Film Reviews 2: “In the Loop”, “Inglourious Basterds” and 10 others…

dazed and confused richard linklater michelle burke

This fortnight: ‘The Baxter’, ‘Dazed and Confused’ (pictured above), ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’, ‘Fierce People’, ‘Flakes’, ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’, ‘Igby Goes Down’, ‘In the Loop’, ‘Inglourious Basterds’, ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, ‘Match Point’, ‘The Rules of Attraction’, ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ and ‘Wristcutters: A Love Story’.

This edition: the average rating is 6.39/10, and the film of the fortnight is “Wristcutters: A Love Story”.

The last fourteen days have been fairly eventful, but only if you consider watching fourteen films to be an event.  So here are more reviews from someone who knows very little about films.


The Baxter
(2005) – 6/10

Director/Writer: Michael Showalter
Starring: Michael Showalter, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Williams, Justin Theroux

the baxter Michael Showalter

A Are you in a relationship with someone who likes you, because you’re a decent person, but doesn’t love you? Then this could be the film for you.


Dazed and Confused
(1993) – 9.5/10

Director/Writer: Richard Linklater
Starring: Jason London, Rory Cochrane, Wiley Wiggins, Adam Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck

dazed and confused richard linklater parker posey

Because of watching Freaks and Geeks, Adventureland and Dazed and Confused, we can have fond memories of growing up in our American high schools back in the 70s. I had a great time. Do you remember when the Zepp were big?


Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
(1965) – 5/10

Director: Russ Meyer
Writers: Russ Meyer, Jack Moran
Starring: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard

faster pussycat kill kill russ meyer  Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard

This wouldn’t have seemed so ridiculous had I not seen it the day after Fierce People (reviewed next!). Three female dancers drive around and satiate their violent desires, and who can stop them? Slightly different from Spice World: The Movie, but you could probably argue they aim to deliver the same message. I don’t know. I’m just typing mindlessly right now.


Fierce People
(2005) – 3/10

Director: Griffin Dunne
Writer: Dirk Wittenborn
Starring: Diane Lane, Donald Sutherland, Anton Yelchin, Chris Evans, Kristen Stewart

fierce people chris evans

If two people watched this film in separate buildings and met up immediately afterwards, their first three words would be: “What the fuck?” Halfway, there is a Bridge to Terabithia moment when it becomes the bizarrest whodunit I’ve ever seen, but I can’t reveal anymore without ruining the plot. Although it’s tempting because I wouldn’t really recommend the film to anyone. Hint: it turns from Pride and Prejudice into Kill Bill.

At one point, characters unite to chant ‘Fuck! Kill! Fuck! Kill!’ repeatedly. The weirdness is unintentional; bad would probably be a better description.

It’s initially about the disparity of wealth, but I only notices the disparity of acting talent – Diane Lane outshines everyone as the cool, drug taking mother everyone wants as a next-door neighbour. It’s not completely the actors’ fault as the script is far from perfect; Chris Evans (the actor, not the DJ) can’t be blamed for being unable to convincingly deliver the line “You gave him by place on the balloon!” as his explanation for why he had to commit male rape on a fourteen-year-old boy. Oh no, I just gave away the ending!

“Why? Why did you do it?”
“You gave him my place on the balloon.”
“Get out of my sight.”


Flakes
(2007) – 6/10

Director: Michael Lehmann
Writers: Chris Poche, Karey Kirkpatrick
Starring: Aaron Stanford, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Lloyd

flakes 2007 zooey deschanel cereal

Flakes was only ever shown in one cinema and it only made $778, so I don’t know how I ended up watching it. The story is about two cereal cafés at war with each other. That’s the plot. Nothing else. There’s a bit of relationship trouble between the main couple, but the tension’s almost non-existent. They don’t even split up at any point. The film is actually about two cafés that only sell cereal trying to outsell each other. I can’t repeat myself anymore times – that’s actually the plot.

Christopher Lloyd has a small part where he plays a similar character to the Back to the Future films, but without the time machine or scientific knowledge. And when you think harder about what that character must be like, it actually seems quite tragic. I hope Christopher Lloyd  is okay.


From Dusk Till Dawn
(1996) – 7/10

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, Salma Hayek

from dusk till dawn quentin tarantino salma hayek foot

For the first hour, it’s as if someone watched a Quentin Tarantino film and then decided to write their own Quentin Tarantino film. Except this time that person was Quentin Tarantino. I’m not sure why Tarantino had to act in it – I think the term might be ‘self-indulgence’?


In the Loop
(2009) – 8/10

Director: Armando Iannucci
Writers: Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, Jesse Armstrong, Tony Roche
Starring: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hallander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky

in the loop malcolm tucker chris addison peter capaldi

Gina McKee can walk.


Igby Goes Down
(2002) – 7/10

Director/Writer: Burr Steers
Starring: Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Susan Sarandon

igby goes down burr streets kieran culkin

Home alone. No, wrong brother.


Inglourious Basterds
(2009) – 8.5/10

Director/Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger, Michael Fassbender

inglourious basterds quentin tarantino diane kruger michael fassbender

Incorrectly spelt and almost incorrectly cast – apparently Adam Sandler was initially cast in Eli Roth’s role.


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
(2005) – 8/10

Director: Shane Black
Writers: Shane Black, Brett Halliday (short story)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan, Val Kilmer, Corbin Bernsen

kiss kiss bang bang shane black  Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is in love with itself, so it’s a bit like the guy at school who was really good at acting and loved himself because of it, but was funny so got away with it. Yeah, this film was like Andrew.


Match Point
(2005) – 7/10

Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Starring: Matthew Goode, Scarlett Johansson, Brian Cox, Emily Mortimer, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

2005 match point woody allen scarlett johansson scarjo tennis

In fifty years’ time, period dramas about this current decade will be like Match Point. It was wrong for Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson to have an affair in the film. Not because he’s married, but because they have the same face – they look like brother and sister. Anyway, Woody Allen responds to his critics who say he’s not funny anymore by producing a completely serious drama that is interesting for most of its time. It’s definitely the best film about tennis I’ve seen, although that’s me just paraphrasing that it was better than Wimbledon.


The Rules Of Attraction
(2002) – 4/10

Director: Roger Avary
Writers: Roger Avary, Bret Easton Ellis (novel)
Starring: James van der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Ian Somerhalder, Jessica Biel

the rules of attraction Shannyn Sossamon

It’s as if the director wanted to direct music videos instead, and does so within the film.


Vicky Cristina Barcelona
(2008) – 5/10

Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz

2008 vicky christina barcelona woody allen scarlett johansson scarjo rebecca hall

I’m fairly indifferent towards this, and I reckon Woody Allen felt the same way.


Wristcutters: A Love Story
(2006) – 9/10

Director/Writer: Goran Dukić
Starring: Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Leslie Bibb, Tom Waits

wristcutters a love story

I was not expecting to love this film so much. Sossamon resurrects her career from the above-mentioned The Rules Of Attraction in a kinda love story set in an alternate world where people go once they’ve committed suicide – a place just like Earth where everything’s the same, except a bit worse. After a bad break-up, Zia kills himself but later ends up on a road trip to find his ex-girlfriend who also killed herself. Along the way, he meets a hitch-hiker who wants to find ‘the people in charge’ as her overdose was accidental, not suicide. I’ll stop talking because I realise that I am not making this film sound that great, but it really is and is my film of the fortnight. Go see it!

Follow @halfacanyon for more. Unfollow @halfacanyon for less.

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About Nick Chen

26-year-old journalist who's written for places like Total Film, Sight & Sound, Little White Lies, Complex, SFX Magazine, Dazed and Confused, Grolsch Film Works, London Calling, Vice, and a bunch of other places. Why pencils have razors. Based on a book. Screenwriter. Buzz word. London. Twitter: @halfacanyon. Feeling pullovered apart by clothes horses. Lesser known Olsen brother. Multiple instances of words misused contemporaneously.
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