Tag: Dark Comedy

Breaking News in Yuba County

Turns out Yuba County is a real county, in California, not near the bigger cities, but up North. It assumed it was a made up county, but there are a shit ton of counties out there in the US, so might as well be a Yuba county. Hell, there might be more than one Yuba County, and only the California one do people care about because the other one is in Idatana or somewhere else.

So for Breaking News in Yuba County, it is supposed to feel like some average sized place, with commodities and businesses and a news, but not a big ass city. Just a regular village in the middle of nowhere. 

What kind of news would be Breaking News in a place like this? Cupcake sale? Doggy parade? Maybe 20 dead in a mall shooting?

Who knows, the sky is the limit, and in this movie, characters are going to have to die I guess. 

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“No please, don’t kill Jimmi Simpson, anyone but him!”

Sue Buttons (Allison Janney) is getting old, and her life is stuck in a rut, but it is her birthday, and she is going to enjoy it, damn it. But the people at her work do not remember her birthday. Her husband (Matthew Modine) doesn’t seem to remember her birthday, and runs out on her in the morning, and doesn’t respond to texts to meet up with her for her birthday dinner reservations! Shit. It turns out he was cheating on her. And when she confronts him in the motel room while doing the dirty deed, he seems to have a heart attack, and dies, right then and there.

Well damn. Birthdays. She is shocked, and a bit dumb struck on what to even do. But she doesn’t call the cops to tell them what happened. Nope. She decides to hide his body instead. Then the next day she can report him as missing.

You see, in the news lately, there has been a little girl missing, and the parents have been all over the news, quite famous really, and everyone is caring hard for them. So she is going to report him missing, knowing that he will never be found. Then she can be in the spotlight. She can be famous. People will care for her.

This main plot line is intermingled with quite a few others, including extortion, mafia crimes, news reporters fighting for scoops, and more. 

Also starring Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Awkwafina, Wanda Sykes, Ellen Barkin, Jimmi Simpson, Keong Sim, Juliette Lewis, Clifton Collins Jr., Samira Wiley, and Bridget Everett

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Step 1: Lie. Step 2: ??????. Step 3: Fame

Who doesn’t love a good dark comedy? A whole lot of people getting offed, in ridiculous ways, while also maintaining a level of humor and plot of quirky individuals. And honestly, a lot of big names in this cast to potentially get whacked. And that is half of the fun in these films.

But I also honestly thing the lead character in this story is so unpleasantly bland that it is hard to fully enjoy this movie. Like many films, the side characters make it work. The strange workings of the very odd plot. The bad decisions people make. Obviously the main character is meant to be bland and having pretty damn superficial goals, and it is a bit rage inducing. 

A movie can intentionally have characters not fun to watch, but can’t also be mad if we think they aren’t fun to watch. Janney is a great actress and really gives it her all to make this person unbearable. And I can’t bear it.

It is a shame because I do like a lot of moments in this film, but it is just one I don’t think I would ever want to revisit despite the fun events. Fuck, Collins Jr. as a ruthless killer for the mob and he is so great at it. Sykes mostly plays her self but she does it so well. Kunis could have been more ruthless in her role as a reporter and someone close to the scene, but they need a few people to not be outrageous I guess.

Breaking News in Yuba County, watch it once, enjoy parts of it, then move on. 

2 out of 4.

Shiva Baby

There is a chance that this movie might have snuck on by me, and that would have been a travesty. It came out last weekend, both in theaters and on VOD. Shiva Baby is based on a short film of the same name with the same lead from a couple of years prior. People liked the concept, and hey, it was expanded, with some bigger names added to the cast overall. It went from 8 minutes to 77 minutes. Definitely a full length movie now, but shorter than most movies that are released, meaning it will still feel short in some aspects.

So how did I hear about Shiva Baby?

Just word of mouth. Another friend said they heard it was “More Stressful than Uncut Gems.”

Whoa. Calm on down now. Uncut Gems was by far one of the most stressful movie experiences I have ever had in my life. It involved guns and death, gambling and high stakes, women and jewelry, athletes and bookies.

Just by comparing the two, you have my attention.

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The face you make when you don’t inherit your parent’s height.

Danielle (Rachel Sennott) was just trying to get her sex on, when she gets a voice mail from her mom reminding her of a funeral that day. Fuck. Okay. She missed that, but she is expected to show up for the Shiva, and be there for hours, talking with all of her relatives, and old friends. But everyone there is so nosy. They pry. They want to know if she has a job lined up. How is college. What her major is. Who is she dating if anyone. And she has to answer these questions, with her parents (Polly Draper, Fred Melamed) there who know some of the truths too, so she can’t just lie.

But you know who also shows up? The guy (Danny Deferrari), she was sleeping with, who gives her money for things. Her “job” that she says she has for her parents and friends to get off her back. Turns out she was lying to him. He was lying to her too. Turns out he has a wife (Dianna Agron), and a kid.

And to top all of this off, her best friend Maya (Molly Gordon) is here, and she is seemingly being a complete bitch to her in all of her moments of woe.

Cramped spaces. Relatives. Family friends. Food. Old people. Babies. Who wants to be trapped in this situation when your entire reality is crumbling?

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It is hard to see someone looking more miserable than our lead here.

To start with the comparison, no, it is not more stressful than Uncut Gems. That was an unreasonable bar to start at for any movie, so I quickly adjusted my expectation on stress levels early on and it was a wise decision.

Because Shiva Baby was still quite stressful. The run time being under 80 minutes was perfect for the situation we were in at the Shiva. The level of claustrophobia felt very real and very high. The viewer will feel stuck in that house with all these people that you also, do not want to talk to. Not just because of Covid, or your own levels of social anxiety, because you know you also won’t have any answers to their damn questions. Each one making our lead character, and us, feeling uncomfortable. Their disappointment in their tone and eyes.

And that is only one aspect. All of the drama about the job, college, the relationship, just really adds up. The main reason this all works so well has to be the score used throughout the film, full of quick violin bursts, almost feeling like a horror film at times from the sound alone. The acting across the leads as well is great. Timing and realistic conversation is what makes this thing work, and they put their skills together to make it work great.

Emma Seligman, the director, showcased a strong film for her first feature length project. I don’t know how much of the movie drew on her own experiences growing up, but you can tell this story was handled by someone who wanted to make sure that various messages were given care. That grief is strange. That sex work is not only okay, but not a big deal. That sexuality in general can be a spectrum and that relationships aren’t always straightforward and need time to work out for some.

Shiva Baby is an overall great film to add to the “Stressful Jewish Cinema” collection. Not above Uncut Gems. But slightly beside it. Let’s get some more in this genre, please?

4 out of 4.

Happily

Happy is a fun word. Most words with 2 ‘p’s in a row in them end up being fun, I think. Well not disappointment. Or apprehension. Or inappropriate. Or whippersnapper, which has two sets of 2 ‘p’s. 

Okay, I am not sure where I was going with this, except that my initial understanding of a concept (2 ‘p’s’ means fun) was wrong in closer expectation.

You know. Sort of like the movie Happily. Whereas with a lot of inspection, my ideas about it have changed after my initial thoughts of it. I thought this would be a happy film. Or maybe the title would be sarcastic, and it would be a terrifying film. But we definitely got something well in between both of those extremes. 

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Red Light Sexy Time, a new cologne, for very specific occasions. 

Tom (Joel McHale) and Janet (Kerri Bishé) have a secret. They are in love. Love? Is this a bad secret? Are they married to other people? Is this a crush? Did they just meet? No. They have been married for 14 years, and they are still going through that extreme lust phase, where they want to bone everywhere and go out of there way for big acts. All of their friends find it weird and uncomfortable and they hate it, they literally have told them this. They got kicked out of a couples weekend because everyone is sick of them.

The next day, a mysterious stranger (Stephen Root) who works for the city shows up to discuss something important with them. He says that every once in awhile, someone has a defect, and they aren’t built like others. It doesn’t matter most of the time. But both of our main characters have the same defect. They never lose that desire, that happiness. They don’t have diminishing returns. So he is here to fix it, just has to give them both a nice shot and they will wake up the next day fixed.

Well, one dead body later, they are certainly not going to let whatever this is happen. 

Awkward awkward, dead body, ahh. Good thing they don’t fight and can work together to deal with this situation! However, after this, they get re-invited to the couples weekend. Weird. I guess the couples don’t care anymore. But also. Wait. Fuck. What if they sent the guy as a prank? What if there is no actual shot? Or what if it was a real thing that they all knew about except for Tom and Janet, and they are only inviting them because they are normal now? Shit, now this weekend is going to be suspicious. 

Also starring Breckin Meyer, Charlyne Yi, Jon Daly, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Natalie Morales, Natalie Zea, Paul Scheer, and Shannon Woodward

roots
I hope all mysterious strangers are played by Stephen Root in the future.

One of my friends uttered that they would never watch Happily again, and to this, I tend to agree. If anything, I could watch it to find out if I missed something during the movie, but I wouldn’t watch the whole movie to find that out. I would watch just a few scenes and the ending again. I don’t think I missed anything, yet I find myself still confused and underwhelmed by the end.

I guess the message of the film is that people aren’t perfect, everyone has secrets, and life moves on? I don’t know.

I honestly don’t fully understand all the intrigue that happened by the end, and I don’t know if the makers of the film did either? As far as I know, multiple aspects weren’t explained (and I am not talking about Root’s character, which makes since to be more mysterious). It had good ideas, but the execution was lacking.

It felt like most of the movie was just an introduction, but when the plot finally got going, it rushed through it and left us longing. I don’t want to be left longing if I also feel unfulfilled.

I am keeping it at an average rating, because it did raise some interesting questions with some interesting scenarios, but it never felt properly together in one piece to really do much else. 

2 out of 4.

I Care A Lot

I hope this movie is something seen by all. I hope it remains in the conversation for decades to come. I hope people refer back to it with quotes and references and we remember its name.

Why do I care so strongly about this film? Just because of the title. It is a bit awkward. I Care A Lot. Oh okay.

But the awkwardness is fine. Because it has the words “a lot” in it, and maybe, maybe, if people see this movie and write it out and get it in their brain, they will stop trying to create the “alot” creature from hyperbole and a half.

One of those pet peeves is all.

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“I’ve heard of ‘Binders of Women’ before, but this is ridiculous!” 

Getting old can be hard. Your brain can leave you behind, your memories can fade, you can become violent and really needy, but if you have no one to help you, what are you supposed to do? You kids, if you have them, might be able to take care of you. Or they may be too busy. You might get put in a home, but your kids may be too busy to handle your affairs, your doctors, and all of that.

So sometimes, you will get a court appointed guardian who will legally serve your best interests. These interests sometimes go against the interests of your family, but maybe that family might be trying to milk you dry and increase their inheritance? An unbiased third party is often useful.

Now if the unbiased third party is ALSO trying to scam you, then there is a problem.

Meet Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike). She is that person trying to scam you. She knows the doctors, the judges, and is often trying to get appointed to people she can legally milk dry while getting kickbacks and looking like they are caring for their appointees. And in this film, she lands a big whale. Someone with no family to bug her and a lot of wealth.

But it turns out that Jennifer Petersor (Dianne Wiest) is not who she appears to be. And she does have a son (Peter Dinklage), who just so happens to be a mob boss in hiding, who doesn’t appreciate what is happening to his mother.

Also starring Alicia Witt, Chris Messina, Eiza González, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Macon Blair, and Nicholas Logan.

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If a photo shows strong facial hair game, I must always comment on said facial hair. 
Rosamund Pike knows how to play a sinister lady character for sure. Have you seen Gone Girl? You should see Gone Girl. It is great. Her character isn’t as conniving and evil as Amy, but it is still a really evil character who has close to no morals in I Care A Lot. It is like the movie title is…a lie! So it is easy to see why she won a Golden Globe for her performance in this film. But I wouldn’t be lying if I didn’t mention I would have preferred Maria Bakalova. Oh well, as long as Music didn’t win anything, we are all winners.

I Care A Lot is a very intense film and one that won’t be for everyone. There are very strong shifts in terms of what kind of film it is, especially the larger second act. There is a chance you might love the beginning and hate the rest, and other similar situations. I was fine with all of them, and I prefer my films to keep me guessing, even on tone. It never rustles my jimmies.

I really enjoyed Pike in her role, and is the only one worth mentioning. Even Dinklage couldn’t match her, but he did have more limited screentime.

Honestly, this movie’s existence is a strange one for those who hate moral issues. We have bad person vs bad person. There isn’t a clear person to cheer for, even if they are the antagonist, they are still a shitty human being. I now assume that things like this movie depict happen in America on the regular, and well, I hope John Oliver does a special on it so I can get the facts and start caring more.

Because it is on Netflix, this one is pretty easy to recommend for at least offering us something new. Mob stories are played out, but this is clearly a fresh take.

3 out of 4.

The White Tiger

Well clearly Netflix is just cruel. Less than two weeks after the tragic news, they go out and release the film The White Tiger. Couldn’t they have waited? Do they have no shame or heart?

I am of course talking about the death of Siegfried Fischbaker, who died on January 13, 2021, which happened within a year of his partner, Roy Horn, dying on May 8, 2020. So soon after the duo has left our world, they decide it is appropriate to release a movie about their tigers? Is there even a god?!

Wait, this movie has nothing to do with the tragic act of Siegfried and Roy, but is just based on a novel of the same name, and dealing with a part of the world where white tigers are occasionally a thing. My bad. But I will still be sad about the magic duo leaving our world, if you don’t mind.

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Those American girls with their low cut shirts and hatred of modern slavery, what gives?!
Our story is mostly told through flashbacks, so I will not talk about the overall narrator level of the story, just what the flashback story is about. Which is about Balram (Adarsh Gourav). He grew up a poor kid in a poor area to a poor family. Family means everything in India, as does respecting your elder members, and giving back what they gave you eventually. People grow up and usually don’t find success, but still have to bring money home to help support the family.

Balram has big ideas and dreams though. He is going to defeat the caste system, and become rich and powerful. Which is generally impossible in a strong caste based society. But he has the drive, (literally he learns to do just that) in order to become a driver with a rich and successful family. Because he knows if he has an in, he can grow further and change his destiny.

But at what lengths will Balram go to achieve success? And if he does the unspeakable, will he feel guilty about the final result, or proud at overcoming corruption?

Also starring Rajkummar Rao, Priyanka Chopra, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vedant Sinha, Kamlesh Gill, Vijay Maurya, and Sanket Shanware.

stashe
This is a story about a rise to power, and a growth to moustache. 

I went into The White Tiger expecting nothing, and I was surprised to find something far greater than nothing. Seriously. I am trying to review some movies that are bad here, and checking out new Netflix releases usually gets me something, but for the most part this month they have been on it, and everything is at least decent if not great. How dare you Netflix up your quality. Where is the bad shit? Where?!

Ahem. The White Tiger was good Gourav is a charismatic lead and narrator, and you want to know his story. His rise to power seems impossible so it is a compelling story to see how he goes from basic Indian servant to someone who answers to no one. It does a good job of teasing the eventual conclusion along the way, and giving snippets of what our main character is capable along the way.

But more importantly, I LOVE the ending. When the narrator compares it traditional Indian narratives, and how this story is different, it goes really hard with its message and I am all here for it. Go you fictional character, go you!

The supporting cast is fine as well, but no one really musters up to Gourav, because they aren’t going to be given a chance. They really are just supporting characters in one man’s story.

The White Tiger gives me a look on India/Delhi that is not entirely accurate, but certainly a look you don’t get often in Bollywood pictures.

3 out of 4.

Murder Bury Win

Most of you can likely assume by now in my 9th year of reviewing movies that I kind of love movies.

But I have other passions. I create art, I play games (less and less), I do twitch things, and I also play board games. I actually LOVE board games, but getting older, having young kids and a family, makes it harder to spend hours with others doing the board game thing. Really, I am just trying to make it through the awkward younger years for the kids, getting them older so I can just play the games with them. That is the dream goal.

Then retirement, play more games with strangers and shops and all of that. This assumes no pandemics in the future.

So board games are a passion of mine, so I was thrilled to be able to see a movie about board games. I am hoping it takes it to a high, or even medium leve with the topic. Just something more than standard Monopoloy and Sorry bull shit. Come on, Murder Bury Win. Wow me.

car
Okay if this game is like Fuck Marry Kill, I know who I’d pick for all three.

Adam (Erich Lane), Barrett (Henry Alexander Kelly), and Chris (Mikelen Walker) are best friends and work friends, because together they have made and designed their own board game called Murder Bury Win. They are ready to sell it and get rich and famous as game designers. [Yes, we know game designers aren’t really famous and more like “rich”]. They put their game on Gamechanger for funding (like Kickstarter), but after a month they got no where close their goal, except for a few anonymous donors. Fuck. Their dreams are ruined.

Well, the next day, Adam gets a call from a mysterious stranger. He wants to meet up with the creators of the game Murder Bury Win and talk about it, maybe invest, maybe help out. And this dude lives out in the middle of nowhere, in the woods, by himself. The don’t even know his name.

After a terse encounter and some talking, they discover it is actually V.V. Stubbs (Craig Cackowski), one of the most famous board game designers ever. These men made their game after they were inspired by Stubbs’ biggest hit, Murder Wall. Oh great, what luck. He will help them out and maybe even choose to buy it from them, that would be a wonderful start.

And then someone dies, accidentally. Maybe. This leaves the leftover people wondering how to get out of this mess. After the murder, they have to leave no trace and accurately bury, in order to win. Can they win?

Also starring Brian Slaten as a cop.

piano
Everyone knows if you play the murder card you are allowed to murder. That’s the rules! 

Is Murder Bury Win a great game? Eh, not by my looks of it and the vague understanding of the rules. But that is acknowledged in the film as well that it needs work. So it is hard to judge this film on its board game love on that fact, but there are two elements that are really strong. One being the kickstarter-esque quality to the board game community. As far as I know, board games have been some of the most successful categories on Kickstarter, and Kickstarter has led to a huge boom in board game success. They’ve worked well together, so it was a nice element to include.

It also is clear that the writer or director really hates Exploding Kittens, and wanted to talk bad about it a few times, but they changed the title for this film. That is fair, but we still know what they meant, and I agree.

For the film itself, I really enjoyed the performances of Kelly and Walker the most. They felt the most believable, as they seemed like characters who knew the world wasn’t black and white, and had passions and dreams and actual struggles facing their decisions in the film.

The film has a decent amount of good moments, both in terms of conversation and visuals. But almost too many moments that don’t seem to work well either. For example, the cop scene has some good lines and moments, and also moments that don’t make a lot of sense given the situation. The scene went on for a long time, which is great as a purpose to make us uncomfortable, but it allowed these questionable parts to pop up more frequently, so it is hard to really get an overall great feeling out of it.

It has potential overall, just like the board game itself apparently had potential (but as a board game snob, ehhh the game looked like trash to me. Although meeples are always a plus). And it surprised me by going a bit darker than I imagined in some aspects, letting me fully call this a Dark Comedy and not just a comedy with some death in it.

2 out of 4.

The Art of Self-Defense

The Art of Self-Defense hit a few festivals before it got its wider release. I had so much hype built up towards it that I will say, right now, I might have liked it more had my expectations been more regular. And that sucks.

It does have a lot going for it. A24, a quirky film where Eisenberg can showcase his talents, and more.

And you know, its about karate! We haven’t had many dojo based films in awhile. The last one I really remember is The Foot-Fist Way. It was another smaller indie film with a weird humor sense. And it was okay. Maybe the real reason this came out is Cobra Kai. People love that series.

Punch
Punch

Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) is a little bitch. Maybe because he has a common lady name, but he is passive, quiet, and lonely. He lives at home with a little tiny dog. He goes to work. He doesn’t go on vacations. Gosh. He is an accountant. Gross.

Well one night he gets home and realizes he is out of dog food. Having to walk to the store in the middle of the night is scary, more so with recent reports of motorcycle people running around and beating people up. Sure enough, he gets mugged, put into a small coma, and in drastic need from rest.

While he is away from work, he wants to change his life. No, not a vacation. Getting a gun! That will help defend himself. But there is a waiting period. While waiting, he instead finds a karate dojo, led by Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), who talks in such a charismatic way. He makes Casey feel special, he gives him goals in life, he gives him a meaning. He is also going to help him become a better man.

But the more and more involved he gets in the class, the more Casey is realizing he is in something bigger than he bargained for.

Also starring Imogen Poots, Steve Terada, Phillip Andre Botello, and Hauke Bahr.

Kick
Kick.

I will do my duty to defy expectations by not talking a lot about how this movie was in terms of the genre. Because it turns out, that ruined it a bit for me. What you can and should know is that it is a Dark Comedy very much so based on the genre.

This is a swell role for Eisenberg. He is able to definitely to act his way into this character and it feels like a natural fit, unlike a lot of other recent roles. Poots really dives down into her character as well, and was unlike any other role I’ve ever seen her in.

I think Nivola is the real star and talking point here. That character is just so unique, brave, and twisted. It is hard to describe and compare him to other roles that might seem similar. It is just bizarre, and I love it.

A lot of surprises are in store for The Art Of Self-Defense, but ones that are welcome to the Sports karate genre of film.

3 out of 4.

Movie Roundup – Indies 2018 Part 1

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Indies 2018 (Part 1)! Basically, the indie movies I had missed, and need to really review, or else. Are these all really indie movies? Heck if I know. Some certainly are. Go with it.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Indies 2018 Part 1

Arizona

Arizona is a weird movie to talk about, because it is a dark comedy. A lot of dark comedies go into just such strange corners of the room. And you know, are funny, but usually involve death, or extreme “edgy” jokes. It could easily just go into some crude territory that is a poor taste and lose its viewers. Arizona is a lot more grounded in reality and about one person who is clearly losing his marbles, and using his size and gun skills to try and fix things.

I was shocked by Arizona, surprised, and I couldn’t believe no on was talking about. Dark comedies are almost always a hard sell, but this one was a great one compared to other similar movies in recent years. Our leads were believable, the setting was something easily relatable (an empty residential community after the 2008 housing collapse), that is also a bit unsettling. Yes, some aspects of this are a bit terrifying. And hilarious.

Arizona I think really works and it is a shame that it had almost no push for visibility.

3 out of 4.

Arizona

Bad Samaritan

Bad Samaritan is an example of a film that I really liked the idea about, but did not execute great.

We have a thief breaking in to steal and while there, they found someone clearly held captive. What do they do? A similar plot line was used in Don’t Breathe and used a bit better in that film. Instead, a majority of the movie takes place after the initial find and is more of a cat and mouse battle between our thief and the evil guy, played by David Tennant.

And the cat and mouse game is lame. The villain doesn’t seem smart, it seems ridiculous. He is flawed with a god complex without showing us why he even warrants a god complex. It goes completely ridiculous, moves away from a more grounded in reality movie, and doesn’t really give us the moral quandaries that the plot line suggests.

Forgettable film on every level, unfortunately.

1 out of 4.

bad

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade is an example of a pretty well known film, and one you’d be more surprised to see that I did not have a full review upon. It was an immediate success, and had all the praise, and has spirit award nominations!

And yet, that’s why I have the round up. Things happen.

Eighth Grade is a pretty great and uncomfortable film. I cannot say that this is an accurate portrayal of what middle school girls are thinking and go through, because I am not one of them. It seems very accurate, and our lead does a wonderful job of riding that awkwardness and navigating through her school life. Bo Burnham‘s transition from comedy musician to director/writer seems to go flawlessly, and I wonder if he just had a lot of smart people on his side to make this work.

Eighth Grade is uncomfortable, awwkard, completely modern and set in the now, and probably something that a lot of people will want to read.

3 out of 4.

8th grade

Izzy Gets The Fuck Across Town

What drew me to Izzy Gets The Fuck Across Town is the title. Of course. I mean if you are going to be bold and swear at me, I think you need to bring it. It made me think of older films like Igby Goes Down, about these run down people with strange I names.

And hey, it had Mackenzie Davis, an actress who I think hasn’t gotten her fair shake yet. Haven’t you seen Tully? She is great! And despite how great she may be, this movie felt like a chore to get through. We have have movies about miserable people and they can be great movies, but this is one where I just wanted it to hurry and get to the final point. And once it did, it was lackluster.

I don’t remember much about this movie, but I do remember that it had no hype for a reason. The fuck did not give it notoriety.

1 out of 4.

Izzy

Summer of 84

Finally, we are going to talk about a movie that I think we average, for most of the film. Set in the ’80s with a group of kids, trying to solve a mystery of missing kids. They think it could be the local, single middle aged cop. Maybe he is taking kids and killing them? No, that can’t be.

Well, I won’t say if it was, or was not, of course. But the story the story is not unique. However…the ending was pretty damn good. It amped up the intensity, it went places I didn’t expect, and it left me with a little bit of dread. It is not a common way to end a film, and leaves it open ended in a good way. It turned a middling film into a film that I wanted to talk to people about, just to see if they saw it for the ending.

3 out of 4.

Summer

Overall, this is a really good list of indie films to check with. At least three of them I rated highly, and two of them I did not. Indie seem to have a better chance of giving me quality, you just have to take a dive and go into them knowing that they have a lot less hype around them on average.

Thoroughbreds

I tried to watch Thoroughbreds when it was still in theaters, but a lot of things got in my way. The screening was during the day. Then I got free tickets to the Alamo over spring break, but couldn’t fit it in with three other movies I was watching during that week. And after those two attempts, I knew I had to wait.

Critic friends gave me lackluster reasons to go out of my way as well.

But I still knew I had to see it. The cast was too potentially good. And I have loved plenty of films that others have not.

Entry
Now watch as I refuse to type the title, as it gives me too many spelling anxieties.

Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) are not really friends. They are studying together, they are rich, but they have very different interests. They used to be friends, but things change over time. So why is Lily tutoring Amanda? To rekindle their friendship? To be nice?

No, Amanada’s mom paid Lily to do it. But they eventually found things to talk about, like Amanda’s past with potential animal abuse and the fact that Amanda is a sociopath. Fake emotions, no heart, what have you.

It turns out that Lily has the need of someone with her talents. She is fine with her mom, but her step dad (Paul Sparks) is a bit stranger. He isn’t abusive to her, but he does make her feel uncomfortable. It also turns out that he is going to put her in a boarding school that isn’t fun and kick her out. Things have got to change.

They have got to kill him.

Also starring Anton Yelchin, Francie Swift, and Kaili Vernoff.

Couch
There is so much distance between them. Physically, and emotionally.

Thoroughbreds was about two leads who were particularly unlikable. After all, one was a sociopath whose identity in this film was entirely based upon her relationship with the other. And the other is some sort of epitome of first world problems. Some of them are more relevant, but a lot of them just stem from being incredibly rich and lonely.

This is potentially the final new film that will be released with Yelchin in it. I have no idea, because I didn’t know he was in the film until I finally saw it. It wasn’t his best work and he had a small role, so it is going to be a forgettable one if it ends up being his final film.

When it comes to acting, since our main characters are already so emotionless, there isn’t a lot going on there. Cooke is really type casted into these quirky and darker roles, so it isn’t something we haven’t seen before. Taylor-Joy has certainly been better in her other recent genre roles of Split and The Witch.

Overall, this is a film that could have had a lot of potential, but really felt like it dragged due to the longer takes of scenes and build up of suspense. I did enjoy the ending though, and can’t find too many other faults in the film itself.

2 out of 4.

Infinity Baby

Sometimes you just stumble across a film and you are not sure how you found it. Maybe it was in the depths of Netflix. Maybe it was clicking the wrong button on a Redbox. Maybe it was a strange comment on an internet forum that made you just discover something odd about the world.

Or maybe you are just trolling through Nick Offerman´s IMDB page and see something called Infinity Baby and go “Ohhhhh, that sounds weird!” and just go and grab it to watch it without even wondering what it is about.

Who really can say though? When the whole thing is a mystery?

Relationships
Oh yeah, the film is in black and white.

In this world, due to stem cell research something strange occurred. A miracle, maybe, but definitely something that no one intended. Certain babies were given a condition, a curse maybe. They would not age. They would stay in that infant, cry, poop, eat, sleep phase forever. Forever. So yes, similar to the plot point from The Boss Baby.

Why would they do this? Well it was an accident. And the government has determined to get these babies into homes. Other technologies have been developed, like special food pills for the babies. Things that put them to sleep most of the time, but still living entities. The amount of sleep and type of food they get means they only need a diaper change about once a week. The company Infinity Baby was set up to find these babies homes. I am unsure of if it is for life for them, or what, but an adult would get a large sum in the ten thousands to have them for three months. After three months, I dont know if they get more money or what.

Maybe those people who feel extra pampering would want this responsibility to be helpful. Who knows.

But Neo (Nick Offerman) is in charge of the organization. Ben (Kieran Culkin) is more of a hands on, day to day in charge of the operation, finding potential clients to take their babies. He has his own intimacy issues, and every time he feels his partner becomes too attached, he will take them to his mom´s house (Megan Mullally) and she will disapprove of them so that he can dump them.

And Malcolm (Martin Starr) and Larry (Kevin Corrigan) are two men on the ground, who actually have to go and deliver the babies to the clients. Their issue is a client has changed their mind last minute, so they decide to just adopt the baby together for that sweet cash.

Also starring Trieste Kelly Dunn, Stephen Root, and Noël Wells.

Couple
Would it be a big troll to say a movie is black and white, but really just one scene is, and you took the images from the same scene to trick people?

I hated Infinity Baby way more than I imagined. It is just a small indie movie with a lot of recognizable people, but the plot doesn’t go a lot of places and it presents an unnerving concept.

As a father, the idea of baby never getting past that infant early born stage is pretty damn sickening. I didn’t think that before I watched the movie, but during it. It makes me so sad and upset to even acknowledge that idea. Especially when I found out in this movie they use pills to make them mostly asleep and their lives basically meaningless. This sounds like a horrible fate to anyone.

Sure, some of the aspects are dealt with in the film. But half of the film is about Culkin’s characters inability to get a relationship. And I don’t know why that is attached to this film at all, besides a lazy parable about how other people can’t grow up either.

Maybe it was the black and white, maybe it was the plot that didn’t go many different places, or maybe, maybe, it is just the whole sadness for the babies things. But I would never want to see this movie again, nor would I really know a group who might enjoy it.

0 out of 4.