Swiss Army Man – Year’s Most Uplifting

Swiss Army Man GIF4star-2“If you don’t know Jurassic Park, you don’t know shit.”

If my best friend won’t fart in front of me, what else is he keeping from me?

Swiss Army Man was labeled by critics as “the farting corpse movie” at Sundance where it received controversial reactions at it’s festival screening. The juvenile humor in the movie prompted walkouts from audience members, but what they missed was the rewarding satisfaction of one of the most insightful explorations of a life some of us may have forgotten.

Sometimes it takes a flatulent corpse to remind us what it means to be human and why the simpler aspects of life are sometimes the most important. All farting jokes aside, Swiss Army Man is one of the most original movies I’ve seen in a very long time, but some viewers don’t want to give it the time of day.

Swiss Army Man

The reactions were no surprise to directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka the Daniels) who knew they were fighting an uphill battle with their unusual yet wholly entertaining and original script. They departed Sundance with the Best Directing jury prize and explained, “We like to think of our movies as orphans. They’re bad ideas that no one else wants to make.”

Weird, wonderful, disgusting, demented and divisive…why pursue this story?

Swiss Army Man

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The Neon Demon: All Style, No Substance

the neon demon gif2star“She’s a diamond among a sea of glass. True beauty is the highest currency we have. Without it she’d be nothing.”

Beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing…which is apparently a news flash in director Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest glam femme horror feature, The Neon Demon.

With a mixture of extreme vulgarity and brilliant glamour, this toxic fairy tale is receiving quite the feedback from critics. And you’d imagine Refn would have it no other way.

Elle Fanning the neon demon

The Neon Demon drew boos as well as cheers at a press screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. But the film’s director wasn’t there to see it. “I wait outside [during screenings],” says the director. “I get very nervous. I never enjoy it.” The Danish filmmaker got a much better reception that same evening in Cannes, when his movie received a 17-minute standing ovation (and reportedly also led to two fights).

Refn said he wanted to make a horror film about beauty, a horror satire of Hollywood.Its commentary on the shallowness of the Los Angeles modeling scene didn’t pique my interest. The superficiality of Hollywood/models/actors/society isn’t newsworthy for the majority of us, but, nevertheless, some are hailing this film as “disturbingly wonderful cinema.” But is it really?

Neon Demon Gif

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The Lobster – Painfully Pretentious

the lobster movie gif
2star“We dance alone. That’s why we only play electronic music.”

In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into animals and sent off into The Woods. Best of luck, right?

If director Yorgos Lanthimos wants you to get anything out of this movie, it’s that society influences or constricts our ability to love. As blogger Adam Riske at FThisMovie accurately explains it, “It’s basically if Her was made by someone who hates life.”

If The Lobster is an acquired taste, it’s one that I have not and will not acquire. Ever.

the lobster movie dance alone

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Finding Dory – A Necessary Sequel?

Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The one thing she can remember is that she somehow became separated from her parents Charlie (Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Diane Keaton) as a child. With help from her friends Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks), Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them. Her journey brings her to the Marine Life Institute, a conservatory that houses diverse ocean species. Dory now knows that her family reunion will only happen if she can save mom and dad from captivity.

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Childhood friends Conner (Andy Samberg), Owen (Jorma Taccone) and Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) found fame and fortune after forming the hip-hop group the Style Boyz. Owen and Lawrence faded into the background when frontman Conner left the band to launch a successful solo career. Now, the egotistical singer decides to film a documentary about his life while he’s still on top. When his second album flops, the camera is there to capture his world crashing down.

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X-Men: Apocalypse – Dull Apocalypse

Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful mutant. Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) lead a team of young X-Men to stop their seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.

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The Nice Guys – A Comedic Noir

Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a down-on-his-luck private eye in 1977 Los Angeles. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hired enforcer who hurts people for a living. Fate turns them into unlikely partners after a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) mysteriously disappears. Healy and March soon learn the hard way that other dangerous people are also looking for Amelia. 

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Best Moments of Stand by Me (1986)

decades-blogathon-banner-2016

Three Rows Back and Digital Shortbread are hosting the Decades Blogathon, a 10(ish) day event in which film critics take a look at movies from different decades. This month we’re choosing films from any decade with the year ending in ‘6’ (given that it’s now 2016), and there’s no restrictions.

For my contribution, I’ve chosen to cover the coming-of-age classic that made the train dodge a timeless pastime, Stand by Me.

You guys wanna see a dead body?

Stand By Me

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Money Monster – Mo Money Mo Problems

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is a Wall Street guru who picks hot stocks as host of the television show “Money Monster.” During a live broadcast, disgruntled investor Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) storms onto the set and takes Gates hostage. He tells Gates that he lost everything on one of his tips. As Gates tries to plead with Budwell, he’s also using an earpiece to communicate with his longtime producer, Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) in the control room. Together they must figure out a way to defuse the situation and disarm Kyle Budwell.

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Captain America: Civil War – The Avengers 2.5

Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.

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