Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Roger Ebert has always held a special place in my heart. We share the same birthday, and he was basically my hero growing up. I grew up wanting to be a film critic, partially because of Roger Ebert. He taught me a lot about film, as did his partner in crime, Gene Siskel. Their show introduced me to a world of film beyond the latest blockbuster or the most recent "The Corey's" film (please remember the time period I grew up in.) It was because of them I learned about Scorsese and Herzog. It is because of them that I dragged my Father to the city (that would be the best god damn city in the world: San Francisco) to see Hoop Dreams. I waited anxiously every Sunday to see what films they would give the "Thumbs up" or the "Thumbs down."
Well, I didn't become a film critic. I became a highly educated retail worker who makes rich people feel better about themselves. Things don't always work out like you planned. I have never lost my love of film though. Sometimes, it is the only things that gets me through. And I have never lost my appreciation of Roger Ebert, a "populist" film critic who led me in directions which changed my life.
I was thrilled to be able to view Life Itself, a documentary about Ebert directed by Steve James, the genius behind Hoop Dreams. I expected this documentary to be amazing- I was familiar with Ebert's life story: the struggles with alcohol, his career, his love/hate relationship with Siskel, his marriage to Chaz, and finally, his battle with cancer. What I wasn't prepared for was the 2 hour cry-fest that commenced in my living room. It got so bad my dog started barking at me and the cat offered to make me a drink.
Where to begin? Ebert wasn't perfect, and the documentary certainly doesn't shy away from that. He could be an asshole, especially to people who didn't agree with him. But he loved film, he loved his amazing wife (he didn't marry until he was 50), and he loved his work. After the cancer took away his ability to speak, he began a highly successful blog, which not only addressed film, but political issues as well. He never gave up, until he was ready.
My favorite part of this documentary goes into his relationship with Siskel. For much of their partnership it was hate/hate. Siskel knew how to push Ebert's buttons. Ebert does come out a bit of the "bad guy" in this relationship, which is something that surprised me. When I watched the show growing up, I admired Siskel, but I related to Ebert. In the end, they had a great respect for each other, and Ebert admitted it was one of the most significant relationships in his life (cue waterworks). I watched their show every Sunday with my Father, who always encouraged my interest in film. We took their recommendations as gold, and eagerly awaited their "Year End Special," where they would name their top 10 and bottom 10. Then we would make sure to watch all of those films.
Ebert was no great fan of Horror, neither was Siskel. Maybe my love of the genre was a way to "rebel" against these parental figures. And that is was they were. I learned so much from them. And as I grew and mistakenly believed I was becoming smarter and more mature, I rejected them. When I finally realized that is was ok to love what I love, and no one knew everything, and the whole thing was farce anyway, I came full circle. Ebert made film accessible to all. He loved it, even the bad. I think that is a pretty good philosophy for life itself.
Please check out Ebert's website, mentioned in the film, here.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Happy Friday the 13th! With added "Full Moon Bonus." Jesus H. Christ I am happy I am not at work today! Enjoy some Friday spooky funnies courtesy of Go Comics!
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Don't freak out. This is still a horror blog. I just haven't watched a new horror film for the past month. Work has been very stressful so I have been taking comfort in the old favorites: Dawn of the Dead, The Thing, Halloween... I have no new observations to add to these films. They are perfect, and writing about perfect movies is kind of boring for me.
But I want to write! So, my dear readers (all two of you, three maybe if my Father ever looks at this), I have decided to write about one of my dirty little secrets. I love Fashion. There, I said it. I am out of the closet. Now, I am no fashionista myself, trust me. I can't put together an outfit to save my life. I don't desire to own Couture unless I can get it at Target. But I love looking at Fashion. Last night was the Fashion orgy known as "The Met Gala." This is like prom for rich people. Every year I anxiously await the photos of all the rich beautiful people in their gorgeous frocks. Every Met Gala has a "theme." Last year it was Punk. That was awesome. This year it was Charles James: Beyond Fashion. Charles James was an amazing designer/friend of Elsa Peretti who made bad ass ballgowns. I mean, take a look:
When I was a kid watching old movies this is how I thought all women dressed in the evening. They would cook dinner, get dressed, have a cocktail and a cigarette, and wait for their husband to get home. The only one of these things that I do is have a cocktail, and only that because my husband doesn't like cigarettes. If he is lucky I may put on clean sweatpants while I wait for him to cook me dinner.
So one would think with this theme there would be some amazing outfits. Nope. Rich people can't follow directions every well. Yes, some women did wear ballgowns, but more often than not they looked insane (I am looking at you Katie Holmes.) So, in no particular order with very little forethought, please enjoy my observations on this year's Met Gala fashions. WWD and Vogue can call me anytime with a job offer...
Lets start with SJP, kind of the Queen of the Met Gala (sorry Anna, I know it's your show). Sarah Jessica Parker actually dressed pretty well to theme. I love the dress. The hair is a little too Gary Oldman for me.
Best Dressed Couple: Beyoncé and Jay-Z. I usually hate whatever Beyoncé is wearing but I love this.
Worst Dressed Couple: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Really? What the hell. Sit down Johnny Depp. Just sit down.
I kind of love this #1: Bree Larson.
Way to rock a pair of pants: Cara "I can't spell her last name". I love this bisexual junkie supermodel. Could do with out Stella here. She "insists" upon herself.
Worst Accessory: Charlize Theron. The accessory is her date Sean Penn. Yuck. This just doesn't make any sense.
Is she Stoned?: This chick from "How I met your Mother".
Worst Dressed: Elizabeth Olsen. Honey, this is wrong on so many levels.
I kind of love it #2: Janelle Monae
You are not Frida Kahlo: Kate Upton. You are not.
The Scientologists have won!: Katie Holmes. I would have called you worst dressed, but I wasn't expecting anything great. You look like a Disney Princess on a bender.
You go girl: Rita Ora
My Obsession: The Olsen Twins. How could you not love this?
Ummm??: Margot Robbie. Your stylist must hate you.
I kind of love it #3: Maggie Gyllenhaal. She looks like an aging 70's porn star. In a good way.
Best to theme: Maggie Q. You killed it in every way possible.
Worst to theme: Lupita Nyong'o. Charles James was not Native American. Nor was he Bob Mackie.
Best Dressed of the night: No Doubt: Kirstin Dunst!! Love you and love this dress! You hot mess keep up the good work!
Yeah! That was fun. I hope you enjoyed this little detour from horror. I might post more things like this now because I just don't have time to watch much horror at the moment. I do have time to spend three hours sitting at the computer staring at dresses however.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
I have never seen Dead Hooker in a Trunk, the first major release by the Soska sisters (twins Jen and Sylvia). You think with a name like Dead Hooker in a Trunk that it would be high on my "must see" list. Just haven't had a chance. I did, however, get the chance to see their follow up film, American Mary. I had read a lot about this film prior to it's release and was totes stoked to see it. It has everything: Rape/Revenge, Body Modification, Katharine Isabelle. Katharine Isabelle is one of my major girl crushes, despite the fact that I HATE her most famous film, Ginger Snaps. I could, and may have, written entire posts about my dislike for Ginger Snaps. Why, you ask? In the words of the great Peter Griffin, because it "insists" upon itself. Enough said. Watch it and you will know what I am talking about.
So I had high hopes for American Mary. I love a good Rape/Revenge flick, and one directed by two bad ass twin sisters is the tops. Also, love the Body Modification angle. Body Horror is one of my favorite sub-genres, and yes, body modification is not body horror, but as we see in this film, it can be. Oh yes, it can be, especially if you rape a freaky smart medical student who is a suppressed psychopath anyway.
Mary is broke and in Med school. She is a good student but kind of a fuck up (this sounds like me). She decides to make some fast cash by applying at a strip club. Before she can glue on the pasties the club owner, Billy (Antonio Cupo) asks her to perform some life saving surgery on one of his thugs. For this she makes a fast $5000, but she feels pretty disgusted with herself. One of the strippers from the club, a Betty Boop lookalike named Beatress, asks Mary to perform some surgery on a friend of hers, a woman who wants to become a human Barbie.
Mary does the work but the swears it off, because she wants to become a real surgeon. That is, until her professor drugs and rapes her. Then it is all bets off and the true psycho/artist in Mary emerges.
It's a pretty great premise right? Unfortunately the execution is not so great. Everything happens to fast-- its seems it happens over a weekend. And how could Mary set up this entire operation with web presence without catching the attention of the health department? And what is the point of suggesting a romantic relationship with strip club owner Billy when it goes nowhere? And where does a broke college student get such great outfits? I know, I am nitpicking. I have a friend, who shall go nameless, who I cannot go to the movies with. She has zero suspension of disbelief. She will pick apart a movie until she is blue in the face. And, she will pick it apart WHILE YOU ARE AT THE MOVIE. Yes, she is a movie talker. I feel sad for her. I don't want to be her. So I will accept these aspects of the film. I guess my major disappointment is that the elements of a great feminist horror film are here, but everything is either too obvious, or not followed through to it's rightful kick ass feminist conclusion. The messages are there, maybe there are just too many of them. Wow. This was kind of the same feeling I had about Ginger Snaps. Am I anti-feminist horror? Hell no. I just want it to be good. Really good. It should be because there is a freaking goldmine there. The Soska sisters are on the right track. Let's do this people!
Monday, March 24, 2014
If you ever wondered what it would be like if Sophia Coppola made a cannibal film.... wonder no more!! May I present you with WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, the American remake of the 2010 Mexican film of the same name. I never saw the original, but I doubt it is as airy and dreamy as this version.
Rose and Iris are two young, impossibly beautiful girls who are being raised in a family of cannibals. The cannibalism is a long family tradition, mixed up with religion and survival, carried on by the patriarch, Frank (a very good Bill Sage.) When their mother dies, possibly from Kuru disease (caused by ingesting human flesh, one of the many downsides of cannibalism) it falls to the elder Iris (Ambyr Childers) to kill and prepare the flesh for consumption, which she is not too excited about. Now the actress who plays Iris looks a lot like Reese Witherspoon, which is very distracting but fits perfectly with the Sophia Coppola vibe (although Reese hasn't appeared in a Coppola film to the best of my knowledge, she is blond and innocent looking. Or at least she used to be before her face got all sharp and she drunk cussed out that cop.)
What is great is that this family exists pretty normally in the confines of the small town they live in. Iris has a jock type cop that has the hots for her, both of the girls go to school, and the family runs a motor home business. That business is failing however, probably because they eat most of the residents. The only remaining resident is Marge, played by Kelly McGillis, who is becoming quite the staple of independent horror films. Good for her.
The kindly town Doctor, Doc Barrow (played by my old man crush Michael Parks) begins to suspect that something is very seriously wrong with this family. His suspicions, coupled with the fact that his own daughter went missing a few years ago, makes the Doc a threat to the family.
What is a family of cannibals to do in a world that won't accept them? Well, you will have to see WE ARE WHAT WE ARE to find out. Not that I am adverse to giving spoilers, its just that I am tired of writing. See, I just saw Frozen and its pretty much all I can think about at the moment. What a damn good movie!! Could have used some cannibalism however.