Film Review: Friend of the World (dir by Brian Patrick Butler)


At the start of 2020’s Friend of the World, we know that something bad has happened to the world but we don’t know what. An aspiring filmmaker named Diane (Alexandra Slade) wakes up in what appears to be a room in an underground bunker. Dead bodies surround her. When one turns out to be not quite dead, Diane shoots him in the head. Is it a mercy killing or is it an act of self-defense?

As we soon learn, Diane is not alone in the bunker. There’s a man named Gore (Nick Young), who appears to be some sort of military office and who, on occasion, even sound like he could be a direct descendant of Jack D. Ripper, the paranoid general played by Sterling Hayden in Dr. Strangelove. When we first see Gore, he’s standing directly over Diane, speaking as he shaves. Shaving cream falls from his face, down on Diane. Gore never apologizes, not for that or anything else. And while it quickly become clear that the world is no longer place where apologies and rudeness are anyone’s number one concern, it’s hard not to suspect that Gore probably wasn’t the apologizing type even before the world ended.

Gore leads Diane through the bunker, explaining how and why the world has ended and speaking rather ominously about how it’s going to fall to the survivors to repopulate the world. While Diane worries about the fate of her girlfriend, Gore smokes cigars and randomly fires guns. When they speak to each other, it’s often in somewhat bizarre cadences and phrases, the type that leave us to wonder if they’ve really just met or if we’re watching some sort of ritual develop.

We also discover that the two of them are not alone in the bunker. Others make brief appearances, as the situation grows more claustrophobic and more bizarre. One man bursts out of another, in a scene that will bring to mind the infamous chest bursters from Alien. Another mysterious figure shows up to repair a chair while moving in a herky-jerky fashion that almost suggests he might be an puppet on a string. When a more familiar figure shows up, Diane is forced to not only realize how much the world has changed but also consider her new role within it.

Clocking in at a little under an hour, Friend of the World is a surreal look at the end of the world, one that mixes the body horror of David Cronenberg with the dark humor and circular conversations of Samuel Beckett with just a hint of Kubrickian satire. For all the horror elements that are found in the film (and for all of the memorably gruesome special effects), the ultimate horror of Friend of the World comes from the knowledge that, should you survive the apocalypse, you’ll still have little control over who survives with you.

Director Brian Patrick Butler emphasizes the claustrophobic conditions of the bunker, a version of Hell from which there really is no exit. The scenes in the bunker are shot in harsh black-and-white while Diane’s memories of her girlfriend and a few scenes shot above ground are filmed in almost garish color, a simple technique that pays off surprisingly well. Both Alexandra Slade and Nick Young do a good job of bringing their enigmatic characters to life, with Slade especially capturing Diane’s mix of confusion, fear, and anger. As well, Kathryn Scott makes a strong impression with limited screen time in the small but key role of Diane’s girlfriend.

Friend of the World provides an intriguing look at the end of the world.

Here’s The Trailer for King Richard


After being delayed by the COVID pandemic, King Richard is finally coming out later this year. King Richard is a film about Richard Williams, the father and coach of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. Richard Williams will be played by Will Smith and that seems like such perfect casting that a lot of forecasters are already predicting that this role might land Will Smith his third Oscar nomination.

Here’s the trailer for King Richard:

Music Video of the Day: SuperLove by Charli XCX (2013, dir by Ryan Andrews)


With the world’s eyes currently on Tokyo and the Summer Olympics, it only seems appropriate that today’s music video of the day should be one that was filmed in Tokyo. In SuperLove, Charli XCX explores Japan’s capital. This video was directed by Ryan Andrews, who was also responsible for directing several other music videos for Charli XCX, as well as directing the 2012 horror film, Elfie Hopkins.

Enjoy!

Just Watch The Trailer For Lamb


There’s some trailer that really can’t be described and the trailer for the Icelandic drama Lamb is one of them. I’ll just say that Noomi Rapace is the only girl with the dragon tattoo who matters. Now, check out the trailer for Lamb.

I’m a little bit worried about the fate of the cat that appears in this trailer but I’ll still definitely be watching this film.

Here’s The Trailer For Ghostbusters: Afterlife


The new trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife dropped today and you can watch it below.

Someone on twitter commented that the bad thing about a new Ghostbusters movie coming out is that we’re now going to have to spend a few months “relitigating” the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, the existence of which Afterlife appears to ignore. I can’t remember who it was who tweeted it but whoever it was is very much correct. So, I’ll say this about the 2016 Ghostbusters …. it wasn’t very good. At the time, a lot of people (like me) tried really hard to focus on the positive when we reviewed the film, largely because the online backlash against the reboot was so deeply misogynistic, obnoxious, and stupid. But, when taken on its own terms and separated from both the controversy and also what we all wished the movie could be, the 2016 Ghostbusters was rather forgettable. I mean, I honestly don’t remember a damn thing about it other than Melissa McCarthy going on and on about wontons and the finale feeling as if it was lifted from Pixels.

(The fact that an Adam Sandler-starring tribute to old video games was more memorable than the reboot of pop cultural milestone should tell you all you need to know about the 2016 version of Ghostbusters.)

The trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife doesn’t really look that memorable, either. If anything, it looks like it’s trying a bit too hard to mix sentiment with comedy. The little Marshmallow Man is cute, though I suspect that the main reason he’s in the film is because of the popularity of Baby Yoda. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. Jason Reitman has been struggling a bit lately, with both audiences and critics. After the initial successes of Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up In The Air, and Young Adult, there’s been a bit of a backlash against him and his style of storytelling. In other words, he could use a hit or, at the very least, a film that’s not considered to be a complete disaster. If nothing else, Ghostbusters: Afterlife will probably make more money than The Front Runner.

Music Video of the Day: Don’t Go Yet by Camila Cabello (2021, dir by Philippa Price and Pilar Zeta)


Today’s music video of the day is the latest from Camila Cabello. I like the opening of this video, with obvious rear projection being used to make it appear as if Camila’s driving. I also liked the sight of that miniature car pulling up to the house. The best videos are the ones that seem to take place in their own parallel universe and that’s certainly the case with this one.

Enjoy!

Film Review: Override (dir by Richard Colton)


In the middle of the desert, there sits an isolated pink house.

And inside the house, there lives a woman named Ria (Jess Impiazzi), who wakes up every morning to a neon sign that wishes her a good morning. Every morning, she stands in front of a mirror in her underwear and she asks the world what “fun adventures” it has in store for her today. She then carefully selects her outfit and the color of her lipstick. She goes into the bedroom and awakens Jack, who is sometimes her husband and sometimes her best friend but who is always a different person.

During the day, she does “chores” around the house. She is always smiling. She is always positive-minded. Every day, at the exact same time, Ria asks Jack to dance with her. Every night, she talks about how she can’t wait to watch the latest episode of her favorite television program. She has a strange habit of holding up everyday products and announcing how much they cost and whether or not there are any special offers associated with them. She talks frequently about how happy she is to be a housewife, which she believes is the important job that anyone can have. At 9:00, she and Jack retreat in to the bedroom. At 7:00, the next morning, she wakes up and does it all over again with a different Jack.

As you may have guessed, Ria is not quite human. In fact, she’s not human at all. She’s an android, built and programmed to be everyone’s fantasy companion. She’s also the start of her own TV show, “A Day With Ria.” People across the country compete for the chance to be Jack for a day and to spend their time using Ria to fulfill their own fantasies. One of the Jacks (played by Luke Goss) seems to truly care about her. Another Jack viciously abuses her, which Ria accepts without question. Another Jack is just so excited to spend her day with her best friend, Ria! (They have a pillow fight.) Meanwhile, the audience at home votes on what Ria should wear and what meals she should prepare for each Jack. Everyone seems to love watching A Day With Ria, even the vice president of the United States (played by Dean Cain).

Override gets off to a surprisingly good start, doing a good job of bringing us into Ria’s bizarre world. The house in the desert is especially a triumph, a cleverly designed tribute to kitsch that, in all of its pink glory, manages to be both grotesque and inviting, depending on which angle you’re look at it from. Jess Impiazzi does a good job bringing Ria to life and Luke Goss is well-cast as the most sympathetic of Jacks. Director Richard Colton has worked extensively as an editor and there’s a wonderfully composed montage in which Ria goes from one Jack to another. Even the film’s low budget works to its advantage, as most reality shows are produced as cheaply as possible. (Seriously, just watch the Big Brother live feeds sometime.)

Unfortunately, during the second half of the film, things get bogged down with a political conspiracy plot and the attempts to satirize reality TV become increasingly heavy-handed. (One problem with satirizing reality TV is that most reality television show already feel like a parody. No movie or book can make a show like The Bachelorette or, again, Big Brother appear any more ridiculous than an actual episode does.) As strong as the first half of the film was, the second half is a bit of a mess and nowhere near as compelling. A strong beginning leads to a disappointing (and rather drawn out) ending.

While it’s a shame that the movie couldn’t maintain its narrative momentum, Jess Impiazzi’s performance remains strong and both Luke Goss and Dean Cain do the best that they can with their slightly underwritten characters. The film doesn’t really work as a whole but it still has enough good moment to make the watch worthwhile.

Music Video of the Day: Progress by Public Service Broadcasting (2017, dir by Lucy Dawkins and Tom Readdy)


This song is from Public Service Broadcasting’s third album, Every Valley. Every Valley came out after The Race For Space first introduced a lot of us to this wonderful British band. Every Valley definitely deserves to be better known, as does the group itself. So, to do my little bit to help out, I’m proud to make this today’s music video of the day!

Enjoy!

Lisa’s Week In Review: 7/19/21 — 7/25/21


At this point, I’m ready to just end July and move on. Seriously, this has been the most frustrating month of the year for me so far. Every week has brought a new emergency to deal with and those emergencies have all conspired to keep me from doing as much writing and watching and reading and reviewing as I would like to. So, as far as I’m concerned, July’s over. HAPPY AUGUST EVERYONE!

Actually, this week really hasn’t been that bad. I was upset because my car failed inspection on account that I just got the battery changed and apparently, I needed to drive it for 60-80 miles so that the computer can record some data about emissions or something like that. That was a pain and it’s certainly not doing much to make me any less anti-government but, at the same time, I’ve also had some fun driving the car around town. I’m taking my car back in on Monday and it should pass easily. Plus, I’ve been enjoying the first few days of the Olympics and I look forward to watching more of it over the upcoming week.

As for what else I’m doing over the next seven days, I’m continuing something that I started this week. With the exception of the Olympics, I will not be watching any of the 24/7 news stations (no Fox, no CNN, no MSNBC). I also will not be checking any of the big political accounts on twitter. This is something that I started last Monday so that I could get caught up on some things without any distractions. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, getting the car inspected turned out to be an even bigger distraction than even the most partisan accounts on twitter. So, I’m going to keep trying this week. Wish me luck. As much as some of you may be tired of reading my complaints about not getting enough done during the week, how do you think I feel writing them?

Anyway, here’s what I watched, read, and listened to this week!

Films I Watched:

  1. Children of the Corn (1984)
  2. The Encounter (2010)
  3. The French Connection (1971)
  4. Ira and Abby (2006)
  5. Over the Top (1987)
  6. Stallone, Frank That Is (2021)
  7. Victims of the Haunt (1996)
  8. The Vindicator (1986)
  9. Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage (2021)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Allo Allo
  2. The Bachelorette
  3. Big Brother
  4. Court Cam
  5. Dragnet
  6. Fasten Your Seat Belts
  7. Hell’s Kitchen
  8. Hunter
  9. Moone Boy
  10. Open All Hours
  11. Perry Mason
  12. Rachael Ray
  13. Silk Stalkings
  14. Tokyo Olympics
  15. Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremonies
  16. Upstart Crow

Books I Read:

  1. Mike Nichols: A Life (2021) by Mark Harris

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Britney Spears
  2. The Chemical Brothers
  3. CHVRCHES
  4. Debbie Gibson
  5. Imagine Dragons
  6. The James Gang
  7. Katy Perry
  8. Lana Del Rey
  9. Led Zeppelin
  10. Lucy Blue
  11. Lynard Skynard
  12. Martin Garrix
  13. Meg Myers
  14. Miley Cyrus
  15. Pigeonhed
  16. The Pretty Reckless
  17. Public Service Broadcasting
  18. Saint Motel
  19. Shakira
  20. Skrillex
  21. Smoke Seaon
  22. Swedish House Mafia

Trailers:

  1. Override
  2. Demonic
  3. Dune
  4. The Last Duel

News From Last Week:

  1. Jackie Mason Dies: Rabbi Who Later Rose To Fame As A Comedian, Actor & Author Was 93
  2. Quentin Tarantino thinks Hollywood’s having a bad time
  3. Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ Delivers Grand Hollywood Movie Premiere During Covid Fourth Wave
  4. American optimism on direction of US plummets nearly 20 points: poll
  5. South Korean network apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ images on Tokyo Olympics
  6. Sites of Washington Post, New York Magazine get riddled with hardcore porn
  7. Kevin Smith Made Netflix’s ‘Masters of the Universe: Revelation’ Specifically to Please ‘He-Man’ Fans. Some Got Mad Anyway.
  8. Box Office Twist: M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Old’ Beats ‘Space Jam’ and ‘Snake Eyes’
  9. Warner Bros. to Produce 10 Movies Exclusively for HBO Max in 2022
  10. Rodney Alcala, Serial Killer Who Once Appeared on ‘The Dating Game,’ Dies at 77

Links From Last Week:

  1. John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ blared at the Olympics, is a totalitarian’s anthem
  2. 1,824 Drones Form An Entire Planet! The Stunning Tokyo Olympic Games Opening Night Video Is Here!
  3. My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 7/23/21 (The World’s Common Tater)
  4. The ‘70s Era ‘Planet Of The Apes’ Sequels Aren’t Just Goofy Saturday Matinee Frivolities — They’re Serious Sci-Fi Classics

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin shared Midnight Mystery Stories, Super Science Stories, Fantastic Story, True Police Cases, Country Club Cheat, The Rebel, and Thrilling Detective!
  2. Ryan reviewed Dwellings, Reluctant Oracle, and The Future Is An Open Mouth!
  3. I shared music videos from Miley Cyrus, Debbie Gibson, Lucy Blue, The Pretty Reckless, Swedish House Mafia, Imagine Dragons, and Shakira! I shared my week in television! I reviewed The Vindicator and Stallone!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon! Consider subscribing!
  2. For SOLRAD, Ryan reviewed Kane and Able!
  3. I wrote about Big Brother for the Big Brother Blog!
  4. At my online dream journal, I shared: Last Night’s Colorado Dream!
  5. At SyFyDesigns, I shared: The Struggle, The Struggle Part 2, What A Frustrating Day!, Update on the Car Situation, Top Olympic Events Ranked, The Struggle Updated, and Why Dallas Will Never Get The Olympics Games!
  6. At Reality TV Chat, I shared: Week 2 Veto Meeting, Who Is Next, It’s Time To Open Up The Diary Room For Week 2, About Tonight’s Eviction, Week 3 Nominations, and Week 3 Veto Comp, and The Deception Continues For Some Reason!
  7. At my online music site, I shared songs from: Smoke Screen, Pigeonhed, Led Zeppelin, CHVRCHES, Skrillex, Public Service Broadcasting, and Lana Del Rey!
  8. At Pop Politics, Jeff shared: How Do We Get More People Vaccinated?, California Recall: The 2021 Edition, This Is What It’s All About, Governor Kristof?, Elder’s In, The Olympics Have Begun, and Jackie Mason, R.I.P!
  9. At her photography site, Erin shared: Green, Arboretum Path, Grass and Weeds, Climbing The Fence, Dent, Running for the Water, and Move In!

Want to see what I did last week? Click here!

Music Video of the Day: Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus (2009, dir by Chris Applebaum)


“It’s Miley!” as they used to yell on The Soup.

This is the video for Party in the U.S.A., which Miley later said was meant to be a celebration of 1) Grease, 2) her parents, and 3) “high gloss, glamorous white trash.” I don’t know if I would ever openly admit to celebrating both my parents and white trash in the same video but whatever. The important thing is that everyone appears to be enjoying themselves and that’s what matters the most. If you’re not having fun, why even appear in a music video, right?

Seriously, it’s time to party in the U.S.A. May this video serve as your guide.

Enjoy!