and scary. Get Out is a horror film with tense scenes, but it is wildly different.

First of all, yes, it has comedy elements. It isn’t a horror comedy like Scary Movie 5, which is not horror, and also not comedy. Some of the scares will make you laugh, for being ridiculous. Some of the scares though will make you cringe back. And some of the scares are deeper than that. They are the societal pressures that are ever present today coming out and haunting us.

Get Out is extremely topical, with the current level of race relations in America. It refers to the past and calls out those who are not outwardly racist, but still end up being racist to some degree. The minor way people will act different if there is a minority present, like a change of language or your choice of dinner conversation.

And honestly, in the third act when it becomes a sort of revenge flick, the deaths are graphic, unexpected, and they had me clapping along with others ready for some of that juicy justice.

Get Out is funny, frightening, and fucking relevant. But what really brings the whole thing together is LilRel Howery. He is the single greatest thing to happen to the TSA since…well, he is the single greatest thing to happen to the TSA. Because literally nothing else before this has been great for the TSA. But they finally have something they can look on and be proud about. A fictional movie character.

4 out of 4.


Byzantium came out on a day when few movies felt like coming out, apparently. I counted maybe four or five new releases, half of which ended up being stuff that made it to the theaters.

Wait, Byzantium went to theaters too, just not a lot. Indie theaters and such. Well, why does no one care about this random tale?

Hard to say, probably just no one has heard of it. Yeah. I know personally I have no idea what this movie is about.

Hide awya
Hey, blood imagery. Hopefully its not another period movie!

Vampires. That is what this movie is about. Sneaky vampire movie. I have seen quite a lot of bad vampire movies, but they tend to go the teen / romance / comedy route, while I am pretty sure this one features almost none of those genres.

Hookers gonna hook. That is what I learned from this film, as Clara (Gemma Arterton) has abandoned her (daughter? I can’t tell if she was her actual daughter or like, taken in, now basically, daughter), Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) sometime during the time of Napoleon, in order to get her affair on. Shit goes badly, like in all movie affairs, and they go on the run.

200 years later, the times are more modern, and they find themselves at some coastal resort town area. Clara finds a hotel called Byzantium, under new management (Daniel Mays). It used to be popular, now it sucks! Using her “cunning,” she is able to convince the owner to transform the inn into something even greater than an inn, a brothel!

Hookers gonna hook.

The brothel serves as a way to lure in travelers, to help their drinking blood habit, without anyone realizing what is actually going on. At the same time, Eleanor starts to fall in love with a young waiter, (Caleb Landry Jones), and she tells him stories and tells him far too much personal information. But they are just stories. He won’t start to believe her ever, right? He won’t figure out the missing patrons and assume vampires, right? That would be incredibly preposterous!

Cut em
Sigh. I guess they gotta do what they gotta do to survive and run.

Tis a shame, really. This is a vampire movie that tries to do things different than the norm. They definitely do! It is very serious, it is very specific, and its amount of T&A is somehow still limited in comparison. It has everything going for it to be a great cool new movie, except for my interest. It holds zero of my interest.

Byzantium is a slow moving movie. It tells a nice story, with nice acting, and isn’t a complete piece of shit, yet I still find myself overall bored, and halfway through it just waiting for it to end. That is upsetting to me. Maybe it was a long day and I’d rather just do nothing, but I couldn’t enjoy the movie in any real way.

If it was a bit more entertaining, sure, it’d be higher rated. But that’s why movie reviews are all subjective anyways. I will put a pin on this movie, if I ever have time and a huge interest, I might try to rewatch it. But I need a bit more razzle dazzle. Not explosions, or sex or gore or anything crazy. Just something to move the story along at a quicker pace.

1 out of 4.

The Last Exorcism

“Oh no, not another exorcism movie!”

“Oh no, not another hand held movie!”

Are those complaints out of the way? Good. Time to ignore them for The Last Exorcism.

“Hey look, a priest and a girl. This is like all the othe-” “WE KNOW!”

Cotton (Patrick Fabian) is not your average evangelical preacher. He likes to have fun! He can get a congregation going lickity split, and praise Jesus like its his job. Because it is his job. His dad was a preacher, and he has been doing sermons since he was young. Heck, it is all he knows how to do. But he might be undergoing a crisis of faith. He doesn’t like doing it anymore, he doesn’t believe. He has been faking the exorcism thing for years; he isn’t a bad person, he is just giving a service that people request. But after the birth of his son, and some issues there, he now feels bad taking advantage of people.

Thus we have this movie. He is going to do one more exorcism, with a film crew, to help prove how phony it all is. Silly Cotton, you are about to get fucked.

But when he gets to New Orleans, home of a pretty intense blend of spirituality and culture, he finds out he needs to read his own fine print. Nell (Ashley Bell) is apparently possessed, but he hates exorcising children. Thinks it is a kind of abuse. But the father (Louis Hertham) insists. Strange family. After the wife died, started to home school his daughter, eventually keeping her locked up the whole time, but not his son of course (Caleb Landry Jones).

Well, all of her problems could be psychological. Could be abuse from the dad causing it. Or any number of things that I won’t mention. Who is winning this fight: Jesus, or science? Iris Bahr plays one of the film crew.

The chiropractor might be the real winner here.

Hey hey hey, this movie might not be all too bad. It isn’t just a simple exorcism story. Creepy girl, being creepy, with people dying. No, this plot might have layers. Layers, everyone! I love layers.

The idea that possessions are complicated, and surely there could just be people not all that right in the head.

Well, the ending I hated. Kind of came out of nowhere, didnt make any sense (from out point of view) and had some pretty dumb events going on.

But there are more problems. Documentary style movie is fine. But the fact that the cameraman was a character there that was never actually on camera, or spoke, or anything, is pretty spooky. When crazy shit is happening, he doesn’t scream, but he may run away. I think they forgot that they made him a character and pretended he didn’t exist.

I do think the buildup of this movie was pretty decent. Not a typical horror, having thriller elements throughout just to make seemingly average situations pretty unnerving. But a lame ending, that we now know lead to a sequel? Well, you just went average.

2 out of 4.