Nightbreed (Film) Review

nightbreed-directors-cutJill and I are big fans of Hellraiser, arguably Clive Barker‘s most recognisable work to date, and so I was pretty stoked to be dipping back into his world with this, a film I’d never seen before. (He also wrote Candyman (1992) which I bloody love with all my heart).

I don’t really want to give too much away in the first paragraph but I found myself scratching my head a few times and I don’t mind telling you I haven’t a scooby about what I’ve just seen. That’s not to say there aren’t moments of pure wonderment.

Barker’s imagination is quite something and one dodgy flick from the 1990’s can’t take that away.

Or can it?

*Spoilers* – although if you ain’t seen this in the 26 long years that have passed since its release, I would say you can’t really be that precious.

Nightbreed (1990)

Director: Clive Barker
Stars: Craig ShefferDavid Cronenberg, Anne Bobby

IMDB Synopsis: A troubled young man is drawn to a mythical place called Midian where a variety of monsters are hiding from humanity.

My Review:

Our hero, poor man’s Angel (even though Buffy/Angel came later) dreams of a place called Midian, where monster dreams come true. Not really, but monsters do try to live there together in their version of sweet harmony.

“I loved you in Buffy. Uh, a TV show from the future…”

He’s a bit distant and messed up, so his girl Lori (Bobby) has him seeing a psychotherapist called Dr Decker (Cronenberg). Dr Decker is pretty much the worst psychotherapist of all time as he convinces Angel, real name Boone (Sheffer) that he’s a serial killer. The kicker? It’s actually Decker doing the killing, and brutally at that! Clever, non?

To drive his plan home, he drugs Boone and persuades him to hand himself in. Things got confused for me quite quickly but if I recall correctly, Boone gets hit by a truck, there’s a hospital scene, we meet our first monster, Narcisse (Hugh Ross) and his face gets torn off. (Narcisse btw harvests dead men’s faces to wear over his own apparently grotesque features). Seems legit.

Boone flees the hospital and heads to Midian which is basically a crappy underground village beneath a cool graveyard. Here he bumps into some monsters that aren’t that happy to see him and one of them bites him. He gets away from them only to run into the fuzz and Decker, who pretends Boone has a gun. You don’t have to ask the pigs twice to draw their weapons and poor Angel is cut down fast in a hail of bullets.

“What do you mean I’m not a patch on Kirsty from Hellraiser?”

So that’s that then. Lori is devvoed but suspicious about the circumstances in which Boone dies, and frankly she has a right to be, especially since Boone’s become the walking dead. She travels to Midian herself to work shit out (though at this point she doesn’t know Boone has resurrected).

She meets the best character at a bar on the way and her new friend agrees to accompany her to Midian the next day. When they get there they split up (always a good idea). Lori goes skipping through the catacombs, while her friend gets brutally murdered – nooooooooooooo! Seems Decker is tracking Lori and he thinks she’ll make pretty good Boone bait (seems he’s figured out that Boone isn’t dead).

Decker wears a ‘Kid from The Orphanage/Trick ‘R’ Treat‘ style sack cloth mask and I dig the aesthetic frankly. He’s also rather stab happy. Lori, meanwhile, finds a very odd looking creature that turns into a ginger kid and meets a bunch of monsters.

Zip it, Button Eyes

You get the impression that the brain storming (thought cluster?) sessions for the monsters must have been fun, though as we get to the end, we meet Hand Chin and I’m not sure how much work went into him.

Lori meets Boone again, much to her delight; Decker runs rampage, there’s a lot of monster politics, I got lost, we meet a priest. There is a story in here about a prophecy (Boone saving the day) and then a battle between good (Midian and the monsters) and evil (?) (the priest, the babylon). It’s very confusing and a shambles, sorry. The monsters are cool though.

In the final fight, led by Boone, there are lots of casualties and imaginative deaths. There’s a happy ending of sorts and one of the most manipulative scenes in cinematic history, in which Lori tries to kill herself so Boone has no choice but to ‘turn her’ immortal, so they can live happily together forever.

I’d have refused on principle.

Tribal is so done

My Thoughts:

Confusing (maybe it’s me), not very linear and boring in places, this has some great creatures and a nice philosophy about peace loving monsters driven out of society by non-humans (fucking non-humans). It’s a tale as old as time and it does try. It’s nowhere near as strong as Hellraiser, but I had a soft spot for Decker, whose motivation I can’t even be arsed to work out. And the porcupine lady.

I’m being kind here but I should add that I had to read Wikipedia to fill in the blanks on all the bits I lost track of, which was most of it. Call it my heart not being in it, but it just made me want to go and visit Pinhead and Julia again.

My Rating: 2/5. Messy. Points given for the gory deaths.

This year’s Christmas card was going to be well edgy

What did Wifey think ? Was she willing to live in sweet harmony with the monsters or would she prefer to take a carving knife to the whole thing? Find out here.

The Tenant (Film) Review

f04abed85a2d5360aae3e3a3f11cf87dNo preamble on this week’s pick (which is mine), only to say – fookin’ hell, I think I might be all horrored out for a few days.

Whether you consider this horror or not is up to you, I guess it’s technically a psychological thriller but who even cares, eh? The result is the same.

(I’m tired).

Fun fact though, this is the last in Polanski’s “Apartment trilogy”, following Repulsion (1965) and the epic Rosemary’s Baby (1968).

The Tenant (1976)

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Shelley Winters

IMDB Synopsis: A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.

My Review:

Trelkovsky, a well-mannered gentleman type, learns of a free apartment in a run down apartment block in Paris. On viewing the flat he gets out of the surly Concierge (Winters) that the previous tenant threw herself from the balcony. Ooooooooh!

Gutted to realise Trelkovsky is played by Polanski, who I found attractive

Not yet dead, Simone Choule (Dominque Poulange), an Egypologist, is in hospital and not doing so well. Piqued by curiosity and perhaps to check that she won’t suddenly get better and need her apartment back, Trelkovsky goes to visit her. At her bedside, he meets Simone’s friend Stella who is visibly shaken by the accident, but also fucking fabulous.

When Simone sees them both she freaks out and unleashes an almighty howl. This emotionally derails Stella so T (fuck typing his name out every single time) does what any normal man would do in the same situation: takes her to see Enter the Dragon and gropes her in the back of the cinema while a pervert watches them. Afterwards, they go their separate ways.

Simone dies in the night, freeing up the apartment and T moves in. He’s pretty stoked to begin with but becomes a little perturbed when he finds one of Simone’s dresses in the wardrobe. In fact, the apartment is still dotted with feminine knickknacks that would freak me the fuck out.

Putting it to the back of his mind, T throws a little soiree for his friends and gets into trouble with some of his neighbours. From there things take a sour turn as he is blamed for all sorts of behaviours that aren’t his fault – being noisy, having girls over, playing Britney Spears too loud.

Resting Bitch Face: Next Level

One night his upper neighbour and her disabled daughter come knocking to ask him if he’s lodged a complaint against them. He says no. The neighbour then makes reference to the old woman above, saying she is evil and obviously the one doing the complaining. I got a bit confused here because they all seemed to have the same names.

T himself is later asked to sign a petition against the nice neighbour but refuses as she’s done nothing to bother him. This further alienates him from the other residents. The residents are kind of dicks. He also starts to get the feeling that things are very much not cool around the block. He notices lots of oddity, including his fellow tenants standing motionless in the communal loo, which he can see right into from his window (lucky boy).

NB: Little aside here, things go nuts plot wise from hereonin.

Geri Halliwell took hard to curtain twitching after the Spice Girls split

T starts to lose his mind, hallucinating and imagining bizarre scenarios – such as an audience in the courtyard below, cheering him on, and a weird court jester scene. He finds hieroglyphics in the toilet which are a reference to Simone’s work. He also starts cross-dressing in Simone’s make-up and clothes, buys a wig to complete the look and rocks it pretty hard TBF. He starts to believe that his fellow tenants are trying to turn him into Simone and want him kill himself like she did.

T meets up with Stella again and they look like they’re going to get it on but paranoia and some heavy introspection stops play. He does later turn to Stella for comfort and support but whether or not she comes through is for you to find out.

“I love that lipstick, Stella. It would look incred on me.”

I don’t want to spoil the entire plot, there’s a lot of madness all round and poor T is not having a cool time. He goes to the park and slaps a strangers kid which shouldn’t have made me smile, but it did. Don’t slap kids people, it’s very wrong. Even if they are whiney little shits in unflattering anoraks.

I’m going to park up here so you find out the ending for yourselves but let’s get to a few questions in time-honoured tradition, yes?


Are the tenants really trying to drive our friend to suicide? Will they succeed and honestly, why go to all that trouble? Who can Trelkovsky trust?

And what the fuckity fuck is going on?

Embarrassing when you show up to the starring competition on the wrong day

My Thoughts:

Um. Look I get that not everything has to be coherent. This is Polanski and he does suspense bloody well, I’ll give him that. I like the overall tone of the film, loved the setting, loved some of the characters but the plot line itself is messy AF. Did I understand it? Not really.

There’s lots of debate about what it all means. Kafka-esque is term thrown around a lot. Sadly the only Kafka I’ve ever read is The Metamorphosis which doesn’t really help me here (or does it?). We’re possibly talking about an evil building pushing its inhabitants to turn on the new guy and in the process turn him mad but I think there’s a split personality scenario in there too. Guess it’s up to the viewer to determine for themselves and I like that.

This I don’t feel holds up anywhere as well as Rosemary’s Baby (which Jill and I previously reviewed). It’s no Bitter Moon (1992) or Frantic (1988) either. Really it’s an intriguing way to spend a couple of hours but it won’t really stay with you or change your life in any way.

My Rating: 2.5/5. Weird. But kind of compelling.

Would my beloved like to evict this one or would she let it live? Find out here.

Berberian Sound Studio (Film) Review


Week 2 of Halloween 2016 Month and we visit a very unusual place this time around. This film is definitely a head-scratcher, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Before we dip in I have to say that I’m not sure if my copy of the film should have had subtitles or not. It definitely did not, therefore I never truly followed what half the characters where saying in their native tongue. If this was a deliberate tactic to make the viewer feel the way our main man Gilderoy does while they converse around him, then it was inspired.

Anywhoo. *Spoilers!*

Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Director: Peter Strickland
Stars: Toby Jones, Antonio Mancino, Guido Adorni

IMDB Synopsis: A sound engineer’s work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art.

My Review:

Gilderoy (Jones) is new in town, having just arrived in Italy and also at the Berberian Film Studio. He is under the impression that he’s been hired to work the sound effects (and other Foley work) on an equestrian film.

Further discussion reveals it’s an Italian giallo and the sound effects consist of violent acts against various fruit and vegetables (one scene with a watermelon made me howl). The film he’s working on is called The Equestrian Vortex and it has some witches in it. There’s lots of violence and poor lovely Gil seems naturally alarmed by the goings on around him.

I want to be this woman more than life

The reception he receives on arrival is not what you’d call warm and fuzzy. The receptionist, Elena (Tonia Sotiropoulou) could not give less of a fuck if she tried. She’s fabulous though so whatevs. Other colleagues include Francesco (Cosimo Fusco) who’s perpetually annoyed, a grumpy older sound engineer who hangs around in the background, a couple of odd-looking vegetable botherers and the actresses: Silvia (Fatma Mohamed) and Claudia (Eugenia Caruso).

The director of the film, Santini (Mancino) also hoofs about regularly and gets rather offended when Gil refers to his film as horror. In fact, nobody seems to be that nice to Gil, or anyone for that matter and his attempts to claim back the money he spent on his flight out to Italy fail amid the bureaucracy of the company. (We’ve all been there amirite?)

“Hello, it’s me, I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet…”

Gil receives letters from his mother at home that just seem to exacerbate his loneliness. They tell tale of a nest of birds in her back garden next to Gilderoy’s shed. Gil himself is a nondescript, gentle man who can’t remember the actresses names but knows the name of every piece of kit and microphone in the studio.

As time passes, and his role intensifies, Gil starts to feel more and more disconnected from his life back in England. He’s not feeling the people around him either. Following a conversation with one of the girls about the expenses bullshit, she tells him that you don’t ask for things in the studio, you demand them. On telling the Accounts department he wants his goddamn fucking flight money back NOW, he is told there was no flight, so there will be no reimbursement. (The fuck?)

Gilderoy begins to see and hear horrible and frightening things, has weird dreams and imagines himself in an alternative reality where he is fluent in Italian, and is way suaver than IRL. He learns from Silvia that the director has been taking advantage of his position with her, and possibly others, then she gets revenge on Santini by destroying everything they have worked so hard for on the film.

Another actress is hired in Silvia’s place, Gilderoy’s grasp on reality slips even more and he is forced to question what happened to the nice man he used to be.

“Calm down love.”


Apart from what the fucking hell is going on, you mean? Hmm. Will Gilderoy settle in properly? Will everyone stop being so bad-tempered?

What’s everyone saying?

“Stop playing with your food, Toby.”

My Thoughts:

This film is beautiful. Honestly, it’s gorgeous looking and has great atmosphere. It’s very serious but made me laugh out loud several times (I’m not sure that was its intention). It’s bat shit crazy though, confusing and nothing really happens. It’s all in our minds, isn’t it?

I feel like maybe I should have had subtitles to catch some of the conversation between the Italians, at least to gain an understanding of why they were all so cross all the time. Toby Jones is amazing, I think I might be in love with him.

I’m really tired typing this so I’ll admit here that there’s probably a lot of symbolism in the film – for example, the ever-growing mountain of rotten vegetation and the reappearing spider – that all adds to the story of the unravelling psyche of our protagonist. But I don’t have the faculties to dig any deeper at the moment. Sorry.

And it wasn’t scary at all.

If you fancy something a little different however, with a good central performance then this might be the one for you. If you’re on the hunt for action, then not so much.

“Especially for yooooooooooooo…”

My Rating: 3/5. Interesting.

Did my beloved take to this like a cleaver to a watermelon, or did it leave her screaming? Find out here.


The Silenced (Film) Review

fullsizephoto590239It’s finally October and that means we get to hunker down to horror movies for the entire month!

So expect many spooky goings on round these parts, starting with a little something gruesome from Korea. Is it horror, is it a ghost story or is it something altogether different to both those things?

Read on, friends. *BEWARE SPOILERS*

The Silenced (2015)

Director: Hae-young Lee
Stars: Won-Hee Go, Ryun Jo, Bo-Bi Joo

IMDB Synopsis: A girl is transferred to a mysterious boarding school, where she is forced to discover its secrets to survive.

My Review:

Sad and sickly Shizuko is unceremoniously dumped by her step mother (who’s rocking GREAT head wear) at a sanitarium/boarding school for girls, before she joins Shizuko’s father in Tokyo.

Shizuko suffers from an unnamed illness that leaves her coughing up blood. She does not look long for this world and the other girls fear she’ll infect them. They’re also extra mean to her for another reason which is soon revealed by the only decent girl, Yeon Duk (So-dam Park).

“I’m too weak to walk up these steps in this hat, sorry.”

Turns out Shizuko has replaced another girl who disappeared without saying goodbye not long before her arrival. Her name was also Shizuko, so she reminds the others of her. They’re all mad at the original for not saying anything before she left.

Yeon Duk and Shizuko #2 form a bond, which the other girls assure her makes no difference. They play mean-spirited tricks on her and laugh at her pathetic-ness behind her back (but not really that subtly).

Meanwhile, we learn that there’s a sort of competition going on, the two winners of which will be sent to Tokyo. The school certainly pushes the philosophy that physical strength is the number one priority and this is a little bit of a bummer for S#2 because she is not getting any better.

This looks set to change when beautiful Headmistress (Ji-won Uhm) calls S#2 into her office and waxes lyrical that it would be great if an underdog like her made it to Tokyo. S#2 also starts having daily injections to fight the sickness.

“People say I’m buttoned up…”

The girls aren’t any nicer to S#2, especially when she brings up the sore subject of Shizuko #1 but it seems like there are bigger fish to fry as one by one, the girls have weird fits and then get whisked away in the night without a buy or leave. Something is rotten in Denmark and only S#2 seems to notice it. Maybe because she starts seeing what appear to be ghosts under beds – damn all that long black hair, spooky as fuck!

Our two friends hit a rocky patch when S#2 comes on a bit strong and Yeon Duk tries to push her away. S#2 is gaining much strength as the days pass and learns to defend herself against her bullies quite remarkably. In her heart however, she knows something isn’t right and reaches out to her new bestie.

She says a few things that trigger some bad memories in Yon Duk and she goes mad. Later she reveals to S#2 what really happened with the original Shizuko, who was her best friend and the BFFs are on again.

I don’t really want to spoilt everything here but the change in S#2 gets better/worse and then the girls finally work out what the shit is going on. Then things turn all X-Men.

“So that’s what happens to Dobby the House Elf…”


What the fuckity fuck is going on? What’s happening to the girls? What really is the school all about, and what lies beyond its surrounding forest?

What happened to the original Shizuko and what’ll happen the Shizuko: Reloaded? Only one way to find out, yo.

My Thoughts:

This was interesting and genuinely creepy in places but something about it was a little soulless. Maybe it was the clinical setting, who knows.

I liked ‘the twist’ though you do see it coming, and it’s a bit annoying that nobody else does or says anything sooner. I was sort of disappointed that it wasn’t ghosts in the end if I’m honest and while this wasn’t the most original story ever, it was done well enough to feel fresh and a little bit different.

Let me tell you that all the blood – which must have been Ginger Snaps-style symbolic of female adolescence and burgeoning womanhood (the experimentation in the film FYI is best received by adolescent girls) – left me feeling sick. It’s everywhere; dead birds, in the food, coughed into crisp handkerchiefs. Nicely done.

Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Pretty good, not what I was expecting, which is both a good and a bad thing.

What did my beloved wifey think? Was she SUPER into this whole concept or would she rather hide under the bed until it’s over? Find out here, if you dare!

Obvious Child (Film) Review


The final installment in our Films about How Fucking Hard It Is to be an Adult series and this is a good one to go out on, I feel. It’s pretty topical too when you consider all the Repeal the 8th stuff going on right now (it’s obviously been ongoing).

I’ve seen this before a couple of times and wasn’t disappointed when Jill chose it to view this week. Our originally scheduled film fell by the wayside due to my reluctance to pay for it (though it’s a good ‘un so there’s little doubt we’ll come back to it in good time).

Sooooo, without further ado, and a fair share of *Spoilers* too:

Obvious Child (2014)

Director & Writer: Gillian Robespierre
Stars: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffman

IMDB Synopsis: A twenty-something comedienne’s unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.

My Review:

Donna Stern (Slate) is a stand up comic with medium success (some nights are better than others, put it that way). Recently dumped (by her boyfriend in the Trainspotting-esque toilet in da club for one of her friends no less), she’s a hot mess. Lucky she has an outlet for all her rage and misery right?

One night, drunk and in charge of the mic, Donna goes in on her ex on stage. At the bar, she catches the eye of Max (Lacy) who (luckily?) misses her set. The two share a spark (mutual street peeing and an accidental fart), and one thing leads to another – they bang, Donna leaves in the morning – and that my friends is that.

“I love the smell of Pumpkin Spice Latte in the morning…”

Except it isn’t is it, because this is an 84 minute film (the perfect length if you ask me) and we have to go somewhere with the characters. Might as well eh? A few weeks later Donna discovers she is preggo. Scheduling an abortion at Planned Parenthood, she has the option of two dates: her mother’s birthday or Valentine’s Day. The latter wins out.

Before she even has a chance to think about telling Max, or even if she has to (her best friend Nellie doesn’t see why she would), he tracks her down at the bookshop she works in. Things are awkward. They take an even odder turn when Max turns up at Donna’s mother’s house while she’s there to return a book he borrowed (he’s a former student of her mum).

The two end up having lunch and although Donna plans to tell him about the termination, he says something that prompts her to keep quiet. There’s more awkwardness between our two new friends as they establish what they are to one another, Donna goes home/to bed with someone else, and all that crap that comes with getting to know someone (“Getting to know all about yooooo!”).

“Nice scarf, loser!” “Likewise!”

Along the way, Donna confides all her woes to her mother, Nancy (Polly Draper) who comforts her and then admits that she too had an abortion before Donna was conceived.

This is ultimately an unconventional love story of sorts, so that’s not the end of our lovers. Donna makes a mistake then reaches out to Max to try and fix it. She ends up fucking up even harder when he finds out about her pregnancy and impending abortion when he shows up to see her comedy set. Ooops.


Is there a way back from this? Can Donna and Max start afresh with this ‘baggage’ already behind them?

I’d recommend you check it out for yourselves to answer these questions. It’s worth it, I promise.

When life give you boxes…

My Thoughts:

I like this movie. It’s unapologetic of course for it’s subject matter but it’s the way in which it’s handled that I appreciate. It has a maturity about it and although our main protagonist is a flake who’s likeability factor fluctuates, she’s ultimately true to herself and that’s interesting to watch.

It raises interesting conversation about Women’s Rights, autonomy over their own bodies and whether a one night stand has the right to know any of this if you don’t want him too. It delivers all sorts of perspectives and opinions, and it’s got a great cast.

Gaby Hoffman, Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy have all appeared in Lena Dunham‘s Girls at some point in their careers and I suppose you could liken the feel of Obvious Child to that hyper-real style of film-making.

I love the Mother/Daughter stuff and I like the way it ends, it’s sweet and heart-warming. I also respect the notion that a journey like this would likely change a person, and it’s entirely possible that would be for the better. There’s also no question throughout this, as there so often is in films/shows that feature abortion that there will be a termination at the end, and I think that’s so important. It happens.

The foundation of any great relationship

My Rating: 4/5. Pretty solid. I like it.

How did Wifey feel about this one? Did it IMPREGNATE her with joy or… not? Find out here.

Tallulah (Film) Review

tallulah-movie-posterMovie three in our Films about Fuck Ups series (although we’ve talked about how that might be problematic, see previous disclaimer), and I’m going straight in this week with little introduction.

Mainly because I’m PMSing and Jess just left Rory in Gilmore Girls and I have half an eye on that as I type this. Sue me.

*Spoilers ahead*

Tallulah (2016)

Director: Sian Heder
Stars: Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard

IMDB Synopsis: Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.

My Review:

Lu (Page) lives in the back of her van, forages for food to survive and has an obsession with gravity. She also has a boyfriend, Nico (Evan Jonigkeit) who one day, after two years on the road (and since he saw his parents), suggests that they head ‘home’.

Lu doesn’t take kindly to this idea, considering her way of life and her immediate environment her home. The next morning Nico is gone. Desperate to find him, Lu (full name Tallulah), heads back to NYC where she knocks on Margo’s door (Janney). Margo is Nico’s mum and she has no problem turning Lu away from her plush apartment, disturbed by her appearance and request for money.

During a stint pinching leftover room service from a nearby hotel, Lu is accidentally mistaken for a staff member by a guest. That guest is frazzled Carolyn (Blanchard) who seems to be in the midst of a breakdown. She’s also the mother of a one year old, Maddison, and she’s drunk in charge of the kid. Trusting Lu’s face, she persuades her to babysit Madison while she goes out to bang a man who definitely isn’t her husband.

Boiler Suits and Baby Gros are totally in this Season

This decision proves to be the biggest mistake of Carolyn’s life when Lu takes the baby and rocks back up at Margo’s, claiming the baby is Nico’s. Thus making Margo reluctant grandma. The story won’t take you any place you’re not expecting, I’ll say so here.

Margo is skeptical of Lu but slowly the two of them bond, with Lu opening up about her own sorry life. Margo herself is going through a divorce from her husband Stephen (John Benjamin Hickey), who has left her for another man (Zachary Quinto) and feels she has no control over her own life. Lu, too is obviously damaged and struggling with ‘motherhood’.

“I loved you in Dexter, Detective”

Meanwhile, Carolyn is forced to reevaluate her life choices, whilst handling the judgement of Child Protective Services, the police and her husband.

An awkward dinner party at Stephen’s and a chance sighting by a frantic Carolyn brings the entire farce tumbling down but how can this possibly turn out well, for any of our characters?


Will Carolyn get her baby back and become the mother she needs to be? What about Lu? Will Margo get her son back? Can or will she ever forgive Lu for what she’s done?

And, importantly, will you care about any of these super damaged characters?

(My money’s on perhaps).

When life gives you lemons, blend the shit out of them

My Thoughts:

I don’t feel much sympathy for Lu but I think that’s down to my own prejudice against Ellen Page. I don’t like her and find her a little precocious (hangover from Juno?). Lu is a selfish woman for her own understandable reasons. Her lack of polish I suppose is quite satisfying to witness, however I don’t like her character either. Lu’s justification for taking the child is weak too, though I understand it’s supposed to be a split second decision that changes all their lives forever, and maybe when all is said and done, for the better.

Alison Janney is wonderful (well duh), portraying Margo as a deeply sad individual. When her turtle dies and she sobs openly about her loss, I really felt for her as she knows only too well that she’s let herself slip into her current position and is struggling to move on.

The arrival of Lu ignites something in her, even if it is only the fact that something different is happening finally. That it could lead her back to her son is a bonus.

If I’m honest, the only character who really made me feel anything real, besides Margo, was Carolyn. Sure, she’s does lots wrong and doesn’t she know it? I really appreciated that this film is about making mistakes and then owning them, and desperately fighting for an opportunity to rectify them.

Sock puppets are always a hit with the under two set

She’s so sad, and she loves her daughter despite wishing for her to go away. Motherhood looks fucking hard and is fucking hard and what mother hasn’t thought the same once or twice, perhaps more frequently?

I think this film is about forgiveness and understanding, and in the end demonstrates that sometimes a really bad act, perpetrated for a well-meaning reason, shouldn’t be punishable forever.

Although I’m not wild about Page, this is a femalecentric movie making interesting points about what it means to be a mother, and a child . The men in this couldn’t be more secondary, from Nico and his father, to Carolyn’s cruel husband, to the concierge in Margo’s building. And I liked that. I liked that a lot. (Tallulah scored big on the Bechdel Test, naturally).

It was quite slow in places, though the scenes with Carolyn were electric, she was really great to watch. The use of flashback was quite effective, though it didn’t give me back story on anything that made me empathise more with Tallulah, sadly. I want to come out of this thinking, Page is good and you know something, she’s fine really, just empty to me.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Some great points and performances, but overall dragged down by the slower moments.

Did my beautiful wife love Tallulah like Ellen Page loves annoying me? Or was she more inclined to go on the road for two years just to get away from it? Find out here.

Welcome to Me (Film) Review

Alice’s aesthetic all day long ❤
Jill and I hashed out our new theme via Google Hangouts the other evening, whilst we were moaning about our busy weeks. “Films with Colours in the Title” was one of mine (it might come back one day, don’t worry), though I couldn’t think of much beyond Black Hawn Down to reinforce my case. (As it happens Blue Ruin, Green Room, Three Colours: Red (and Blue and White) spring annoyingly easily to mind when I have no pressure to come up with them).

Luckily, Jill touched upon “Films about how much adulting sucks” which then evolved into its working title “Films about Fuck Ups” which I’m sure we’ll all agree is much catchier and pleasurable to say.

So, to Films about Fuck Ups Month.

DISCLAIMER: The first pick of the month looks at mental health issues and, although, we’ve included it in our new category, we’re not implying this makes a person a ‘fuck up’. To be clear the term in this case is about anti-heroes and underdogs, and very much tongue-in-cheek. You get me? Just to be clear.

You’ll get square eyes, Wiigy
Welcome to Me (2014)

Director: Shira Piven
Stars: Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bentley, Joan Cusack

IMDB Synopsis: When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show.

The Backstreet Boys were trying something new for their comeback tour
My Review:

Alice Klieg worships Oprah and has one of the very best movie wardrobes I’ve ever seen. She also has her own issues which we’ll very much come back to.

Life changes forever when Alice wins $60+ million on the lottery. She reacts perhaps as we all would by giving a public speech which is cut off when she goes into too much detail about her history in masturbation.

Alice it turns out has a personality disorder and is a fan of prepared statements, which should actually be a thing. I would be a lot more eloquent if I could pre-prepare everything I said. She has a tight circle, which include her best friend Gina (Cardellini), elderly parents and ex-husband Ted (Alan Tudyk), who clearly care for her.

“This piece of tissue is making me uncomfortable…”
She also has Doctor Moffet (Tim Robbins), though on beginning her new phase as ‘Million Dollar Alice’ she tries to quit his sessions. It doesn’t stick but might give you a loose idea of where Alice is heading.

Alice moves from her apartment into a new complex within a casino and somewhere along the line is inspired to pay for her own show on local TV. She meets struggling co-owners Gabe and Rich Ruskin (Bentley and Marsden) and their team, which includes Dawn (Cusack) and Deb (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who aren’t that into the whole concept (though because they think Alice is a nut job, not because they have any concern for a clearly vulnerable person) .

Alice’s plan is to present one hundred two hour episodes of ‘Welcome to Me’ a show about herself and her life. This comes at a great price for her financially, and emotionally when it really comes down to it. And with Alice throwing much needed money at the floundering local station, her new team have little choice but to get on board. What Alice wants, Alice gets becomes the rule of thumb – and it’s unclear how this vanity project could ever be a good idea.

The only way to enter a room
Alice starts a sexual relationship with Gabe alongside the show and things get a little weird as he seems as fragile as she does. The show becomes something of a cult success, as Alice splices awkward cooking sessions (hamburger cake, anyone?), re-enactments of traumatic adolescent experiences (with actors playing ‘Alice’ and her peers) and as the show continues, the segments become more controversial (you’ll see).

Amid the cult success, our heroine stops taking her meds, upsets some people close to her by airing their laundry (and her own) live on air, ups the drama on set (live castrations, yo) and things quickly begin to unravel, for her and the station.

Things start to spiral further downwards when Alice has an accident on camera and then a significant argument with Gina, who calls her a bad friend.

I think the beauty of this movie is in its subtley and in the unfettered subject matter presented by Alice, as well as Wiig’s central performance. I don’t want to spoil it for you by laying it all out but as with all things, something’s got to give before Alice finds herself in real danger.

To the questions!

“On yer bike haters!”

Will Million Dollar Alice get the help she really needs? Will she repair the damage done to her relationships?

Where can I get a giant swan boat and where does Alice shop? Some of these questions will be answered along the way.


My Thoughts:

It would be interesting to see this film with a different lead actress because I don’t think Alice could be delivered as well by anyone other than Wiig.

She isn’t a likeable character and her dead pan delivery of almost everything makes her unsympathetic mostly. However, I loved seeing a character like this on the screen. She’s so free in how she speaks, un-encumbered by political correctness or what is expected of her as a person, and it’s refreshing.

Even though she has a mental disorder she is held accountable for her actions and I think that’s good. Gina isn’t afraid to call her out for being self-absorbed so it feels real. A tale about a woman with a real illness learning how to cope with relationships and life in the real world, even if her real world is currently anything but ordinary.

This shit is bananas
It is uncomfortable in places to witness so many people taking advantage of Alice, financially and otherwise. Alice is a sexually forward woman who knows how to tune into that side of herself, and that is great though it’s kind of sad that nobody seems to care about her emotions. Gabe maybe, who admits to ‘loving too much’.

All in all I think this is interesting, maybe a little slow in places but the show segments make up for that. Alice’s flashbacks are hilarious and awkward. Joan Cusack is boss af, Jason Leigh is prickly and great – the cast is a great one actually, even James Marsden’s slippery Rich isn’t horrible.

Definitely worth a watch.

My Rating: 4/5. It’s an odd little movie but I like it. 

What did my Qween Jillian think of this?  Would she be a regular viewer of Welcome to Me or would she rather castrate a dog live on television? Find out here, yo.