• Blume in Love

    Blume in Love

    Shelley Splurge '21

    Shelley appears in 3 scenes, which combined tell the story of this movie.

    Playing a jilted housewife gearing up for an acrimonious separation, she vents to lawyer George Segal and is absolutely hilarious. Which is incredible because she plays the scene totally straight, alternately wishing for her philandering husband to die in a plane crash (to a married man who will be caught at home with his secretary later that same day) and damning the existence of…

  • Relic

    Relic

    Love the set-up; three generations of women trying to keep it together in the home of a mentally and physically deteriorating grandmother, which is plagued by some rotting, malevolent force. The setting is effective (at its best, it evokes Lisa Tuttle's story "Bug House") but as it goes on, the movie relies a little too heavily on an ominous score and general creepiness where there needs to be more character development: Mortimer and Nevin are both great and deserve a better script. It also often falls on the modern horror cliche of "old people = gross."

  • The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl

    The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl

    I couldn't help but feel incredulous when both my daughters vouched for the quality of this movie and insisted we all watch it together. But I'd recently forced them to watch THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, so I owed them one.

    Turns out their reports of giant attacking electrical plugs, planets made of ice cream and talking sharks were not exaggerated.

    There's something beautiful about the Robert Rodriguez narrative of selling his body to science just to make his first…

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    *Note: this is based on the 3-hour Director's Cut.*

    Mike Flanagan's SUPERMAN RETURNS: a reference-heavy sequel to a beloved film shot in England and released in 1980, with new actors standing in for the original cast, that seeks to satisfy fan nostalgia while simultaneously expanding upon the world of its predecessor and existing as its own thing. Both movies ultimately fail in the latter and end up a pale reprise of the classic movie (quite literally, in the case of…

  • The Turn of the Screw

    The Turn of the Screw

    You've got to respect an early 90's spin on the much-adapted Henry James ghost tale that rocks out with its cock out.

    Most movie versions of the story do away with the framing narrative, but here we've got Marianne Faithfull in her first acting stint since the 70's reading the governess's diary during a group session in a sanitarium over the holidays. Her voiceover is interspersed throughout to let us know how our protagonist is feeling, but it's not really…

  • Backbeat

    Backbeat

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Iain Softley made two extremely decent movies about a queasy love triangle that end with two of the triangle embracing in grief over the death of the third. WINGS OF THE DOVE is the far superior film, but that angle is what keeps me coming back to BACKBEAT every few years.

    If you bought a ticket for an early biopic of the Beatles' Hamburg days you'll probably find the film cheesy and even slightly trashy (and why would Ringo make…

  • The Whole Wide World

    The Whole Wide World

    Conflicted thoughts on this one: on one hand, it's a noble effort to tell the story of the elusive Robert E. Howard through the perspective of a fully fleshed-out female character (Novalyne Price, who had a complicated relationship with the Conan creator and wrote the book the movie's based on). I'm glad the movie sticks to that, even though it quickly becomes repetitive to have one scene of the two leads out for a car ride or a stroll or…

  • I Vitelloni

    I Vitelloni

    Watched on Fellini's 100th birthday.

    Who's narrating this thing?

    It's here that Fellini ignited his 40-year lament that life continues after the balls-out, decadent party. You dance and drink and laugh and ride that high-rising wave all the way to the grey and empty beach where it crashes and fades back into the sea. And indeed, a depressing empty beach is where the five friends find themselves, laden with responsibilities and discouraged by their lack of prospects, hoping that another…

  • Fantastic Fungi

    Fantastic Fungi

    It's tough to give this film a negative review because fungi is so fascinating and there were beautiful shots of mushrooms growing which they used many MANY times.

    But ultimately as a film, wow what a mess. The fungi (voiced by Brie Larson doing some weird little girl voice) narrates some parts of the film but then it's also a documentary about this guy named Paul who we meet 10 minutes into the film in a talking head amongst a…

  • Strays

    Strays

    Claudia Christian, who only appears in classics such as THE HIDDEN, MANIAC COP 2, THE DARK BACKWARD, MOM, A GNOME NAMED GNORM and HEXED, absolutely steals the show here. Playing Claire, the newly-single sister to Lindsey (Kathleen Quinlan), Christian sells a shitty country home to Lindsey and her husband Paul (Timothy Busfield). The wiring is bad, the ceilings are brittle and it's been staked by a gang of homicidal cats who want to eat Lindsey's freakishly doll-like toddler. To top…

  • Heavy Trip

    Heavy Trip

    Summer Jam Entry #6: HEAVY TRIP

    The performer(s): Impaled Rektum

    Impediment(s) to effectively create music: Derision from townsfolk, lack of impetus, stage fright.

    Highlight song(s): "Flooding Secretions"

    Even a glowing endorsement from Tenebrous Kate on the outstanding podcast Bad Books for Bad People (www.badbooksbadpeople.com/) didn't prepare me for how much fun I'd have watching this movie. While direction and acting are top notch, most impressive is the take on death metal: filmmakers Laatio & Vidgren get plenty of laughs out of…

  • Prey for Rock & Roll

    Prey for Rock & Roll

    Summer Jam Entry #5: PREY FOR ROCK & ROLL

    The performer(s): Clam Dandy

    Impediment(s) to effectively create music: Hitting 40 without hitting it big, label indifference, gropy groupies, drugs and death.

    Highlight song(s): "The Ugly," the best song by leaps and bounds; its crawling bass underscores the most intense scene of the movie.

    I was excited for this one, mainly because of its cool title (even if it opts for the ampersand rather than the correct apostrophe-n) and its poster depicting…