Demolition (2015)

Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée

Screenplay By: Bryan Sipe

Cinematography By: Yves Bélanger

Starring: Jake Gyllenhall, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper & Judah Lewis

Runtime 101 minutes

I’m going to watch anything Jake is in so when Demolition came on HBO my viewing of this movie was bound to happen. To my surprise I found this movie to be extremely compassionate. I’m not exactly shocked at how terrible of a reception this movie received when it was released because of how sentimental it is, but call me sentimental because this is a much better film than the critics were giving it credit for. “Fuck the critics!”

Honestly this is a deeply rich film about apathy, grief, and life itself. As Jake’s character searches for a renewed view on life so do we. I found Demolition to be extremely effective to the point where the climax of the film had me teary-eyed. I found Demolition to give it’s characters (most of) the justice characters deserve but rarely find these days.  I found Demolition to have heart and humor, soul and passion.

Usually this kind of movie is melodramatic or standard indie fare; striving to be sympathetic with hints of comedy but ultimately leaving with everything feeling very thin and surface level. I think Demolition goes deeper than that and succeeds on many basic levels. I think that where most movies like this try and be profound and aren’t, Demolition doesn’t try to be and is.

Lastly, I believe my reception to this film was based on expectations. I was expecting a crappy film, thin with a weak plot and weak characters. I found something that was much richer and for that I thoroughly enjoyed my time and found Demolition to enhance my life experience. Demolition has something to say about life and we should listen.

God Bless America


The King of Comedy (1982)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay By: Paul D. Zimmerman

Cinematography By: Fred Schuler

Starring: Robert De Niro & Jerry Lewis

Runtime: 109 minutes

In my opinion this is Scorsese’s most underrated film. It’s fantastic on so many levels. De Niro is hilarious, awkward, absurd, creepy, manic; he’s the best Rupert Pupkin anyone could ever ask for.

Scorsese is in tip-top shape, framing us both inside and outside Rupert’s head seamlessly and humorously. The rest of the cast is extremely funny. There’s so much subtle and dark humor in this movie but also deals with a subject matter that thirty-five years later is still as relevant as ever: celebrity culture.

The King of Comedy is dark, real dark. And if you can get past that, you’ll find the humor in it all. This is a movie that’s shear existence amazes me. A still moderately young De Niro playing an absolutely delusional comic, it’s incredible. Scorsese showing that he’s as good at humor as he is at violence, this is the whole deal.

If you haven’t seen this movie you should.

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Hits (2014)

Directed By – David Cross

Screenplay By – David Cross

Cinematography By – Paul Koestner

Starring Meredith Hagner & Matt Walsh

96 min.

A super interesting movie from David Cross. Highly entertaining, very topical and well acted. I really enjoyed my experience. It was definitely a strange story but it’s grounded in modern day narcissism and instant gratification enough so that everything is believable.

A really great Netflix find when you’re in the mood for something both awkward and well done, yet nothing to artsy. With a cast (of strange characters) that has faces you’ll recognize and a story you’ll be able to relate to somehow, Hits does exactly what I want all independent movies to do, be unique intelligent and good.

Job well done David Cross.

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Sex Ed (2014)

Directed By – Isaac Feder

Screenplay By – Bill Kennedy

Cinematography By – Brian Burgoyne

Starring Haley Joel Osment

92 min.

Yeah, so this is an indi film where Haley Joel Osment plays a virgin who gets a job as an after school teacher and decides to teach sex ed. That’s basically it. It’s got its moments of humor and its moments of heart. And yeah, it’s an indi film where Haley Joel Osment plays a virgin who gets a job as an after school teacher and decides to teach sex ed.

God Bless America

The Boxtrolls (2014)

Directed By – Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi

Screenplay By – Irena Brignull & Adam Pava

Starring Isaac Hempstead Wright & Elle Fanning

96 min.

I was highly anticipating The Boxtrolls. Coming from LAIKA, the studio that did Coraline and ParaNorman, I was expecting great great things from The Boxtrolls.

As we all know expectations can play a huge part in how you receive a movie but if a movie is truly great than it will speak for itself no matter the expectations. I just think The Boxtrolls isn’t all the great. It’s solid at best, but it is no ParaNorman, and it is definitely no Coraline.

I think where The Boxtrolls misses its mark is that it is too much, good guy versus bad guy structure. Both Coraline and Norman are complex characters. Plain and simple, Eggs doesn’t have much dynamism. And his quest is laid out for him in the prologue. There’s no room for mystery or suspense, two traits Coraline and ParaNorman excel at.

With The Boxtrolls you know exactly how it will end in the first five minutes and thus you ultimately want the movie to get to where you know it will go and don’t enjoy the ride between all that much.

LAIKA you have not lost my faith, I’m still behind you 200%.

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Delicatessen (1991)

Directed By – Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Screenplay By – Gilles Adrien, Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Cinematography By – Darius Khondji

Starring Dominique Pinon, Marie-Laure Dougnac & Jean-Claude Dreyfus

99 min.

This movie was fantastic. Clever, original, and sadistic, my kind of combo. Delicatessen is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic social circle, where people have become okay (loosely okay) with cannibalism as they are sold human from the deli that resides at the bottom of their housing complex.

Delicatessen is overall just an absorbent amount of creative. Whether it be the plot or shot choices, or the editing decisions, it all comes together to make something extremely unique to watch.

While we live in a time where everything seems to be a carbon copy of each other, Delicatessen offers a world unlike any other and is definitely a must see.

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Pleasures of the Flesh (1965)

Directed By – Nagisa Ôshima

Screenplay By – Nagisa Ôshima

Cinematography By – Akira Takada

Starring Katsuo Nakamura

104 min.

If you knew you were going to be killed in a year and had 30 million yen what would you do? Probably hire women for a million yen a month to live with you as your lovers.

Well that’s what Atsushi does. Pleasures of the Flesh is an exploration of what you can do with a lot of money, especially when the girl you love just got married.

Ôshima once again makes something that is both controversial and emotionally complex, leaving the audience in a state of moral ambiguity at all times.

God Bless America

All the Boys Are Called Patrick (1959)

Directed By – Jean-Luc Godard

Screenplay By – Eric Rohmer

Cinematography By – Michel Latouche

Starring Jean-Claude Brialy, Anne Collette & Nicole Berger

21 min.

This fantastic short is what every rom-com should be. Great witty dialogue, a fun plot and great acting (not to mention beautiful actresses to boot).

An early collaboration between two French film powerhouses, Godard and Rohmer make filmmaking look easy with All the Boys Are Called Patrick.

You can catch this on Hulu and I highly recommend you doing so.

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For Ever Mozart (1996)

Directed By – Jean-Luc Godard

Screenplay By – Jean-Luc Godard

Cinematography By – Katell Djian, Jean-Pierre Fedrizzi & Christophe Pollock

84 min.

I don’t know what this movie was about. It would try and explain it to you but I would just make myself sound like a fool. If you want a dose of Godard I would recommend anything other than this.

However, I don’t believe this movie was intended for you to watch once and for you to move on so quickly. It has deep and powerful themes woven into a complicated mix of characters and relationships. Because of this For Ever Mozart is a movie I know I will revisit in my later years because it is so fucking dense.

God Bless America

The Longest Week (2014)

Directed By – Peter Glanz

Screenplay By – Peter Glanz

Cinematography By – Ben Kutchins

Starring Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde & Billy Crudup

86 min.

The Longest Week isn’t anything all that special but as always Bateman can carry a film, especially this time with Olivia Wilde and Billy Crudup backing him up. The Longest Week’s biggest problem is that it wants to satirize Bateman’s spoiled, extremely rich-parent dependent character Conrad, but is ultimately too sympathetic towards him. This keeps the film from truly being a satire but also ends up with a character that is fairly flat.

The Longest Week is a fine time filler with a highly watchable cast.

God Bless America