A bombastic throw-back horror-comedy that follows three young women who go out partying one night and find themselves Frankensteined together in one body. Now they must put aside their differences so they can find who did this and exact revenge!
Blimey. This week’s pick is not what you’d call a pretty picture – we do get three (sort of) Final Girls for the price of one though so I’m not really mad at it.
Jennifer (Tory Stolper), Ellie (Tracey Fairaway) and Madeleine (Maria Blasucci) are three individual women. To start with. Via a series of flashbacks we learn that each were present in the same bar on the night they became one. Thanks to a maniacal gentleman known only as The Surgeon (Corey Sorenson), who splices them together in the same body, our trio are quickly and reluctantly acquainted.
All conscious and babbling at once, the girls share one body and three minds which proves challenging but also fucking awesome when they pool their skills to solve the mystery of what happened to them.
Jennifer is a billy no mates who, after a lack luster birthday party returns home to wait for her married lover. Here she is knocked unconscious and when she awakes, she’s not alone. She is joined by ditzy party girl Ellie and quiet girl Madeleine – as mentioned above, in the same mangled body.
Luckily, all three are on the same page regarding vengeance and the film is at its best when they go on a rampage for the truth, revenge and hopefully, a cure. Along the way they meet geeky Garret (James Phelps) who may have a big thing for bitchy Jennifer, and scene by scene they kick arse and take names (because even if half the men in this bar are not The Surgeon, they are THE WORST and therefore guilty of something).
Jellileine (lol) dispose of date rapists and pervs, cheats and generally douchy arseholes like pros – which is joyful because girl power but also… is there a secret lurking deep down within one of them?
When we learn more about the motivations of one of our heroines I felt like it was trying to say something about the societal pressure of being a woman and trying to be perfect, but that falls apart for me quickly.
This film tries so hard to be kooky and falls short. It could be great if they dialed down the hamminess and stuck with the feminist theme. I enjoy the fact that each of the women has their own issues and when they start to bond it made me happy, like they’d finally found each other. But that feeling didn’t last long and I got bored quickly.
All the male characters are dreary and terrible – and this is proof that yet again comedy/body horror is so hard to get right. Which is shame because I really wanted to like it.
2.5/5. A mish mash of ideas that never really come to anything, sadly.
What would my sweet think of this one? Would she surgically attach herself to it forever or… not so much? Find out here.
Fuck knows what our theme is anymore but who cares because next week we start the best month of the year: Halloween! So there will be tonnes of movie nastiness all over the blogs soon – but let’s not jump the gun quite yet, as we sign off September with a feminist delight.
Three Palestinian women living in an apartment in Tel Aviv try to find a balance between traditional and modern culture.
Leila (Mouna Hawa) and Salma (Sana Jammelieh) are progressive Palestinian girls who live and party hard together. They also look fucking cool smoking all the time – add this film to the Hot Women Smoking Hall of Fame STAT.
When their old flat mate’s cousin Noor (Shaden Kanboura) comes to live with them, they are bemused by her traditional get up and values. Leila soon starts dating Ziad (Mahmud Shalaby) while Salma gets to know Dounia (Ahlam Canaan).
Noor is also involved – she is engaged to controlling fiance Wissam (Henry Andrawes) who hates the fact she now resides in Tel Aviv and that she insists on getting a job after they’re married, rather than staying home, barefoot and pregnant as scripture recommends. A fucking dickhead in other words.
The women slowly start to bond, first Salma and Noor over a hypnotic dance party in the front room, then the three of them when something awful happens to Noor at the hand of the man who supposedly loves her. Let me tell you here that the scene in which the girls tend to and comfort Noor is extremely touching.
Wissam believe that Noor has been corrupted by her forward-thinking roomies and refers to them charmingly as whores. When they find out what he’s done to their friend, they hatch a plan to rid her of him once and for all – which is a relief because she has never loved him and seems to be coming round to a less-traditional way of thinking.
While Noor tries to deal with the fall out of what Wissam has done to her, Salma struggles with her family’s attitude towards her sexuality – and Leila confronts Ziad who appears to be ashamed of her and reluctant to introduce her to his family. And all the while the women grow closer and make me fall in love with each of them a hundred times over.
Will each of our heroes chose the right path for themselves, despite the consequences they may face?
Man, I really liked this. It starts of kind of slow and I wasn’t sure for a split second – but then the girls start to bond and it was game over for my heart. This is all about sisterhood despite their differences, despite their circumstances – proof that kindness towards our fellow sisters is universal and it’s beautiful.
Written and directed by Maysaloun Hamoud, it examines the contrast between traditional and modern cultures – and honestly, the men are so secondary in this – they’re just obstacles in our trio’s way.
That said when Noor calls off her wedding and comes clean to her dad, he’s a total sweetheart and tells her not to shed a tear on her horrible ex-fiance. That was a feeling moment too. I definitely recommend this, it was empowering and fun and lovely – now where’s my fucking sequel?
What did my angel think of this one? Would she dance in the front room with it or hide it from her family? Find out here.
I’m beginning to think I should be banned from picking movies for the The Blog Collab because my last few have been ambulating snoozefests with a puffed up sense of their own importance. This week is no exception and even though you might be able to argue that it’s art, it’s not the kind of art I want any part in.
Gay July has been good in many ways but this is a wet fart of a swan song and I’m sorry, Jill.
A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with.
If your bag is watching wayward teens wandering up and down the boulevard with their tops off then this is the movie for you. Unfortunately, these adolescents don’t get into enough japes to be interesting, instead they smoke weed and gawp at girls as they walk by and sometimes rib each other.
Frankie (Harris Dickinson) is one of the boys, a hot piece popular within a peer group that seems to look to him for leadership. By night he trawls gay chat rooms where he talks to older men. At first he says he doesn’t do any meeting up but this changes later in the movie.
One evening on the boardwalk, Frankie meets Simone (Madeline Weinstein) who is only too eager to make him her guy. Things are very awkward between them from the start and he continually lets her down. To the men on the internet he is a guy who ‘has sex with men’, not bi-sexual or gay – but his family, friends and Simone have no inkling of his secret life.
Frankie prefers to keep the having sex with men part of his life separate from everything else and chooses older men so they are less likely to move in the same circles as his friends. As his ability to hide this part of himself starts to become increasingly difficult, his two worlds collide in a surprisingly lackluster but horrible way.
And… that’s about it.
There’s not that much to say. The performances are fine, it looks nice with a pleasing aesthetic that focuses a lot of time grazing over the bodies of our teen cast. The ending is a little bit shocking and maybe on reflection more shocking because it’s so mundane in its execution. The only, and I pretty much mean the only part I thought was even mildly touching was the bit where Frankie’s mum begs him to tell her what’s going on after the ‘horrible act’ has happened.
There are shades of Harmony Korine (especially Kids) which I think are very deliberate but not much effort been made to make us like any of the characters. I simply didn’t care about Frankie and his struggles. I was bored silly.
Roll on August!
What does my love think of this one? Would she mug it for weed or take it for a moonlight stroll? Find out here.
While training at the gym 11-year-old tomboy Toni becomes entranced with a dance troupe. As she struggles to fit in she finds herself caught up in danger as the group begins to suffer from fainting spells and other violent fits.
There’s been a bit of a trend over the last couple of years for films that don’t bother to explain themselves. They are what they are and what you make of them is up to you. The Fits definitely falls into this camp. This dreamy, sometimes nightmarish amble through adolescence and friendship is at times fascinating, even brilliant – and just a tad boring.
Toni is a quiet, hard-working child dedicated to her boxing training and helping out her older brother at the gym he also trains in. One day she becomes enamored with a female dance troupe. To begin with she watches them from afar but eventually, with the encouragement of her brother, joins the squad.
The main draw of this troupe seems to be their unswerving confidence and although this does not appear to come naturally to our silent protagonist, she puts the work in to improve her dance skillz – and even make a friend or two.
Things take an unusual turn when one of the dance leaders suffers an unexplained seizure. It’s shocking but as she recovers quickly and without consequence, it is soon forgotten. Until the next girl suffers ‘the fits’- then the next. Slowly but surely this phenomenon spreads through the group and Toni and her pals fear becoming the next victim. Fear, however, soon turns to something else. The fits come with a certain badge of honour and most of the girls want to be part of the rising hysteria.
It soon becomes clear that Toni is being left behind because she hasn’t suffered an attack yet, will she lose her grip on everything she now holds dear? Or will life just kind of take care of business for her?
This isn’t really your average beginning, middle and end movie. It’s more of a happening, a feeling – a rumination on puberty and of coming of age in a sometimes hopeless place. Royalty Hightower is enigmatic and lovely as our heroine. Toni barely speaks so dialogue is light and to bring such heart to a character through facial expression and mannerisms is impressive, particularly at such a young age.
It does border on dull a few times but there might be method in that madness because when I got to the climax I was blown away. It’s surreal, it’s stunning and it brings everything back together. It’s all a metaphor, innit? I recommend if you’re into this kind of dreamy film-making and aren’t afraid to unpack it all yourself.
What did the queen of the dance troupe in my heart think of this one? Would she leave it to her own devices in an abandoned corridor or film it on her iPhone? Find out here, obvs.
Jill’s pick and obviously this prompted rather a lot of daydreaming about going on a road trip together. How fun? The one in this film might be somewhat bittersweet but still, anywhere is good when you’ve got your best girlfriend by your side, right?
Following the death of their friend, two girls in their late twenties embark on a road trip to spread his ashes. Seph and Alex take turns driving. Dan is in the glove compartment, in tupperware, decreasing in volume as the trip progresses.
Dan has just died of cancer and his last wish is to have his two best friends, Seph and Alex (Laura Carmichael and Chloe Pirrie) scatter his ashes in several personal hotspots across the country. The girls must watch a video made just for them at every point to understand why each destination was important to him.
But as these plans are wont to do, things go array along the way and Dan may well have known this would happen, for it prompts the girls to face the aspects of their lives that are holding them back. For Seph it’s a relationship gone off the boil, while Alex’s relationship with her mother is damaged beyond repair (or is it?). There are other issues at the surface for Alex too, given she’s just caught her girlfriend doing it with someone else.
This is a good film that offers some really joyous moments. For instance, on one of their first nights on the road, Seph and Alex meet some fucking hippies who seem to offer them exactly what they need at the time. The following morning, however, the charming and inspirational couldn’t be more irritating and the pair do what any sensible people would do in the same situation (drive off as fast as their old banger will carry them).
Somewhere near the end, Alex finds herself literally tied to the cross for an emotional confrontation with her best friend – and it’s hard not to find the whole set up surreal and amusing. I’m also a fan of the dialogue which is zippy and wise-cracking whilst also remaining convincing.
There are are decisions to made on the road, hearts to be broken for the greater good and truths to be told – all the while delivering on a promise to a dead loved one. It’s not an original premise but it is empowering and genuinely touching in places.
I really appreciate the chemistry between the two leads. I buy them as friends who sometimes fight ferociously and I want them to make it through. When they argued, I felt bad. When they were happy, I wanted to be in the car with them.
And when they delivered an old women in distress to her son in Scotland, like Alex, I wanted to text my own mother immediately. In fact, I did. I think this film is a good reminder of the few people we have in our lives that are actually worth putting the work in for.
3/5. Nice. Not amazing but good and confident and life-affirming.
Did my wife like this one? Would she take it on a road trip or scatter it in the bin? Find out here, now.
I’m going to go light on the intro this week because I’m pretty sure this month’s theme speaks for itself. Yes, it’s Feminist Film Month up in this joint (also over at Jill’s). Men are allowed but they better shut the hell up, is all I’m saying.
ARRANGED centers on the friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn.
Rochel (Lister-Jones) and Nasira (Benhamou) are both first year teachers at a school in Brooklyn. Although polite to one another and their peers, they don’t really start to communicate until a couple of kids call them up on their ‘opposing’ religions in class. Since Rochel is Jewish and Nasira is Muslim, the children wonder if the women hate each other.
This line of questioning prompts an exercise between the women and children called a ‘Unity Circle’, which is a success in showing the kids that friendship is a choice. Off the back of this exercise a friendship between Rochel and Nasira begins to blossom. And the theme of choice runs tidily throughout the film.
You see, our heroines are both in similar situations within their families, which basically means on the market for husbands, which they ain’t picking themselves, knowwhati’msayin’? (And hence the movie’s title). Or rather they do get final say, but from a list of potential suitors presented to them by their families – with mixed results.
As the women bond they start to share their ‘arrangement’ stories. Nasira is envious that Rochel at least gets to go on dates away from the family, while her own meetings are supervised closely by her firm but loving family.
Meanwhile, at school, Principal Jacoby (Marcia Jean Kurtz) shows her ignorance by pulling the two friends into her office and offering them money to go and buy designer clothes (which to be fair I would have taken out of principle). She cannot deal with the fact such pretty girls are holding on to their religious ideals in this day and age. I mean, I have my own views about religion too, lady but it’s none of our damn business.
This only makes the women stand their ground and they do push back, making it clear that they choose to dress the way they do and live the way they live. It’s an important point to be made, although they adhere to traditional values, both women choose to do so. This is something Nasira also touches upon nearer the beginning of the film when the new teachers are forced to go around in a circle and say a little bit about themselves. She is clear about it being her choice to wear the headscarf.
Sick of the disappointing dating pool, Rochel begins to upset her mother Sheli (Lieber), grandmother Elona (Doris Belack) and master-matchmaker Miriam (Peggy Gormley) with her negative attitude. Her dates are a mixed bag of misfits, all good Jewish boys on paper but somewhat lackluster in the flesh.
After an argument with her mother, Rochel goes to see her cousin Leah (Alysia Reiner) in the city to get a glimpse of life outside her faith. Leah talks to her about her own quality of life without religion and how open-minded it all is, but the threat of being isolated from the family seems to weigh on Rochel. She loves the fuckers after all. The cousins go to a party where Rochel gets a tiny taste of the life that might be out there for her, but after dancing with a hot hunk she freaks out and returns home.
Nasira is also having doubts about her path when her parents make her meet with a friend of the family, a bolshy man over 20 years older than her. EW. When she puts her foot down and refuses the match, her lovely father says he just wants her to have what he has with her mother. Despite this setback, Nasira finds herself crushing on the next match…
Rochel too enjoys a brief connection with an Orthodox Jew friend of Nasira’s brother. They share a sexy look in the library by chance but Nasira’s brother later refuses to hook them up. This forces Nasira to take matters into her own hands and is reminiscent of the things we used to do in school to get our friend’s crushes to notice them. I therefore loved it.
There is of course an ending and an outcome for both potential love interests but I can’t possibly spoil it for you here (but will probably do so below, in my summary). If you think this movie sounds like your cup of tea then I would suggest you find out for yourselves.
This is a sweet, gentle film with a nice ending. There’s no real conflict here, apart from a bit of discomfort when the friends visit each other’s homes. Which is fine but it just sort of trickles along and the conclusion is so neat that it’s slightly annoying. I mean, it’s nice that both women get what they want but when is life ever like that?
I would have been more satisfied if at least one of them had refused to marry so young and had gone off on their own path – or they had got together with each other. Still, this film is about choice and these women made their own and that’s the point. Right?
Both lead actresses are great but the characters themselves are so bland that they can’t possibly stick in the memory. There’s just no room for them next to Norma Desmond, The Foxy Merkins and the We Are The Best grrrls. Amirite, Jillian?!
This is a film that takes a gentler approach to feminist themes, the main one being that both women are free, they just choose to take a more traditional path. Which is what their families want for them, and what religion dictates.
It’s easy to be frustrated by this but many women do the same. Not all feminism is Doctor Martens and smashing the patriarchy, after all. Both young women are successful and intelligent with good careers in front of them, and neither of them are willing to settle.
3.5/5. Nice. As if nice isn’t the most boring thing to be labelled.
What does my partner-in-crime think? Why don’t you pop on over and see if she thought this one was a match or a crushing, creepy disappointment. ❤
I was going to gush about Kathleen Hanna in the intro to this review but every time I read it back I sounded like a school girl, and I! Just! Wanted! To! End! Every! Sentence! With! An! Exclamation! Point!
You see what I’m working with here? Though I think, pondering it, that is exactly how one of the co-founders of the Riot Grrrl movement should make you feel. Empowered, excitable, unafraid to feel the way you feel!
I love her. I do. I didn’t find her soon enough in life but I found her and that’s the main thing. Obviously, it’s never too late to be a Riot Grrrl and I’m convinced there are 40,000 different ways to be a Riot Grrrl (if not more) – but I think I might have been a different woman had I grown up kicking life in the face with my DMs.
Anyway, this wonderful documentary tells Kathleen’s story and throws in a lot of information I didn’t know, which kept it fresh and interesting at all times. I was honestly as happy as a clam throughout – it made me laugh, cry and pump my fist on more than one occasion.
I will say this is our first documentary so far in our Blog Collab so I’m not sure how this is going to go. Could be rocky, could be as fluid as Bailey’s running through a peep toe stiletto, we shall see.
I guess you should be prepared for *Spoilers* as with any review, you know just in case.
IMDB Synopsis: A look at the life of activist, musician, and cultural icon Kathleen Hanna, who formed the punk band Bikini Kill and pioneered the “riot grrrl” movement of the 1990s.
So you think you know Kathleen Hanna? I’m pretty sure I knew only the bare bones and this documentary has padded them out, offering me insight into an incredible character, one who has taken her voice and used it to empower a whole generation (and then some) of women.
Taking pain and trauma and turning it outward, refusing to be silenced for a second, Hanna became the poster girl for feminism, which you can imagine came with its own price.
We open with Hanna at a spoken word competition. She’s reciting a piece about rape and we later learn a little bit more about what influenced that. Hanna herself has been a victim of sexual abuse but often refers to other women’s experiences as far worse than her own.
Hanna receives a piece of advice that sees her move from spoken word poetry to punk rock, and she forms Bikini Kill with her college mates.
Bikini Kill was a band that kicked, screamed and refused to go quietly. Hanna commanded her stage, shouting for the men in her audiences to move to the back so the women could come to the front. She sang about abuse, incest, patriarchy, sexuality; drawing from personal experience and that of her sisters.
She also coined the phrase “Smells like teen spirit” and was best friends with Kurt Cobain, the only person she could turn to when she was sexually harassed by a man (who else). Since she was fast becoming the very voice of feminism, she felt she couldn’t seek help for this situation and Kurt helped and believed in her.
Not wanting to ask for help seems to be common theme running throughout this documentary and comes back to Hanna around 2005, but after Bikini Kill she went at it alone as Julie Ruin, recording an entire album alone in her bedroom.
We cover the beginning of her romance with Adam Horovitz of The Beastie Boys, her activism and how that affects, and indeed fits in with the musical ideals of her now husband.
After Julie Ruin we move into Le Tigre territory and this is where I know Hanna best. I love love love Deceptacon. Alas, after a series of big successes and a world tour, Hanna starts to lose her voice and knows in her heart that something just isn’t right.
She eventually tells her band mates that she has nothing left to say and doesn’t want to do music anymore. She tells us now that that was all a lie.
For five years Hanna lives with an undiagnosed illness that turns out in the end to be Lyme disease. We witness footage of Adam caring for his wife and the side-effects of her medication as she fights the disease.
And the final act sees The Queen working on new material with The Julie Ruin and getting back into music, slowly but surely. Her way though, always.
No questions per se but why can’t Kathleen Hanna be my best friend?
I’m sorry this review isn’t better because I loved every moment of The Punk Singer. I’m just not that good and was distracted with my own raging thoughts of fucking the patriarchy while I watched. (Not literally).
The contrast between young, raging Hanna and her older, sicker self – both beautiful, both strong AF just in vastly different ways – is really something to consider. As usual it makes me think about strength and how is manifests itself in different ways for different people.
I’m not going to gush anymore but I am going to say that this is a brilliant piece of art and well worth a view.
I realise as well that I’ve failed to mention anybody else but all the interviews are great and it’s inspiring to hear so many women were inspired and went on to continue Hanna’s teachings.
What a fucking woman. Then and now.
My Rating: 5/5. Fucking perfect in all its imperfections, much like the woman herself.
What did wifey think? Let’s bust on over to her place and see.
NB: This is actually our second documentary. The first one was The Wolfpack.
IMDB Synopsis: A young woman comes to in a roadside diner with no idea where she is or how she got there. Split between two timelines, she gets taken on a violent journey as she seeks out the person responsible for her lover’s death.
Katherine Isabelle AKA Gwen is sitting in a diner in front of a mound of pancakes. It would be fair to suggest that she’s somewhat catatonic, all wide eyes and a dazed disposition. We assume from the opening credits (which explains the phenomenon) that she’s in a fugue state. We don’t really know why at this stage but shit goes really bad when she freaks out, apparently triggered by a song on the duke box.
She shoots a waitress with a gun she’s just found in her backpack and then runs, steals a vehicle and manages to allude the po-po who just happen to be dining in the same establishment.
I better mention here that this film is a patchwork of flashbacks and hidden memories, and its all over the place so my timeline might be a little rocky. I don’t think it really matters.
So then we flash back to the lovely Gwen running along an open road in a red dress and then passing out. Things are looking fishy for sure. All that’s really clear at this point is that Gwen is disturbed and really likes to drink milk. Like really loves it.
Anywhoo. Gwen doesn’t have any idea how she got to the diner, or how her hand got so damaged (it’s bandaged and on inspection, she discovers she’s missing her pinky) but she does find a motel key in her back pack, which leads her to Room 88. This is where she starts to piece together her story, of which she has no memory whatsoever. She does remember she has a boyfriend though and phones home to leave a message, asking him to come to Room 88 ASAP.
Inside, the room looks like a set piece left over from Memento (2000), with newspaper clippings on the walls and a body in the tub. In amongst the crime solving paraphernalia and ashtrays are some photos of Gwen with her boyfriend Aster (Kyle Schmid). I think it’s here she works out that he’s dead but I have no time to think (and nor does she) as an evil Henchman (from one of the wall clippings) bursts through the door to execute her.
In the nick of time, he is taken down by the arrival of Ty, who seems to know Gwen even if she doesn’t recognise him. He quickly scoots her away, kicking and screaming. Later he fills in a few blanks, though Gwen’s memories do not loosen up. She doesn’t know who to trust but decides to take a gamble on Ty.
Also, it seems as though Gwen’s known by the moniker of ‘Flamingo’ and may have taken on an uncharacteristic persona following her trauma. She swears to Ty that she’s no killer which amuses him, suggesting that she’s been something of a badass up to now.
Ty and Flamingo (let’s face it, it’s the better name) go off to visit Ty’s friend, Lemmy (played by the film’s director, April Mullen). I have to admit I had high hopes for Lemmy as she’s the only other female besides Flamingo in this male dominated movie but they don’t even communicate with one another! (A massive fail of the Bechdel test). Alas this can never be remedied as shit hits the fan at Lemmy’s place, people perish and Flamingo is arrested.
For a second it seems as though Flamingo is going to surrender to the cops, especially when Sheriff Knowles (Michael Ironside) is quite kind and really believes her when she says she has no memory of what’s happened. But Ty storms in again and Flamingo is released back into the wild.
FLY MY PRETTY!
I can’t go on like this for the whole review as it will take forever but the crux of this film is that, slowly, Flamingo (named after a strip club is would seem, or was the strip club named after her?) starts to unravel the mystery of who killed Aster.
It all comes back to a man called Cyrus (or The Anti-Doc Brown) who seems to have been a main feature in Flamingo’s life since she was a young ‘un. This is very creepy and he’s a very jealous man. He also does Very Bad Things.
Before I close, let’s ask ourselves some questions, shall we? (The answer to this is always yes).
Who killed Aster – and why? Who is Gwen/Flamingo? Will she get out of this in one piece? What’s with her obsession with milk? (It’s sort of sexual/phallic but not phallic, you know?).
And how can I convince KI to become my very best friend (who I also love)?
I’ve been reading a fucking amazing book called Life Moves Pretty Fast and it’s changing the way I look at modern films compared to films from the 80’s, especially films with female leads (of which there are not nearly enough). This post isn’t really the right place to air my gripes about that (read the book yourself, it’s magnificent!) but I went into this film with a certain mindset I suppose.
I don’t know how feminist this film is. A bit, I guess. I think the intention is there, we have a ‘strong female lead’ who isn’t all about competing with another woman for a man, that’s nice. She saves herself more times that she’s saved by a man. She ultimately gets what she wants by the end of the film, which is the ‘truth’.
The only other female roles in this film, besides Lemmy, are the strippers at Flamingos. They’re treated exactly as you’d expect them to be treated by a pig boss and his band of merry henchmen. Sadly there’s no retribution for any of the women.
Katharine is great in this, even if the story is a little convoluted. The movie poster heralds this as ‘Kill Bill meets Memento’ and I’m not convinced (KB is one of my all time favourite films, so no cigar). I’d love to see her in a Tarantino movie though. If I’m honest I just want good things for her and better roles, more like American Mary (2012), please!
My Rating: 3/5. A bit all over the place but my crush still reigns supreme.
What does Jillian think of my heavily biased film choice this week? Head over to see for your damn selves!
World cinema is fun! And this week is definitely no exception, although sometimes the fun gets a little bogged down in different emotions, such as pity, rage, despair, hope and triumph.
My choice this week and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Incidentally, this film has been on my list for a while but became more pressing when I read this review. I mean, any review that talks about fuck boys is always going to be alright with me.
IMDB Synopsis: In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.
I’m kind of sad that the synopsis of this film and also the original film poster mentions that this is a Vampire movie. I mean, it’s not a shock when this is revealed, but I think it might have been a nice touch to go in not really knowing much about The Girl. Not that we know anything, mind, beyond her penchant for thick black eyeliner (my kind of girl), lipstick and Breton stripes.
Anyway, that’s a minor thing. We begin the film gazing at James Dean-alike Arash as he leans against a fence, slowly smoking a cigarette. For the uninitiated, I am a massive sucker for this aesthetic on men or women, shoot it in black and white and I’m yours forever.
Arash is standing around and I can’t be sure of his motivation, though he does either steal or rescue a cat and walks off into the next scene with it slung happily over his shoulder. I don’t blame you cat.
Next stop is Arash’s home, where an old man sits in a grubby front room area and injects something into his toes. He doesn’t look like your average junkie so there might be a rational explanation for this but when The King of the Fuck Boys* (presumably) walks in, we are illuminated to just how bad the old man’s condition is. He’s also Arash’s father and owes Saeed (Fuck Boy) a lot of money.
Saeed plays threateningly with the cat for a bit then makes a speech about how Hossein is just a ‘normal man’ who needs ‘medicine’ to get through life. Riiiiight. Then he takes Arash’s car which is his pride and joy and Arash punches a wall.
Alas, this is life and Arash must keep on swimming so off he goes to his landscaping job. He’s called indoors to tune in the TV by the attractive daughter of his employers and under the guise of being gentlemanly, he ushers her out of her bedroom (because being alone would be inappropriate). Really, he’s clocked a nice pair of diamond earrings that might just get him his car back…
Meanwhile, Saeed meets with The Princess, a beautiful prostitute called Shaydah (Rome Shadanloo) and surprisingly, doesn’t treat her very nicely. He also rips her off for her cut of earnings like a true pig. While being a dick in Arash’s car, he spots something out of the corner of his eye and freaks out, even though he doesn’t know what it was. We know though, we know it good, it’s a figure in a hajib and it looks kind of serious.
We follow the figure and it leads us down into a basement room where a fucking cool girl is dancing. I mean there are few things I love better than black kohl eyeliner (yes, even at the advanced age of 37) and this chick rocks it. She’s effortlessly cool and at first glance I already know she’s going to be one of my favourite movie heroines in recent years.
It will also become clear soon that this is our mystery figure and I like this scene because she’s painted as a normal person with normal interests, like music, fashion and pop culture. I also like that we get to witness The Girl making up her face. Now I’m quite sure most women would identify with the ritual of meticulously applying the warpaint before going out to do business, be that an ordinary day at the office, a date or vigilante justice.
Walking back to his apartment later on, Saeed bumps into The Girl. First of all there is a face off and we can’t be sure where it’s going to go but Saeed does what most men do when faced with a female in almost any situation, assumes she wants sex. So she goes home with him under the illusion he’s about to get some.
Things don’t quite pan out the way Saeed planned and I’m not going to go into the ins and out. This film is very much worth a viewing of your own but let’s just say we now have an idea of what The Girl is and how she rolls.
In the aftermath of Saeed’s meeting with The Girl, Arash gets his car back, plus a case full of drugs and cash. Which is helpful. The Princess, meanwhile, is being hassled by Hossein, who seems to have a soft spot for the ladies as well as H. Oh, and don’t think The Girl hasn’t noticed Hossein’s behaviour, because she totally has.
It’s a shame Hossein is such a dick nose, because Arash is actually not a bad guy, despite appearances. This isn’t immediately apparent when he’s selling X in da club to rich kids but he is. Honest. He also crashes and burns with the rich daughter from earlier on, who rejects his advances.
On the way home, Arash meets The Girl for himself and is so charming in his drugged up state that he seems to throw her intentions completely. I mean, I expected her to eat him there and then. What follows is a scene so heart wrenchingly beautiful that I’m not even going to talk about it.
The Girl has also commandeered a skateboard from a future fuck boy (not after she’s finished with him though), and there’s a shot of her skating down the street with her hajib flowing out behind her that blew my tiny mind.
I might leave the rest up to you now, to be honest but along the way Arash and The Girl form a stronger bond; The Princess meets The Girl and TG inevitably ends up dishing out more nuggets of vigilante goodness, which may or may not send the course of Arash’s life crashing in a completely unexpected direction.
You’re interested though, aren’t you?
To the questions section! Because no review of mine is complete without a series of wills/wheres/hows and whys, amiright?
So… Will TG and Arash live happily ever after? Will Hossein sort himself out for his son’s sake? Will anyone ever truly appreciate that poor damned cat? How did The Girl even become a vampire?
Should I buy myself a new Breton top because it’s such a chic, crisp look? Also, should I get a long-board? Some of these questions will be answered, some will be left open to your own interpretation and some simply don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Enjoy!
My Thoughts: This film is the nuts. Written and directed by a woman, which shouldn’t be a thing of note in this day and age, but still totally is, it’s a feminist piece, in that all bad men get what for. Even the young lad skirting around a future in douche baggery is handed his arse. The title is great, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – think about it, have you ever walked home from the pub on a Friday night and feared for your personal safety? Of course you have and that’s what The Girl is, she’s the saviour that cleans the streets so you don’t have to feel that way. Brilliant, non? It’s poetic, inspiring and I fucking loved it.
Yes, I can be very generous when it comes to rating the films I watch, sometimes for the flimsiest reasons (like I love Simon Pegg) but honestly, this is a true work of art. It has been very well received because it’s beautifully filmed, fantastically acted and it’s lack of gratuitous violence and gore is a massive plus, if you ask me (even though I love that shit). It could be the B&W aesthetic that lends it the subtlety. Whatever it is, it works like a (bad) dream.
There are several stand out scenes that will stay with me for a long time – two of which I have mentioned above. I also like the main characters and love that even the good guy is flawed. They’re both good at heart but capable of terrible behaviour and the final act, which I shan’t spoil for you, is extremely hopeful and romantic.
Can we just quickly talk about the cat? She’s a terrible actor, staring out of shot at the action going on behind the scenes, almost derailing the whole film. At one point I swear she strains her neck to sniff at the boom engineer or something. Go back to acting school, cat!
My Rating: 5/5 – an absolute must see.
I wonder what Jill thinks of this one? Let’s go see shall we?!