Black Sunday 

24/365 Black Sunday

From 1960, this has become a cult horror film I have not seen before. Black & white film, with beautiful cinematography the dialogue is cheese and maybe off by half a second. Originally Italian film later dubbed for american audiences.  Directed by Mario Bava Italian director who died at 65, he could have went on to do many more creepy movies.  

 It’s been a long time since I posted anything, but I feel like I burned myself out on movies. Here’s to many more film reviews to come. 

23/365 I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With

23/365 I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With

There is something to be said about Jeff Garlin, he is a funny guy who is relatable to the common overweight American Male. His dry wit as a comedian is something most comedians will never master. I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With is his first feature film in which he wrote and directed, that comes across as completely autobiographical that brings just as much laughs as his role in Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The opening scene is Jeff sitting on the hood of his car in an empty parking lot, eating something that looks like it came from a gas station or convenient store alone. This simple opening sequence sets up the entire film with Jeff being alone, as a fat man, eating something cheap. He is 39, an aspiring comic/actor from Second City that lives with his mom in Chicago. He is an out going funny guy who is trying to loose weight to become more socially acceptable. He quickly goes off his diet, somewhat unintentionally after meeting a strange pretty girl, Sara Silverman, at an old timey soda shop. He quickly befriends her with the urge for companionship.
This indie comedy from 2006 is filled with a great comedic cast from Sara Silverman, Amy Sedaris, Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson), Bonnie Hunt, and even a minor role for Gina Gershon. The laughs are dry, subtle, and on point. The slight jazzy score is a nice touch to the innocence of the film that could have been rated PG-13, and for an ode to the great city of Chicago. This is a great refreshing, feel good film about loneliness and finding someone who you are comfortable with. After seeing Dealin’ With Idolts, his second film written and directed by Jeff Garlin his first film is far better. Here is to hoping there are many more to come like I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With from him.

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22/365 Absentia

22/365 Absentia

Absentia is about two sisters reconnecting after one of sister’s husband vanishes, and is pronounced dead after missing for 7 years. Callie is an Ellen Paige look a like who has had drug problems in the past but is kind of sober, who likes to smoke weed. Tricia is older sister who is pregnant with no backstory, just a missing husband, Daniel.
Tricia starts seeing visions of her dead husband who is extremely upset at her being pregnant with someone else’s child.

Daniel shows up looking like a zombie extremely pale, malnourished, and coverd in blood at the same time as Tricia was going a date with the detective from her husbands case. Daniel has no memory of the past 7 years of being on the street, and he has been eating cats and small animals to stay alive. He is not the same as he once was before he left. Daniel goes missing after a giant spider takes him from the house back into the tunnels.
After loving lots of bad horror movies, this is not one of them. The acting is poor, and even laughable at times. The film was started from a Kickstarter campaign, that would have made a fine short, but it should have never made it into a feature length film. Mike Flanagan directs this low budget horror film before having most of these actors be in his big blockbuster film Oculus from 2013. The only thing to take away from Absentia is the Mogwai esk score, with great heavy low end synth keyboards repeating the groove of a few cords over and over again.

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21/365 Birdman

21/365 Birdman

The long roaming continuous circling camera shot is reminisce of Orson Wells 6 minute opening scene of Touch Of Evil. It’s so gripping you don’t want to look away. The film holds your attention because it feels like it’s filmed in real time, but it’s not. I just keep asking myself how did they do this? After the first hour of trying to find out when the shot breaks, I just sit back and enjoy the ride that is Birdman.

A failing actor Riggan Thomson recreates Raymond Carver play from 60 years ago.
Riggan Thomson is Birdman, and out of touch with technology and reality. His own self dialogue, and insecurities is coming out in this super hero voice as Birdman the superhero he was in the early 1990’s. His bipolar self worth starts to wear on his on his own psyche. The source music fading in and out of the film acting as a score brings a more’ reality’ feeling to the film. On the rooftop Edward Norton looks like James Dean smoking a cigarette with his hair pushed up in a blood splattered wife beater & a brown swede jacket. Could this be life imitating art for Micheal Keaton after being Batman over 19 years ago in 1989?

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20/365 Citadel

20/365 Citadel

Citadel is an intense horror film of paranoia, and agoraphobia directed by Ciaren Foy.
Tommy’s pregnant wife is brutally murdered by a pack of ravage kids in hoodies. The doctors were able to save their baby girls life. Tommy’s wife Joanne was killed by a syringe delivering something deadly into her blood stream, but the baby somehow lived. Tommy is left to care for his daughter alone, with the home invaders coming back for more to kill his child. The only friend he has to help him out is Joanne’s hospice nurse Marie who helps him go outside for the first time in days. The film builds on tense moments of the building up the horror. The scariest moments are the not knowing of what’s to come. The bottling up of horror waiting impatiently for something big to happen feels like director Foy’s a fan Hitchcock. This not the typical slasher flick or the shakey found camera footage that has been coming out of Hollywood recently. This is director Ciaren Foy’s first film and there are many references to some great horror films of the past. The most obvious one is the one person who can help Tommy is a young boy named Danny with a special power much like Stephen King’s The Shining, but it doesn’t feel too cheesy.

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19/365 Cake

19/365 Cake

Jennifer Aniston is back to prove that she is an actor in this dark drama about suicide. She is in a chronic pain support group for women when one of the fellow members of the group decided to kill herself. The ghost of the deceased Nina Collins is played by Anna Kendrick who is in more movies then any other actors these days. Jennifer Aniston character Claire Bennet is kicked out of her support group, and continues to be masking her chronic pain with alcohol and pain killers. Claire also starts trying different ways to commit suicide after seeing the ghost more and more in her drug fueled sleep. The attempts never stick, but they are more like a muted cry for help for Claire. She contacts the widow of the girl from the support group, and begins seeing him. Claire completely oversteps her boundaries by stealing pills from her new friend, but is starting to get a little bit better.
It’s nice to see a film with a woman as the main character over 40 that has some depth to it. While the film is about a depressing idea, it’s less dark then you would expect. Its an original idea for the film, but still predictable at times. Jennifer Aniston does a great job in the film, and I don’t know why this has gotten so poor reviews. It’s not an Oscar worthy movie, but only because of the lack of a backstory until the film is almost over, but it’s still a great performance never the less.

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18/365 Ned Rifle

18/365 Ned Rifle

Aubry plaza is strange stalker of a poetry icon Henry Fool.
Ned is a bible thumper who is out to kill his father, Henry Fool.
The film is wordy, without a specific need to be.
Aubry Plaza’s deadpan seems to get lost in the over argues dialogue, but she is the redeeming quality to this film as Susan Weber. Ned Fool is played by Liam Aiken, who was the film How To Be A Man, and the little kid in the movie Road To Perdition. I’ve never seen a film directed by Hal Hartley, but he seems to have a following after the movie Henry Fool. Hartley also seems to be very much into literater, it becomes an overbearing part of the story. This film also is an ending to a trilogy that already has a large backstory. The multiple shots of Aubry Plaza’s character Susan Weber in a short skirt, smeared makeup, and thigh high tights seems like a tease. There are strange sexual undertones throughout the film that left me feeling almost dirty. Ned is the only person with his life put together, but he’s crazy because he wants to kill his father. Maybe this kid Ned is finding his father figure with the Old Testament God, instead his own father Henry Fool. Overall it’s another indie comedy that I had high hopes for, but it might get more people to see Hartley’s other films, but one is enough for me, I’ll pass.

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