Thursday, April 30, 2020

That was so graphic!

You guys, I don't even remember her name. Hell, I'm not even sure she had a name. Everybody in the neighborhood called her Granny. Uh huh.

Now this is Texas in the early eighties, mind you, essentially what normal society was like two hundred years ago. Granny was a tiny, badass lady that was not to be f--ked with, even though my older brothers would often try. Eventually, those pricks would age out, and I would be the only kid from my family sent two streets up to sit with Granny. Even when I was too old, I had to go. Go up there and share a frozen pizza with her, Mario. I mean, she was your babysitter.

Even though she was an older, more experienced woman, looking back, I never wanted to kiss her.
But to her credit, I was never really afraid that she would kill me.

In fact, I was afraid she might die.

Unfortunately for Cole, the main dude in McG's wicked Netflix romp The Babysitter, the lady watching him ain't gonna die anytime soon. In fact, she's pretty much the f--king Terminator. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, at least not initially, as Bee (Samara Weaving, rocketing to the top of my favorite people alive list) is not only the best babysitter alive, she just might be the baddest bitch on the planet, too.

It all starts so innocently, as Cole (the incredibly chill Judah Lewis) wants to lament the fact that he's way too old to have a sitter, but Bee's simply too f--king cool. And when Cole's parents (the deduo of Ken Marino and Leslie Bibb!), head to a hotel for the weekend [to have sex, naturally], Cole's actually pretty stoked. Or he would have been, if Bee didn't absolutely murder the f--k out of some dude she brought over.

Wait, what?

Yeah, and worse, up next on her murder spree, is you guessed it, Cole of all people, as Bee and her cult need some pure-ass blood. Well, not ass blood-ass blood, I'm pretty sure the cephalic vein will do. And yeah, I looked that up, f--k off.

Monday, April 27, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Problematic Pussy (8)

I don't know about you, but things are starting to get weird around here. Life in quarantine has pretty much settled into life. I never considered myself as someone who was out there living life to the fullest, but goddamn do I miss the four or five things I used to do.

Luckily, I suppose, the cinema is still there, well, the home cinema, and it's odd how my perception of every onscreen interaction has changed. Generally, I just marvel at all the people. Like, look at these (maskless) a-holes. Just loitering about with no shopping agenda. 

But these two films? They have zero idea about social distancing. You find a stranger in the woods? Oh, girl, you leave his ass there and go home and bleach them hands. Space cat lands in your backyard? You shoot Garfield in his damn face and keep it moving. You ain't the Tiger King.

Like I said...starting to get real weird around here. Real weird.

FilmThe Beguiled (2017)
Runtime: 93 minutes    Rating: R
Audience: Me, Wife, Tom Nook
Status: Overwhelmed, nervous

We could show him some real southern hospitality.

I would have bet you twelve hundred dollars that I wasn't going to be into The Beguiled, mainly because Copolla's films haven't ever really been by my bag, but also because it looked like this remake would move with the speed of a southerner on a summer Sunday. Welp, let's just say I have never been so happy to be a top-shelf f--king idiot.

While most kids bring home a lost puppy or an abandoned baby bird, in The Beguiled a fine young lady brings home an enemy soldier. Even worse than those damned typical Yankee bluecoats, are the handsome ones straight from Dublin, who may or may not charm you with their piercing accents not to mention their gentle appreciation for nature, music and the virgin loins of a potentially underage girl. Wait, what? What the f--k?

Friends, maybe the one with Clint Eastwood is where it's really at, but I haven't seen the 1971 version so in that regard, f--k off with that shit. Let me tell you, straight up, I f--king loved this movie. For such a simple story with so few characters, it's an absolute rollercoaster of calamity. So much so, my heart almost stopped during the final act. Good thing it didn't, as my wife was all in on Animal Crossing, and likely would have tripped over my corpse after saving her progress, potentially injuring herself in the process. Crisis averted.

Yay: What makes a good woman, really? Young, flirtatious? Pretty, dependent? Slightly older, tall, can dutifully perform an amputation with household supplies? 
Boo: Even if he ended up being human garbage, I still had some love for Colin Farrell UNTIL HE THREW A F--KING TURTLE ACROSS THE ROOM.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Fine, you don't always have to eat your vegetables.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Animal Planet (7)

Shocking no one, there's not a lot of planning taking place at Two Dollar Cinema. Not a lot of coherence, either. During quarantine, the only thing I've done is to shorten and combine posts. Watch two movies, write one post. Simple enough, right? Right.

So, to try and challenge myself in some small way, I've told myself, see if you can connect the two films. Completely on accident, and without the slightest hint of calculated thought, I present you to the ultimate double-feature of...people turned into animals. Uh, unwillingly turned into animals, that is.

Film: Spies in Disguise
Runtime: 102 min   Rating: PG
Audience: Four began, two finished
Status: Giddy

I'm gonna science all over your face.

My younger brother, when he was a kid, would have readily told you Will Smith was his movie hero. My son, currently a little kid, would say the same thing about Tom Holland. Even if it's just their voices, having these two icons together in the same movie is nothing short of fantastic. Especially when the movie is so unrelentingly silly. 

Checking all the boxes of modern animated flicks, we've got a misunderstood kid with a heart of gold and, you guessed it, a dead parent. Walter's wicked smaht, and grows up to be the guy (way) behind the guy at a top-secret spy facility. Inadvertently paired with ace agent Lance Sterling, Walter's predilection for non-violence doesn't jive with Lance's fighting fire with fire approach, so the two were already at odds, um, before Walter turns Lance into an adorable pigeon.

Together they have to stop Ben Mendelsohn's Killian, a one-handed cyborg-ish dude determined to wipe out all undercover agents across the globe. Nothing in the script is all that unique until the pigeons enter the fray, and the movie takes off into a ridiculous romp, that should crack you up on more than one occasion. I found myself laughing consistently, and was stoked at how perfectly stupid some of the gags were. Oh, and that Jason Bourne reference? *chef's kiss*

Yay: The fat, naked boneless guy bit was a frickin' hilarious. Hahaha...jeez...I'm still laughing, in fact.
Boo: Yeah, I might be playing myself, but for some reason, I hate that DJ Khaled has a role here.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Yeah, bullets and explosions might get the job done, but have you tried kittens and glitter?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Regal's Revenge (6)

Back when movie theaters were an option, occasionally, and this isn't something I'm necessarily proud of, I wouldn't go. No, not in the obvious sense of not going-not going, more the idea of buying a ticket with the specific intention of doing something entirely different. While I'm sure that seems f--king stupid on many fronts (it is), hear me out. Regal Cinemas, my home away from home, often runs a promotion where if you see a certain number of films, you get a certain number of films. 

But, of course, you gotta see them all. See 4, Get 4. You see only three? F--k you and the horse you rode in on. Fine, you get a free small popcorn, but still. Anyhow, there were times when catching all four wasn't in the cards, so I'd grab a ticket and the head the f--k home. At least I'll eventually get to see it, right? Right.

Even if it totally sucks ass.

Okay, fine. That poster is moderately clever.
FilmCountdown (2019)
Runtime: 90 min   Rating: PG-13
Audience: Just me
Status: Not on my phone

It's just an app.

Countdown, to its credit, doesn't f--k around. We're less than two minutes in, and these college/high-school types are already dowloading the app that tells you the exact moment you're going to die. Now, if this were the eighties, we'd have already had a sex and/or shower scene, but what this film lacks in salaciousness, it makes up in brevity. And shockingly...brutality.

See, it's not really clear how you're going to die, just when, and if you somehow do something you shouldn't (for example, don't drive home with your clearly intoxicated boyfriend), you, and I wish I were kidding, violate the terms and conditions. So not only does the app predict your death, it also assumes you're a total f--king moron, entirely opposed to self-preservation. Though, the way we use our phones, that might not be such a leap.

Shit, speaking of leaps, even if you have zero interest in this movie, let me tell you, the first two deaths are tremendous. It's unclear why one would hit the ledge of their bathtub as if dropped from a f--king plane, but apparently, you can't avoid death...even if you totally did. Think Final Destination, minus all the clever shit that will eventually kill you. Here, you don't slip on the shampoo in the tub. You just get dropped on your head in the bathroom. FROM SPACE.

Yay: Push notifications are accompanied by the best worst sound ever. Like, might want to mute that.
Boo: Peter Facinelli plays Dr. Sullivan, a nice enough guy, until you give him a boner.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: One way or another, that phone is going to kill you.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: The Second Wave (5)

Remakes and sequels. Sequels and remakes. It's easy to complain about them, but damn near possible to ignore them. And it's not because that's all my theater has, dammit! (I have genuine nostalgia for this film-nerd douchery), clearly, as that argument hasn't left its house since mid-March. Not even for toilet paper and Raisin Bran Crunch.

No, the real reason I can't stop watching remakes and sequels, even when I have an infinite amount of original content, is it connects me to the past. Back when things were simpler, happier, and shockingly carefree. Yeah the jokes and effect might not age well, but Hell, neither did I. And if you're telling me I can kind of go back to the good ol' days for an hour or two?

Why wouldn't I?

Top: Ella Balinska dunks on Stewart
Middle: This ain't helping Picard become captain of anything
Bottom: It took me way too long to realize that's Jasmine
Film: Charlie's Angels
Runtime: 118 min Rating: PG-13
Audience: Dad w/ phone
Status: Tragically indifferent

Not mints. 

Wow, as much as I love the original goofy-ass McG version of Charlie's Angels, I honestly was a bit surprised at how little I gave a damn about this updated, Elizabeth Banks iteration. I'd be the first to admit that the Drew Barrymore flick hasn't exactly aged well, but at least is was fun. This time around the Angels have gotten younger, and a bit...classier, but at great cost. Cue Amy Dunne's Cool Girl monologue right

Fine, it's not all bad (nah, it is), but in an effort to make this seemingly for women, or at the very least, for girls, Banks and friends have tasked themselves with what just might be an impossible mission. I have no doubt that a story about a cadre of badass female spies could be heavenly (it's okay, I'll punch myself in the nuts for that one), but this ain't it, boss. Instead, it's a too serious, perhaps overly-complicated slog that should have been an incredibly slick, fast-paced romp. The new Angels aren't terrible (though KStew's jokes just might be), but the script and some (most) of the action scenes were (my God). Oh, and that dance scene...just...why?

Yay: The very end was soo good. No, not the part where Picard gets punched in the face, but after.
Boo: I might have been drunk, but did they really retrofit these Angels directly over the old ones?
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: If you're going to re-write history, might as well make it interesting.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: He's PISSED. (4)

The children have abandoned me.

The brightly-colored muttering goofballs from Animal Crossing have politely taken Violet. The basketball hoop, the PS4, and unfinished school-work have consumed Matthew. There is no longer any time to sit with Dad and watch a movie. So as a father, I press on. Alone.

What about your wife? She's gone. Long gone, in fact. In the daytime, she's glued to a monitor. At night, she's glued to a pillow. I'd love to watch something with her, but she can't (or won't) stay awake. So I press play. Alone. 

Without a wife and kids, what's a man have to live for? Two things, actually.

1. Death.
2. Destruction.

Top: the Black Skulls...Mid: The worst dick ever
Bot: Cage's Driver License Photo
Regrettably not picturedNic v. Voldo at the flaming car level
Film: Mandy
Runtime: 121 minutes   Rating: R
Audience: Dad, Cheddar Goblin
Status: Delirious

You exude a cosmic darkness.

Well, what in the exact f--k do we have here? Not only do I not remember putting on the old-school 3D glasses, it's a damn shame that both f--king lenses were RED. Fine, that probably didn't really happen, but at this point, I don't know what the f--k did.

Nic Cage stars in what I can only assume is a limited mini-series documenting two days in his actual life. He's trying to go about it quietly, till some Jesus freaks (and obvious future MAGA a-holes) kidnap and horribly execute his wife. In front of him. He (rightfully) snaps, builds a Final Fantasy-style giant axe, does some coke, and absolutely annihilates them. All of them. It's actually pretty goddamned straightforward, but I took some bad acid before pressing play and it looked trippy and borderline incomprehensible as f--k. Oh, that was just a little bit of paper you ripped out of your notebook? Well, it's probably this weed I'm smoking... 

Yay: I was going to go with Bill Duke, but in this film, we need revenge, and oh boy do we get it.
Boo: The final showdown! We had peaked way earlier on, right? Final bosses should be tougher.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Sometimes, a man's gotta have a drink and a scream before he puts his pants on.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Progress, not perfection.

His name is Mr. Nieves.

He's a pretty big guy, tall, built like a stone pillar, but quite possibly the nicest man you could ever meet. Which makes sense, because he's our guidance counselor, routinely dropping everything to help someone in need, perceived or otherwise. Whenever you see him, he's greets you with a firm handshake and a relaxed smile (though it's hard to lock down the shape of his mouth, as half of it is ensconced in the most epic of mustaches), and the two minutes you might spend with him are the best two minutes. 

So, obviously, he's a trained assassin.

Oh, that sounds ridiculous to you? Well, maybe you haven't been watching action movies since...well, forever. But I have, so I'm pretty sure the nice, older guy at your office could pretty much kill an entire army of angry foreigners without un-tucking his immaculately ironed dress shirt.

Late to the party, though arriving with an overwhelming sense of deja-vu, I recently checked out 2014's The Equalizer starring an always stellar Denzel Washington. Seemingly regarded with a certain fondness, and enthusiastically recommended to me by my cinematically joyless father, I'm not sure what took me so long. I mean, I love it when droves of people are murdered in the name of doing the right thing. All that senseless death? It's what gives me life.

Denzel plays Robert McCall, easily the best employee at a (not) Lowe's somewhere in Boston. When he's not making the world a better place one solid at a time, he finds himself at the local diner, having coffee and reading classic literature because of course he would. He has befriended a lady of the evening, and even if you know ol' Bob doesn't approve of this young girl's poor life choices, who is he to judge? But when some f--ker roughs her up, well, turns out it's buy-one, get-one on bad ideas.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Not merry, but it is lively.

I hardly remember new love. And those of you in it, or on the verge of it, in a way, I envy you.

That probably sounds like a terrible thing to say as a loving husband, but I've been with my wife for almost twenty years. That wild desire, that all-encompassing ridiculousness that consumed me (she was, if we're keeping score, way less...enthusiastic [initially?]) is long gone. It's not like we're miserable or anything, but part of the excitement of a new relationship - a new love - is that it's all so f--king mysterious. And that's either the fun of it, or the f--k of it. But my wife and I? 

Oh, we solved those mysteries years ago.

It's not that the thrill is gone, totally, but from where I'm sitting, forties love can't hold a candle to nineties love. As in seventeen-nineties love. And even if it could, it shouldn't. Because accidents happen and people could get, wait for it, burned.


While we both ponder whether we should keep writing/reading this post, let me just quickly say that Portrait of a Lady on Fire, from writer/director Celine Sciamma is unlike any film I've ever seen before. Granted, I don't watch a lot of, um, period pieces, nor do I watch a lot of French films. Oh, and I'm not into (mostly) silent films, either. But, hey, here we are.

Unbeknownst to me (and you, I hope), parents would commission artists to paint pictures of their daughters as means of marrying them off. It's not exactly romantic, or natural, but it sure is logical. And as the song goes, All you need is logic.

The exquisite Marianne (Noemie Merlant, current star of both my dreams and nightmares) is the portrait painter, and while female painters ain't exactly the routine, nothing about this gig is. Turns out, the subject, the impossibly aloof Heloise (the haunting Adele Haenel), isn't interested in sitting for the painting. At all. So, Marianne is gonna have to do this on the sly, basically stealing glances and locking them in her memory for a time when she can be alone. This is so much like how I rolled in high school, the whole remembering something specific and using it later, but I was working with a way different...canvas.