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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Amy Seimetz

Lovesong (2017)

You don’t know who your real besties are until you, well, bang ’em.

Sarah (Riley Keough) takes an impromptu road trip with her toddler daughter and her best friend Mindy (Jena Malone). After all, she and her husband haven’t been together for quite some time and not only does she feel a bit lonely and in desperate need of some companionship, but also to remember the good old days she had with Mindy. And for Mindy, it seems to be the same. However, the trip ends rather odd; there’s kissing, touching, hugging, and possibly even love-making. But for some odd reason, it’s hardly ever spoken of afterwards. Mindy leaves Sarah, takes the bus and is, essentially, off to live the rest of her life. Three years later, Mindy invites Sarah to be apart of her bridesmaids for her wedding. While Sarah is shocked she never heard much about the guy she’s marrying in the first place, she’s just happy to be remembered and part of this moment in Mindy’s life, even if there is still obviously some unspoken-stuff going on between them.

Uh oh. There’s that jealousy!

Lovesong is probably the kind of movie that pisses a lot of people off, especially those who already have a problem with indie/arthouse flicks. See, it’s not that it’s necessarily a very plot-heavy movie, that even features all that much direction; for the longest time, it literally seems like we’re just following these characters, without much of a rhyme, or reason why. Hell, there’s even long stretches of total and absolute silence, where the two characters are literally just staring at each other, or at somewhere into space and it makes you think if anyone’s going to say something, or even do anything.

But you know what? There’s something compelling in that and it’s why Lovesong is a nice little indie/arthouse flick, yes, made specifically with that audience in-mind, but is also a solid tale for the common, everyday movie-goer, too. Especially if those common, everyday movie-goers actually appreciate a movie that doesn’t spell each and everything out, nor does it seem to follow any sort of conventional/formulaic plot.

In a way, Lovesong moves the way it pleases and for that, it’s interesting to watch.

Co-writer/director So Yong Kim is smart in that she allows the story to play-out, without much of a push on her part, but by just solely depending on the writing and acting to all come together. It does, and it’s quite nice to see, what with the bulk of the movie being Jena Malone and Riley Keough, two of our finest actresses working today, clearly choking on words and biting their tongues, looking for certain things to say. What they want to say, what’s on their mind, and better yet, what they expect to come of all these words, honestly, is all up in the air. It’s sort of like real life: You don’t know what a person is going to say, or do, by something you do, or say, so sometimes, you have to just go out there and give it a shot, see what happens next. Or, yeah, just sit around, stare into that person’s eyes, and basically torture them to start speaking first.

Oh man. That awkward feeling of having to be friends with your friends’ friends who you don’t actually know.

Either way, Lovesong works both as a tale of friendship that may be a bit more than just two gals palling around, but also as a tale of two actual friends who, after all of this lost time, get back together and realize that maybe they’re closer than ever before. Whichever you choose to view the movie, Lovesong still works; in a way, it’s a universal tale, told very well, that can work for both gay, as well as straight audiences, and doesn’t feel like a certain group is excluded out of the feelings.

In other words, it’s a sweet and sad movie, but it may be able to make anyone cry. It doesn’t matter.

And yes, Keough and Malone are to be applauded for that because they’re both amazing here, showing off a more sensitive side to their appearances. Keough is especially impressive, playing this rather depressed girl who doesn’t quite know what she wants in terms of a sexual partner, but knows that she just wants to be happy and appreciate some form of life. It’s a subtle performance from an actress who has shown some very dark and scary edges to her as of late and it’s a true sign that she’s the real deal. Malone is also great, giving us a character that may seem a tad unsympathetic, due to the actions she commits throughout, but hey, don’t all humans screw up?

Especially your best friends?

Consensus: Sweet, small, and rather melancholy, Lovesong is a heartfelt tale of actual love and possible romance, but also allows for Malone and Keough to rise above the already-solid material.

7.5 / 10

It’s love, right? So cheer up a bit.

Photos Courtesy of: Strand Releasing

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Alien: Covenant (2017)

It’s basically Jason X, but in space. Oh, wait. Jason X was in space. Never mind. So basically, it’s Jason X.

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy so that they can continue on with the human race, but this time, elsewhere, members aboard of the colony ship, Covenant, seem to be going just fine. However, disaster strikes when they’re ship is hit, killing the Captain (James Franco), leaving a new one to take his place (Billy Crudup). The odd thing about this Captain, however, is that he believes a little too much in faith, which makes him a bit detested by the rest of the crew, which would be fine and all normally, but makes their situation all the more heated when they discover a new planet. Rather than just continuing on with their journey, they decide to check out what this new planet is all about and believe it or not, it’s not exactly what they expected. Instead, it’s the planet where the dreaded Prometheus expedition crash-landed all of those years ago, and still harbors David (Michael Fassbender), the scariest robot around who is still, somehow, on and being creepy.

Tell me, could you hate a face like that?

The fact that Covenant is better than Prometheus, may not be saying much. The later is a flawed movie that, yes, while brimming with all sorts of ambitious ideas and themes about life, faith and science, also didn’t have much a plot, and even worse, lame characters. It was a sight to see on the big screen, but also felt like a hollow experience, made all the more disappointing by the fact that it was done by Ridley Scott, aka, the dude who kick-started the whole Alien franchise in the first place.

But now, Scott seems to be back in his comfort-zone with Covenant, the kind of Alien movie you’d expect an Alien movie to be. It’s tense, exciting, silly, scary, gory, and at times, pretty wild, but at the same time, also feels like every other horror movie we’ve ever seen done before, where instead of Freddy, or Jason, or hell, Leatherface, we’ve got a bunch of aliens, running around and taking people that we don’t care about, off one-by-one. Now, is that disappointing, too? Or, is it just something to expect?

Either way, Covenant can be a good movie to watch, for quite some time, because like Prometheus, it’s clear that a lot of attention and detail was put into how slick and cool the movie looked. But unlike Prometheus, it has some characters to care about (sort of), and most of all, a plot that’s easy to fall in-line with. Sure, it’s formulaic and a little conventional, with all sorts of exposition flying left-and-right, but it’s less of a metaphysical experiment than Prometheus was so, once again, it’s better.

But still, a tad bit disappointing. I don’t know why, either.

Not Ripley, but still has an odd hair-do. For some reason.

Because honestly, Scott does a solid job here. He knows how to racket up the tension, he knows how to take advantage of an A-list cast, and most importantly, he knows how to still shock and surprise us, but still, there’s a feeling had with the movie that’s all the same beats hit, again and again, time after time, and now, it seems like it’s just running out of ideas. Then again, maybe it’s not; Covenant does set itself up as a sequel, but also shows us that there’s a much larger, much grander universe out there, just waiting to be explored with more and more movies to follow.

So in a way, Covenant is like a refresher-course for those who were worried of the Alien franchise blowing and not having any reason for its return. Scott seems to have a genuine interest in where these stories can go and eventually, lead to, even if it seems like he’s taking his good old time, taking an opportunity to give us another trapped-in-space-by-aliens-tale, rather than, you know, exploring more and more.

Then again, it’s entertaining. it’s hard to have an issue with a movie when it’s doing that.

Even though, yes, it is a bit frustrating to watch such a talented and awesome ensemble, essentially, be left to just spout out a bunch of sci-fi gibberish, when they aren’t giving us frightened and freaked-out reaction-shots, but hey, it’s nice to have them around, right? The one who gets away the most is Michael Fassbender playing, get this, dual roles as one robot, and another one. But there’s a key difference in the way the two are – David is a cool, sophisticated robot with personality, whereas the new one, Walter, is much more advanced in that he doesn’t think for himself and is, basically, as dull as a doorknob. It works for Fassbender who has fun, both as a the square-edged dork, as well as the charmingly freaky David, and makes his scenes, genuinely intriguing, because you never know where they’re going to go, or lead to.

Something this movie needed more of, but once again, was still entertaining.

Consensus: While not necessarily a game-changer for the franchise, Covenant is still a fun, intense and rather exciting entry that showcases Scott doing what he does best, even if there is some disappointment in him not trying a bit more of something, well, new.

7.5 / 10

Everyone’s waiting, Ridley. Now kill ’em!

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

The Sacrament (2014)

Hey, if a Southerner has a certain way with words, I too would follow him anywhere.

Fashion photographer Patrick (Kentucker Audley) gets a strange letter from his sister (Amy Seimetz), who he knew went away to a rehab of sorts and is inviting him. Patrick decides to tell his buddies (Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen) this and considering they’re both journalists who love whenever a good story comes their way, all three of them take the trip out to see just what this secret place is really all about. What all three discover, at first, is a pretty shady place considering it has guards defending it with AK-47s and tells them to turn off their cameras or don’t come in at all. Eventually they’re allowed in and they see the type of safe haven this place was being hailed as by Patrick’s sister. There’s food, a hospital, goats, and heck, even a day-care center for the young, as well as the old. It seems like the pretty ideal place for anybody who has ever came at a crossroads in their life and needed a change, and mostly all of that can be credited to a man everyone knows as “Father” (Gene Jones). Though he hardly comes out at all, Father decides to do an interview for the camera-crew, which is when strange things start happening around the camp and the three guys realize that maybe there’s something dark and sinister lingering beneath what’s being shown to them as “perfect”.

With his past two flicks (the House of the Devil, the Innkeepers), if there’s one thing that Ti West shows, is that he knows a thing or two about creating, building up, and maintaining tension. In both cases, we get a sense that West is just reeling us in, more and more, for something big and completely terrifying to happen, yet, we don’t care all that much about it because we’re so swept-up in having him distract us with other stuff. That other stuff being character-development, ideas, and a feeling of some “fun” in the air.

Exactly how I feel whenever I show up to a party two hours late.

Exactly how I look and feel whenever I show up to a party two hours late.

However, while West still shows us here that he knows a thing or two about making tension, he still loses everything else that made his movies so worth while in the first place: Their personalities.

And it’s not like West’s other movies have shown him to have a keen-sense of humor in any way, but he’s shown us that he’s able to tell one story, while simultaneously hinting at us that there’s another one just brewing somewhere in the deep end. Here though, it feels like there’s nothing else here except for what Ti West presents: A found-footage horror movie documenting a cult, that clearly resembles the same one of Jonestown. I guess just stating that fact in and of itself could be seen as a bit of a “spoiler”, but to be honest, you get the sense of what’s going to happen as soon as we enter the camp.

We all know that there’s some dark, mysterious and disturbing force hidden behind all of the happiness and smiles, and while the mystery itself may keep us interested, it’s not hard to see what the end-result of it all is going to be. The only aspect that really could keep us even more glued are the characters, and for the most part, they’re all pretty boring. Which is a shame because when you have a hand-held camera film such as this, the one thing you can depend on working are the characters themselves and whether or not they’re worth rooting for, even if/when they make/say stupid decisions. West hasn’t really written anybody out to be at all interesting, just as plain as you could see them.

Which is very disappointing considering the great cast he’s assembled, who are all, essentially, people that he’s worked with in the past five years or so – AJ Bowen plays the main reporter who wants to ask all of the questions and get down to the bottom of this cult, while still dealing with issues at home with he and his pregnant-wife; Joe Swanberg plays who is basically “the camera guy” and says some snappy line here and there, but doesn’t get nearly as much to do here with his face blocked; Amy Seimetz is, at first, quite chilling because you never know what to make of her character, but as she begins to get more and more developed, then Seimetz’s starts playing a bit more over-the-top and crazy. Maybe that’s how she was told to play it, I don’t know, but I will say that it’s a very B-ish performance in a movie that never knows whether it wants to be smart, sophisticated, and trying to get its point across, or just be another freaky, fun, and chilling found-footage that wants to place us, the audience in front of all the action.

Not exactly the type of welcome wagon I'm sure anybody feel comfortable with.

Not exactly the welcome wagon I’m sure anybody feel comfortable with.

In fact, the only time whenever the movie seems to have any sort of bright ideas just rolling around, is whenever Gene Jones shows up as the almighty and alluring “Father”. I’ve never seen Jones in anything before, and although I definitely might have and I just totally forgot, I’ll make sure to never make that same mistake twice considering he’s great here and never allows himself to get too far, or too deep into this movie’s own wackiness. Jones, for what it’s worth, plays mostly everything subtle and by being able to hind behind those dark, thinly-rimmed glasses of his, we never truly have an idea what he’s thinking, or going to do next; all we know is that he’s a simple man who has a certain power over all of these people, and you can totally feel it everytime he’s in front of the camera and talking about God knows what (no seriously).

However, he’s not really in the film all that much, and it shows. Whenever he’s not around, his presence is felt in the air, as if he himself is a guardian angel just looking down upon everybody else around him. Okay, maybe that’s giving the dude too much credit, but I’ll put it like this: When the best part of your whole movie is in it for about 15 minutes, you may have yourself a huge problem. And a huge problem is exactly what Ti West has.

Next time, dude, stay away from the hand-held cameras. It’s a style just waiting to die out.

Consensus: Ti West still has his sense of creating tension, yet somehow, with the Sacrament, he can never quite maintain it as well as he’s been able to show in the past, which is mostly due to the fact that the story is conventional and at times, too wacky to be taken as seriously as it wants to be.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

"Suck that, Matt Lauer!"

“Suck that, Matt Lauer!”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBAceShowbiz

Upstream Color (2013)

In essence, humans are pigs. Doesn’t cut any deeper than that.

Kris (Amy Seimetz) is out-and-about one night, when all of a sudden, she’s drugged, kidnapped, hypnotized, robbed, and left astray in the middle of the highway without any prior knowledge of knowing what the hell happened to her, why, from whom, and where they have gone. As one could expect, this leaves Kris as damaged-goods, and has her practically sleep-walking through life as if she will never know what happened to her, and will always feel strange about it. That is, until she meets a guy named Jeff (Shane Carruth) on the train. They share an intimate connection together that may, or may not stem from the fact that he went through the exact same mysterious occurrence as her, but it also may be from something else a lot deeper than either of them could imagine. Does this have to do with nature? Flowers? Some other human-being out there in the world acting as the sorcerer in all of this? Or does it have to do with pigs?

Yup, you heard me correctly: Pigs.

To start this review off, I know that I have to be honest with you, as I usually am. For starters, I was not looking forward to watching this bad-boy as I for one, saw Shane Carruth’s directorial-debut, Primer, and if you haven’t seen by now, I’ll just clarify that I was not a fan of that one. The problem that I had with that movie did stem a bit from all of the hype and talk surrounding it, but most of it just came from the fact that it felt like Carruth was giving us a puzzle we had to figure out for ourselves, and nothing else. I’ll give him credit where credit is due and call him nice things such as “ambitious”, or “smart”, or “wise”, but the style only worked on me for so long, that is until I realized that maybe this is just a movie I’ll never get, and/or, one that I’ll just never be a fan of. And hey, that’s fine. That’s the beautiful thing about movies: You can always view them with a subjective mind, which makes it easier for one film to be loved by one person, and loathed by the next.

Reminds me of what I'll be doing once the zombie apocalypse begins. And yes, IT WILL HAPPEN!!

Reminds me of what I’ll be doing once the zombie apocalypse begins. And yes, IT WILL HAPPEN!!

However, this review is simply for Upstream Color, and only that. But the reason why I bring up my feelings about Carruth’s first flick is because while I appreciated what he did and what he brought to the table with such a small-budget, I still didn’t like the formula in which the film was shown or built. That’s what separates that movie from this, because while they are both confusing and able to mess with our minds, there actually feels like there’s a story located in the center here, and it’s a very heartfelt, emotional and somewhat beautiful one that makes all of the craziness surrounding it become deaf to your ears. Because essentially, this is less of a movie about our human-existence, and more about these two who find one another, connect in ways they never expected to connect with a fellow human-being and above all, fall in love and search the world for the everlasting happiness we all strive for.

I know this all sounds very odd of me, as if I saw this movie while it “my time of the month”, but I’m serious: Something between me and this movie just clicked. Carruth definitely put a spell on me (how fitting) in ways that he was able to coax me into forgetting all about the confusing plot, or the visuals, or everything else for that matter, and just pay attention to what he has on display and what’s the center of it all. For that, I give the dude major credit because although he did throw some curve balls here and there that got the eyebrows movin’ up, there was still a feel deep inside of me that gave me the feeling I wouldn’t be left behind with this story and its overall connection.

Now, it’s not like Carruth dumbs his material down, neither; it’s more just that he held my hand long enough to where I felt like I understood where he was going with this story, and why it all mattered to us. It’s a science-fiction movie, but not like the ones we see with aliens, lasers, or talking, killer-robots; it’s a science-fiction that uses the idea of science to further add drama and emotion to a story that didn’t seem like it needed much to begin with, yet, totally benefits because of it. You never quite know where this story is going to go, or even how it’s going to end whether it be sad, happy, or so painfully ambiguous, that it could literally be left somewhere up in the air, for all who see it decipher and make up their own minds as to what the hell it actually means. And that just took me along for a ride that never let me go, no matter how many times I thought it almost lost me, both in terms of emotions and my actual thought-process.

But, as you can see, I’ve been going on and on and on about the heart of this story, and still, I have yet to actually talk about Shane Carruth himself as a director, who, from what we saw of him last, has really upped his game as a visual-director. Seriously, some of the shots in this movie are so beautiful and so artistic, it’ll make you wonder just how he was able to capture the frame the way it was. Certain lighting will come into effect and give you this idea that you’re in a real world, with real people, and real consequences for their actions, but other times, you’ll feel as if you are in dream world where some things that happen are utterly, and totally unexplainable. And before I stand off my high-horse by acting like I know all about what Carruth was trying to do here, I just want to say that it seems like this was used on purpose, because any bit of this movie could have been a dream, or it could have been reality. You never know, and I think that’s the way Carruth likes it to be.

Same goes for the sound of this flick as well, which, surprisingly, goes hand-in-hand with what’s happening in the plot. I can’t say why sounds and noises go along with the movie and in ways, drives the plot, but the way Carruth structures them and how the play-out in the film, totally work as it sometimes places you into another surreal world, and may even make you feel as if you’re being a little entranced as well. Carruth really seemed like he took total advantage of his bigger budget here, and showed that he uses for the better aspects of his movie; such aspects like sound-design; like cinematography; like lighting; and even, believe it or not, like shooting-areas. Most of Primer made it feel like it was made for a dime-a-dozen and filmed in these dudes’ backyards (which it most likely was), but here, you actually feel like you’re apart of something bigger, and a lot more wider than just the world two people created for themselves; you feel like you’re placed inside of a story that’s taking place in the middle of the universe, with all sorts of craziness surrounding it.

Just goes to show you that even the smaller things in movies you don’t normally pay attention to, mean a whole lot more than you think. Nice job on Carruth’s part for actually taking notice of that, and in return, making me take notice of that as well.

However, if there is one thing I do have to take some credit away from Carruth and this movie, it’s that his acting hasn’t quite improved since the last time we saw him. While I feel like he was more in his comfort-zone spouting out scientific-jargon in Primer, here, as Jeff, something feels very off-tune about him. Maybe that’s the point since his character seems to be reeling from so much internal damage this one horrific accident caused him, but by the same token, you never get a full feel for this guy as to who he was, who he is now after what happened to him and just what he can do to help our sweet girl of the hour-and-a-half, Kris.

"We're more than just pieces of meat!" If they could talk, that's what I assumed they'd say.

“We’re more than just pieces of meat!” If they could talk, that’s what I assumed they’d say.

Speaking of whom, Kris is played perfectly by Amy Seimetz who seems like she’s going to have a long career ahead of herself if she continues to roll at the pace she’s going at. With a movie like this, Seimetz could have easily fallen by the waist-side and just let Carruth use his artistic-side run rampant all over the place, but that’s not what happens. Instead, Seimetz gives us a character that we don’t know much about prior to her accident, but we still somewhat care for once it all happens and she wakes up all confused and bewildered as to what the hell has been going on with her life these past couple of days. We can tell that she’s messed-up just by the look in her eyes and the way she carries herself from area-to-area, but we never know how bad it truly is for her, until we eventually find out the long-lasting circumstances bestowed onto her due to this accident.

There’s this one scene where she gets the harsh news, and rather than going all over-the-top with her reaction, we get a close-up on her face, mainly her eyes, where they remain stilted, as if she’s just trying to let it all sink in. And that’s when you see the one lonely tear run down her face. It’s heartbreaking to see because you know that she’s suffered so much pain and agony, that she just doesn’t have the time, nor the effort to be hurt anymore. She just faces the fact, and moves on. Beautiful scene and one of the most beautiful pieces of acting I’ve seen all year. You go girl!

And while I go on about this movie, there’s no doubt in my mind that it won’t work for everybody, much like Primer didn’t work for me, as well as plenty others. In terms of the logistics of its plot, this one feels like it will appeal more to the average film-goes because not only does it challenge you to think a bit more than your usual big-budget, studio-made pic, but it also gives you a reward for the time you spend thinking about it, getting involved and following along. Especially with that ending. Honestly, I can’t remember an ending I’ve seen from a movie this year that was this poignant, this life-affirming and this beautiful. While most of the movie may have been a mad shuffle of ideas that either didn’t pan-out to much, or just didn’t make much sense at all, the ending is what stays clear in my mind right now as I’m typing this, brought a tear to my eye, and assured me that yes, movies are another form of art, and they don’t get anymore inspired as this.

Consensus: Most likely not going to be everybody’s cup of Joe, Upstream Color is still, for the ones who can stick it out and keep a clear and open mind, a rewarding experience that breaths new life into a conventional story of romance between two sad people, and gives us the idea that we are watching something more powerful develop in front of our eyes that isn’t just about two people in particular, but us all. Or something like that.

8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!

And birds have something to do with this, too. I think....

And birds have something to do with this, too. I think….

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

You’re Next (2013)

Next family reunion, G-Mom and G-Pop better bring their arsenal. Just in case.

The very rich, but very dysfunctional Davison family reunites for the 35th wedding anniversary of the mother (Barbara Crampton) and father (Rob Moran). Everybody in the family comes, and hell they even bring their own significant others to get everybody acquainted. However, it becomes abundantly clear early on that nobody in this family really gets along, and as a result, fight at the dinner table over something utterly and completely dumb. But once somebody gets an arrow shot through their head, all of the family-squabbling is put to the side, and the feeling of danger arises throughout the house. Why? Well, it’s simple: A bunch of masked-killers are attacking these family members and killing them one-by-one. Some are unlucky, and some get very lucky, but staying alive and being fight off the enemy is only where the night begins.

After this movie being postponed for what seemed like a century (in reality, it was only 2 years, but it was a long two years!), I am finally able to get a taste of You’re Next, and figure out just what all of the fuss was about. Home-invasion thrillers come, and they go as they please, and rarely re-invent the wheel of the horror genre, especially in today’s world of modern-day cinema. However, that doesn’t mean a little movie like this can’t just come out of nowhere and completely shock us, but not by changing the game up and offering us something new, but by simply having fun and remembering the old-school days of horror movies, where one used to cheer for the goodies, and boo the baddies.

Yeah, those were the days my friends, and You’re Next reminds us that they’re back and still as fun as they were all those years ago. Hurrah for that!

Relax! It's not like it's real blood or anything....

Relax! It’s not like it’s real blood or anything….

The aspect of this movie that totally works is how the screenplay from Simon Barrett and the direction from Adam Wingard totally compliment one other; almost in a way that I haven’t seen from a writer-director combo in quite some time, especially within the horror genre. Barrett’s tone for this movie may weird some viewers out at first by how jokey it is, despite being terribly gory and gruesome in the first 5 minutes or so, but once the movie gets going, the plot starts to thicken, and you’re ultimately set-up for what the rest of this movie is going to be and look like, and it only gets better from there. One second, Barrett will have us laughing our assess off by a random sight-gag, or something silly a character does; and then the next second, have a disturbing sequence of someone getting a bodily-organ torn from them, in the most gory way possible. However, with most horror movies where it seems like it would not work and just become a disjointed affair, Barrett surprisingly keeps it grounded in a sense where you know what to expect from the comedy, and you know what to expect from the inordinate amount of violence.

Then again though, a lot of that same credit I just gave to Barrett, could easily have gone to Wingard as well, considering he seems to be having just as much fun with this material, if not more. Once the first person at this family reunion is killed, it’s an all-out slug-fest from there, and every chance Wingard has to do something new, cool, or simply righteous with his kills, he doesn’t back away and embraces it. You would think that all of the killings in this movie will just make you numb after awhile, but Wingard surprisingly finds newer, more exciting ways to bring out as much awe-inspiring and cheerful moments of violence, as humanly possible as it is to do for a horror movie. He never goes over-the-top with it; nope, instead, he keeps it bloody, brutal, in-your-face, and mostly compelling, even when he does seem to be pulling whatever he can out of his ass. However, I think more horror directors need to be pulling stuff out of their ass, especially if it’s this fun and entertaining to watch.

Which may be weird for some to hear, especially considering this a horror movie, and as we all know; horror isn’t necessarily the most joyous genre of all. But Barrett and Wingard think differently: They know that horror movies should be just as disgusting and as horribly gruesome as it has been perceived as being, while also being scary whenever possible. Also though, they know that horror movies should be an entertaining experience you can only have at the movies, especially when they’re done at this caliber, and with this much of a playful tone and feeling. The two do get a tad bit “too jokey” at times, almost, dare I say, falling into the territory of being “meta”, but most of the times, they were able to make me laugh, while also expecting the unexpected with it’s story, the violence involved with it, and the direction.

Hello 2013's most-demanded Halloween costume!

Hello 2013’s most-demanded Halloween costume!

Thank you, Mr. Wingard and Mr. Barrett. It’s been awhile since the last time us movie critics remembered how much fun it could be going to the movies, and seeing a horror movie, without necessarily having to be scared shitless. Thank you very much.

And of course no good horror movie would be considered “good”, if it wasn’t for the perfectly-pitched cast they have on hand here. Everybody’s good here, especially because of the fact that nobody’s really a bigger star than the other here, and even if they are, they sure as hell aren’t treated as such. With the exception of maybe one chick, everybody’s demise is left up in the air, flying, and soon to land at any second, for any reason. Every character here is actually like a pawn on Barrett’s and Wingard’s chess-table: They all have their reasoning for being there, their strengths, and their weaknesses, however, they could be gone without any fair warning. Literally, you could be watching a character on-screen, seeing them do something cool, courageous, or even bad-ass, and then the next second, see them taken away from you because they weren’t thinking all that straight or got caught off-guard. That was a whole bunch of fun to watch, and it was only made better due to the cast being totally up for anything that Barrett and Wingard were able to throw at them. And yes, blood-flavored corn syrup was one of them.

Consensus: While it may not be the game-changer or revolutionary flick that most have been deeming it as, You’re Next still goes back to the basics, keeps it simple, bloody, fun, entertaining, wild, unpredictable, and always worth watching, even if the horror genre isn’t your favorite flavor of pie. It sure as hell isn’t mine, and look what I’m saying about it!

8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!

If they are in fact "Next", they better get a move on and start the love-making later. Idiots.

If they are in fact “Next”, they better get a move on and start the love-making later. Idiots. What? Have they never been home-invaded by killers in animal masks before?

Photos Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Tiny Furniture (2010)

Does staying at-home and going to community college count as the same experience?

Lena Dunham plays a Aura, a twentysomething gal who just broke-up with her boyf, lost her inspiration of what to do in life, and is now living with her artist mother and little sister. Aura is finding it hard to make sense of the world that she’s living in, mostly because she feels like she should be doing more with her life, and just isn’t. It’s a whole bunch of post-collegiate problems that nobody cares about, except for white people. We eat that shit up.

Here’s the type of flick I automatically expected to hate going in, but had the exact-opposite feeling afterwards. Here I was thinking that this was just another mumblecore movie where a bunch of people say and do quirky things, all for the fun and entertainment of people that love this type of stuff and why? Oh, because it’s an “indie movie” and their allowed to get away with all of that junk. This movie isn’t one of those that I rant against, and that’s all thanks to Lena Dunham, who, as you all know by now, is pretty much “The Shit”.

Dunham not only starred in this flick, but she directed and wrote it, and that self-reliance of knowing one’s self is what shines through the brightest here. The direction is nothing new, flashy, or original that won’t have you going crazy over night, but the screenplay is exactly that. Actually, I wouldn’t even say that the screenplay itself is anything new, flashy, or original, it’s just simple. But it’s so simple that it works and feels like real-life, where real people speak to one another, in a sometimes quirky-fashion, but still works because you believe in everything and everybody in the movie. You could totally tell that whatever the hell Dunham went through once she got out of college, is all packed into this screenplay for us all to see and hear, and that brutal honesty is what resonated with me the most because sometimes I feel like Aura, or Dunham for that matter.

Hanging out in pipes: totally normal.

Hanging out in pipes: totally normal.

Granted, I’m not necessarily in the same position as Aura is where she has a post-college life and is just trying to get her foot on the ground, but still, if you have ever felt lonely, sad, or just not able to make sense of the things around you, then this is most likely the type of film that you want to see because it will feel real and honest to you, almost as much as it did to me. Aura isn’t a walking-stereotype of the person that can’t seem to get her shit together, shut the hell up, and move on with her life, but just a person who thought she had it all, and got it snatched-away from her in a single second, without an idea of what the hell to do. I’m sure that I speak for most of us out there and say that yes, we have all felt like that at least during one point of our lives. If not, you gotta start living, man!

As much as I may make this movie seem like a total debbie-downer, that isn’t what Dunham’s all about. She’s about showing us the crazy-situations we roll through in life, and just how we can get by them just by being ourselves. You can not only tell that Dunham is her original-self through the script and direction, but through her performance as well. There’s this certain essence of just being plain, original, and nothing but the truth that feels more realistic than anything else in this movie, and made me wonder how much of it she was acting. Dunham obviously isn’t the hottest bean in the soup, but I don’t think she cares about that and neither should we. She absolutely gets by on just being herself and telling others to shove it, which is what I always love in my women, especially my leading-actresses. Dunham’s “no-charm” act is what probably what makes her so charming in the first-place and I can’t wait to see what she has to do next for film, whenever she gets a break from Girls.

The rest of the cast is filled with a bunch of no-names, but each and everyone are just like Dunham in the way that they feel emotionally-honest and true, almost to the point of where it doesn’t seem like they’re acting. The fact that Dunham cast her real-life mommy and sissy was really smart and builds up a sweet-chemistry between them all that fits within the context of the story, and shows you that even if you do get in fights with your fam and have disagreements, at least you can always go back to them because no matter what; they love you underneath it all. I know I would never be able to make a movie with anybody from my fam, but hey, good for Lena. Sure she makes them all proud. Once again, nothing flashy, new, or original, but they all nail their roles and show what it’s like to be young, a bit wild, a bit nasty, a bit grumpy, a bit free, but always dumb with the things they do or say. As I said before, I think I speak for everybody else out there when I say, we all know exactly what that means.

Next time you get depressed, go play with small antiques of furniture. Always cheer ya back up!

Next time you get depressed, go play with small antiques of furniture. Always cheer ya back up!

The only problem that I actually felt with Dunham’s movie is that I feel like it goes on and on and on for so long (an hour and 39 minutes, okay), but never really has much of a point. Maybe I missed the point when I was laughing my ass off at the humor that Dunham has, but the overall-message of this movie seemed to be lost as soon as that wacky and surprising third-act comes into play, and we realize it’s a bit more serious than we expected. However, even if it is serious, I still never really felt like I knew quite where Dunham was getting at with this story or what she was trying to say. Being with family is great? Being with family sucks? Love your parents even if they piss you off? Don’t have unprotected sex? I don’t know what, but the main message of this movie seemed to be skewered out of nowhere, and it didn’t really hit me as hard as the rest of the movie. That being said, it was still a pretty good movie that just so happened to have the unfortunate problem of not knowing what to say, mean, or end.

Consensus: Tiny Furniture is one of those loose, simple, sweet, and to the point movies where the story happens right in front of your eyes where people act like people, things are done, and words are exchanged, but at the end of the day: that’s just life, yo.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

See! Not every dude and girl lying in bed needs to bang. Although it wouldn't be so bad if they did, just saying.

See! Not every dude and girl lying in bed needs to bang. Although it wouldn’t be so bad if they did, just saying.