Two Cars, One Night ~ Short Film

A short sweet film taking place in the car park of a bar. What are the kids doing in the car alone? What are the parents doing in the bar? Doesn’t matter because the majority of this story takes place between one of the boys in one car and the lonely teenage girl in the next car.

If you’re looking for a film that blows the Bechdel Test out of the water, this may not be the one for you. On the other hand it is from one of the creative geniuses behind What We Do in the Shadows and it is a testament to his ability to get a good performance out of kids, which isn’t as easy to do as some aspiring filmmakers might think.

Growing up, I remember many encounters with other children that only lasted a few moments and had more meaning than some of my longer lasting relationships. This film reminded me of those encounters and made me long for those moments again.

You can probably watch the film on demand or on Youtube but I’m going to post a link to the film’s website on the off chance that you want to show some support to the artist and crew behind the camera.

Two Cars, One Night

The Brokenwood Mysteries

If you’re like me and you suddenly feel the need to live in another country, but you can’t afford the plane ticket, the passport, or have the unique skills required to emigrate, Brokenwood Mysteries may be the perfect escape for you.

Set in New Zealand, Brokenwood hits all the necessary check marks to qualify it as a cozy murder mystery. Billed as the New Zealand Midsomer Murders, it actually does something that Midsomer  hasn’t done of late: It is to allows the viewer to solve the crime.

As you’re watching, a lot of the clues are things the viewer will see before the detective. If you get a special kick out of seeing whether your theory was the correct one, Brokenwood will provide that fix.

The dialect and accent may be a bit strong for some viewers. There’s no learning curve, really, you just have to be able to listen and maybe hit the rewind button once or twice to make sure you’re not missing anything.

A strong female detective helps to solve the crimes without falling in love with the male characters. A country music soundtrack provides much of the background noise. And the investigations are believable, without any evidence of the ever present “Sherlock Scan” that pervades a lot of contemporary mystery series.

If you’re looking for something new to fill in the gaps between Midsomer Murders and George Gently, consider checking out The Brokenwood Mysteries.

Good Behavior, My Latest Guilty Pleasure

When I first saw A Winter’s Tale with Colin Farel and I realized the woman he was interested in was Jessica Brown Findlay of Downton Abbey, I was excited. Then I saw that her character in this movie is the daughter of a wealthy and influential family who dies in bed after a dramatic moment, leaving the other characters in the room emotionally shattered. This is not a dig at her acting ability, but if she left Downton looking for a change of pace, it wasn’t a dramatic leap.

Enter Michelle Dockery. Her new character in Good Behavior couldn’t be a further departure from Lady Mary if Letty Dobash was butch lesbian. As is, she’s a con artist, thief, parolee walking the line, single mother estranged from her son and living in North Carolina. When she’s not battling addiction in all of its forms, Letty makes her living robbing hotel rooms, which puts her in contact with a contract killer named Javier.

After getting the drop on him and very nearly bungling one of his jobs, he decides she might be worth keeping around and press gangs her into working for him.

Michelle flat out owns the camera. The moment she walks onto the screen, she works hard to keep your attention. Whether it’s pulling off a convincing North Carolina accent and then switching voices and personalities to con her mark, or making a pipe and smoking (what I honestly hope is prop) crack, there’s never a moment in the show where her performance isn’t believable.

If you were a fan of Downton Abbey, Michelle busts out those same acting chops and then some. You won’t be disappointed. If you can watch Good Behavior on Xfinity, you’ll have the option of watching the explicit version. I’m not sure how much of a difference there is from the “not” explicit version, but I’d recommend it for anyone who is not squeamish.

The Hunted: Encore

How do you solve three needs at once? Especially if those needs happen to be action, vampires, and musicals? Well, until recently if you went to Youtube and searched for The Hunted, two of those needs were easy. But now that The Hunted’s newest affiliate has launched their newest series, we may yet have the much needed cure for the election epidemic that’s been giving us a case of the blues.

The Hunted is a mock-reality series that is best described as Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Cops. Created by Robert Chapin in 2001, the series has inspired other budding filmmakers to contribute content to the long reaching mythos.

In addition to the thousands of unique episodes created by filmmakers from as far away as South Africa, the four main affiliates are The Hunted: Tampa, The Hunted: Compton, The Chronicles of Kendall, and most recently The Hunted: Expulsion, which has now been fully rebooted in the form Encore.

Encore offers what fans of the series have already fallen in love with: Fast paced storytelling, expert stunt work and choreography, and the unique brand of humor that has been the hallmark of The Hunted. But now they’ve taken it up a notch by turning it into a musical.

As I said before, this is the much needed cure for what has been a long and bloody election. If you’ve been feeling the blues, The Hunted: Encore is your pill.

One Question I Have For Adam

Adam Ruins Everything is the show that has every know-it-all in America and around the world punching the air in self-righteous victory. This is the show we’ve all been waiting for. Finally, someone who isn’t afraid to call out the BS that I’ve only been writing about for the last two years on my other blog.

I’m also certain I’m not the only one who can immediately think of at least ten things I’d like Adam to cover. But at the moment, if there’s one thing I hope he tackles in a future episode, it would be the publishing industry.

Publishing, Self-Publishing, the works. I’m sure we all have misconceptions and Adam is the man to tackle it. Maybe we can learn why some authors seem to get the big paychecks while the rest of us have to sing for our supper.

Only Lovers Left Alive ~ A Super Short Review

I want to make a short addition to this super short review. Anton Yelchin had a very important part in this film. TVtropes.org calls his character, Ian, The Renfield. 

His performance was genuine and he put a lot of himself into the character. More so than any of his other roles, which I will write a larger piece about that will be similar in style to Discovering Tilda. For now, here is a reblog of my original review of Only Lovers Left Alive. 

Confessions of a Cart Jockey

There are movies that I inevitably wind up defending with my life, violently, if necessary. Only Lovers Left Alive is now one of those films.

Starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleton, Adam and Eve are two vampires who live on opposite ends of the world but are husband and wife to one another. Eve is closer to 5,000 years old whereas Adam is a more recent vintage and both characters have a fair amount of respect for life and accomplishment, even if Adam is suffering what appears to be an existential midlife crisis of sorts.

The reason I know I’ll end up defending the movie later on is that this is not two hours worth of “vampire porn”. By that I mean, this is no Twilight, but it’s not Lost Boys either. This is very much a vampire film for adults that is heavier on the story and the character…

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My Own Line-Up: Road Hard

This post requires a bit of context.

In 2003, I had what I consider to be the only roommate that will ever be known as my live-in best friend. We both rented rooms in the same house and almost every week, we watched The Man Show on his big (pre-HD conversion) television set.

Ordinarily, it’s not the sort of thing I would watch. It’s not because I was prissy or “goody-two-shoes”, it’s just because we didn’t always have cable growing up and I get uncomfortable watching certain things with people present. For example, my mother and I watched American Pie together. I couldn’t watch it any longer, but my mother laughed her ass off at the Jason Biggs pie scene.  To be fair my mother probably wouldn’t have liked a lot of the humor in The Man Show. It’s all a matter of perspective. And maybe watching The Man Show with another guy my age (thereabouts) made it a little less squirmy.

The Man Show was surprisingly well balanced. It wasn’t just one half hour of dick and fart jokes. (It was at least ten minutes, tops) And I’ll admit, that I joined in on the “Man Show Cheer” and chugged my, eh, soda. Look, I was 20 and I didn’t drink yet.

Eventually Carolla and Kimmel left and were replaced by the new hosts, Doug and Joe. And with no disrespect intended towards the latter two hosts, Adam and Jimmy were The Man Show. Doug and Joe just had big shoes to fill and something of the old show’s flavor got lost in the new format. The cheer at the end was stopped because someone actually got so drunk from guzzling their beer that they got sick, so that’s forgivable, but for the most part the Man Show just fizzled and died.

Life happened and I didn’t follow people as closely as I do now. I don’t know much about the intervening years following the end of the Man Show and Kimmel’s landing the late night talk show.

But I became aware of Adam Carolla’s podcast through one other comedian that I discovered in 2013. Steve Hofstetter. In fact, it was this well known clip that clued me in and after I listened to that episode, I started listening to High Confidence, Low Self Esteem.

Now, Steve Hofstetter had mentioned having a speaking part in Road Hard quite a few times. And you can even hear some more behind-the-scenes information about his scene here on Youtube.

So I will confess that a huge part of watching this movie was so that I could see Steve Hofstetter in what was basically a minute-long scene (that was awesome). But that’s fine, because Adam Carolla and everyone working on this movie put a great product together.

Road Hard is about a comedian who is basically struggling just to make ends meet, doing the comedy circuit on the road and really feeling the drag of trying to compete with the Youtube generation.

I definitely laughed at the comedy bits.Though I was confused at first, because I wasn’t sure if they were a part of the story, but it turns out that the scenes set in actual clubs (like Flappers) were real shows that Carolla put on for the Kick Starter backers who funded the movie.

The story of Bruce Madsen is funny and uplifting. I feel like Road Hard will be for comedians in any stage of their career what Clerks was for, well, Clerks. It’s funny, but it’s also down-to-earth, and it’s the realism of the story that gives it the sense of balance that the Man Show once had. The romance isn’t forced, the ending is well earned and believable, and over all, I’m glad to have finally gotten the chance to watch this movie that I’ve heard so much about.

Carolla drew from a lot of personal experience in the making of this story. He even describes it as being semi-autobiographical. The “Bro Show” is obviously the stand-in for The Man Show, complete with a post MS Kimmel stand-in, but it’s important to remember that this movie is a work of fiction.

The biggest sign that this movie is fiction is that the daughter chooses to go to Bennington College because it is “cheaper” than her other options. Yes, I know she gets a scholarship, but lets be real. That would buy her some pencils, tops.