God Bless America
Written and Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Quick Review – 8/10 – If you’re disenchanted, check it out.
God Bless America is what you get when you combine middle class intellectualism versus low brow reality tv. Its what you get when you mix dark bleak outlooks at the American Landscape in personal life, work life, politics, and most importantly TV and consumable media. Its a dark revenge flick that at times is too preachy and too redundant.
God Bless America is about a middle aged man going on the ultimate cultural revenge by blatantly murdering those people he finds not nice. This list includes: Teenage Reality TV Stars, Crying Babies, Loud Teenagers in Movie Theaters, Political News Pundits, American Idol Judges, Audiences, and Contestants, and a slew of other annoying people that probably everyone is familiar with. He is joined shortly by a teenage sidekick who perhaps is meant to emulate Natalie Portman’s child role in Leon the Professional. However, she’s just too smart for her own good in that sense. She is more of a mix-up between said Natalie Portman role and Hit Girl.
However if you are the type of person who thinks Jersey Shore is the worst thing ever, and not because like, she totally, is like, wasted all the time, but because its another show pandering to audiences with the maturity level of a drunk twelve year old (read: everyone from ages 10 – 23) then this is probably a movie you’ll enjoy.
But if you regularly watch: American Idol, Jersey Shore, Desperate Housewives, Flavor of Love, or other reality tv shows, and you do so to enjoy the show and not make fun of it, then be prepared to be shocked, surprised, and disgusted with this film.
Written and Directed by: Travis Betz
Quick Review: 6.5/10 – If you want to see how experimental Indie can get, check it out.
Lo was supposed to be a play. And the movie has no qualms about pointing that out. In fact the movie, for being mainly an indie horror genre mashup, has no qualms about being one of the most sarcastic movies in the world. Not only that, but the set pieces and the monsters that come along as surprisingly well done and look creepier and more realistic than a lot of the CGI monsters in movies today.
Lo is about a man in his apartment who undergoes a ritual to summon the demon Lo. He does this in order to find the demon that kidnapped his girlfriend in order to bring her back. Lo is a trashy demon, he promises nothing and begins calling his patron summoner Lunch. If it sounds hilarious it is. Lo is probably the scariest movie that will have you laughing the entire time. And somehow that just makes it scarier.
Throw in a few song and dance numbers to boot, and its impossible to know just exactly what Lo’s intentions are. And that is actually a weak point of the movie. I like how it combines so many things into one neat little package, but what Lo ultimately ends up being is about doing anything to get back the one you love, even when you can’t get them anymore.
Its interesting because in more ways than one Lo could be seen as a parable for the loss of a loved one as opposed to the simple plot tale it sets itself out to be, and without further expanding on that, the movie seemed to really discard my interest rather easily.
Plus the acting sucks. But its a cheapie movie.
I’m Still Here
Directed by: Casey Affleck
Quick Review: 8/10 – If you don’t know the story, consider it interesting, if you do, consider it performance art.
I’m Still Here is Casey Affleck’s and Jauquin Phoenix’s mockumentary about popular actors falling out of their limelight into a world where they believe they are better than everyone else and drugs and prostitutes.
I need to put one thing in context. I went into this film having not read every part of the stories. I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that Jauquin Phoenix had been faking his crazy foray into the world of rap, I remember hearing that this was the film made during those exploits. It was all a prank, they pulled one over on the world.
And it STILL got me.
I mean, I didn’t think it was real, but there were so many parts that I was interpreting as real, seeing as they would really be. Performance Art or Reality TV (but for real).
If nothing else this film shows that Jauquin Phoenix is seriously one of the greatest actors of all time. Every whiny insincere apology is seen. Every moment of selfish self-promotion, of bullying, is something that you can easily see come from this person of great talent. None of it feels fake.
However it does lose points for actually being fake. No matter how great the illusion, its difficult to sell. What is produced is an almost Kaufman esque work of metafiction that details not only how people break down, but how the media exploits these people who break down. No one once asks Phoenix if he’s okay, because his personal selfishness and outward bullying of everyone around him make him one of the least sympathetic characters ever seen in film. And yet you feel bad for him simply because you know he is a real person. And perhaps that was the point of their little game.
Eden of the East
Directed and Written by: Kenji Kamiyama
Quick Review – 7.5/10 – Interesting plot, lack of character connection
Eden of the East begins simply, a man, naked, appears in front of the white house with a special cell phone and a loaded gun.
Now take that premise, and add in likable characters, romance subplots, country wide conspiracies and mystically superpowered cell phone conversations, and you have one of the most interesting animes in recent memory.
Now I’d like to discuss the story of Eden and how it all works out but as of writing, I haven’t finished watching the second movie (because its not available on the damned netflix) so I haven’t seen the conclusion to the series yet. However, all you need to know is that aforementioned gunman finds out he is a member of a select group of people who have been given ten billion yen and the chance to save Japan in whatever way they see fit. When the money runs out they lose the game and are killed by a mysterious entity.
Eden of the East works like a traditional Japanime, the only difference being that they actually go around several places and don’t operate strictly in Japan. AS already stated, they begin in the United States. The series breaks down and uses to its stories advantage, cultural and economic terms more familiar to Japanese viewers than American viewers. AS such there may or may not be a cultural break.
There are a few things missing, however, from the normal anime that you might be surprised with. For one thing there are absolutely no fight scenes in Eden of the East. Not once. Eden manages to be smart and suspenseful without once involving hand to hand combat. Furthermore, it also manages to be romantic without devolving into overly cheesy dialogue or large set pieces like you would expect. I don’t even think the heroine cries.
Perhaps as a result of all that originality and non-pandering I want to say that Eden of the East is better than it is. It is certainly the most recent thing I’ve seen that denies several humorous and action mainstays of Anime as a broad genre. However something is sort of missing from Eden of the East.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but somehow, it feels very disconnected. It has so many rules and details and characters, either protagonist or antagonist, to truly fill only 11 episodes. 11 episodes, that’s 220 minutes. add two movies and the grand total is 400 minutes for roughly around 20 characters main characters.
To be blunt, I’m just not as connected to the protagonists in other series. And the big problem is that Eden had a lot of time to make me relate, to make me understand and like its characters, but it never did, not really. I felt connected to Shinji in episode 1 of Neon Genesis, I felt connected to Ed and Al in episode 1 of fullmetal alchemist, hell, I felt connected to Ta-Kun of FLCL, and was far more caring about his over sexualized stakes in the end of the universe than I felt once about the main characters of Eden of the East.
Its no doubt one of the most interesting series out there, and I cannot wait to see the end, but the characters are really distant from me. But maybe that’s my problem.