Slacker Reviews: MOTHER!

Sweet Fever Dreams are made of these.

I saw mother! by myself, in an strangly empty theater, on a windy and gloomy September evening. This made for a uniquely sensory yet bizarre viewing experience. It was like my own little fever dream broadcasted on a wide screen.

The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, as simply Mother and Him. A married couple that seem to live in a house that was recently violently burnt down. Him( Javier Bardem) apparently is an acclaimed poet suffering from writers block, while Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) dotes on him while also renovating the bare household. Their relationship comes across as tender but at the same time distance, with Him coming across as aloof and melancholy.

This all changes with the arrival numerous guests into household. First a doctor, then his wife, and even his sons eventually making their way into the house. With each guest, Mother becomes more and more agitated and confused at this bizarre gathering of people who seem to know Him well, who also is puzzlingly hospitable, almost blissful with by the thought of these people being his house.

Mother is stuck in the middle of this and barely gets a word in edgewise before Him let’s these strangers into her home. Her interactions with her unwelcome new buddy’s range start polite, then go on to be intrusive and slightly aggressive, escalating to a violent altercation between the two sons. From then on, things get….weird. Fanatic fans of Him start visiting, the house get damaged and broken as Mother is barely able to grasp what going on. Next thing you know, there’s a literal war going on inside the house with rabid fans fighting swat teams, as death and destruction swirl all around.

Lost? Confused? Don’t worry, that’s a normal side effect of trying to dissect this movie.

I’m being purposely vague with certain plot points and story beat, because this is film that is less about coherent plot or arc, but how the story is told and what atmosphere and vibe it displays. I’ve seen many films described as fever dreams in the past few years but I believe Mother! actually deserves the moniker.

The house that is the main and ONLY setting in the movie acts almost as pocket universe or world. One where actions and reactions escalate at a rate that wouldn’t be normal in real life. The passage of time seems distorted and amplified. Months or even years seem to go by in hours. This antagonistic atomosphere lends itself well to the style of the movie, that of a increasingly violent fever dream or even nightmare, one that Mother can’t seem to escape from.

This turns out to be the movies biggest strength and its biggest curse. If you prefer straight forward films with a clear cut narrative and story structure. You can stop reading. This movie is definitely not for you.

Mother! is absolutely LOADED with allegories, symbolic characters, and events represent biblical lore. It’s essentially a big budget art house flick. Which explains the polarizing reactions to the film. If you finish this movie saying “Was I just dosed with acid? What the hell was that?!?” you’d be well within your rights to say so. Even if the performances by the actors are good, it’s not going to mean a lot if everything being presented seem like the ramblings of a crazy person.

Make no mistake, this is a film that is intentionally antagonistic to the person watching.

It’s wants you to squirm. It wants you to get tense and uncomfortable.

And depending on who you are, this movie is either going succeed or absolutely fail.

Quickie Review: THE RAID 2

I get it. I know you wanna get back to watching The Office for the 34th time, or go back to playing Fortnite with the squad, or go watch whatever trash is on Amazon. I know. Your schedule is clearly hectic. So I’m gonna make this quick.

The Raid 2 is the one of the best action movies of the past decade. I know, you probably have your own favorite action movie, near and dear to your heart that YOU believe is king of the hill.

Yeah, The Raid 2 is probably better than whatever’s in your head.

With a thumping, almost primal soundtrack, The Raid 2 is a bloody battle royale of yakuza, dirty cops, and assassins, with Rama, an undercover cop in the middle, played by Iko Uwais. Rama is an undercover agent simply trying to protect his family and get revenge for his murdered brother, who helped him survive in the first film.

From the start, with a shockingly grisly death scene, which happens in the literal first minute, the movie is pretty much telling you to strap in. From then on we go down a twisted rabbit hole to the Asian criminal underworld, where a gang war is almost ready to erupt, and Rama will be the one to put it to an crimson red end. Without getting into spoilers, thats pretty much all you need to know.


To pick just one scene from the movie to highlight would be a disservice. The movie is like a twisted manga with just how much intensity and emotion is dripping from each epic fight scene. Its probably the closest were going to get a movie adaption of the game Sleeping Dogs. Whose main character was also an undercover cop within the criminal underworld.

The Viseral Climax Of The Film is a Gruesome Joy

Listen. just go watch it. you shouldn’t even be still reading this. If you consider yourself an action fan. You owe it to yourself to check this out.

10/10

The Raid 2 was written and directed by Garth Evans

Cinematography by Matt Flanery

RATED R

Slacker Reviews: KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004)

Kung Fu Hustle, is one of those movies that reminds me that you can basically make any type of movie you want, as long as you have these things:

  1. Clever and Careful editing
  2. Actors and a Crew that actually give a CARE
  3. A solid script
  4. (Last but not least) A truly Inventive Mindset

Written, Starring and Directed by Stephen Chow , Kung Fu Hustle is an martial arts action comedy that works on Cartoon logic, complete with zany sound effects right out of a Looney Tunes short. Characters get stabbed, punched, bitten by snakes, stabbed again, YEETED (that means thrown for you older folk) into buildings and billboards and of course shot with all manner of guns. The film is actually quite violent when you stop and look at it, buts its handled with such skill, charm, and insanity that the violence never truly becomes gruesome or hard to look at.

The plot basically is: In 1940s China, street gangs have been running amok and rule the town surrounding towns with an iron fist. The most infamous being the Axe Gang. Sing (played by Stephen Chow) and his fat sidekick Bone are scammers that desperately want to join the Axe Gang, to raise themselves from rags to riches. The two goons visit Pig Sty Alley, a poor housing community owned by the hilariously dysfunctional married couple, simply known as the Landlord and the Landlady. A few lies and misunderstandings after another, lead to the REAL Axe Gang coming in and attempting to shakedown the tenants. To the shock of the gangsters, some of the people living within Pig Sty turn out to be powerful martial artists who proceed to fight back the Axe Gang into a retreating. This chain of events sparks mini-war between the residents of Pig Sty and the embarrassed Axe Gang who vow bloody revenge, with Sing who see this as his chance to finally achieve his destiny.

kung fu hustle formative influences GIF

This is not just some wacky, ultra-violent, movie that only works when your STONED with your buddies (although that’s not such a bad idea). The film is elevated by its beautiful choreography and deadpan comedic writing , featuring several prolific Hong Kong action cinema actors from the 1970s. The show stealers being the landlord and Landlady, played hilariously by Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu. Yuen Wah, before playing this role, starred in dozens of martial arts movies and was even Bruce Lee’s Stunt double at one point.

If I had any problem with the movie, it would be that some of special effects didn’t really age well. While the movie was probably mind-blowing back in 2004, some of the CGI would be considered laughable to today’s standards. And yet, this almost adds to the whole vibe of the movie being a slapstick cartoon. One scene in particular involves The Landlady chasing Sing while they both run like its a Road Runner Cartoon. It looks so unrealistic but always manages to put a smile on my face.

Kung Fu Hustle* is the perfect “we cant decide on a movie to watch” movie. Its funny, violent but somehow light-hearted, shot well and best of all: SHORT. The movie does all needs to in about 98 minutes. Any longer and the movie would probably end up feeling like a joke doesn’t know where to end. And if there’s one thing I like, its a movie that doesn’t waste a second of your time.

I give Kung Fu Hustle a solid 8.5 out 10

*Its on Netflix BTW, just in case you were wondering

Tyler the creator- “IGOR” Album Review

IGOR Pink Album Cover
Lets get right to the point, IGOR is a great album that portrays heartache, growth, anger and love.

But most importantly, it just shows just how much effort and passion Tyler has put into evolving as an musical artist, producer and writer.

Basically: ITS A BANGER!!!!!

The album starts with the track “IGOR’S THEME”, which F@#KING SETS THE TONE OF ALBUM PERFECTLY. I could honestly imagine this song playing in the background of a future Jordan Peele movie. Its very eerie yet funky, with foreboding lyrics, letting you know:

IGOR AINT MESSING AROUND WIT YA

Right after that track, were brought into possibly the most hyped song of the album: “EARFQUAKE”
A surprisingly earnest yet sharply produced song about what else: Heart Ache

On first listen, I didn’t think much of it. Yet since the album dropped, I’ve found my Black Ass humming “YoU my make Earfquake!!” to myself almost everyday. You know the song is fire when you cant even control yourself from singing it. A surprisingly good appearance by PLAYBOI CARTI of all people elevates the track as well.

From that track on the album tells a story of what I would call a strong yet toxic relationship.
A relationship that almost sounds doomed to fail, yet it doesn’t make it any less sad or heartfelt.I would hesitate to call this even call this a rap album, even though Tyler does spit a few HOT lyrics on some the tracks. But Tyler’s singing and Synth-funk beats are the star of the show. My absolute favorite track being “New Magic Wand”.

YO. SON. I. LOVE. THIS. SONG! Some fire emojis would be very appropriate here.
A track that has a grimy yet slick beat with some cold blooded lyrics. Seriously if you were only to listen to one track from this project. “New magic Wand” is hands down the one to check out.

Its hard to believe that just a decade ago, Tyler The Creator released his debut Album BASTARD.
A moody, conceptual, BORDERLINE horrorcore rap album that was both brilliant and slightly disturbing. If you were to listen to BASTARD first and then listen to IGOR, you would see just how MUCH Tyler has grown and matured.

I give this album a “fire emoji” out of 10

-James

FAVORITE TRACKS:
NEW MAGIC WAND
A BOY IS GUN
EARDQUAKE
WHATS GOOD
PUPPET

Well I finally did it….

Not that anybody was really anticipating this, but I finally have a website where can I just crank out my eclectic thoughts on pretty much anything.

Movies, Music, Tech, Games, Comics, how terrible but wonderful city life is.

IM GETTING INTO EVERYTHING

I created this site because frankly…. I think too much. That’s not some humble brag or me attempting to establish intellectual dominance.

I’ll save that for later.

No, just in general my brain just never shuts up and can never stay focused on one thought alone. Always yammering away on some wild opinion, random thought or stupid idea. When you have a boring desk job, unlimited internet access and an active imagination, you are definitely going to be just a ball of anxious ideas.

Even now as I start type this introduction post, I have a million ideas for what I want to post, but for now lets just take it nice and slow like a terrible new wave band.

If your reading this from when I first posted or perhaps years later:

Thanks for giving me the time of the day.