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Monday, February 27, 2017

2017 Academy Awards: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Biggest Night in Hollywood! The Night The Stars Shine! The Night People Wear Suits and Dresses! The Night White People Dance Awkwardly! The Night That Never Ends! The Night Trump Thinks Is Overrated! The Night, The Night, The Night!

So we close the book on another culmination of cinema, and all the bitching and moaning, and whining and complaining that goes along with it. The 2017 Academy Awards was a decent enough event this year with buffoonery, self-indulgent jokes, a run-time that just wouldn't quit, and, oh yeah, some pretty nice moments as well. Here are just some of the Blondie, Angle Eyes, and Tuco moments from last night's BIG EVENT!

  
A good amount of movies got some love last night. While "La La Land" took home six awards (I mean they were up for 14), films like "Hacksaw Ridge," "Manchester by the Sea," shoot, even "Suicide Squad," yes, "SUICIDE SQUAD," took home an Oscar! Leonardo Dicaprio and "Suicide Squad" now have the same amount of Oscars. Martin Scorsese and "Suicide Squad" now have the same amount of Oscars. Al Pacino...well, you get it...

305 Standup! It was a big night for "Moonlight." Mahersala Ali took home the award for Best Supporting Actor, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney took home the Adapted Screenplay Award and after one of the most awkward moment's in Oscar history, took home the award for Best Picture (more on that later).

The Supporting Actor categories in this year's show were some of the best in years, and I wouldn't have been mad about anyone winning, but seeing Ali, and afterwards, Viola Davis winning, it was a sight. This is the first time that I can say I was with the choices 100%. However, there is an argument to be made whether Davis should have been in the Best Actress hunt. She dominated the screen-time in "Fences." But at that point, who do you bump out of Best Actress. My pick would have been Meryl Streep, who already stole a spot that should have been Amy Adams'. Oh well, either way, I'm okay with the decision.

  
I'm over this notion that an award show has to be an extension of another show. This horrible trend started with Ellen DeGeneres and her selfies, and giving food to celebrities, and just this idea that we have to cater to celebrities who are already being catered to at an awards show. Enough! But this year brought things to a new level where we brought in people off the street with their selfie sticks and just general weirdness. It's not bad enough that most celebrities don't know how to act around people who are normal, ie, the general population, and say what you will, but Denzel Washington looked relatively bored and had of the face of "are you fucking kidding me?!" But that's just me. Stupid skits tack on time to an already over-bloated show.

It's embarrassing that people who win awards can't be there to accept an award because of the "President of the United States." Asghar Farhadi won the award for Best Foreign Language Film but wasn't attending the Oscars because of what people don't like to call the "Muslim Ban," even though it actually is, let's call it what it really is people. While Roman Polanski can't attend because he's a pedophile, Farhadi couldn't attend because he wasn't allowed by Donald Trump....YOUR President, America! There were also some shades of 1973's Ceremony as well.


Me, personally, it's pretty ugly to keep beating a dead horse. Yes, Hollywood, we know, you don't like Donald Trump, but it gets to a point where, yes, we get it. The fact that big award shows keep giving this guy, Trump, a platform, and keep bringing him up, over and over again, BY NAME, is just stupid at this point. Tweeting him in the middle of the show with #merylsayshi is just dumb. How about this; concentrate on the actual show, and don't give this narcissist a platform. The people who accepted the awards did a good enough job bringing up substantive content without our "fearless" host having to stop the show dead in it's tracks to tweet an idiot. Sheesh!

The bungle that was Best Picture was an ugly clusterfuck of epic proportions. Sure, at the end of the day it made both "La La Land" and "Moonlight" look great, but everyone involved looked stupid, and at the end of the day it looks like it wasn't Bulworth's fault. But man, how do you mess that up, especially with tensions already at a boiling point. The knee-jerk reaction was, "oh Warren Beatty is a racist." No, just no. Other people thought it was a sick joke, and laughed and wrung their hands in the air over Beatty's screwy excuse (I was one of those people). It was just awkward and ugly, but a few handled it with grace under fire, and at the end of the day, winners emerged, but Jesus, how do you mess that up?!

Overall, still a fun show with some great people winning, and it's always fun to see people argue about who should have won, and "La La Land" is overrated; stop people, just stop. Being edgy to be edgy is so 2016. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Simplistic Interviews: Patricia Chica and Women In Horror Month

This month we were lucky enough to speak with Patricia Chica, director of the upcoming vampire film, "Las Cholas." Other works include, "A Tricky Treat," and "Ceramic Tango."

Chica is a Canadian filmmaker by way of San Salvador who's body of work is as interesting and complex as the women herself. She worked with the Soska Sisters again this year for another edition of their annual Women in Horror Massive Blood Drive video, which includes scenes from "Cholas."

Check out the interview and follow Patricia on any of her social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.









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Thursday, February 23, 2017

1999-2017: Here Lies The IMDB Message Boards


I think it's fair to surmise that we will all be less of a human race without the highly-vaunted IMDB Message Boards. It's where we all learned about film; which films sucked, which ones were awesome, why Anne Hathaway is the worst actress ever, oh wait, that's just me of course.

Anywho...

After years and years of some of the most mundane and asinine conversations in Internet history, it's all done. It's gone. Some of the most notorious Internet conversations have been taken down as the IMDB Message Boards have officially signed off for the last time on February 20th 2017.

Now...why is this so important. Well, it's not, but at the same time, it's an interesting decision by a huge website to erase years and years of comments. Sure, most of the message board fodder was nonsense and nothing you would take serious in anyway, but the bigger question is whether this is merely the beginning of the downfalls of message boards and comment sections online.

As it stands now, several videos on YouTube, especially ones that might be a little edgy or too open to debate, block their comments and only allow views...no comments. Yes, we all get it, people make mean comments and the trolling can be downright ridiculous, but isn't that simply what the Internet has turned into; a swath of trolls, flamers, and clickbaiters?

Now according to IMDB they will be replacing their message boards with something better in 2017, but where do you go beyond message boards. I mean you already Twitter and in this Millennial generation, most of people's attention span is gone even before 140-characters. With that being said, this post has probably already lost the reader's interest. Now commence to level four-letter words my way, tell me who you remind me of, and how I ruin every film that I've ever starred in.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love Is Strange: Five Films about Love...or Something Like That

Valentines Day...or Valentimes Day as some people like to call it. Have you heard people say Valentimes Day? Maybe it's time to start rethinking that public school education, oh, but don't worry, we won't have public schools for much longer.

Anywho, yeah, it's that time of the year again for your VD check-up, and that one you need last week at the clinic doesn't count. But we get it, you might not have that special someone to buy flowers, chocolates, or even that real cool chocolate-covered Fleshlight that you have on your Amazon Wish List that you might be saving for yourself one of these days (we've all been there). So if it;s another one of those February 14th, why don't you plop yourself in front of your TV, exit PornHub for a couple of hours, and check out one of these great films about love...or something in between.

Secretary

Who doesn't like James Spader! Before he played our favorite murderous AI-turned-physical-robot, Ultron, he played a lawyer with a love for S&M and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Think of it has a precursor to the "50 Sh(it)ades of Grey" series, only smarter, more heartfelt, and a better understanding of the culture.

Punch Drunk Love

A lot of people say this is Adam Sandler's best performance, and I have to say that I agree. While I'll give credit that "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore" were funny, mindless and dumb films and made his career and allowed him to build an empire of bad films that made him millions upon millions of dollars and a lucrative Netflix deal...now I have a stomach ache.

Anyway. forget about all that. "Punch Drunk Love" is a heartfelt off-beat romantic comedy that is a lost treasure from Paul Thomas Anderson's filmography. A brow-beaten Sander is very subdued and emotionally unstable but he proves himself to be sympathetic and a warrior for love and respect. Plus Philip Seymour Hoffman gives and over-the-top and great performance.

Warm Bodies

Do you prefer your love a little more...dead? Well, look no further than "Warm Bodies." Yes, this is basically "Twilight" with zombies, but there is just enough comedy, goofiness, heart to make this standout. Plus, you get in the mind of a zombie as they go about their day. It takes the self-awareness of "Zombieland" and adds a love story, that while silly, is still pretty fun. Plus, John Malkovich.

Audition

I know I've talked about this film a lot, and you might wonder why...it's pretty f*cked up. Yep, it's certainly f*cked up, but there is something about it that draws me to watching it more often than I probably should. It's essentially a Japanese version of "Fatal Attraction" with an even more not-so-happy-ending, ex-lovers in burlap sacks, creepy ballet teachers, but at its heart, its the story of a widower looking for a women to mend his broken heart...he just happens to get involved with a woman for a predilection for leather smocks and piano wire.

Sid and Nancy

If you're a fan of punk rock of the 1970s and all the debauchery from the era, notably when it surrounded the Sex Pistols, "Sid and Nancy," is for you. Gary Oldman becomes Sid Vicious, the band's bassist who was short on talent but long on violence, drug use and was essentially, as Johnny Rotten would put it later, "essentially a coat hanger on stage."

Not only is Oldman excellent, he should have at least been nominated for an Oscar, but the story itself is sad, brutal, funny, and everything in between. If you know anything about the fate of Sid and Nancy, you know where the self-destructive behavior leads, ultimately.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

(Ep. 83): SR Podcast - February 2017


FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

It's been a long time, we shouldn't have left you, without a podcast to step to....step to, step to...you get it; it's like that Aaliyah song.

We gave you a movie commentary to quench that junkie's thirst for our imminent return, but nothing can prepare you for this month's podcast that is sure to give you heart palpitations.

From the sultry tones of Al Pacino as he talks nipple clamps and spankings...to us wagering our souls, dignity and enthusiasm on 2017 films...and of course we have a game for you, because we love you so very much.

We return with "Hey Fuckhead," where we tear apart those in Hollywood that really piss...us...off, here's a hint; he's a world leader who probably has a tiny wiener...take that as you may.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the newest Simplistic Reviews podcast. Body harnesses and ball gags not included.

NOTES
World War Z

Jimmy Fallon & Alec Baldwin
Green Lantern Shortlist

MUSIC

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

SR and The LAMB Devour The Oscars: Best Director

Check out more posts over at The LAMB as we DEVOUR the Academy Awards!

It's that time of the year again when every movie blog, podcast, expert, and everything, and one, that falls in between pontificates over who should win and bitches and moans when their favorite art-house film is snubbed or a specific movie just goes in and steamrolls the competition.

In this edition, we take a look at the nominees for Best Director. Unlike previous Oscar seasons, this year's crop features a wide assortment of talent and comebacks. From Canadians to up-start wunderkinds and throw in a few grizzled veterans, this is one category that is sure to divide as well as surprise when the winner is announced February 26th.

Damien Chazelle - La La Land (WINNER)

Barry Jenkins - Moonlight

Denis Villeneuve - Arrival

Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester By the Sea

Mel Gibson - Hacksaw Ridge

This could be a lot tighter than most people think, but I think the smart money is still on Chazelle to win. Again, "La La Land" is about Hollywood and the Hollywood Dream, and I think sentimentality will play a key role in the win. Plus, it takes a lot of coordination and "direction" to make those dance numbers happen and look as perfect as they are.

The one thing that could play in some of the other nominees favor, namely Barry Jenkins, who could steal this one away, is the over saturation of "Land" and the high that "Moonlight" is riding. Would the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences dare make a statement so huge as to award Jenkins, who would be the first African-American to win the award, and the first African-American to be nominated since 2013, and only the 4th since 1991, the Oscar for Best Director? For one, it would be well deserved as "Moonlight" is possibly the greatest film of the year, it just so happened to be released the same year there happened to be revival musical that captured the imagination of millions.

I might also be a little impartial to Jenkins just because of the fact that he's local to Miami, my hometown, and he created a film about what he experienced growing up in inner-city Miami. Much like John Singleton with "Boyz in the Hood," Jenkins is covering what the mainstream media likely don't care to cover and make light of even though it affects thousands in similar situations. It's master class work.

As for Gibson, Lonergan, and Villeneuve, it's pretty much better luck next time, but I would like to bring up Gibson's return to the grand stage. This is Gibson's first nomination since 1995's "Braveheart," which he won for, but also his first nomination since becoming a pariah to the human race, and hey, I'm not excusing anti-Semitic remarks, drunken rants, and just overall disgusting behavior, but hey, those things just might make you the next POTUS. I don't think there's ever been an issue with Gibson's eye for direction. "The Passion of the Christ" might be painful to watch, but it's still artfully directed. And say what you will about "Apocolypto," but it's an exciting and interesting look into a culture that we know so little about. Much like "We Were Soldiers" Gibson takes what he learned from that film, I feel, and injected heart, grit, and soul into a true story that is often looked over.

With all this being said, look for Chazelle to take home the gold, but don't be surprised if Jenkins is able to strip it away at the last minute.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl Halftime Shows: From Prince to Lady Gaga

Well, the verdict is in; Lady Gaga's Super Bowl Halftime Show is the greatest of all-time. At least according to the Internet, and the Internet is never wrong. NEVER!

Look, this year was the perfect storm. Gaga is an LGBTQ Freedom Fighter, and we all thank her for that, and the fact that someone so vocal for the rights of the LGBTQ Community was performing in front of a well-known anti-Gay Rights Champion like our Vice President, Mike Pence, is a watershed moment. But a lot of people expected something a little more political, but the performance came down to musicianship and the overarching idea of brotherhood and sisterhood.

We've come a long way since Nipple-Gate and the near collapse of Western Civilization, but HEY, that Doomsday Clock is ticking again folks! But let's take a moment to look back at the last 10-years of Super Bowl performances (including this year's) that range from pure magic, to pure rubbish, to pure meme.

2007 - Prince Makes It Rain

If there ever was a performance that made you think of divine intervention, this is the one. All you needed on stage was Prince. When you ask Prince to perform, you get Prince, nothing more, nothing less. He concluded his performance with "Purple Rain," while it was raining...You can't top it, and shut up if you argue it! Plus, he used his guitar to make it look like his dick...classic Prince.

2008 - Petty...Tom Petty

Don't get me wrong, I like Tom Petty. He sings about weed, vampires, free fallin', he's pure Americana. But still coming off the high that was Prince the year before, you can only feel that his performance was..meh.

2009 - Bruce Springsteen and the Pee Street Band

Another dose of Americana with a side of "dick in the face." I can't say I'm the biggest Springsteen fan, I mean my dad liked him, he introduced the world to Courtney Cox, funny enough, but all that "blue collar rock" is just bland to me. But hey, in 2009 you got some old fashioned, "dick in the face."

2010 - Who Over Miami

The Who perform your dad's favorite hits! Don't get me wrong, The Who are great. They are British royalty, but it just felt that after Prince's 2007 performance, the Super Bowl kind of went into a bubble of safety and only allowed old white men in their 60s and 70s to play music for us. Nonetheless, a good classic rock performance.

2011 - Usher (/) Black Eyed Peas

I might have complained about hearing out of touch white people music the past three years, but I can't say I was ready for what 2011's Super Bowl Halftime should would bring us. After four years of solo performances, I guess the NFL thought that everyone was ready for a Tron-inspired snoozefest that featured songs that no ones cares about anymore. "Let's Get Retarded" (yes, I'm using the real name of the song since that's what The Black Eyed Peas called it) "Where is the Love?" Who cares...this is a low point in the past ten-years of Super Bowl "performances."

2012 - Flippin' Birds with M.I.A and Madonna

Madonna's bombastic performance should have been a disaster, but much like Prince, her stage presence and iconic persona save the day for another bloated performance featuring too many people on stage. The highlight was M.I.A flipping the bird to the camera. Now that's "punk."

2013 - Beyonce Slums It

While I might not be the biggest Beyonce fan, she knows how to command and audience, or that could just be the Illuminati. Regardless, the world was in a tither on whether Queen Bea would be reuniting with her long-forgotten sisters from Destiny's Child, and than it happened. The Holy Trinity returned, if only for a couple of minutes, but I'm sure the nostalgia running through people's veins was amazing...or not...who cares.

2014 - Power Line and the Chili Peppers

How do you top Beyonce?! Well, you don't, you can't stupid! With that being said, Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili Peppers put on a good show playing the hits that made them famous, while saluting members of the military. It's a safe performance.

2015 - Sharks...Why Did It Have to Be Sharks

Shark memes...the performance that launched a 1000 shark memes. The performance was entertaining.

2016 - The Performance That Scared White People

2016 was a pretty big year for the world. We saw a beloved president leave and be traded-in for an orange Halloween peanut, and with Beyonce yet again on the Super Bowl stage in front of millions of people, she decided to scare White America with the song "Formation." Coldplay was an milquetoast as ever, and Bruno Mars brought the fun, but Mrs. Lemonade herself made a statement that was a sign of the times.

2017 - She Jumped Off a Stadium

Expectations were high. After 2016's "Formation" performance, many thought that Lady Gaga would do something outrageous. Well, I mean, she started the show by jumping off the roof of the stadium. After that she sang some songs with, wait for it, a live band with live instruments. Finally, just when you thought she would go all "political," nope, she killed it with kindness by hugging members of the crowd and just being an all-around good person.

What will 2018 have in store for us next year? Maybe some Ted Nugent, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Styx? Oh my, the possibilities are endless in this new era we live in!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

SR and The LAMB Devour The Oscars: Best Supporting Actor

Check out more posts over at The LAMB as we DEVOUR the Academy Awards!

It's that time of the year again when every movie blog, podcast, expert, and everything, and one, that falls in between pontificates over who should win and bitches and moans when their favorite art-house film is snubbed or a specific movie just goes in and steamrolls the competition.

While some categories are easier to pin down than most, it's pretty consistent that some of the best wins in recent years have come out of the Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories. The nominees are usually comprised of character actors or up-and-comers who are on their way to stardom, and this year's crop of Best Supporting Actors are no exception:

The nominees are:

Mahershala Ali - Moonlight (WINNER)


Lucas Hedges - Manchester by the Sea


Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water


Dev Patel - Lion


Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals

In all honesty, I would be pleased as punch to see any of these actors win. Three of the five nominees being first-timers will make the win even more exciting.

My dark horse in this field is going to be Michael Shannon. If you look at his filmography for 2016 it's pretty ridiculous. He's played everything from a man on the run with a super-powered kid, to Elvis, to his role of Detective Bobby Andes in "Nocturnal Animals." Shannon is just one of those actors that puts everything into any role he's in and even in bad movies he's usually singled out as the lone "good thing." Considering his body of work and busy 2016, it was almost a slam dunk to reward his varied filmography of the past year.

The two long-shots are likely Jeff Bridges and Lucas Hedges. I'm not taking anything away from their performances, namely Hedges' which is heartbreaking, but Bridges' turn as a "seen it all" Texas sheriff is just that...seen it all.

That narrows the field down to Dev Patel in "Lion" and Mahershala Ali in "Moonlight." The smart money is on Ali right now after his recent win at the SAG Awards coupled with his heartfelt speech while accepting the award. Patel could easily steal the win though with his breakthrough performance that tells an all too real, and remarkable, story.

However, I'm going all in on Ali to win this one. Despite the fact that he possibly has the least amount of screen time compared to the rest of the field, his performance as Juan, an Afro-Cuban in "War on Drugs" Miami, Florida, is something we've never seen before. He plays the villain and the hero and his chemistry with Janelle Monea and the young Chiron, is authentic and heart-wrenching. "Moonlight" breaks the mold for masculinity in the African-American community which is often depicted as violent, braggadocios, and protective of their sexuality, Ali should be rewarded for creating a character that is lacking in Hollywood and is as relevant today as its ever been.

Last year's winner, Mark Rylance, might have been a little bit of a shock for some, and his win was likely based more on the field, which was a little weak, but with this year's crop of nominees, and the nature of Ali's performance, this would go down as a legitimate win that is more then deserved.

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