Photo Credit: Google Images
Halloween is coming around and for those of us who aren’t too big into the ghouls and goblins but still enjoy that sense of horror that surrounds the prior weeks leading up to October and all the way to the 31st, these 3 binge worthy shows should definitely be on your list! Especially if you’re looking for a few series no more than a season or 2 long to entertain yourself, these are the 3 that have caught my eye.
1. YOU. (Netflix)
If you haven’t gotten around to watching this already, you definitely should drop every show in your cue and start here. With only 1 season in you won’t want to stop watching from beginning to end. Without giving away too much this series shows the in’s and out’s, and the thought process of the antagonist Joe, who YOU know is not the good guy but the characters in the show do not. We as an audience get to understand his ways of thinking and beliefs that validate and justify his notion of possession, obsession and love at all cost. Which is exactly how he feels about Beck our main character that he is deadly in love with. This show will have you on the edge of your bed wishing you could actually tell the character’s in the show what is actually happening!
2. BIG LITTLE LIES. (HBO)
2 seasons that your eyes will stay glued to! This show has a start studded cast that consist of Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and many more. It takes you through the lives of these 5 families that are of the elite, think Stepford Wives with a way more serious tone. It shows you the women’s insecurities and troubles they have in the home, and Jane Chapman is a new mom to the town, who is young and has a troubled history with men but gets along with Celeste and Madeleine which gets her close to the women. As the show goes along each episode is investigating a murder, which the audience doesn’t get to see til the last episode, and you learn about the lives of these women through the towns interrogation, each episode reveals a little more of how everyone is involved and tied to each other and how they might be tied to the murder. Also, Meryl Streep joins the Cast for season 2!!!
3. SHARP OBJECTS. (HBO)
Amy Adams is always amazing in my eyes, but she definitely delivered in the thrilling small town murder mystery series. Camille, Amy Adams character, is a reporter who is running from something, whether herself, a past she cant acknowledge, or a future she can’t see. She is sent back home to report on a murder that happened in her hometown and help look for another girl that has just went missing. We learn instantly that she is not too fond of home or her mother. The show takes you through the relationships of the town, and Camilles’ upbringing in the town, all while still searching for the killer of these two teenage girls. The secrets in the town slowly come to light as the case moves forward. Definitely put this on your list to find out exactly what happens in Wind Gap!
Can’t wait to see what these 3 series will continuously bring with each one of them having REALLY intricate and spider webbed plots and cliffhangers that leave you wanting more!Read More
It’s with both joy and deep sadness that we celebrate the birth of BRANDON LEE, who would have been 54 today. A man who didn’t seem to mind being born in the shadow of his legendary father Bruce Lee. A man with a big heart, a gentle soul, phenomenal martial arts skills, and the charisma of a rising star who was poised for greatness. Despite being the son of one of the most iconic figures in cinema history, he soared to stardom at a young age with highly memorable roles in martial arts films Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) and Rapid Fire (1992). His skills were undeniable and his likability was off the charts. Thanks to these wildly entertaining thrill rides, and characters that demanded your attention and adoration, he landed the role that he knew would be the dream role that put him on the map. That role was THE CROW.
He was so excited to be part of this project that he ignored numerous warnings from friends who insisted the production was cursed after a series of accidents and complications that plagued the film. He got through the most grueling part of filming that included performing with no shirt or shoes in the rain in 30 degree weather and several elaborate stunts and fight scenes. He was counting the days until he could finish the last few minor scenes and marry his fiance Eliza Hutton. Sadly and tragically; carelessness on the set led to Lee’s untimely death. Apparently, a chunk of lead was lodged in a gun that was supposed to contain only blanks. The gun was used in the scene where Eric Draven (Lee) walks in on a gang of thugs who have broken into his apartment. Actor Michael Massee (Funboy) fired the gun and Brandon hit the floor. He lay there writhing in pain and the crew thought it was part of the scene. They soon realized, to their horror, that the lead from the gun had hit him in the stomach. It was later learned that it tore through his stomach and was lodged in his spine. He was pronounced dead March 31, 1993. His wedding was to be a little over 2 weeks later on April 17th.
I must admit; I’m writing this article because the films of Brandon Lee have made a huge impact on me. Something about Lee and his very few films grabbed me and I knew that he was going to be a huge star. His death hit me harder than any other artist’s death in my lifetime and I cannot fully understand why it still affects me so deeply to this day. I followed the career of Brandon before he was ever considered for The Crow. RAPID FIRE was (and still remains) one of my favorite action films of all time. I was over the moon with excitement when I learned that he was poised to play the title role in a Gothic horror tale, based on the comic, about a rock musician who is murdered and his soul is brought back from the grave by a Crow to exact brutal revenge on the men who murdered him. I followed the pitfalls of production every week in Entertainment Weekly (back when it was good) rooting for my favorite action star to complete his dream role and give me a movie that is much closer to my personal tastes than any of his previous films.
News of his death was like a punch to the gut that I still feel to this day. The potential he had. The achingly personal performance he brought to such a fun and stylized action film. His words of wisdom that he seemed to speak directly to me. His excitement for his future with the love of his life. All of it came crashing down because of tragic and avoidable accident. He doesn’t need any help being remembered because THE CROW is a beloved genre masterpiece, but he deserves to be introduced to every new generation of movie fans because he was the real thing. An immensely talented man with the world at his feet and he deserves to live on in the hearts minds of everyone who has the privilege of watching his films.Read More
2018 was an especially great year for films. I can recall no other year in recent memory that featured as much daring, bold and experimental filmmaking that pushed the parameters of cinema as an art form. It was also a year in which the film industry really tapped into the zeitgeist by rediscovering the power of the avant-garde, the spiritually probing, the politically relevant. Suffice to say, it was not easy gathering this list together. Many of the honorable mentions would have been in the top 10 of most other years. Without further ado, the best cinema had to offer in 2018:
10. BlacKkKlansman (Dir. Spike Lee) (USA)
No other film of 2018 tapped into the hot-button political zeitgeist like Spike Lee’s return to form. An outrageous true story of the FBI infiltrating the KKK in the 1970’s, this film used a piece of history to tap into the current era and the racial strife that the nation can never seem to shake. Honest, raw, and confrontational, Spike Lee’s latest is a call to vigilance and the politically distressing film we deserve for these politically distressing times.
9. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman) (USA)
The most inventive, original and joyous comic book film in years. Pulling from the deep well of Spider-Man mythology, the filmmakers work to create a world that dazzles the imagination and tickles the eyeball. This is some of the most innovative, fresh, radical and eye-popping animation in years. Mutli-dimenional timelines, a stellar cast of voice actors, visual imagination to spare and a relatable hero in the Afro-Latino, Miles Morales, make for a remarkable piece of pop escapism. Spider-Verse accurately captures the fun of reading a comic book in a way that no other film has ever been able to pull off.
8. The House That Jack Built: Director’s Cut (Dir. Lars Von Triers) (Denmark/France/Germany/Sweden)
The latest from Danish provocateur, Lars Von Triers, is a self-reflexive piece of auto-critque; a darkly satirical examination of violence in our diseased culture, dressed in the clothes of a serial killer picture. The film serves as a meta-commentary on Von Triers’ deeply controversial career and marks the first time the director has looked inward to examine the origins of his work and themes. Matt Dillon’s work as the eponymous Jack is one of the most impressive feats of acting of the year. Dillon, like the film itself, manages to be charismatic, terrifying, creepy and funny all at once. The unrated cut is NOT going to appeal to most mainstream audiences and is bound to offend normal sensibilities. For those more adventurous and jaded film-goers, the film is a darkly entertaining work of an artist grappling with his inner demons.
7. Mandy (Dir. Panos Cosmatos) (Canada/USA)
A red-blooded, fist-pumping, acid trip of a movie. The latest from Panos Cosmatos is a surreal piece of horror that recalls Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and the films of David Lynch, filtered through the lens of psychedelics. Featuring a maniacal Nicolas Cage in top-form as a broken love-struck avenger, the film reaches a fever-pitch of intensity that both engages and overwhelms the senses. The film’s depiction of Jesus freaks, violence, acid-soaked imagery and bone-crunching soundtrack make for a bracing film experience that will leave viewers alternately dizzy and exhilarated. It may be the first Heavy-Metal art film.
6. Suspiria (Dir. Luca Guadagnino) (Italy/USA)
Luca Guadagnino’s wild reimagining of Dario Argento’s classic film should have been a failure in every regard. Argento’s masterpiece is such an original and uniquely idiosyncratic film experience that only a fool would attempt to remake it. Lucky for us, Guadagnino is a brave filmmaker who revels in taking chances. Against all odds, he’s emerged with one of the most unique horror films in years, one that gets under the skin in ways so few films manage. Featuring a score by Thom Yorke and a bevy of impressive performances from Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth and Jessica Harper, Guadagnino’s Suspiria manages to be a both a batshit insane horror film and a political treatise on 1970’s Berlin.
5. Roma (Dir. Alfonso Cuaron) (Mexico)
Cuaron’s love letter to his hometown in Mexico recalls the European art films of the early 1960’s, particularly the Italian Neo-Realist movement. Shot in gorgeous black and white and unfolding at a sedate, languid pace, Roma tells the story of a Mexican maid with the soul of an angel. First time actress, Yaltiza Aparicio, delivers a performance that the most seasoned of actresses would have a hard time pulling off. Tapping into personal experience and nostalgia, Cuaron emerges with a lovely, deeply artful film. Brimming with humanity, warmth and political undertones, Roma takes us back into a different era of movies and in the process taps’ into the viewers sense of compassion and humanity. A truly gratifying, humane experience.
4. Annihilation (Dir. Alex Garland) (UK/USA)
Alex Garland’s follow-up to Ex Machina is a visually gorgeous, thematically-probing, ‘hard’ science-fiction film that recalls such classics as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and Solaris. Featuring a stellar, predominately female cast led by Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Garalnd’s latest probes uncomfortable topics such as sickness, death, decay and cancer with an unnerving sense of efficiency. Some of the imagery is beautiful, some of it horrifying, all of it is hard to shake.
3. Hereditary (Dir. Ari Aster) (USA)
The feature-length debut of the year, Ari Aster’s chamber drama of a horror film is the rare movie that gets under the skin on both a human and subhuman level. Hereditary manages to function as a supernatural horror mystery in the vein of genre classics like Rosemary’s Baby while delivering the year’s most damaging and emotionally painful drama. It is an intense, soul-crushing exploration of grief and one of the most genuinely unnerving horror movies of the decade. Toni Collette gives the best acting of the year, delivering a performance so intense that it looks painful. Collette takes her grief-stricken mother to devastatingly raw and uncomfortable places. Ari Aster’s work is one that inflicts emotional trauma on the audience, creating a work of art that is bound to go down as one of the supreme classics of the horror genre.
2. The Favourite (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) (Ireland/UK/USA)
The latest from Greek wonder kind, Yorgos Lanthimos, is the best comedy of the year. A British period piece in the mode of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon’, The Favourite is a gorgeously shot film with hilariously malicious undertones. Satirizing 16th century European opulence, the film rejects historical accuracy in favor of a vicious lampooning of the mores and social codes of Queen Anne’s reign and the genteel facade that masked a darwinian brutality. The film boasts a stellar trio of actresses (Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz) that deliver some of the finest work of their careers. The Favourite is shot through with some of the most visually stimulating, spatially distorted and experimental cinematography ever to be featured in a mainstream period piece picture. The film hilariously turns oscar-bait, stuffy, period dramas on their head and exposes them for how truly gutless most of them are.
1. First Reformed (Dir. Paul Schrader) (USA)
The best film of the year. Paul Schrader, the scribe behind such Scorsese classics as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, delivers his finest work as a filmmaker. By tapping into the current era of anxiety, political unrest and societal collapse, Schrader delivers a pointed social commentary that digs under the skin and asks uncomfortable questions. Ethan Hawke, in the best performance of a distinguished career, plays Ernst Toller, a Calvinist pastor living out an unhappy routine in an anguished state of mind. Toller is searching for a sense of purpose when his life is shaken up by a couple of environmental extremists, fueling his fear of a planet consumed by rapid climate change, political extremism, and scientific statistics that spell doom for the future. The young couple leaves Toller feeling traumatized, useless and inconsequential. Frustrated by his church’s apathy and indifference to these issues, Toller decides to take matters into his own hands, finding a new lease on life, one that might have dark and troubling consequences.
A quietly haunting work and an exquisite piece of cinema, featuring a complex and probing script, elegant cinematography, powerful acting and timely themes. ‘First Reformed’ is a ‘Taxi Driver’ for an era fueled by political extremism and societal anxiety. Destined to be dissected, analyzed and cherished by cinefiles for years to come. Paul Schrader, after all these years, still has his finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist.
You Were Never Really Here
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Isle of Dogs
White Boy Rick
Most guys have been there. You sit down to watch a movie with your significant other and you can’t decide what to watch. Everything she picks seems sappy and unappealing and everything you pick is a bit too macho and full of testosterone for her tastes. The last thing many guys want to see is a movie that they consider a chick flick, but they watch them anyway to appease her. Well, there are some movies you can suggest with the chick flick elements she likes, but are still enjoyable for you. Here is PlanetHopperTV’s top 10 chick flicks that guys will not only tolerate, they’ll enjoy.
10. For a Good Time Call (2012)– This is a hilarious and well-written comedy about 2 former college frenemies who start their own phone sex line to make ends meet. It’s directed by Canadian director Jamie Travis and stars relative unknowns, Ari Graynor (The Sitter) and Lauren Miller with a great supporting performance from Justin Long. The impressive, sexy, and endearing writing comes from the mind of one of the leads Lauren Miller, who also happens to be Seth Rogen’s wife and the voice of Camille the Tampon in Rogen’s Sausage Party. The writing is the backbone of this film and one of the main reasons guys will appreciate it. The lines are delivered splendidly by the two leads who shine in starring roles after spending most of their careers as bit players. (Something that is likely to change for Graynor when she stars alongside James Franco in the upcoming film The Disaster Artist, based on the making of the so-bad-its-good phenomenon The Room). Justin Long plays excellently off these two as the gay friend in a role that could have easily been a caricature, but the writing and Long’s performance give it depth.
Why guys will appreciate it: It’s raunchy, provocative, and genuinely funny with strong sexual content and tons of great jokes about vibrators, orgasms, and creepy callers.
Why chicks will appreciate it: It’s a heartfelt story about friendship and female empowerment and you know it’s going to feel good for her when you’re laughing your ass off at a movie like this.
- Clueless (1995) – A classic high school comedy from legendary writer / director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, National Lampoon’s European Vacation) and starring Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, and Paul Rudd. This is probably the most unlikely movie on the list because it features girly high school drama, shopping, and makeovers, but it’s still a damn good movie for both sexes and consistently fun on repeat viewings. The teen girl angst and juvenile zaniness are gloriously over the top and grounded in sarcastic realism by Paul Rudd’s character who’s smart-mouth aloofness and self-awareness seems to spread to the rest of the characters, and the film itself, as the story progresses. I dare you not to laugh when Silverstone and Rudd mix it up and the adorable Murphy shows her knack for physical comedy.
Why guys will appreciate it: This movie is about as girly as it gets, but it’s comedy you can appreciate and Paul Rudd will have you rolling as he voices exactly what you’re thinking when witnessing the teeny silliness around him.
Why chicks will appreciate it: It’s an endearing look at what life and love is like for high school girls and chicks are sure to think that young Paul Rudd is a dreamy and delightfully rough around the edges leading man.
- Jerry Maguire (1996) – Another high quality romantic comedy from a phenomenal writer / director. This one stars Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Singles, Almost Famous) who also wrote Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, directs this romance for the ages and delivers a highlight in the illustrious career of its star Tom Cruise making this his 5th consecutive $100 million film. Cruise plays the title role based on the real-life story of sports agent Leigh Steinberg. Jerry Maguire is a successful agent who has it all, but begins an existential struggle, prompting him to pour his heart out in a mission statement. This results in him being stripped of all his biggest clients and status at his prestigious agency. He climbs his way up from the bottom with the help of only one football star client (Gooding Jr.) and the only colleague who believes in him (Zellweger). The film catapulted Zellweger to superstardom after having no money in her bank account when she got the part. The now iconic lines “show me the money” and “you had me at hello” help solidify the film’s place in cinema history.
Why guys will appreciate it: Guys will love the many sports references and macho bonding, as well as, the football sequences that include a real Monday Night Football game between the Cardinals and the Cowboys at the end of the film.
Why chicks will appreciate it: What chick doesn’t gush over the “you had me at hello” line? Plus, it’s a touching love story that doesn’t seem manufactured like many mainstream romantic comedies AND it stars Tom Cruise at his hunkiest.
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) – This touching and irreverent film is based on the Shakespeare play “The Taming of the Shrew” and stars the late Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s directed by Gil Junger, who is mostly known for his work in television, and penned by the writers who went on to bring us films like Legally Blonde and The House Bunny. This could have been just another teen romantic comedy, but It’s elevated by memorable characters and Heath Ledger who brings us a chiseled and dreamy bad boy while appealing to both men and women with his macho charm and endearing vulnerability in the face of true love. It defies rom-com stereotypes with sentiment that feels grounded and comedy that combines subtle chuckles with big laughs.
Why guys will appreciate it: Heath Ledger is in it. Guys love him after his iconic turn as The Joker in The Dark Knight and the comedy is sarcastic and often touching without being sappy.
Why chicks will appreciate it: Heath Ledger is in it. Plus, Julia Stiles’ character of Katarina is a tough as nails feminist who is convincingly softened by Ledger’s Patrick.
- Bridesmaids (2011) – This wildly successful and critically acclaimed raunchy comedy is directed by Paul Feig (The Heat, The Office) and stars an ensemble cast that includes SNL’s Kristen Wiig, who also wrote the script, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, and Maya Rudolph. Wiig plays a down on her luck pastry chef whose life falls apart during the planning of her best friend’s wedding while in a hilarious competition with a bridesmaid (Byrne) who wants to take her place as the bride’s best friend. It’s a wild ride that pulls no punches in moments that range from painfully awkward to lewd to heartwarming and all of them work to gut bustingly hilarious effect. The poop jokes, sex jokes, and captivating story are woven together superbly in a script that got an Oscar nomination for Kristen Wiig and a breakout performance from Melissa McCarthy that got her a Best Supporting Actress nom.
Why guys will appreciate it: The toilet humor and dick jokes normally reserved for mostly male films is on display here and it never seems forced because of the excellent cast and exceptional script.
Why chicks will appreciate it: Chicks love movies about other chicks getting married. Plus, they get to ogle at Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm, in a role that shows that he handles comedy as well as he does drama.
- As Good As It Gets (1997) – Directed and co-written by The Simpsons creator James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News) and starring legendary actor Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, and Greg Kinnear. Nicholson is delightfully ornery as Melvin Udall; a cantankerous and bigoted aging writer with obsessive-compulsive disorder who snaps at anyone who dares interfere with his regimented and troubled existence. Kinnear plays his gay neighbor who, along with his adorable little dog, start to break down Melvin’s defenses, opening his heart enough to let in Carol (Hunt). A struggling waitress who must leave work to care for her sick son and is unwittingly part of Melvin’s obsessive routine. It’s an irresistible film with a magic that never subsides, even with repeat viewings.
Why guys will appreciate it: What guy doesn’t love Jack? Nicholson’s character is at once comical, fascinating, and downright unlikeable with a believable arc that leads him on a journey of compassion and self-discovery.
Why chicks will appreciate it: It’s sentimental and whimsical and Hunt’s character is a strong, empowered woman who ideally handles Nicholson’s overbearing personality and succeeds in humanizing a man we think is beyond reproach at the beginning of the film.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – One of the most captivating, mind expanding, and original films on the list. Directed by visionary director Michel Gondry (The Science of Sleep), written by distinctively talented writer Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), and starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in one of the finest films of their respective careers. A short description could never do this film justice, but it centers on a young couple, Joel and Clementine, whose relationship becomes so sour and painful that they submit to a procedure that will erase each other from their memories. While watching the memories of Clementine fade away, Joel realizes he still loves her and struggles to get back what they lost. It has drama, comedy, and mind-bending imagination in spades and makes an outrageous and magical storyline feel somehow grounded.
Why guys will appreciate it: Guys will love seeing the zany and physical comedian Jim Carrey in a serious role that shows what a true talent he is. It’s a story of loss and self-discovery told in a way that guys and girls can appreciate on an existential level and enough imagination to make it the epitome of an atypical love story.
Why chicks will appreciate it: The story literally gets down to the core of what makes us fall in love and what makes us drift apart. It has all the elements of a classic love story with Kate Winslet playing a substantial, genuine, and layered female character.
- The Wedding Singer (1998) – This heavily musical Adam Sandler vehicle set in the 80’s is directed by Frank Coraci who went on to direct slightly less notable Sandler movies The Waterboy, Click, and The Ridiculous 6 and written by Tim Herlihy who wrote most of the films in Sandler’s filmography. Not to knock the rest of his body of work, but this is one of his crowning achievements that got the balance of comedy, music, love story, and nostalgia just right. The costars are Drew Barrymore and most of the Sandler clan. This one is a fun crowd pleaser in every way with Sandler’s brand of comedy at its finest while highlighting his talent as both a musician and a comedian and his ability to mix the two.
Why guys will appreciate it: Guys will love the 80’s nostalgia, juvenile humor, and seeing the nice guy steal the girl away from the Delorean driving macho dickhead Glenn Guglia.
Why chicks will appreciate it: It’s a touching and delightful love story and the chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore leaps off the screen. Plus, there’s tons of outrageous 80’s fashion and girl bonding between Barrymore’s character and her friend played by Christine Taylor.
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) – Jason Segel writes and stars in one of the few romantic comedies with almost wall to wall sex and naughty humor. This uproarious and lively comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Neighbors) would be considered downright smutty if it wasn’t so damn charming. The film also stars Mila Kunis, (who is just as funny as she is sexy), Kristen Bell, and Russell Brand. Peter (Segel) vacations in Hawaii to recover from a recent break-up, only to discover that his ex, Sarah Marshall (Bell) is at the same resort with her new boyfriend (Brand). What ensues is a fresh and boisterous film that is an absolute blast with unforgettable moments that include side-splitting appearances by stars like Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, and Bill Hader.
Why guys will appreciate it: There’s not much about this film that guys wouldn’t like. Naughty humor, the struggle of a guy recovering from a break-up, sex, MILA KUNIS having sex, Kristen Bell having sex… I could go on.
Why chicks will appreciate it: I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that many chicks will enjoy seeing full frontal male nudity and Segel’s seductively large manhood in a nude break-up scene inspired by his real-life experience.
- Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) – Directed by surprisingly inexperienced directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris, Focus) and surprisingly written by the writer of kid’s films Cars, Bolt, and Tangled, Dan Fogelman; this is an equally dramatic, exhilarating, and laugh out loud funny film with a fantastic cast made up of undeniable talent like Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone. Not to mention, scene-stealing appearances by Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon. Cal (Carell) is devastated when his wife Emily (Moore) asks for a divorce and he is forced to re-enter the dating market with the help of handsome stranger Jacob (Gosling). Watching Gosling teach Carell to pick up women is so entertaining, I could have watched it for the entire movie. Luckily, the writers gave us much more by giving Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling a platform for their positively electric chemistry, a cute and compelling sub-plot with Cal’s son Robbie and the babysitter, another sub-plot with Emily and Bacon’s David Lindhagen, and so much more. Few films are this watchable with enough layers, charisma, and charm to make it entertain no matter how many times you watch it.
Why guys will appreciate it: Ryan Gosling is in it playing a man’s man who is a fiend with the ladies and the bromance between him and Carell is palpable. Plus, he brings out Emma Stone’s sexiness and allure and there’s more than enough macho grandstanding to go around.
Why chicks will appreciate it: Ryan Gosling is in it… with his shirt off! The love stories, both in the central narrative and the sub-plots, are sweet and authentic. Emma Stone is a strong and empowered woman who handles Gosling’s swagger effortlessly to the point of being the aggressor and Julianne Moore reflects the real struggle of an aging woman who loses her lust for life and her husband and fights to better her situation no matter how challenging it is.Read More
One of many films in the onslaught of original content that streaming giant Netflix has made possible in recent years is the subversive and wildly entertaining comedic thriller “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” starring Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood. It’s the directorial debut of actor and producer Macon Blair, who also penned the script. You might know Blair from director Jeremy Saulnier’s films: The indie horror gem Murder Party (2007), the moody revenge thriller Blue Ruin (2013), and the highly-acclaimed horror thriller Green Room (2015). All of which displayed Blair’s skills as an actor and a producer.
Filmed in Portland, Oregon; the film centers around the socially awkward and perpetually depressed nursing assistant Ruth in a rousing performance from Melanie Lynskey. After a particularly bad day, her home is burglarized and the police seem unwilling to help. Fed up with being a sad victim in a harsh world, she decides to track down the stolen items with the help of her neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) who’s an outcast in his own right. Lynskey and Wood play off each other perfectly with their social awkwardness and a disdain for injustice being the only things they have in common. Only Elijah could give us a character just as loveable and memorable as Lynskey while bringing an undeniably endearing charm and an exciting unpredictability to the story.
The protagonist, Ruth, feels like a real person and you believe in her arc as she moves from being a victim of her harsh surroundings to a woman who takes charge of her life and makes those who try to victimize her pay the price. What’s different about this story compared to others that are similar is that this is not a defeated woman who suddenly becomes a force to reckon with. The transition is believable and you never lose sight of the character you got to know in the first act. Director Blair, with all his wonderful characters, seems intent on realism in every aspect of the film from the script to the locations.Blair got the inspiration for the story from a real-life experience in which his apartment was broken into and he didn’t get much help from the police. It’s hilarious, dramatic, and often sad without being depressing. It’s gritty and unfamiliar with a sense of realism that doesn’t seem like the director is trying to achieve it. It’s a comedy without being jokey. The laughs come from a place a little deeper than you would expect from a high concept indie comedy. You laugh at the personalities of the characters and the way they react to outrageous situations rather than having a set-up and a punchline. The violence is shocking and realistic and everything about the film is atypical and unexpected. The use of natural light seems to fit the material and pulls you into the main character’s world, experiencing it the way that she does, and makes you feel for her struggle. You feel her frustration and you want justice as much as she does. An antagonist, played by Devon Graye, appears 30 minutes in and he is outstanding. He looks strange, he acts strange, and he makes you feel consistently uneasy. This makes his journey as a character all the more unexpected. His partner Dez, played by Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe), turns in a small but remarkable performance and turns out to be one of the unexpected highlights.
The film makes excellent use of music with a great soundtrack, adding to the impact of the film without relying on it to generate energy and mood. Most of the music is being listened to by the characters and helps set them apart as individuals. Other times the music is an auditory aid to the excitement on screen and just a part of what makes those scenes exciting. The carefully placed score in between is well crafted and often subtle, adding another layer to an already compelling story.
Macon Blair and Jeremy Saulnier worked together under The Lab of Madness production company to produce phenomenal indie films Murder Party and Blue Ruin. Blair co-starred in Murder Party and did an amazing job carrying Blue Ruin as the main character. Murder Party was filmed in 2006 with no money and became a cult hit after being released in 2007. Blue Ruin gave Blair and Saulnier a much bigger budget to work with at a little over a million (which is still low budget by Hollywood standards). It was released in 2014 receiving praise from many critics, but had criminally minimal success (which is a shame because I personally consider it a modern revenge masterpiece). This is likely why Saulnier got an even bigger budget to make 2015’s indie hit Green Room, giving him his most successful film to date and Blair a much smaller, but still memorable, acting role. This is when Blair set his sights on writing and directing. After following his career since being obsessed with Murder Party for years and being unabashedly floored by Blue Ruin; I couldn’t wait to see what Blair had in store for us as a writer / director. He met and exceeded my high expectations and somehow managed to reach the level of his partner in crime Saulnier in one film. If you’re a fan of Saulnier and as impressed with Blair’s writing as I am; you’ll be happy to know that Blair wrote Saulnier’s upcoming thriller “Hold the Dark” starring Alexander Skarsgard, based on the book by William Giraldi, about a wolf hunter who tracks down a young child in the Alaskan wilderness.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a funny film, but it’s not trying to be. It’s an often-shocking action drama, but it doesn’t call attention to itself as an action film. It’s not trying to be anything. It crawls into your mind and plays with your senses in a way that feels fresh and inviting without being too heavy-handed or stylistic. It’s a character piece that descends (or rather ascends) into glorious chaos with an original and exciting climax with balls. I highly recommend this film and I’m sure you will agree that Macon Blair is a filmmaker to watch if you want an escape from the remakes and sequels that are flooding cinemas. Leave it to Netflix to have the courage to give talented artists control over their original creations so they can give us something new in an age where everything that has already been done is being done again… and again.Read More