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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

A Quiet Place [2018] * * *

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If a Crab Alien(?) presence invaded earth with the promise of completely eradicating any and all raccoons with the only small side effect being that 99% of humanity gets Crabbed, then I mean I would be down... to get Crabbed.

I'm not being unfair either, In this movie's universe, I would be the first to go. I ate waaaaaaayyy too much spicy food as a kid and it gave me indigestion problems, meaning no, I don't just sporadically shit every time I see a Taco Bell (that's an unrelated health issue of mine), but sometimes, most often when I am in a library, my stomach will make its own crab monster noises (weirdly similar to the ones in this movie in fact), and I would be liquid cheese consistency if it happened next to one those monsters.

We all have our cross to bear I suppose, raccoons eat literal trash and are the harbingers of the apocalypse, and I uncontrollably spew processed taco meat out of my asshole every time I see that goddamn pink bell.

Don't know why people be fucking during the apocalypse. But I would take it a step further too. Why live with other people at all during the apocalypse? John Krasininiskiwi plays the confirmed quietest man who ever lived, but he lives with Emily Blunt, the confirmed not quietest man who ever lived, and her fucking NBA Air Horn Children. John should have taken those kids out back to their respective quiet places with that gun by the 25-minute mark if you know what I'm saying.

Anywhoo, this movie is a little dumb and I dislike it more every time I think about it. The movie was advertised as like, this whole thing where everyone has to be real quiet, and I guess idk why I was surprised when they were quiet the whole movie. You don't need spoken dialogue to have good characters, there are plenty of great silent films, but this movie uses its own premise as an excuse for not giving anyone in the movie a personality. The "Insidious" sequels suck, far more than this movie does, but all of them are at least watchable because Lin Shaye's character has a decent personality and charisma. Here the characters are just a soulless vehicle for the audience to feel sympathy for when bad things happen to them, and I don't care.

These are not things that happen per se in the movie, but for example, kill the kids, disembowel Emily Blunt, eat the dead fetus, and make John Krasinski watch, tie the whole family up and burn the house down with them inside, it doesn't matter because the characters suck, and I won't be lulled into thinking they don't just because it's Jim from the office.

I will admit I am being pretty ridiculous, it isn't even a half bad movie, it's actually pretty fun for the most part. They even do a little bit of a goof on "Home Alone" halfway thru that I won't spoil, but it was awesome and that whole set piece makes the movie as enjoyable as it is. All the acting was pretty good (especially the nail), it's shot decently, and of course, the premise is original, but it is all so painfully predictable and generic when you get into it. The last 20 or so minutes get pretty repetitive too, and it felt like the film was ending more than once, outstaying it's welcome every time it didn't.

Don't see this movie, or do, or don't, I can't tell you what to do with your time even if I wanted to. It's all irrelevant however because the raccoon infection has begun, and we're all fucked either way, so enjoy your mediocre entertainment while you still can you heathen fucks, I am going to go back to reading my Bible and analyzing reruns of "VeggieTales", all in spiritual preparation for my torture and subsequent crucifixion at the hands of the Raccoon Armada.


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jmunky [2018] PERFUME

 

Narciso Rodriguez For Him Eau De Toilette * * * * *

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Rubber and asphalt, leather and bar brawls, hot rain and dirty shelter, inner turmoil and flagellation, knives and nunchucks. Everything a totally normal person would want is in here.


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Swartacus [2018] FILM

 

Coco [2017] * * * * *

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One of the most touching animated films I've ever seen. Holds up magnificently upon second viewing, and is almost operatic in scope when you try to contemplate all the heady issues it takes on. Love, loss, memories, dreams, the afterlife, aging, dementia, forgiveness, and everything in between are explored in a real, and extremely emotional way.

I recently lost my last living grandparent and witnessed first hand the power of music to get her to open her eyes and gaze into each of her sons' faces one last time. It recircuited her wiring for one brief moment and allowed her to recognize their voices as well... this despite bleeding on the brain so fierce that it eclipsed nearly 80% of it before she passed a few days later. (I highly recommend watching the 2014 documentary "Alive Inside" to learn more about this incredible music & memory phenomenon.)

Lee Unkrich ("Toy Story 3") is one hell of a storyteller. I would be interested in seeing him ply his trade on a live action film at some point. This film is inspiring, heartwarming and the animation is spectacular.


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Swartacus [2018] FILM

 

The Ritual [2017] * * *

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This movie would be a lot cooler if they cut all the dialogue from the forest scenes and just played Soundgarden's "Birth Ritual" on a continuous loop.


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jmunky [2018] PERFUME

 

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme * *

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As useful as a fart in the wind.


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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

Chinatown [1974] * * * * *

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"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Sam Seder once famously tweeted, "Don't care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man with a great sense of mise en scene."

To which I would respond, have you ever seen "Chinatown"? Because Roman Polanski has some absolutely Mint Mise En Scene, Sam.

I would just like to note for the jury how so, so, freaking weird it is that Roman Polanski made this movie.

We shouldn't judge too hard however. I for instance, not unlike one Jack Nicholson and perhaps little Danny by association, would not mind having sex with the wet reanimated corpse of an old woman in a bathtub, so if Roman P wants to go just around the river bend with a thirteen-year-old, who am I to judge, he's got gr8 meeze on seen, Babe.

Pocahontas references come out of me at the strangest of times, I swear to God.

If there is anything I have learned in my 965 years alive on this planet, it's that the best kind of movies are the ones made by pedophiles, and the second best kind of movies are the ones made like "Chinatown". Where you can take them apart like a mechanic would a car engine and see how the pieces fit back together. "Chinatown" is both of those things, a car engine, and made by a pedophile, making it the objective greatest film ever made.

Faye Dunaway is so great too, and hitting women on the silver screen has never been greater.

If you can't tell at this point whether I love or hate this movie don't worry, because neither can I.

Overall a great movie, I think?(?)...? It reminded me of "The Big Sleep", which is another great noir set in L.A. This one is subtly disturbing though, and unlike "The Big Sleep" doesn't require you to set up a situation room in your dining area to figure out what the hell the movie is even about. I like how every time someone shoots, there is no warning which I feel is more realistic, and a great jump scare without being obnoxious. There is an image at the end that was quite unsettling, probably one of the most disturbing things I have seen in a movie, and it isn't even gross or over the top. It's just how this one character grabs another character, and it's so creepy and uncomfortable to watch. Jack Nicholson has pretty cool sunglasses, but he doesn't take them off before he gets in fights with people so I can't really rate them, unfortunately. Faye Dunaway is actually amazing, even better in my opinion than in "Bonnie and Clyde", though no one in this movie tops Gene Wilder's stellar performance in that movie.

I do think I am being dumb about this whole Roman Polanski business, to be honest. I don't think any of us like to think about this, but there has to be at least one nasty person at some point of the process in the making of any movie because so many people work on them. It's just unfortunate that Roman Polanski was the director, because it overshadows all the great work that Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson did, along with the great period piece costumes, cars, script, and all the rest of the crew. You know it's like... I still bump Chris Brown!

I've actually never heard a Chris Brown song I think ever, but we all get the point I am making.

The point is, I think that Roman P totally sucks duck dick, but he does have great Mise En Scene, and his mistakes shouldn't overshadow the great work that so many other people put into making one of the best movies ever.

I'm not even trying to argue with anyone, I think at this point I'm just trying to convince myself it's ok to like this movie.

Oh Well.

Also haha water in L.A. is one hell of a funnnee joke boy-o.


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Chad S. Walsky [2018] FILM

 

Mother! [2017] * * * *

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Of all the deranged, depraved, and unsettling imagery found in Darren Aronofsky's polarizing film "Mother!", one thing stands out as true horror: the dreaded "pop-in". Never has humanity's greatest social crime been portrayed with such haunting accuracy.

Watching this immediately made me flash back to an NFL Sunday years ago when I was sprawled out on the couch nursing a violent hangover. My outfit consisted of inappropriately snug basketball shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt emblazoned with a caricature of Bob Marley. Assorted Taco Bell wrappers littered the hardwood floor like some sort of fat-guy confetti. I was drifting in and out of consciousness and lying to myself about "cutting back for real" when I heard a knock at my door.

I froze.

Fear darted up my spine and a cold sweat started to bubble up like the froth at the bottom of a waterfall. The pounding came again, only louder this time. My eyes scanned the living room for possible peep-holes that could reveal a frightened, sweaty man attempting to blend into his couch cushions to avoid detection. There were at least a dozen. The third knock came like a thunderclap straight from Zeus's butthole and I realized I had two choices. One, open the door and greet the unknown. Or two, lose myself to madness.

Begrudgingly, I chose the former.

I tossed on a flannel to complete the "unemployed former athlete who let himself go while listening to reggae and eating tacos" ensemble and timidly walked towards the door. Once there, I was greeted by my new neighbors and their brood of dead-eyed children who were having a block party BBQ. I would've joined NAMBLA before I joined that damn BBQ, but the only thing I hate worse than my neighbors is festering tension. So, I thanked them for the offer and went into a spiel about not feeling well, too tired, blah, blah, blah. But he was relentless. And since his kids had already infested my back yard - as his soulless wife obliviously chomped gum and played on her phone - I caved. I said the kids could play with the dog for a few minutes, but I'd have to rain check the BBQ. And honestly, they were actually pretty good kids so 10 minutes wouldn't kill me.

Then like The Flash on crystal meth, the parents bolted off my porch, hollered a quick "thanks", and left their water-brained offspring to plague my afternoon. I ended up standing inside my own house for over an hour watching strange children frolic on my property between crippling bouts of PBR shits and dry heaves. This was not the Sunday that '80s power pop trio The Bangles imagined on their 1986 hit "Manic Monday", I can promise you that.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Aronofsky's "Mother!". I found it to be 90 minutes of suffocating uneasiness followed by a 30 minute dropkick to my soul. It started in my gut and worked it's way into my chest, and self assurances that it would eventually end did nothing to stop the cascading doom. If "Mother!" was nothing more than an exercise in audience survival put on by one of today's most divisive showman, it would've been a rousing success. The framing, close-ups, score, and shocking imagery formed a unique aesthetic that vaguely looked like reality, but wasn't. I loved the way Aronofsky dragged me further and further into the abyss, with my frustrated scoffs turning to middle-aged man gasps by the stupefying 3rd act. This is dangerous and vital filmmaking, but calling "Mother!" a "shock film" does it a disservice. It's a demented trip, make no mistake, but there's plenty of meat on them bones (no pun intended).

Now, when I go to the movies I'm mostly seeking a feeling. A jolt. A reaction. Don't get me wrong, I love when a movie has profound subtext, deeper meanings, and the ability to educate a dullard like me. But I prefer to be thrilled over taught when I plunk down my $12.50 at the Megaplex 24. Thankfully "Mother!" checked both boxes for me. I found it to be a layered and profound examination of several themes, Christianity among them, served in a wonderful horror/thriller package. And if Aronofsky's goal was to make me feel something AND get me thinking, I'd say he accomplished his mission.

As a lapsed Catholic who was force fed the Bible at a young age, I've long been perplexed at how God's greatest creation - man - could be so selfish and heartless. Seeing "Him" overlook and justify the actions of his followers under the guise of saving them was particularly poignant to this former Sunday school brat (the ego on this guy, huh). Lot's to chew on here (dammit, sorry about that). I've heard people say that this was "film school 101" when it comes to the heavy-handed themes, but I thought it was quite effective (if that's basic I don't need complex).

I should also add here that the graphic violence towards a female character (not to mention her child) is indeed shocking and excessive. I originally took it as paralleling the shocking and excessive things people do in the name of God everyday, and I stand by that. But then I started reading some interviews when the film came out and he said it's about us fucking up the planet. Jennifer Lawrence is Mother Nature, Javier Bardem is God, and the uninvited guests are us overwhelming her home. Which, no doy! How did I miss that. Either way, making it difficult to watch was a calculated device and I found it very effective.

Now, If I'm being honest I didn't even pick up on the environmental aspect of the film until I started digging around. And yeah, that makes me stupid but I think it's a compliment to the movie. I've read no less than three different opinions on what "Mother!" is about, and each one lays out their theories in convincing fashion. I also find it funny that a movie which grossed $7 million opening weekend has spawned about 200 think pieces, but I digress. I guess my point is that any movie which can generate this kind of hullabaloo has got to be doing something right.

In closing, I think "Mother!" might be a masterpiece. But I'm pretty stupid, so take it with a grain of salt. I should also add that my neighbors eventually did move away and new ones moved in. These new neighbors are slightly better but they rarely mow their lawn and have awful taste in music. I can't help but think that there is some God of neighbors out there who will keep changing the people in that house until he gets it right (or his ego is satisfied).

But he better hurry up or I'm just going to burn my fucking house down.


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