The Motel

Aside from a soundtrack that seems pleasant but overly familiar, the same guitar noodling found in five of seven independent films, this was a total, wonderful surprise. Michael Kang’s film follows Ernest (Jeffrey Chyau), a chubby 13-year-old trapped cleaning rooms at his family’s half-legitimate/hourly-rated motel, dealing with being 13. Not too much happens–none of the big moments or simple arcs of the conventional independent film, and equal parts funny and sad without ever reaching. It’s just a lovely, great little film. Continue reading The Motel

Knocked Up

Nobody’s posted on this one yet so I’ll give it a go. It is really hard to dislike this movie, though I did feel a bit let down after the comic delights of The 40 Year Old Virgin. The laughs are generous, the pacing a bit sluggish and the premise is ludicrous at best. Basically, a hot girl picks up a beta-male, they have sex, he repells her with his immaturity the following morning, and eight weeks later she discovers she’s pregnant. Fair enough; high concept. But then something odd happens. The script asks us to believe these two should automatically fall in love because there’s a baby on the way. Sure, you go to a rom-com for happy endings and without some conflict the climatic scenes lack proper generic decorum, but Knocked Up asks us to believe that two characters who have had one somewhat unfortunate evening and are about as compatible as cheese and chalk would be holding hands and picking out gynaecologists together as if that’s what happens. Basically, I wanted these two to fall for each other despite themselves (as if by accident after a series of carefully scripted scenes in which major obstacles and ah ha moments merge into something fresh and believable, love finds a way), and I guess that’s what the film thinks it’s doing but it is not. That being said, I would like to return to this idea of the film’s generosity. Continue reading Knocked Up


Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon may actually appeal beyond the limited fanbase for horror who pipe up in our group. (I.e., someone other than me might conceivably enjoy this.) After Scream, or even Wes Craven’s earlier self-reflexive horror flicks, many proclaimed the end of ‘real’ horror (killed off by that slasher irony). More recently folks like Rob Zombie and Eli Roth splatter with an ostensibly earnest glee, thus recuperating that ‘real’ horror (and irony gives up the ghost). Behind the Mask doesn’t have its cake and eats it, too: it’s a very smart, sly critical send-up of the slasher pic which reinvigorates the genre through, rather than against, its ironic stance. I dug it.

Continue reading Meta-self-reflexive