Film Review: WE FUN (2009)


Full Title: We Fun: Atlanta, GA Inside/Out
Director: Matthew Robison
Year: 2009 (shot between October 31, 2007 and September 27, 2008)
Comments: Kids Like You & Me (KLYAM) has and will always be about rock ‘n’ roll. A few years ago the kids were introduced to a handful of bands that changed their outlook on rock ‘n’ roll forever. Chief amongst these crusaders is the infinite Black Lips from Atlanta, GA. Black Lips showed us the light and whilst we hopped on the righteous path we came across countless other sage voices in the form of The King Khan & BBQ Show, Deerhunter, Jay Reatard and many more.  For us, these aforementioned characters were already “indie” (fucking disdain that term) darlings; it was 2008-2009. Through creating this site our knowledge and passion for rock ‘n’ roll of this raw, aggressive, punk slime variety grew stronger and stronger to the point that we became scholars, detectives almost. It became our mission to trace back the steps of these legends and become fully aware of their roots. So, in the case of Black Lips and Deerhunter- we looked to Atlanta.

For years Atlanta was a punk rock town, storing a crazy, vibrant music scene filled with miscreants and mad men galore. With this in mind, WE FUN is the ideal flick for a KLYAMER. Going into this to movie I hoped to find out a vast amount of information on the place that fostered some of my favorite artists. The film opens with a mini manifesto from a true rock ‘n’ roller, King Khan.  Ironically, not an Atlanta dude per se, but Atlanta in just about every other sense of the word. King Khan is aesthetically part of this scene and is the perfect dude to deliver a speech summarizing what happened in Atlanta and abroad in the mid-late 2000s amongst this small group of garage rockers and inadvertently revealing my own feelings about this music and the people that create it. Khan, looking quite stoned, stares straight into the camera and prophetically utters these words: “It was the first time in my life that I heard albums that made my mouth drop and made me so glad that I play music now. Because for a long time I wish I had been born in the 60s or 70s and doing my thing back then, but then I am so proud to live today because today I’ve heard the greatest music I’ve ever experienced… And finally the kids are tapping into it. We created our own myth. We created out own legend, and domination is just a step away.” This goes back to what I mentioned earlier about this specific group of people, the death cult as they are known to some folk: Khan, BBQ, Black Lips, Deerhunter, and certainly Jay Reatard is a must on that list. These are men that came from the underground for years and made enough noise to reach the masses .. well maybe not the masses. Now, one of the questions emerges. Why now? Why in Atlanta especially? Why these bands? How did it happen? And how has this changed the Atlanta punk scene? Just some of the questions I have in mind going into this film, and of course I hope that they are answered.

The documentary constantly makes a huge point of the fact that Atlanta has a tremendous party atmosphere or as Black Lips bassist Jared Swilley puts it in one of the film’s interviews, “First and foremost people just want to have fun.” And most of the bands seem to adhere to Jared’s words – partying and alcohol consumption is frequent and celebrated, on and  off stage. Surely, this is part of any music scene (minus straight edge!), but clearly it is important enough to further note this about Atlanta and how the scene’s fast, primitive, pop music reflects this let loose, rowdy, and joyful attitude. With that being said, before the film even hits the ten minute mark the filmmakers are quick to note that this is not all of what Atlanta is. Queue the music for Deerhunter.  While bands like the Black Lips and The Carbonas play party hardy punk/garage music, Deerhunter slimes its way into the darker realms of the pop landscape, while keeping in touch with the same rock ‘n’ roll spirit.

Bradford tells the audience, “When a lot of people think of Atlanta they think of the party element… I mean there is that element, I definitely had a lot of fun in the past eight years hanging out with all these people, but I was never afraid to be a little bit boring.” Boring is too harsh! But, I see what Bradford means and I acknowledge the stark difference between a band like Deerhunter and say an Atlanta band like Gentlemen Jesse and his Men, that has more of a power pop sensibility. What I really love however is the fact that all these bands can exist together and be apart of the same scene without being rivals simply because they play different styles of music. It’s not that case at all; while Deerhunter may be more far out then their “garage” comrades, it’s still rock ‘n’ roll, it’s still coming from the same place in every sense of the word.

Throughout the documentary, we get the sense that this is a close knit community and that is much of the reason why this scene survived over the years. Although, it seems like at times some of the interviewees are uncertain why they are even being interviewed or confused that someone is making a film about Atlanta. During The Carbonas interview they jokingly state that “Atlanta is lame” and that “it’s not worth making a movie over.” I’m not sure if these are just passing jokes or if they truly are questioning the motives for making this film. Of course, they love their music and their home, and the whole scene they have created, but they seem hesitant to display the same feeling of conquest shared by that of King Khan earlier in the film. In that same interview, one of the Carbonas says “They do it better in other cities,” but this is never elaborated. This interview also helps viewers understand the nature of this underground rock band lifestyle. The Carbonas humorously discuss their time on tours, sleeping and shitting in vans, and how it is far from glamorous. Touring is a theme that comes up often in WE FUN and it becomes clear that this is crucial to the existence of these bands. Their story, their legend, their survival.

We start to see how touring aka “getting out of Atlanta” is the name of the game. Of all the Atlanta bands featured in this documentary, Black Lips are most often cited as an example of a band that built its following from aggressive and incessant touring. In one of the film’s interviews Jared Swilley even goes so far as to say that “I don’t know if anyone would have known us if we hadn’t left this city.” Cole Alexander chimes in “Yeah we probably didn’t get much respect in Atlanta till we got respect in other places.”  This is an interesting point to say the least. Is this unique to Atlanta? Or is this the truth for most cities? I tend to think this can be seen as a message to young bands to TOUR!!!  and perhaps not get too caught up in trying to make it huge locally because at the end of the day the world needs to experience your band not just your local scene. And to the bands that are not as big in their hometown, don’t worry none of these bands never got too much attention until they blossomed outside of their own city.

One thing I really LOVE LOVE LOVE about this documentary is hearing stories from the past. Stories about some of these folks that later went on to become pivotal figures in this Atlanta music scene and current music in general. A few of my favorites include a teenage Cole Alexander handing Creative Loafing Atlanta (a weekly Atlanta music magazine) editor/writer, Chad Radford  a beat up 7-inch of what is  presumably the Black Lips first release, “Ain’t Comin’ Back” (2001/2002). OR hearing a story of Bradford Cox inadvertently seeing the Black Lips for the first time, expecting them to be a shitty bar band and instead being blown away. Stuff like that makes We Fun neat. Maybe not the most factual, historical or critically poignant pieces of information to be dispensed, but they help the viewer gain a better understanding of who these people are and where they came from.

This film does a nice job of capturing some of the city’s characters. Focal people that were/are crucial to this Atlanta music scene. You have the likes of Dry Ink Mag’s Tom Chesire, Chunklet Magazine’s Henry Owings, and best of all the late, great B Jay Wommack aka Bobby Ubangi, a man that truly put the FUN in WE FUN. BJ represented the scene in many ways and we see him play an active role as a musician in his own right (motherfucker played in some kick ass bands: The Lids, Gaye Blades, Carbonas, Bobby and The Soft Spots, and his solo work) and simply as a fun loving friend to many of the other Atlanta musicians, always keeping the party going.

We also start to see the importance of local independent labels, specifically Mark Nauman’s Die Slaughterhaus Records and Trey Lindsy’s and Travis Flagel’s Rob’s House Records. The latter articulate the point that none of these bands were ever in it to “make it.” Even going as far as to say that if you told them a few years ago that they would be where they are today, they wouldn’t believe you. This gives the story of these bands and the Atlanta scene as a whole a humbling quality that I admire. But, how did this transformation happen?

Okay, I clearly like this film, no I love it. But, it is certainly not without its flaws. Firstly, there is not enough clarity for people that do not know anything about this music or these individuals. I understand that if you are not into this style of music, this scene, or these bands then why would you watch this documentary? But, that can not be used as an excuse. If you are making a documentary you should not automatically assume the audience already knows about your subject matter. For example, I think this film could use a clear definition of what this music is, more biographical information on these bands, how they formed, how they evolved, how they got their sound, how it changed- if it did, and how some of these bands extended their audience and/or how they garnered wider exposure. There could be a mention of this transition and how it affected the bands. I could see why the filmmakers would decide not to focus too much on this aspect because these bands have always been great, not just 2007 onward. But, it seems like the documentary constantly makes it a point to say that these bands and Atlanta are bigger now specifically because of the commercial successes of some of these musicians. Overall, it just seems random and lacks cohesion. I would like to just see a bit more focus and explanation. I think the best documentaries are the ones that are able to appeal to both insiders and new comers. I am not sure if this would appeal to new folks, who knows? Maybe it would, but I think they would feel awfully lost, and I doubt they would comprehend just how big of a difference this transition was and how pivotal it was for these bands in their careers and how it affected Atlanta.

Now, being a 22 year old Bostonian, I was nowhere near Atlanta (never been!), but I love several of these bands and have over the years. Point being, I don’t know too much about music in Atlanta overall, but I have read of complaints from others in Atlanta, claiming that this film is elitist, exclusive, etc. I’m curious to anyone that can fill me in on this. What are your thoughts? Perspectives? In any situation, I know what happened in Atlanta and what is documented here is legendary and you can’t take anything away from that. I highly recommend this film and maybe this a cool way to get into these bands. I could (and do) watch this film over and over again, and now you can too! Check it out on You Tube below!

Film Review: The Town [2010]

Director: Ben Affleck
Release:
September 17, 2010

Comments: This is a good one. I’m decently familiar with Charlestown…did the Community College thing there for a semester, climbed the Bunker Hill Monument when I was twelve, etc…so I sort of knew what was up. It was nice to see MBTA stations, grimy bars, and the Town Florist. The bank robbers were characters that I felt like I know. It could have been the reasonably accurate Boston accents, but maybe it’s the dickhead, but nice guy “townie” psyche that brought me to that conclusion. For what it’s worth, the plot is great. Extremely fictional, but great. Again, my favorite aspect of the film was setting. Thumbs up for the Fenway Park scenes and even the scenes just outside of the Park itself…at the Howard Johnson, at the (no longer?) McDonalds on Boylston, etc.

Grade: A

Film Review: Going the Distance

Full Title: Going the Distance
Director: Nanette Burstein
Year: 2010
Comments: Typically, I am not a fan of “Romantic Comedies,” with very few exceptions and this is one of them. Though, I did not love this film, I think it is respectable and worthy of some accolades. It certainly has its own little charm in a mixture of affectionate, gentle raunchiness with a practical love story. In brief, the plot concerns Garett (Justin Long), a young idealist/worker for a record label, who has just ended a long relationship, finding himself falling into another relationship with Erin (Drew Barrymore), the (Summer) girl of his dreams. Just one problem Summer ends… and this means Erin must leave New York and return to San Francisco for work. The remainder of the film centers around the two struggling to maintain this long distance relationship while also feeling conflicted between choosing love or following their careers. Overall, this movie is quite funny, but it drags on and does not really bring anything new to the table; it is quite typical and even a bit cliched: young, off-beat, idealist couple cannot decide between what’s best for each other or what’s best for themselves. And having the guy work at a label and complain about how young, cool, bands are not getting noticed is pretty standard and/or expected. The dialouge is overly cheesy at times to boot. But, there is plenty of quality aspects to this flick to save it from being an average Romantic Comedy. As I stated before, the humor is fairly strong here, not the funniest by any means, but definitely offered me plenty of laugh out loud moments, particularly from Dan (Charlie Day), the wacky best friend of the main character, Garrett, who unto himself is a cliched character, but I’ll forgive it because the performance of Charlie Day is so hilarious that it works. Essentially, he plays a toned down version of his character Charlie on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Being a huge fan of that show and that character specifically, this gave me a little personal reason for liking this film more than perhaps I normally would. So, will this be a movie we remember years down the line? Highly doubt it, it is far from the brilliance of (500) Days of Summer (2009), but it is in a league higher than most “chick flicks” and certainly worthy of a KLYAM recommendation. If this is your kind of a bag, then why not?


Grade
: B-, I kind of feel like I am being too easy here, but I think I will stay with this grade for now.

Coming Next a review of Machete

Mini Classic Film Reviews: Airplane!…

Full Title: Airplane!
Director(s): Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker
Year: 1980
Comments: One of the zaniest, silliest, and most definitely funniest films I have ever seen. This flick is filled with memorable scenes, one liners, and all sorts of other hiarious treats. Alas, the spoof genre it helped launch did not spawn nearly as many classics as this gem.
Grade: A

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Full Title: Scary Movie
Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Year: 2000
Comments: Following the tradition of Airplane! (1980) Scary Movie does a good job of poking fun at the ridiculocity of various teen slasher flicks and it is very funny, but isn’t original nor memorable enough to be as revered as the former.
Grade: C+

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Full Title: Mallrats
Director: Kevin Smith
Year: 1995
Comments: Smith’s sophomore effort continues this Mini Classic Film Reviews’ trend of absurd comedies, but with this movie as with most of Smith’s work there is far more brains squeezed into the equation. Smith writes fabulous dialouge with as much wit as toilet humor. This isn’t Smith’s best, but as far as comedies go, it is one of my favorites.
Grade: A-

Film Review: Toy Story 3



Full Title
: Toy Story 3
Director: Lee Unkrich
Year: 2010
Running Time: 103 minutes
Comments:
Being a huge fan of the Toy Story saga, I highly anticipated this third installment like so many other young people that grew up with the first two films. Looking back and to this day, the original Toy Story (1995) is one of the few “kids,” CGI films that I enjoyed. I don’t know what it is, maybe because it was the first of its kind or perhaps because I was so young when I saw it in theaters. I don’t know, but I have always held a place for it in my heart. Up until a few weeks ago, I actually had not seen it in nearly ten years and yet I still knew most of the lines! Then, of course, it was followed by Toy Story 2 (1999), which I also saw in theaters and liked. On the other hand, it was ok in comparison to its predescessor and lacked that inital, special touch. So, going into this new movie, I had big expectations and hoped it would be at least as good as the sophomore effort, but probably not on par with the original film. Fortunately, my expectations were satisfied and then some! Which, by the way, is a rare feat; I often walk away feeling disapointed, to different degrees. Ok, now about this “feature presentation.” In Toy Story 3 the owner of the toys, the young boy Andy is becoming a man as he heads off to college, having long abandoned his action figures and playmates alike. As he cleans out this old “junk” he comes across his old heroes, Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), he decides to take Woody with him, but leaves Buzz with the other toys. His mother mistakes a bag filled with the toys (intended for the attic) for a trash bag. Feeling unwanted, they escape and crawl into a box that is to be sent to the Sunnyside Daycare, believing they will be appreciated and loved by new children. Woody follows the others, trying to convince them otherwise. SORTA SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! Upon their arrival at the Daycare they are greeted by another toy, Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (Ned Beatty), whom on the surface appears to be a warm, welcoming host, but beneath he is a cruel, sadistic, monster. As it turns out, he runs Sunnyside as a prison and the toys become his inmates. Now, it is up to Woody and the gang to defeat the evil Lotso and return to their beloved owner, Andy. I must say Lotso is a great villain, one of the best I have seen in a while and perhaps the best I have ever seen in a children’s movie. He is truly filled with hatred and bitterness beyond repair. Which causes the viewer in some ways to simultaneously fear and pity him. Well maybe not fear… fear for the characters, ok just a little bit of fear. Ahh, being scared by a teddy bear (with a cane at that!), a new low for me. In any case, there is certainly a dark and often emotional tone to the film that is executed near perfectly. It’s darker than the previous two TS, but not murky enough to frighten kids and push them away, and there’s plenty of humor/fun for the whole family to enjoy. Sometimes the jokes are a bit too Pixar for my taste, such as the exchanges between Ken and Barbie, which make me smirk, but are not exactly the strengths of an otherwise unique film. The story culiminates in a fantastic and beautifully chaotic climax, which with no hyberbole, I can safely say keeps you on the edge of your seat and feeling earnestly concerned for the well being of the characters. Overall, this is a great film and perhaps the best all summer, but it is not without its flaws. It drags toward the end, such as the scene between Andy and Bonnie, which could benefit from some trimming. Also, I know this is a kids movie lol, but seriously, Andy would not care as much about these toys! For example, his reaction at the beginning was very genuine; he didn’t really care about them. Him tagging Woody along because he means something to him, I can somewhat buy, but claiming that all of them mean something to him is a stretch, for me at least. As I said, it drags, but all in all, the ending works well. So, is it better than the first film? No, but few are. With that being said, Toy Story 3 does what very few films can: make an honorable and wonderful trilogy. In this instance, it is even more notable because in most trilogies, the third feature is the weakest, clearly this is not the case. I might not love this film as much as the first, but it is undeniably well crafted and will most likely be revered in years to come.

Grade: A-, initially after viewing this I was feeling between a B+ and A- (which some folks thought was too harsh lol), but through the process of film analysis, I eventually leaned toward its well deserved A-.

Classic Film Review: Stop Making Sense

Full Title: Stop Making Sense
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Talking Heads and various special guests
Year: 1984
Set List:

1) Psycho Killer
2) Heaven
3) Thank You for Sending Me an Angel
4) Found a Job
5) Slippery People
6) Burning Down the House
7) Life During Wartime
8) Making Flippy Floppy
9) Swamp
10) What a Day That Was
11) This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
12) Once in a Lifetime
13) Genius of Love
14) Girlfriend is Better
15) Take Me to the River

Encore:

16) Crosseyed and Painless

Comments:
Stop Making Sense? When did the Talking Heads ever make sense?! Haha, of course their brand of weirdness, a “good” weirdness is exactly what made the Talking Heads, the Talking Heads. The other night I had the pleasure of revisiting this 1984 classic via a screening at the Sommerville Theater. I had been a fan of the live CD Stop Making Sense for years, but never got around to seeing it’s cinematic coutnerpart. Well, what better a venue than the Sommerville Theater?! And it was. The sound was a tad lower than desired, but besides that it fit really well for this presentation. Now to the film itself. David Byrne kicks things off with the TH classic, “Psycho Killer,” just Byrne himself gently rocking out on acoustic guitar with a tape player. As the song reaches its final moments, Byrne stumbles to the beat. He fake trips then catches himself, then again and again; fitting perfectly with the music. Next, the nerdy, neurotic singer is accompanied by his bandmate, Tina Weymouth (who is looking rather attractive here) on bass. The two launch into an impassioned, acoustic version of “Heaven.” And with each song another member hits the stage to join the circus. It should be noted that the Talking Heads put on an extremely entertaining show with incredible energy, charisma, and showmanship, without any of the big theatrics, i.e. light shows, back drop videos, etc. (at least in the first half of the film), oft-seen in such concert films. This speaks volumes for how well they can captivate an audience with just themselves as the visual stimulants; essentially less is more. They use a lot of light humor in their approach, such antics as the “Running Man” dance; at one point Byrne acutally runs around the whole stage at full speed! We also see him playfully push a lampshade back and forth, each time catching it at the last second just as it is about to hit the floor, amongst other weird, but amusing stunts. Byrne and crew seriously dance their asses off as the tunes become heavier and funkier. Songs that stood out in particular included “Burning Down the House,” “Life During Wartime,” and “Once In a Lifetime.” Perhaps they stood out to me because they are some of the bigger songs and/or some of my favorite TH numbers, but either way the performances were near perfect. Without a doubt, the most iconic moment in the picture is when we see the fabulous frontman in his lovely “Big Suit,” once again a bizarre, humorous, and ultimately memorable element of the Talking Heads’ craft. All in all, there is very little to nothing I can say bad about this movie. My one complaint, (a very small one) is that at some points it drags a bit on some of the tracks I am less enthusiastic about, such as “What a Day That Was” and “Girlfriend Is Better.” I feel like it wouldn’t have hurt to do some time truncating in these areas. Probably just me, but in the long run, this didn’t really harm my opinion of the performance. In short, for concert films this is top notch and certainly sets the bar for competition.

Grade: A/A-

Film Review: Get Him to the Greek

Full Title: Get Him to the Greek
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Year: 2010
Comments: First off, I must admit, I did not anticipate this film to be a Summer Blockbuster/Must See Comedy of 2010 to begin with. I did however, anticipate that this movie would be pretty funny, with me laughing out loud numerous times. A comrade of mine informed me that GHTG was the funniest movie since the Hangover (2009), which I really liked, but thought was overated itself. With those possible credentials, I gladly accepted an invitation to see the flick. Sadly, my expectations were not satisified. Before I start my critique, I will give y’all a little synopsis. So basically, we follow up on the exploits of Forgetting Sarah Marshal’s (2008) decadent Rock Star character, Aldous Snow (Russel Brand). Initially he and his wife are clean from drugs, but after the release of an embarassing flop album, he dives right back into the frenetic lifestyle, he enjoyed before. Essentially, his life and career are in shambles; he needs a revival. Enter Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a hip, young worker at Pinnacle Records and an enormous fan of Aldous. Aaron works for a corporate thug (P. Diddy) that only cares about marketing, image, and record sales, in other words, Diddy plays himself. And so this slick shit is looking for something big, to boost record sales. Aaron suggests asking his hero, Aldous Snow to do a ten year anniversery show of his classic, Live at the Greek album. The idea seems plausible; the only problem? Making sure Aldous arrives at the show. Thus a dream (or so he thinks) comes true for Aaron, for he is to be Aldous’ babysitter for a few days, untile he GETS HIS ASS TO THE GREEK. Wild, substance induced, adventures and minimal hilarity ensue. Now, that’s a really brief plot description and I trimmed out various, important details, so if you are looking for a full summary, look elsewhere! Ok, as I stated previously, I only laughed hard a few times and in general did not feel as amused as I should have. The premise works, but they do not take it in the right direction. They clearly suffer from the modern comedy syndrome of trying to throw too much shit at the wall and only half of it sticks. A lot of ideas are displayed here, but with very little substance to support them. The film should have abandoned its emotional elements and made a straight up, raunchy comedy. Not to say there are no raunchy jokes, there are plenty, but the film does not consistently stick with this style of humor and instead jumps around, leaving the viewer with a feeling of “where are they going?” A comparison to the Hangover, as made by my friend, is pretty far off, but just for a minute, let’s look at the two films and see why last Summer’s comedy was superior. Firstly, the Hangover never got too caught up in having a moral or creating a drama, etc. and smoothly provided an entertaining, hilarious ride for all of us. Secondly, the Hangover stuck like glue to its premise and amused the audience with one, wacky, unpredicatable moment after another, keeping your attention the whole time. Initially, GHTG appears to follow the same suit, but instead drags, stops to focuse on other plot details, and merely unleashes a couple of said wacky scenarios. A dedicated/enthusiastic fan only has three days to chase his heavy drinking and drugging Rockstar idol around, as he crawls to the most important concert of his career. Wow, what a great premise.There’s so much more they could have done with this and I’m positive the flick would have been infinitely better if they eschewed all the other aspects of the story. Just imagine if they took that concept and doused it in some chaotic humor of the Hangover variety. Well, they did not and so I found this film to be merely average. Not bad. Not good. Just average.

Grade: C

Film Review: How Weed Won the West

Full Title: How Weed Won the West
Director: Kevin Booth
Year: 2010
Comments:

Kevin Booth and Sacred Cow strike back with another subversive, anti-government/anti-tyranny documentary, following up on their last, eye opening feature, American Drug War. This “No More Drug War” flick is basically in the same vain as its predescessor, but this time Booth focuses solely on Marijuana (as the title indicates), whereas before he discussed the entire Drug War and most of the various substances involved. He takes us on a journey into the lives of those who are victims of the Drug War and in many instances Political Prisoners. We see how the Federal Government uses unconstitutional (violating states’ rights, warrantless raids on Medical Marijuana Clinics) and highly unethical… Ok flat out evil, means to prevent sick and dying Americans from obtaining a natural substance, weed, to medicate themselves and ease the pain, whilst highly addictive, dangerous, and unatural pharmeceuticals are rigorously pushed on the public by savage, Big Business. Booth truly garners an up close and personal look at how the War affects these people’s lives. I like this doc very much, but it is not flawless and does not share the same appeal as the first film. Don’t get me wrong, you will hear/see some shocking and/or revealing information and images, but not nearly as astonishing as the first film. But, then again that goes with the subject matter: before it was the entire War on Drugs and therefore there was more facts and history to be displayed that most folks, like myself, were unaware of. With this topic of Medicinal Marijuana, there is far less material that makes you see just how sick and disgusting our government is; not to say there isn’t any here, there’s plenty, just not as much and not as mind blowing. Secondly, the arguments are not as concrete as they were in the previous doc; I felt like the film could use slightly more screentime for the definitive reasons why Marijuana needs to be legalized. Also, I don’t know if it is because Kevin could not find as many informative people as before or what, but the film could definitely use more sage voices like Judge Jim Gray. Perhaps he was all booked. Lastly, for me, I hate saying this, but it was too “Pro Pot.” Now, I know that sounds stupid, considering the nature of the topic, but at the same time if you look at ADW ( I know I’m comparing the two way too much!) it was far from Pro-Drug and in fact some felt like it made drugs look bad. I felt like it was a great piece to show naysayers why the Drug War was and is so horribly wrong. I feel like for a film arguing so vehemently for legalization and an end to prohibition, it should not be nearly as enthusiastic about recreational drug use as it was. Clearly, most of the film focused on medicinal use and to keep with the consistent aim of showing how important and necessary it is for Marijuana Prohibition to be curtailed, Pro Pot sentimnents should be kept for another flick. All in all, this is a solid and highly informative work from the gifted, Kevin Booth. He is the man and so is his best friend ;) So, if you liked ADW, you will probably dig this as well and if you haven’t seen it, watch it, watch this, and inform yourself. WAKE UP!

Grade: B

Classic Film Reviw: Gummo

Full Title: Gummo
Director: Harmony Korine (first timer)
Year: 1997
Grade: A
Comments: Chilling. Distubring. Haunting. These are some of the words that best describe Korine’s cult masterpiece. In more simple terms, however, FUCKED UP! describes it more accurately. Truly fucked up. Not strange. Not weird. Not bizarre. FUCKED UP. To be blunt, if you were trying to be polite and didn’t want to curse, so instead you replaced it with “screwed up,” I do not think you would be getting the picture across or doing the film justice for that matter. So, why is it so FUCKED UP? now, that I have mentioned it 500 times. Well, Korine does not present us with a story or a plot in any linear or normal sense. But, rather he takes us on a journey to a town “we would never want to call home,” as the tagline states (I may be paraphrasing) through documentary style, vivid, eerie shots of peculiar (to say the least) images and characters living their day to day lives. The characters are residents of a small, tornado struck town in Ohio, and their activities include killing (sometimes beating) cats and selling their remains, burglarizing, wrestling with chairs, amongst other antisocial behavior. And yes, that was not a joke about the chair wrestling! It is humorous in its odd nature, but at its heart, highly disturbng and really sad. These characters are bored and simply have nothing else to do, but wait to die or be the subject matter of a Steve Albini creation. Korine said he wanted to make a completely different kind of film, with shots coming from any (or every) direction and he did just that, so kudos to him. Gummo may not be the kind of movie you sit back and stuff popcorn down your throat and play over and over again for the giggles, but rather a totally unique experience worth at least one voyeursistic endeavour for those that can handle a completely (for the final time!) FUCKED UP film and want to challenge their psyche to something new; it’s nothing like I have ever seen before.

Here’s the trailer-

Fun Fact!: It was this trailer that specifically got me into Madonna’s “Like A Prayer,” as it is the only song by her that I like.

Chris

Film Review: Shutter Island


Matt “Bob Matthews” Ramsden post an image of the film to accompany his review of the novel, so I’ll do the opposite.

Full Title: Shutter Island
Director: Marty Scorcesse
Year: 2010
Grade: A-
Here’s Why:

!SPOILERS AHEAD!

COME TO SHUTTER ISLAND! Where there’s always something exciting to do. You will meet a cast of colorful characters. You may have so much fun, you never leave! You could say, you’ll discover you are not actually who you think you are…. ok scratch that one BOSS. Essentially, Matt’s review, sums up the plot real nice, here’s a link, https://klyam.com/2010/01/10/book-review-shutter-island/. So, Leonardo Dicrapio and Mark Rufalo play the leading detectives and perform the fuck out of ther dramatic roles; it’s too bad this flick was released so damn early in the year, because it is worthy of numerous awards, certainly for acting, with regards to the aforementioned actors as well as Ben Kingsley. Not to say that awards measure the substance of a film or any form of art, they don’t at all. But, credit should be given, where it is due and far too many average flicks receive awards. Enough of that rant for now! SI dishes out more than its share of suspense, action, thrills, shills, and skills in just about every area. As the story unravels, we’re just as quizzical as Leo’s character. And since he’s totally mad, fucked in the head :) as viewers we’re all the more left with a “WTF is going on feeling?” But, we never get lost in the bedlam, a key aspect of Shutter’s success. Since, most of these “everyone’s against me andeverythng I ever knew as true was a lie” brand of films get tangled up in their own webs of conspiracy to the point that not even the filmmakers know what they’re thinking. Our umbilical chords to the story are never severed and thus maitain the suspense and our concern for the characters. In the end, the plot twist is pretty damn sweet, but a bit overrated. It ain’t Bruce Willis is a ghost, Vader’s my daddy, Bates is his mommy material! In fact, I thought the ending woudl come sooner; it drags toward the end, not too much, but enough to note. I haven’t read Dennis Lehane’s novel of which the movie is based and Matt wrote his review of, but I hear this stays true to it. Perhaps. Overall, a highly enjoyable experience at one of my favorite pastimes and definitely a KLYAM Recommendation.

Chris