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jmunky [2018] PERFUME

 

Issey Miyake L'eau D'issey Pour Homme Sport * * * * *

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Having spent quite some time in men's locker rooms, I was expecting a slightly different scent from the one emanating from the Issey Miyake L'eau D'issey Pour Homme Sport bottle. I wasn't disappointed, however, as it smells divine. I'm not sure what sort of sport this Japanese fellow Issey plays, but it should be introduced to every school in the country.


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

The Shape of Water [2017] * * * *

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This should've been the movie to reboot Universal's monsters franchise. And that almost happened. Sometime in 2007, Universal offered Guillermo del Toro a chance to lead their Monster Universe. He said no, and to this day, in his own words, is the only project he regrets rejecting.

But anyway, we now have "The Shape of Water", which resembles VERY much the 1954 classic "Creature from the Black Lagoon", but reimagined with the unmistakable style of del Toro.

One of the most important points and one of the main reasons for the success of his films is that del Toro cares about giving strong motivations to his characters, especially the villains.

Strickland, played by Michael Shannon, has all his violent and hard raising told throughout the film, whether through little information (as when he reveals to have been in a war) or the cold way he treats his children, his exaggerated concern to be the perfect soldier of unblemished character who drives a Cadillac (just like all successful men do), who cares about insignificant details like washing his hands only once when going to the bathroom as a ridiculous demonstration of strong character (which doesn't make sense)... and so on.

His eagerness for approval is so great that he gives no chance to the creature nor to Elisa when the time comes. His creation must have been similar to the way he treats his own son, always ignoring him.

Nothing else matters other than completing your mission. Nothing! Just one failure and a lifetime of dedication, sacrifice and perfection is thrown away.

It's amazing that in a movie with such a unique and multi-faceted pair of protagonists, the villain is as well built and detailed as they are.

The creature's mythology is quite common, but is presented with a masterful elegance. Another exemplary work by horror veteran Doug Jones.

The production is beautiful. Impeccable even.

Always keeping a distinct color palette to adorn all the world according to the creature. It's shocking to know that all of this was done on a tight budget.

It has its tragic moments, but even so, it's, by far, one of del Toro's less shocking films when it comes to violence.

The same cannot be said about the nudity and the strong erotic content that it presents. Something different for a film that looks so romantic and classic, but that fits perfectly with the proposal.

By putting the sexual pleasure of his characters as an essential part of their construction, del Toro humanizes them and makes all romantic interactions between Elisa and the creature (which could easily become pathetic and break the mood of the film) into something beautiful and humane.

"The Shape of Water" is an extremely delicate work that proves not only del Toro's enormous technical and creative ability, but also, all the surrender of body and soul in which he structures his projects. Such a rich film isn't done without a great passion for the material.


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

Beauty and the Beast [2017] * *

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This live-action version of "Beauty and the Beast" (my favorite animated Disney film) is definitely an expensive mixed bag.

First, I'm going to talk about its bright side.

The intro is amazing. I wish we could see more of that snob and handsome version of the Prince, before the transformation. But, what we get is enough.

Everything smells of money! The CGI is extravagant, the sets are over-detailed, everything shines even the well-placed dust and spider webs.

Dan Stevens did a fantastic job as Beast. He nailed the attitude, voice, expressions (even with all that CGI and make up)... He was the perfect live-action version of the cartoon! Bravo!

Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen also did fantastic and charismatic jobs as Lumière and Cogsworth, respectively, even with far less expressive faces than their 1991 version.

Overall, the cast is very charismatic and the jokes have good timing. The old songs are mostly well-presented. And I love some details that improved on the original, like Mrs. Potts saying goodnight to Chip in an empty cupboard. The 1991 version showed us a cupboard filled with other "Chips" that never was explained.

Now, about its not so bright side:

Luke Evans is a very handsome man but lacks the dumb and rude macho attitude that we expect from Gaston. His personality looks fake and much too comical. And where the hell is his signature hairy chest?? Looks like they've taken off half of Gaston's quirkiness and given it to LeFou! They also passed the limit with Gaston's cruelty with Maurice, just to (again) give more depth to LeFou.

Speaking of which, if the point of giving more screen time to LeFou was to create an important gay character, they did it in the WORST way possible! LeFou here is a pathetic, ugly and needy person that humiliates himself for a man that uses him. And that is used as comic relief, like if he was a clown for being in love. Thank God, they gave him a sense of dignity in the end, but only seconds after this, they used another gay character as a joke! A ridiculous and very dated joke that insinuates that gay is the same as crossdresser.

A gay character should not be a comic relief if the jokes are going to rely on his sexuality and the cliché mannerisms associated with it.

I'm only talking so much about it because the director made a huge fuss about the inclusion of a gay character and what I'm seeing here is a disservice to gay people. A bullshit excuse to attract the "pink money" and the SJW online defense.

Emma Thompson's Mrs. Potts needed more facial features. I love her cartoon version, but here she lacks vitality. Chip however is much more faithful.

Now, about my biggest problem with this live-action version: the casting of Emma Watson as Belle.

I adore Emma as an actress, but she has been completely miscast as Belle. Not only doesn't she resemble Belle but she also lacks delicacy and suavity in her gestures and words. I like that her version is a little more proactive in some scenes, but the original also was, without ever sounding rude.

Think about what Lily James did in 2015's Cinderella, for example. She was pure charisma, grace and elegance! A perfect live-action version of how a Disney princess should walk, talk and gesture.

"Beauty and the Beast" is beautiful and expensive but lacks the magic and grace of 1991's animated masterpiece.


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Chad S. Walsky [2018] FILM

 

La La Land [2016] * * *

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Jazz Hands, Lube Jobs, and FM Radio: My Review of La La Land

Before my daughter went off to college I'd occasionally take her car in for an oil change. This wasn't my favorite thing in the world as I drive an awesome car and my teenage daughter does not. Plus, it killed my morning routine of Howard Stern and aggressively strong coffee - which are the primary reasons I haven't murdered someone in a road rage incident. See, my daughter's car doesn't have luxuries like SiriusXM, Bluetooth, or even a working CD player. But part of parenting is sacrifice, so I'd crowbar myself into her little Chevy Cobalt and begin my 35-minute trek to work.

Once inside I'd quickly move the seat back to avoid rupturing my testicles. Then, I'd instinctively flip on the radio which was always tuned to a station called "Z93" - "today's #1 hit music station" they boldly claimed. Now, if you know me at all you'd know I'm a cynical curmudgeon and kind of a dick. I've softened a bit as I've gotten older, but overwhelming positivity, overbearing optimism, and general whimsy will always annoy me to my core (except in children... they'll have plenty of time for bitterness later). But a funny thing would happen almost every time I listened to that radio station - some upbeat pop song would worm its way inside my brain and fester there while I sang along like a slightly less stoned Whitney Houston (key differences being I can't sing and she's dead). Anyway, what's the point you're probably asking and to that I say thanks for reading one of my reviews for the first time! My point is this: La La Land is a fun piece of fluff that danced around my brain for a couple days before starting to fade like so many Taylor Swift songs.

Now, I'm not totally immune to its charms. The leads are fun, the colors just POP, and the melancholy ending really made the film resonate more than I anticipated. Several clever "Hollywood" jokes landed and any time Ryan Gosling is in an 80s-style cover band I'm going to dig the shit out of it. And it was paced PERFECTLY (which helped mask how hollow and weightless most of the movie was, but I digress). At the end of the day the good stuff slowly faded like a fart in the wind, and I was hard-pressed to really latch on to anything substantial. Plus, musicals just aren't my bag. There's something about people doing day-to-day activities while singing that's always struck me as idiotic. I keep thinking about how ridiculous it would be to apply a musical aesthetic to life in my 20s:

Chad (sashays in from the left holding a broken bong) -
Hey there Phil, were ya using the bong and singin' a song todaaaaaaay?
I went to take a big puff
but I got rebuffed
and now I'm sober and rough...
todaaaaaaay!

Phil (snapping fingers, soft drumming starts) -
Why yes I was, why do ask?
I've just been sitting here finishing all my tasks.
If it happens to be broke don't look at meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,
if I had to guess it was your buddy Andyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
(spins in a circle, drops to knees, does the splits)

Chad (under a spotlight, still holding a broken bong) -
Well listen up Phil, and Andy have a seat...
We're going to solve this mystery or no more treats.
I want a new bong, and I want it today,
and for the record Phil your shirt is fucking gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
(takes a full-speed run, jumps on the couch, trips and falls face first into a coffee table, shits pants)

Actually, that sounds pretty awesome. Except for calling Phil's shirt "gay". But this was a less evolved Chad S. Walsky and I'm a stickler for period authenticity. Sadly that shit was commonplace in the late 90s and Phil's shirt was undeniably flamboyant.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

Die Hard 2 [1990] * * *

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Some movies grow in my esteem the more I watch them. I notice more. I appreciate more. The original "Die Hard" is like that for me.

"Die Hard 2", on the other hand, is the opposite. With each rewatch, the things I don't like just grate on my nerves even more.

Hans Gruber's funny comments and quips were part of who that character was. Here, it just feels like every bad guy is auditioning for the Hans Gruber role in an off-Broadway stage production of "Die Hard".

[---BEGIN SPOILERS---]
And what was the point of that whole fake shootout at the church? Why stage such an elaborate act and then let John McClane out of your sight? Why not just straight-up murder McClane and the few other real cops that were there, and then get on the radio and report that there was a firefight and we're sorry to say that some of the good guys got killed in it?
[---END SPOILERS---]

Some of the things that still work for me:

The stakes that motivate McClane (Holly is on one of the planes -- oh shit, after watching all these movies probably 100 times, I just realized her name is Holly, like the Christmas plant! Seriously, I feel kind of dumb right now.)

The references to the events of the first movie, including the cameo by Al in Los Angeles.

The B story between Holly and Dick in the airplane.

The earlier action sequences before the church shootout.

The snow. I love movies in the snow. (That sounds like I either love watching movies while I'm in the snow, or I love seeing DVDs sitting in a pile of snow. To clarify, I love snowy settings in movies. Though, in fairness, I haven't really done the other two, so I might love them just as much.)


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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

The Whip and the Body [1963] * *

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I would like to play a game of Smash or Pass, except I have come up with my own version of the game titled "Hit it or Spit at it". It's the same exact game as I am unoriginal, but I feel it is more accurate to real life. As a white guy, if I don't want to have sex with it, I am assuredly spitting at it. Feel free to compare or contrast, make venn diagrams, bar graphs, sell this data to NASA, or whatever the fuck you people do with my opinions.

I think all of us agree that if you were in a game of "Hit it or Spit at it" (Spoon it or Tie a live raccoon to it, if you so please) involving only characters from Star Wars, stabbing yourself in the stomach because the clammy corpse of Count Dooku played his kinky old man Wookie mind tricks on you is not the worst situation you could find yourself in.

I watched this movie last night, and the problem I keep coming back to is that with any candlelit romantic encounters where I get my shit kicked in (romantically speaking of course) by the remains of Count Dooku though, and really any Star Wars character for that matter except I suppose... Porgs, is the ever-changing technology of sex. Specifically whips, which besides trying to sell Necrophilia as the next hot thing to try in the bedroom with your partner as listed by a column in The Cosmopolitan, is what this movie is all about. It is probably safe to assume that whips have advanced significantly since when this movie takes place.

Speaking of which, this movie could take place anywhere between the 1400s and the early 1800s. My only frame of reference is that there are like no cars in the movie, and there is nothing to do except I suppose play the piano and fuck dead bodies.

So my guess is probably the late summer of 1745. People were into whack shit in the late summer of 1745.

I was born with no concept of time which is great because that means I have no obligations, and even if I do, I miss them because I can't figure out how to work the calendar app on my phone.

Anyway, I can't imagine getting fingered with that fake-lightsaber lightning rod thing (assumedly The Star Wars equivalent of a whip) that Captain Phasma carries around feels all that good, but I suppose that is the point in some regard. I'll play it safe though and spit at her/tie a live raccoon to her. While we are at it too I'll spit at the Desert Vagina monster that eats Boba Fett from the original trilogy, and Hayden Christensen's rat tail.

In fact, I will tie two live raccoons to Hayden Christensen's rat tail fuck that noise.

(shudders)

You have to be smart about this, fellas. If there is one truth I have learned from my many years playing Hit it or Spit at it/spoon it or tie a live raccoon to it, it's that you ALWAYS take the lightning rod whilst being spit roasted with the Desert Vagina Monster over anytime you are presented with a rat tail.

"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere."

Yeah, I'm sure it does bud, I'm gonna take a hard pass on that one.

I suppose another point of contention with the whole Star Wars thing is lightsabers. Granted, Darth Maul didn't look all that unhappy when he got cut in half like a warm stick of butter, just complacent... to be now two sticks of warm butter. I like to imagine getting cut in half by a lightsaber is a pretty freeing experience in two ways.

One being in terms of this movie which is that the girl on the cover's ultimate sexual desire is trying to sleep, only to get woken up by the horny corpse of Count Dooku, who's energy level has reached max capacity so he is ready to throw down and shouting "YOU'VE ALWAYS LIKED THE VIOLENCE" even though it's like three in the morning and she is like "dude please" but unphased he sticks his S E X Y decomposing fingers in her mouth and she realizes all she ever wanted was to lick a dead person's hand before getting her second favorite shirt ripped so she can be whipped (her favorite was ripped earlier in the film for similar means) and then knowing that the only way society will accept her having sex with a dead body is to boop herself, so she boops herself and that's the message you can take away kids, is that if you ever doing some kooky shit like banging dead bodies, just kill yourself, because dead people are historically super chill about getting handjobs.

The second way it's freeing is that Darth Maul's torso was freed from his legs, which as far as we can tell by the look on his face must not be that bad. While we are here I will state for the record that when playing this game for Insidious, I said I would Hit/Spoon the Red Faced Demon, so I think kind of by default I have to Hit/Spoon Darth Maul. He could be a cool guy I think if the Phantom Menace let him be something more than a 0.5 Dimensional character.

This is getting a little bit long so I will just list off my Top picks that I haven't yet mentioned for each list.

Hit/Spoon it

1. The entire planet of Alderaan
2. All of the Cantina band aliens at the same time, and they have to still manage to play that song
3. A NEW, Not Used YT-1300 Light Freighter Corellian Star Cruiser

Spit at it/Tie a live raccoon to it

1. The entirety of the Senate either all at once or as individuals
2. Pod Racing
3. The Slug man that lives in the bubbles underwater in The Phantom Menace

And that concludes this edition of Hit or Spit at it/Spoon it or Tie a Live Raccoon to it. I want to thank everyone who came out, and while you might all be thinking that I am a monster, just remember you read all the way till the bitter slug man end and also I didn't make a movie where having misogynistic sex with Christopher Lee's corpse was supposed to be an erotic thing.

This isn't even Mario Bava's weirdest or most offensive movie.

Sigh,

The things I publish on the internet.


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

Jigsaw [2017] * * *

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I love it when the public reception is very different from the specialized critics. It's refreshing to see so many people thinking for themselves and "daring" to vehemently disagree with the critics.

Of all the eight (!) films in the "SAW" franchise, this is the most well received by the public with 92% approval in RT, against only 34% critical approval. This difference isn't uncommon for the franchise, but it's still something remarkable, especially if we take into account the 7-year hiatus between this and last sequel, and the horrible reception it had on both sides.

Speaking about the film itself, "Jigsaw" is far from being as shocking and mind-blowing as the best films of the franchise (the original and SAW II).

It looks more like a gift for the fans that tries to recreate iconic images, reference the past, and exalt the icons, rather than try to innovate, abandoning its roots.

I have nothing against it. On the contrary. It's good to see that the directors' commitment has been geared much more towards pleasing old fans than winning new ones.

But not everything is nostalgia. Mainly on the technical side, "Jigsaw" is superior to previous films and has a less "polluted" style. Everything here is well colored, well framed and well polished.

CGI has its flaws but overall it's very well executed, as well as the practical effects that are top notch. The practical effect used in the death with the syringes is especially distressing with all that swelling and pulsation in the victim's temple. I love it.

In favor of this photogenic carnage, the characteristic tension of the death scenes/traps was left aside. In addition, the characters don't have a constant personality. They radically change behavior throughout the film, making it difficult for you to identify with any of them.

The twists of the final act sounded repetitive, uncreative, and over-explanatory. Nothing we haven't seen before in the franchise.

At the end of the day, all that a franchise can expect from its eighth entry is that it pleases old fans and rekindles the love for its old entries. "Jigsaw" does that.


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Biscoito18 [2018] FILM

 

The Open House [2018] *

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Another cheap psychological horror film from Netflix, just like last year's "Clinical" and so many others. Here you can find a huge selection of the most worn-out clichés of the genre. All performed in the most boring way possible.

This movie has no soul. It looks like it was made by a robot. And most of the time it seems that it's interpreted by robots as well.

Dylan Minnette goes through the entire film alternating between two facial expressions: boredom and confusion. I like this actor, but in this film, if they had put a door in his place it wouldn't have made any difference.

Despite this, I have to point out a brief moment (near the end) where he surprised me by his reaction of pure fear.

This film is so cheap that the only practical effect is blood. I understand that carnage isn't an important point in this horror style, but a good director knows the right moment to show a shocking image. Here this image simply does not exist. The whole movie ends up looking like an endless teaser.

For several moments, the tense music rises for no reason. Not even a "boo!" Only an irrelevant scene where they decided to increase the volume. Maybe to wake up who's watching.

I confess that I kinda liked the final "explanation" for the events, but the whole movie dragged on in such an insipid way that, in the end, I no longer cared about the mystery, let alone any of the characters.

"The Open House" abuses the patience of psychological horror fans with a banal plot, soulless characters, and basic dialogues. It should give a prize to anyone who can get to the final credits.

With Disney pulling out its catalog and other companies starting their own streaming services, Netflix needs to better select its potential original material and invest more money in the production and marketing of films that are truly worth it. Less quantity, more quality.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

I, Tonya [2017] * * * *

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I remember the actual news stories covering the assault on Nancy Kerrigan and the scandal that followed. Being a teenager at the time, I didn't yet realize the news is biased and sensationalized (Bobby Cannavale's line about how mainstream news looked down on Hard Copy but eventually became Hard Copy was awesome, by the way). So I completely bought that Harding was a villain and Kerrigan was a hero. And I basically carried that opinion with me all the way up to seeing this movie.

Granted "I, Tonya" has its own bias being based on interviews (which it admits right from the top), but I never expected to feel such sympathy for Tonya Harding. I think the most striking line of all was this:

"Nancy gets hit one time and the whole world shits... For me it was an all-the-time occurrence."

Even if Tonya suffered only 10% of the abuse she claims, that's still a hell no one deserves. And if it had happened to me, who knows what kind of fucked-up choices I would have made with her talent and fame.

Regarding performances, wow, I think that's what I loved most about this movie. And who knew the Winter Soldier could actually ACT? Too bad he's trapped in those dumb Marvel movies for the next 500 years.

My one gripe is the Margot Robbie CGI face pasted on the skate double. Knocked me right out of the story and kept me from really feeling the excitement of Tonya's incredible skating.


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jmunky [2018] FILM

 

Das Boot [1981] * *

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No wonder the Germans lost the war. Too much beard tugging and defeatism.


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