Not to get too repetitive here, but I have a Kickstarter project going on. Feel free to check it out, if so inclined. Spread the word. Contribute if you like. Or just ignore it. It’s all up to you.
Now onto the real subject of this post. As anyone will tell you, I am a man of distinguished tastes, and the best example of that can be found in my Netflix. So without further ado, let’s take a quick look on what’s on A. Lee Martinez’s streaming que.
A movie about butter sculpting and its effect on the lives of various characters. Not a documentary. The cast is strong, and the story is quiet and thoughtful with absurdity and vulgarity sprinkled here and there. It isn’t a big movie, but that’s it’s charm. The characters seem genuinely likable and even the more flawed characters aren’t outright villainous. The real star of the show is Yara Shahidi as Destiny, a young orphan girl bounced from household to household, who finds a purpose in the sculpting of butter. She and Jennifer Garner trade voiceovers in the film, and it works surprisingly well. Perhaps because, despite their differences, both characters are struggling to find their place in the world and dealing with things as best they can.
Special mention goes to Rob Corddry who plays the part of Destiny’s latest foster parent, a guy who seems genuinely caring and awkward at the same time. His bonding scenes with Destiny come across as natural and endearing, and really, that was what pushed the movie into genuinely heartwarming.
Speaking of which, I really love Rob Corddry as an actor in general. Most recently, I saw him in Warm Bodies (a truly excellent flick that I highly, highly recommend). He plays a zombie named M in the film, and he does an incredible job of portraying the emotional journey his character has to go through, even while having to mostly shamble and grunt what little dialogue he has. He doesn’t even get the benefit of the voiceover the protagonist, R, does, so it’s all on Corddry to make it work. Damned if he doesn’t do a bang up job of it. After these two films, count me among your biggest fans, Mr. Corddry.
I’m still working on this one. It’s an interesting premise. A young boy and a young girl (neither of which have anything to do with each other at the moment) are being stalked by a strange creature known as Hollowface. It appears in the boy’s dreams, stalking him in his nightmares. Meanwhile, the girl is being stalked in real life. Hollowface lives in her closet. Clive Owen plays her concerned father.
I was worried about this flick at the beginning because I don’t usually like movies where the protagonists are considered crazy by everyone else as they confront a weird horror. This is why it was a relief when Hollowface appears to the daughter and her father, though he’s still only haunting the boy’s dreams. Hollowface is a genuinely scary monster, a thing that seeks to steal your face, that lives in darkened corners and can’t be banished. He is, strangely, not an invincible monster. He can be fought, but driving him off only stalls him temporarily.
Despite the stronger horror elements of the film, the languid pacing makes some of it a bit of a chore to get through. I haven’t even finished it yet, so I can’t recommend it too much. And the ending might stink. But so far, it’s interesting enough that I withhold judgment.
Sigourney Weaver plays a professor who debunks psychics and claims of the paranormal. Great cast. Cool premise. But, despite some solid performances, I just didn’t see where it was going or why I should care. Didn’t finish it. Don’t plan on it.
A parody of the various found footage supernatural horror movies, there’s a few good gags here, but it can’t seem to decide on what level of parody it is going for. The longer it goes, the more inconsistent the tone becomes. Not terrible, but not recommended either.
Wonderful film about super kung fu being used in the world of professional soccer. It is absurd while grounded in a very real affection for its characters. A great movie, deft and ridiculous, fun and heartfelt. Plus, did I mention super kung fu soccer?
1313: BIGFOOT ISLAND
Ah here we go. This is one absolutely dreadful movie. Understand, I’ve seen a lot of dreadful movies. I’ve seen a lot of so bad it’s good movies and a lot of so bad it’s bad movies and everything in-between. It takes something special to stand out. This movie has that in spades.
First of all, it’s supposed to be an exploitation flick aimed at a gay male audience. This doesn’t mean that the characters are gay (as far as I can tell none of them are supposed to be) but that instead of cheesecake, we get beefcake. Now, I am not usually inclined to criticize a movie for not having enough male exploitation, but if you’re going to do it, do it right, damn it.
Putting aside that flaw, this film has one very special feature that I have NEVER EVER seen in any movie. EVER.
Two characters are never on screen at the same time. EVER.
You read that right. Not even bigfoot, who is basically killing everyone. Most of the time he does so by watching a victim scream then cutting to a shot of bigfoot swiping at the camera. Most of the character interaction between the humans takes place on the phone, and the few times characters are supposed to be in the same location, they’re never in the same shot.
So, yeah, apparently this movie was shot one actor at a time then edited together to make it work. It almost does in one or two scenes, but for the most part, it creates a strange, disconnected quality to the whole thing. This isn’t what makes the film so terrible though.
No, it’s the 20 minute hiking scene at the beginning. The cuts to a cameraman prowling through the same darkened woods while growling sounds are added in. The many walks that seem to go nowhere. Cardboard characters who die off camera (except for one guy who gets whacked with a canoe). And the repetitive shots of a girl chanting to bigfoot to “avenge his fallen maiden”, which she does over and over and over again.
It is, hands down, one of the most ridiculous movies I have ever seen. Amateurish, dumb, and confounding. I started another 1313 film to see if it was the same, and while so far, it takes place in the city, it has the exact same perplexing qualities. Checking IMDB, the director made about 10 of these films in 2011, so I can only assume that shooting the actors separately allows him to crank these things out. And they’re on Netflix, so he probably made his money back, so I can’t fault him.
I can’t recommend you watch this film, but I would recommend giving it a few minutes of your time, if only to see how bad a movie truly can be. So the next time you feel the urge to say “That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen”, you can always stop and remind yourself that time you watched a guy hike through the woods for 20 minutes before finally getting one-punch killed by an offscreen bigfoot.
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