Films I Saw In November 2019

Films I Saw is a self explanatory monthly column dedicated to cataloging each and every film I saw within that month. Each film will be given a grade and a mini review.


Nov. 1—White Dog (1982)

In an attempt to prove that hate can be unlearned, a black trainer (Paul Winfield) risks life and limb trying to reprogram a vicious dog that’s been raised to kill black people. For a film that was buried almost immediately upon release, White Dog is surprisingly deep. Skating the line between exploitation and soap box melodrama, the film tackles a bunch of social issues without ever feeling like a PSA. Even though its message is pretty clear without a shade of ambiguity (the ending is pretty much the director looking at the camera yelling “DO YOU GET IT?”), the topic must’ve been too controversial for studios to handle because they ripped it out of theaters and threw it in a vault for years and years. Which just means it was light years ahead of the curve. White Dog is an entertaining drama/horror that’s more relevant now than it was in ’82.

Grade: B


Nov. 2—The Brain (1988)

A scientist cum televangelist (David Gale) is using a giant brain to try and take over the world through mind control and the one who can stop him is a high school fuck up with a penchant for pranks. The Brain is a ridiculous chunk of NOES inspired cheese that is just entertaining enough to keep your interest. There’s far too many chase scenes but the weird tone and well designed dream sequences are enough to earn it its cult status.

Grade: C


Nov. 3—The Ultimate Warrior (1975)

The last humans on Earth are forced into gangs after a super virus wipes out most of humanity. A peaceful gang led by Baron (Max Von Sydow), hires a mysterious stranger (Yul Brynner) to transport some seeds to help colonize more of the world but an opposing faction led by the sinister Carrot (William Smith), wants the seeds for themselves. One of the most disappointing post apocalyptic movies ever, The Ultimate Warrior has so much going for it but it fails to deliver in almost every regard. The costumes look cheap, the action scenes are poorly choreographed, the cast is wasted and the entire thing looks like it was shot on studio backlots. The only good thing to come out of this film is the wrestler who named himself after the title. That’s it.

Grade: D


Nov. 4—Toys Are Not For Children (1972)

An emotionally stunted young woman (Marcia Forbes) who’s obsessed with her father (who abandoned her when she was a child), becomes a prostitute who specializes in “daddy” fetishes who, after a series of convoluted events, is reunited with her father who just so happens to also have a “daddy” fetish. You can guess what happens next. Toys Are Not for Children is a well made, competently acted exploitation film that hits every target it’s aiming at. Those targets just happen to be icky and gross. It’s the kind of deceptively “classy” film that tricks you into thinking it’s going to be a weird melodrama because of the lack of nudity and sex but turns out to be way more sleazy than any porno. The fact that this was made in the early 70s is a bit mind blowing to me. Or maybe I’m just shocked it exists at all.

Grade: C+


Nov. 5—Session 9 (2001)

A cleaning crew is hired to clear the asbestos out of an abandoned mental hospital that may or may not be haunted. Filmed at the notoriously haunted Danver’s state mental institution, Session 9 feels more authentic than almost any other film within the ‘haunted house’ genre. The film is dripping with atmosphere—from the unnaturally dark hallways, to the eerily silent rooms, to the passageways that feel like they go on forever—everything about the location (and the film itself) feels abnormal. The film has been compared to The Shining for good reason. In addition to both films being about the slow descent into madness, each film exudes an unparalleled level of creepiness and tension.  And this maybe sacrilege but Peter Mullen gives as good a performance in this as Nicholson does in The Shining. All in all, Session 9 is a worthy successor to Kubrick’s masterpiece.

Grade: B+


Nov. 6—Cheap Thrills (2013)

Two old friends (Pat Healy, Ethan Embry) have their life turned upside down when they meet an eccentric couple (David Koechner, Sarah Paxton) who pay them vast amounts of money to compete harmless dares but once the dares start escalating, the friends slowly start to turn on each other. One of the best directorial debuts of the decade, E.L. Kat’s Cheap Thrills is a pitch black comedy that gets increasingly more outrageous and tense with each dare but never crosses the line into unbelievability. The dares are just crazy enough to make you wonder whether they’ll do them but not crazy enough to end the game because once they refuse to do a dare, the game, as well as the movie, is over. The film does a great job of pushing right up against the line without crossing it. It’s a pretty messed up satire that forces the audience to wonder what they’d do in that situation whilst delivering an entertaining thrill ride.

Grade: B+


Nov. 7—The Silent Partner (1978)

A bank teller (Elliott Gould) accidentally learns that his place of business is about to be robbed when he finds a discarded hold up note on one of the bank’s counters. Instead of informing the police, he decides to let his bank get robbed so that he can pocket some of the money but when the thief (Christopher Plummer) finds out he was short changed, he immediately suspects the teller, which leads to a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. If it wasn’t for the pointless romantic subplot that grinds the film to a halt every time it pops up, The Silent Partner would be a near perfect crime thriller. Gould and Plummer are in peak form as two warring criminals who’s battle of wits is exhilarating as it is unpredictable. Plummer is a true psychopath who may not match Gould in the smarts department but easily trumps him in insanity. He’s not afraid to go all the way (there’s a decapitation scene in this that’s one of the most grisly things I’ve ever seen). Their performances, along with an incredible jazz score and a tight script by Curtis Hanson makes The Silent Partner a truly underrated thriller.

Grade: C+


Nov. 8—The Lighthouse (2019)

Two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson) try to maintain their sanity while tending to a lighthouse on a remote island in the 1890s. Much like how Tarantino’s films are a cinematic patchwork of the director’s influences, The Lighthouse is everything Eggers has ever loved or was inspired by, thrown into one giant pot. The film feels like Kubrick doing Bergman doing H.P Lovecraft. Shots linger on images far too long, the pace is glacier, nothing is ever explained and the sound design and aspect ratio are designed to make you claustrophobic and annoyed, which is a good thing. This film’s idea of answering a riddle, is to provide the audience with an even crazier riddle. Since the meaning behind the events of the film are up for interpretation, I don’t believe it’s a spoiler to say that the film juggles at least five or so explanations. The main characters could both be dead and are now in purgatory or hell, they could be the same person, there could be a force within the lighthouse that’s driving them mad or it could just be a tale of insanity. There’s many ways to interpret this film and the fact that it supports them all, is just brilliant. This is a new master working at the top of his game.

Grade: A+


Nov. 9—Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)

A group of little people at a correctional facility erupt into anarchy. The debaucherous escapades that happened at a hotel full of little people during the making of The Wizard of Oz were so notorious, they have since become legendary. Those little actors tore that goddamn hotel apart so thoroughly, five decades worth of rock ‘n roll shenanigans have yet to top it. Their story was eventually turned into the comedy Under the Rainbow but instead of telling the real story or even an enjoyable fictitious one, they turned it into a Chevy Chase vehicle about Nazis and who gives a shit. All they had to do was make Caligula with little people but the producers were cowards. Cowards I say!

Herzog on the other hand, is not a coward. Because he did make that movie but I really wish he didn’t. Even Dwarfs Started Small is a repetitive slog that’s nothing but endless scenes of little people laughing or little people poking a dead animal or little people throwing rocks at each other. There is no plot, the thesis is paper thin and obvious (we’re the little people!) and the acting is amateurish. For fans of early Harmony Korine only.

Grade: F


Nov. 10—Dersu Uzala (1975)

The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter. The bond of friendship between the two men might be the heart of Akira Kurosawa’s first and only Russian film but its titular character is definitely its soul. Dersu Uzala lives and dies by the strength of its titular character. Rumored to be the inspiration behind Yoda, Maksim Munzuk’s portrayal of a nomadic hunter with bizarre superstitions, is nothing short of a revelation. At first he’s dismissed by the soldiers accompanying the explorer but over time, they begin to respect him.

Even going so far as to risk their lives for him. A perfect stranger they had only met a month previous was so beloved, they were willing to die to protect him. And you buy it because by that point in the story, you’re willing to do the same thing. And that’s all due to his overwhelming charm. He exudes likability out of every pore. Until the third act, when he goes through a bit of a character change. A certain moment happens late in the film that fundamentally changes who Uzala is and forever will be. The film begins as a movie about a fake family (the explorer and the hunter) but eventually turns into a drama about isolation. It, like every other Kurosawa film, should not be missed.

Grade: B+


Nov. 11—The Black Cauldron (1985)

The Black Cauldron is the perfect example of what happens when Disney deviates from their patented formula. The lead is not a princess, there are no cute animal sidekicks and it isn’t a musical. On top of that, unlike their previous films that were adapted from folklore or short stories, The Black Cauldron is a five part fantasy series with tons of mythology and world building. The film tries to condense the first two parts into one movie and it just doesn’t work. Nothing is properly explained, character motivations are non-existent, nobody has a backstory or any real depth and the animation is sub par. This is Disney at their most creatively bankrupt. At the time, that is.

Grade: D-


Nov. 12—The Human Tornado (1976)

Dolemite flees to California, where he helps Queen Bee and her Kung Fu prostitutes battle a local gangster. It’s a shame that Rudy Ray Moore’s first film was the one to brand him a cult figure because as fun as Dolemite is, The Human Tornado and its follow up (which I’ll get to in a minute) are infinitely better. It’s better appreciated now but at the time, Dolemite was lumped in with other “so bad, it’s good” films like Plan 9 From Outer Space and Troll 2 due to its technical problems, poor acting and amateurish direction which was both good and bad.

It obviously helped the film get fans (even if ironically) but it did nothing for his latter films. Plan 9 From Outer Space’s reputation might’ve made Ed Wood the worst director ever but has anyone seen any of his other films? People who loved Dolemite for its cheapness, unfortunately only loved Dolemite. They had no interest in looking past that film which is why The Human Tornado and Petey Wheatstraw are still relatively unknown.

There’s a reason Dolemite is My Name spends a good chunk of its running time recreating this film instead of the film it’s actually about. Because it’s wilder, funnier and crazier in every way. The acting is better, the script is funnier and the direction is actually competent. This is the Empire Strikes Back to Dolemite‘s A New Hope.

Grade: B


Nov. 13—Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil’s Son In Law (1977)

After being murdered by his rivals, Petey Wheatstraw is resurrected with magic of his own but only under the condition that he marry the devil’s daughter, the world’s ugliest woman. Petey agrees but immediately reneges and must use his wits and newfound magic to try and get out of the contract. I just compared the jump in quality from Dolemite to The Human Tornado to that of Empire Strikes Back to A New Hope and while that’s 100% true, the jump in quality from The Human Tornado to this, makes both look like old school Flash Gordon serials compared to Star Wars. It’s a huge leap, is what I’m saying.

Petey Wheatstraw is absolute madness from the first frame to the last. The film shifts tones so fast and unexpectedly, it’s almost whiplash inducing. It has no problem going from a Benny Hill-esque fast forward scene to a kung fu fight to a stand up act all in the space of five minutes. You’ll see a child get killed and then 10 minutes later, watch Petey use his magic to turn a giant fat woman into a skinny model. It’s insane and I love every minute of it.

Grade: B+


Nov. 14—Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

Jiminy Cricket hosts two Disney animated shorts: “Bongo,” about a circus bear escaping to the wild, and “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” a retelling on the famous fairy tale with Mickey, Donald and Goofy. The 40’s were a hard time for Disney. All of their top animators were busy giving the Nazis what fer during WW2, so the animation department was pretty much left with apprentices and interns.

So that entire period is nothing but thinly veiled travelogues ala Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros or anthologies like Make Mine Music, Melody Time or Fun and Fancy Free. I hesitate to judge these films too harshly since their backs were against the wall and they really couldn’t do much but having said that, they’re really not that good with Fun and Fancy Free being the worst of the lot. It’s two cartoons (the first of which goes on forever) broken up with some vaudeville shtick by Edgar Bergen and his puppets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. It’s not terrible but goddamn is it forgettable.

Grade: D


Nov. 15—Take Shelter (2011)

Playing it 100% straight (unlike whatever the hell Aronofsky was doing with Noah), Take Shelter is a reinterpretation of the Noah story from the Bible set in modern times. Or is it? Jeff Nichols’ sophomore effort is an ambiguous psychological thriller that keeps you guessing till the last frame. Is Michael Shannon’s character in the throes of early onset schizophrenia or is he suffering from prophetic visions of an apocalyptic storm? Watching him slip further into madness, either justifiable or not, is heartbreaking. The film does a masterful job of putting you in the shoes of both Shannon and his wife (played by Jessica Chastain). Since he never stops being a good husband or father, you never lose sympathy for him, no matter how unpredictable he becomes but you also feel for her because she’s losing her husband to insanity and doesn’t know if she should stay and help or take her child and run. It’s a brilliantly acted family drama that slowly devolves into a horror film that has a killer third act.

Grade: B+


Nov. 16—Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Loosely based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, Jojo Rabbit tells the story of a young boy who’s forced to confront his blind nationalism and personal biases when he discovers his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in the attic of their house. Billed as an “anti-hate satire” Taika Waititi’s WWII comedy gets major points for having the balls to not only include Hitler as one of the main characters but to set a comedy in Germany during the height of the war and while both are commendable, I wish it pushed the realism a bit more. There’s some shockingly dark scenes in the film but it lacks the courage to depict the truly ugly. I also wasn’t a fan of the imaginary Hitler. I thought Waititi was fun in the role and I get what the film was doing with him but it always felt jarring to me. I didn’t think he was funny and distracted from the real meat of the story. Jojo Rabbit is a well meaning albeit flawed satire that lacks any real bite but is well made and entertaining enough to justify its existence.

Grade: B


Nov. 17—Shoplifters (2018)

A morally complex film that ponders what means to be a family and how right and wrong can coexist in the same action, Shoplifters is a warm hug of a story that straight up sucker punches you in the heart. A family of thieves use their shoplifting skills to take care of a child they find abandoned outside in the cold. They kidnap her in order to give her a better life but as good intentioned as they are, they did steal her and they also immediately start teaching her to steal, so they’re on shaky moral ground, which plays into the themes of the film. When is thievery justified and does blood alone make you family?

The family at the center of Shoplifters has a stronger bond than almost any I’ve ever seen in film and yet they’re not technically a family by the strict definition of the word and the little girl’s “real” family are garbage human beings but they did birth her, so does that make them more of a “family” or less? The questions the film raises aren’t exactly new but the film succeeds because it is so clearly passionate about what matters most: the characters. The characters are so well written and likable, you don’t care if they’re right or wrong, you just want to see them together. Which creates a sense of overwhelming dread that something terrible will happen to tear them apart. By the end, you realize the film was an emotional assassin who’s only target was your heart.

Grade: A+


Nov. 18—Drug War (2012)

After getting busted in a raid, a drug kingpin is forced to team up with his nemesis, a no-nonsense police commander, to infiltrate a drug network made up of former accomplices and family members as part of an undercover operation. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was the third part of a larger trilogy nor would it surprise me if the original cut was twice as long but was cut down to the most essential parts because there’s so much history on the periphery of every scene. We have never met these characters in any other film but within ten minutes, you feel as though you have. The animosity and hatred between the two leads is palpable. You get immediately that this is an uneasy alliance that neither wants to be apart of but you understand their motivations. One is bound by duty and the other is terrified of dying (producing 50 grams of drugs is death sentence in China) which is all the ingredients the film needs to create a tense filled action drama. Drug War is The Departed but on crack.

Grade: B+


Nov. 19—The Invisible Guest (2016)

The Invisible Guest might be the best whodunit thriller since The Usual Suspects. The set up is simple: a witness preparation expert makes a successful entrepreneur accused of murder, recount the events that lead up to the bizarre murder of his lover but the case itself is a bit trickier. The accused wakes up in a hotel room, locked from the inside, along with his lover, who was murdered while he was unconscious. No one saw anyone leave the room and the windows have a special key to open. If someone did kill her, how did they do it and why? Every fifteen or so minutes, there’s a new revelation that makes you rethink everything that came before. The film makes you flip flop between thinking he’s innocent to knowing he’s guilty so many times, you’re bound to get whiplash. It’s twisty turvy pulpy murder mystery that’ll keep you guessing till the very end.

Grade: B+


Nov. 20—Who Killed Captain Alex? (2010)

Within the last decade, Nabwana I.G.G. has produced around 15 action films, which doesn’t sound impressive when compared to Takashi Miike or Johnnie To but the fact that he literally does everything (minus acting) on every film he makes, makes his accomplishments far more awe-inspiring. Especially considering his working conditions. He lives in such an impoverished part of Africa, that he’s forced to film in sewers and all of the props are made of wood. On paper, everything about his films scream terrible but what separates his work from other no-budget directors, is the passion. You can clearly tell that he and everyone involved, loves making movies. I have no idea what Who Killed Captain Alex was about but at no point did I care. I was watching a group of “actors” have fun, which in turn, made me have fun. It has the same “hey, let’s put on a show” type energy that Rudy Ray Moore and early Robert Rodriguez’s filmography has. At the end of the day, the film is tons of fun and I hope I.G.G. continues to make films for a very long time.

Wakaliwood forever.

Grade: B


Nov. 21—Frances Ha (2012)

An aspiring dancer moves to New York City and becomes caught up in a whirlwind of flighty fair-weather friends, diminishing fortunes and career setbacks. Greta Gerwig is the unofficial queen of hipster mumblecore and Frances Ha might be her Citizen Kane. For some, this film will be a pretentious try hard filled with annoying characters and for others, it will be a painfully realistic portrayal of that period of life when you’re no longer a teen but just young enough to still think you’re not an adult. And how fast real life can come punch you in the mouth. All it takes is one event (her best friend moves out of the apartment) to send Frances’ life spiralling out of control. The bulk of the film is spent on her trying to deal with every problem that comes her way (some of which she causes herself) and while it’s always fun watching her try to navigate through all the bullshit, I just wish I cared a bit more. I’m also not a fan of that rapid fire dialogue Gilmore Girls uses. The rat-a-tat-tat back and forth grates on my nerves and it’s all over this film. It’s a minor quibble but I think I would’ve liked the film more if it didn’t have it.

Grade: C+


Nov. 22—Knives Out (2019)

Clearly inspired by the work of Agatha Christie, Knives Out is an entertaining homage to the murder mysteries of old. There’s a dead body, everyone associated to the deceased has motive (except the teenager son, who serves no purpose) and at the center of it, is an over the top detective (a career best Craig) who was hired by a mysterious benefactor to determine whether it was a suicide or murder. It’s all standard boiler plate murder mystery shit but it’s how Johnson uses those cliches and tropes that separates it from everything else. The red herrings are all great, the film doesn’t cheat the reveal (all the clues are there from the beginning) and the final reveal is satisfying. You’ll laugh, you’ll exclaim AH-HA! at least a dozen times and then you’ll immediately head to Amazon to buy a sweater that looks even remotely close to the one Chris Evans wears in this.

Grade: B+


Nov. 23—Cold War (2018)

An emotionally cold romance set during the cold war, Cold War is nothing if not true to its title. Taking place over 20 years, the film follows the on and off (and on again) romance between a music director (Tomasz Kot) and a singer (Joanna Kulig) that’s equal parts Chico & Rita and Romeo Juliet. It’s a doomed love affair, not because of timing or circumstance but because one half of the duo is irrevocably broken. There’s absolutely no reason why they can’t be together other than the fact that she can’t commit. They spend 20 fucking years in and out of a relationship for seemingly no other reason than she just doesn’t want to. Until she does at the very end, which culminates in what should be a real tear jerker of a moment but left me pissed off. The love affair was trash but goddamn was it a gorgeous looking movie.

Grade: C+


Nov. 24—The Fits (2015)

An 11-year-old tomboy (Royalty Hightower) ditches her pursuit of boxing for a popular dance troupe. As she struggles to fit in, she finds herself caught up in danger as the group begins to suffer from unexplained violent seizures. An enigmatic slice of adolescent alienation, The Fits takes a child’s overwhelming need to fit in and turns it into a mild horror movie. Once her fellow dancers start developing seizures, everyone starts panicking until panic turns to curiosity which leads to jealousy. Why did she get it and not me? And what will happen if I do get it? It’s a unique coming of age film that’s half mood piece and half surreal mystery.

Grade: B


Nov. 25—Leave No Trace (2018)

Unable to connect to the world or anyone in it, a solider with PTSD (Ben Foster) chooses to live the survivalist lifestyle with his 13 year old daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) but when she’s spotted by a hiker, their entire existence is upended. Leave No Trace is a beautifully restrained, minimalist character portrait of a unique family dynamic. There’s is an ecosystem based on fear (if they get caught, they get separated) and respect (they work as a team, never bickering or arguing) but as the daughter sees more of the world, the life the father worked so hard to create for themselves, starts to come undone. A lesser movie would’ve made the father character an overbearing villain but it’s clear that he’s a victim of his own good intentions. He knows he’s damaged and he knows this isn’t the right way to raise his daughter but he just can’t conform. He’s a lone wolf raising a wild stallion who yearns to be free. Once her desire for environmental stability pushes up against his disdain for civilization, the film creates a dramatic fork in the road which leads to a powerful conclusion that is as heartbreaking as it is inevitable.

Grade: B+


Nov. 26—The Irishman (2019)

Scorsese has made a handful of gangster films over the course of his career but none as mournful and contemplative as The Irishman. Goodfellas was a gangster film about how great it was to be a gangster. Casino dealt with the minutia of being a gangster and Mean Streets was about two kids trying to work their way up within a crime family. Each film focused on a different aspect of criminal life and each film had its own energy. Mean Streets was shot like a documentary, Goodfellas moved like a bullet and Casino was methodical. The Irishman is slow because its characters all end up old and slow and it’s long because it’s covering 50 years of a man’s life. It doesn’t have the same energy as his previous films because Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) isn’t that kind of gangster. He’s just a hitman doing a job. It’s never glamorous, it’s never exciting, it’s never fun. He does what he has to do. Including killing his best friend. The Irishman is Scorsese’s Unforgiven. It’s about an old man living with regret over the things he did and the things he shouldn’t have done. He has to live with the fact that everything he did was ultimately pointless because time itself was a better hitman than he could ever be. With top notch performances across the board (Pesci better get nominated or so help me…) and pretty great CGI (it becomes less noticeable as it goes) the film is another near masterpiece from the greatest director of all time.

Grade: A


Nov. 27—Ida (2013)

A young nun (Agata Trzebuchowska) in training (a nun-ette?) goes on a road trip with her aunt (Agata Kulesza) to find out where her family was buried during the war. Ida is a beautiful film about identity, heritage, faith, religion and the weight of past sins….that did absolutely nothing for me. I loved the aunt and how emotionally complex she was and I thought the film looked amazing but there was nothing about it that kept me engaged. It doesn’t have much of a story but what it does have, it handles well. It’s a well made film that I don’t regret watching but I seriously doubt any part of it will stick with me.

Grade:  C+


Nov. 28—A Hard Day (2014)

A corrupt cop accidentally kills someone with his car which sets off a series of unpredictable events that culminates in a bloody showdown. The best way to experience A Hard Day is to go in as cold as possible. Don’t look up a plot synopsis, don’t watch a trailer, don’t even finish this write up. Just find it, rent it and be prepared to be blown away. I have never seen a film that  just keeps escalating as much as this film does. Every solution brings with it another problem. And another. And another. It’s like a constant rumble from Mount Vesuvius. It builds and builds and builds until the end, when it finally explodes into a eruption of violence and death. Hollywood take notes, this is how you make a thriller.

Grade: B+


Nov. 29—American Honey (2017)

A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits. God, I really wish I liked this film more. Don’t get me wrong, outside of its unnecessarily long runtime, there’s nothing technically wrong with the film. It’s well acted, well directed and was pretty entertaining throughout. It just lacked that “thing” that separates good movies from great movies. Every time the film sets up some potential danger (a group of shady looking cowboys, a menacing looking oil rig worker, a lonely truck driver, etc.) the film immediately deflates the danger by having the threat be harmless.

The film clearly wants you to be nervous in those scenes because it’s purposefully drawing out tension by having the characters act all weird and shit but nothing ever happens. It wouldn’t be an issue if it was just once but the film does it multiple times. I mean c’mon, a guy propositions her for sex, she says yes, he takes her to a deserted oil field and then looks at her while he masturbates. I’m not saying I wanted to see a rape scene but you can’t frame the scene as a potential rape scene and then have the guy do nothing. They don’t even have sex for money. I just wanted a bit more realism. Oh and the film has no ending. It just stops.

Grade: C+


Nov. 30—A Touch of Sin (2013)

A loosely connected anthology made up of four stories all involving random acts of violence. A Touch of Sin is one of those films that feels like it’s about something but I have the feeling that even if I got the metaphor, I still wouldn’t have cared. It’s a beautifully shot, well acted drama that’s never boring but nothing about it really landed with me. The first and third stories were interesting but neither had a satisfying ending. The second story had the most promise but nothing happened in it and the last one has a great set up but terrible ending. It’s a well made mixed bag that offers very little outside of its visuals and performances.

Grade: C+