Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Two days after my year-end entertainment review (see below), and I've already augmented my year's viewing by quite a few titles! Check out my bullet reviews from two days of binge-movie-and-tv-watching right here and now, below!


Two fine films in one! The most searing satire about the television news industry since Network, and a beautifully observed character study about an ambitious go-getter whose innate psychopathic tendencies have been honed to a hypodermic point by a steady diet of self-help books and management lit. As Lou Bloom, Jake Gyllenhaal is great, and will likely be nominated for multiple awards, but England’s Riz Ahmed (of the Christopher Morris Islamic terror satire Four Lions) really stands out as Bloom’s reluctant, somewhat dim assistant Rick.

What We Do in the Shadows
"Trailer Park Vampires"? This is a mockumentary about a bunch of vampires who all live together. In Wellington, New Zealand. And it’s fantastic… maybe the best comedy I watched in all of 2014. It’s absolutely hilarious and unexpectedly good-hearted. They could have gone the other way with it and still had a great, original movie, but I’m glad they decided to make these guys recognizably lovable losers. If this was a series, I'd watch.

The Dance of Reality

Alejandro Jodorowsky's surrealist autobiographical phantasmagoria has a lot going for it. The imagery is gorgeous and inspired, as always, and it's emotionally devastating in parts. However, I imagine this movie would be tough going for anyone who wasn't already a fan of Jodo's oeuvre. The same cannot be said of the previous Jodorowsky film this year, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune, which was one of my Fave Fives of the year (see below). Fans of Fellini might also find something here to love.

The Brothers Solomon / Let’s Go To Prison

I'm a long-time fan of Bob Odenkirk, co-creator with David Cross of the seminal 90’s sketch series Mr. Show with Bob and David. I think he’s one of the finest comedy minds of our generation. Unfortunately, he recently wrote and directed two of the most badly-reviewed movies of the decade. Let’s Go to Prison scored 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Brothers Solomon scored 15%. Those are some ugly numbers. So I decided to check them out, just to see how bad they really are. And you know what? They’re not that bad. Don’t get me wrong; they’re not exceptional or anything … but they certainly aren't as bad as their reviews. Both films are far funnier than, say, The Interview, and that piece of crap sits comfortably at 52%. They’re just a couple of fun, dumb flicks, and I guarantee if you watch them, you’ll laugh at least a few times during each one. I could certainly think of worse ways to spend a couple hours than watching these two movies.

St. Vincent

If you're a fan of great ensemble acting – and everyone in this movie is giving it their all, acting-wise – and you don't mind choking down a hefty side-order of schmaltz to go along with it, then maybe you'll be able to forgive St Vincent its emotionally manipulative excesses and enjoy its finer qualities. This movie could have been great, but as it stands, it’s only just decent. Sometimes, that can be worse than an outright failure.

Mike Tyson Mysteries

In the first episode of this Adult Swim series, Mike Tyson, an Asian girl, the ghost of the Marquess of Queensberry and a pigeon with the voice of comedian Norm MacDonald head to New Mexico to help novelist Cormac McCarthy – who is a centaur – write the ending to his latest novel and defeat a Chupacabra, which turns out to be John Updike in disguise. In subsequent episodes, things get weird.

1 comment:

  1. Probably my favorite scene in What We Do in the Shadows is how the most monstrous vampire, the 8,000 year old Petyr, listens politely and understandingly while the newest vampire, Nick, asks him not to devour his human friend because he's a vegetarian and wouldn't like killing to survive. It's beautiful.