April 2014

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

I’m not going to review this movie VERY HARD, because pretty much the whole planet saw it.

PEOPLE: From excellent director Christopher Nolan. His 2nd completely original movie. I haven’t even seen Following (1998), but now I’m thinking maybe I need to check that out.

Yes, that was Ellen Page from Juno / Hard Candy / X-Men. Yes, that was Tommy from 3rd Rock From The Sun, also in Mysterious Skin. Yes, that was Ra’s Al Ghul from Batman Begins.

PLOT SUMMARY: Let’s go into a dream within a dream to plant an idea into someone’s mind so that we can make money.

QUIRKS: A cerebral sci-fi heist movie.

BTW, I really like the use of tops in this movie. That’s a first for me. I was really big on tops in college. We played with them for HOURS. I have a whole collection of all kinds of different tops. They have different genres; magnetic tops, tops that draw, tops that make noise, tops that light up, wide tops that spin slow on steady, short tops that are spastic, tall tops that stay in the same place, battery powered tops that can spin for hours on end, stackable tops (ever spin a top and set it on top of another? I have), etc etc. So I gotta say, using a top as a totem is that much more of an awesome idea to Carolyn and me than to the viewing public in general.

VISUALS: Not as dreamlike as many people would want or expect. If you’re looking for DREAM VISUALS, watch Paprika or Pan’s Labyrinth or Terry Gilliam‘s Brazil, or any other myriad of dreamy fantasy movies. Watch a Nightmare On Elm Street movie. The dreams in this movie are mostly of the realistic kind. There’s a reason for this, and it’s explained in the movie. [highlight for spoilers] Basically, if you are invading someone’s dream, you want things to be as realistic as possible, so that they don’t realize they are dreaming.

SOUNDTRACK: I’ve heard so much hullabaloo about the score… analysis of the music… parodies of the music. And honestly, I didn’t really notice it. I was too busy paying attention with all the HEAVY THINKING and events and dialog and layers. I did notice that I had to turn my center speaker to like +1db, when i usually have it set… to -6db or -3db for most movies. Maybe that was why other people felt the score was so obtrusive. Score: +1 for those who watch movies on their own hardware, -1 for those who pay big bucks to see movies in theatres.

MORALS: The moral of this movie is pretty much the polar opposite of The Matrix. Instead of worrying about whether your world is real, you should just sit back and enjoy what’s there in front of you. The Matrix is all about taking the red pill; the conclusion of this movie seems to be that the blue pill is not so bad after all.

POLITICS: Capitalism and money make insane situations worth doing.

GOOD STUFF: The plot. OMG. What a trippy movie! So cerebral. WHAT DOES IT MEAN???

BAD STUFF: The ending perturbed some people. If you didn’t like it, I suggest reading this piece. Basically, [highlight for spoilers] the conclusion is that the whole movie is a dream. The character finally found his redemption and doesn’t need to question whether he’s really in a dream anymore. After all, if it’s not real, he’ll eventually wake up anyway, so why not enjoy it? He never should have left limbo in the first place. I wish I could spend 50 years creating a world, like a God, with Carolyn, while my body never ages. That sounds like paradise.

CONCLUSION: FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10. (She was gonna say 9, but I kinda kept asking, “Why is it only a 9?”, and she decided to change it to 10.)
TwoBeans: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 9.0/10 (Top 250: currently #4! as of writing this review, but it will probably drop down by the time this review is posted, years later); Netflix: 4.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.7/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: OMFG SEE THIS!!! This is one of the best films of the year. If you don’t get it, WATCH IT AGAIN!

SIMILAR MOVIES: I don’t know. This was pretty goddamn unique. People inevitably mention The Matrix due to the “false reality” angle, or “Dark City”. But are all false reality films really that similar to each other, or is the similarity only that they simply use the same gimmick/trope of false reality?

MOVIE QUOTE: “You’re asking me for Inception. I hope you do understand the gravity of that request.”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: A few people didn’t quite get it, or appreciate it as much as everyone else (B- from Dad?!?! Lauren W thought the ending made the whole movie “directorial masturbation”), but, for the most part, everyone’s response is.. “Wow. Amazing movie.”

OTHER REVIEWS: Ian’s review talks about some of the visual effects, and the plot as a whole, without spoiling too much detail. Outlaw Vern reviewed it too, of course. His review has spoilers. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Most people didn’t like this — 3.7 on IMDB?!?! I think it’s the use of children in a comedy. It’s a taboo.

PLOT SUMMARY: Negligent school with asshole principal is going to be shut down within a day — unless the powerless non-tenured vice principal can save it.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Embezzling principal tries to sell childrens’ future.

PEOPLE: Rob Corddry (What Happens In Vegas, Harold & Kumar 2, Blades Of Glory, Old School) plays the sociopathic dick of a principal — best described as a cross between Seymour Skinner of The Simpsons and Dwight Shrute of The Office. Jason Biggs (the pie-fucker from American Pie, Saving Silverman, and the awful Jersey Girl) plays the powerless vice principal who must save the school. It’s a coming-of-age story for him, in a sense. Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) plays a drug-addled, county-level administrator, but I mistook her as Tessie Santiago from The Cell 2. Also with Ed Helms — Andy Bernard from The Office.

There’s also a bunch of minor actors I’ve seen in various spoof and comedy movies, but I’m not going to list them all. You have IMDB for that.

QUIRKS: Crazy random drug use on Eva Longoria‘s part really added some random comedy, but what really made this movie was the children being used in subversive ways, being made to be personal servants to the evil principal, being cussed at by negligent teachers. Usually I can’t stand any movie with kids in it, and would prefer movies to have no children. This movie, however, actually used children in a way I like: subversively. That aspect reminds me of Wonder Showzen.

Was that a montage at the beginning?

BAD STUFF: A lot of people hated this movie, and claimed it was one of the worst movies they’ve ever seen. But 12% gave this movie a 10/10 on IMDB too. And the next 20% gave it 6-9/10. So obviously not everyone feels the hate. However, a whopping 46% rated this only 1-3/10. If you’re uptight and love children, you might not want to watch this.

CONCLUSION: A great comedy movie for those who hate school, aren’t fond of children, and enjoy seeing an 8 year old cussed out by a drunk school teacher. Most people hated this movie, but I liked the subversiveness.

Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10. Of course, Carolyn was falling asleep during it, and that always causes her to lower her ratings… So I tend to think she could have enjoyed this more. I almost rated it 5/5 stars.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: an astoundingly low 3.7/10, Netflix: 2.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–It guessed right again).

RECOMMENDATION: People seem to either love this or hate it…. And more seem to hate it. We DESPISE children, and thought it was going to be an awful movie because children started showing up. But it was actually awesome the way they used kids. If you’re subversive, you’ll enjoy seeing a teacher call an elementary school kid a whiny bitch.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The inappropriate use of children makes me think of Wonder Showzen. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: An earth girl, bored of her life, is transported to a magical world where she makes all the difference in the world.

QUIRKS: Based on the anime series The Vision Of Escaflowne & of course on the manga… But different. This one seems to have the most variance from the original manga (which was developed at about the same time as the anime). Basically, all 3 versions of Escaflowne (anime series, manga, and this anime movie) are variations of each other… But this one is the most varied of all. And also the most rushed, as it has the least time to complete its story.

VISUALS: The world of Gaia is neat to look at, but they don’t show much of it. The look looks like generic high-end feature-film anime.

At least it doesn’t have those stupid fucking lines all over the place, like in the manga. Seriously. The manga ruins itself with those stupid lines everywhere. Stupid inexplicable gashes / claw marks on half the frames ever drawn. What. The. Fuck.

GOOD STUFF: Based on a great story. It’s a bit darker than the original. Hitomi is a bit more emotional and brooding.

BAD STUFF: Varies from the great story too much. Too rushed. The ending is actually kind of boring. They don’t even have the two huge armors finish each other off in battle?!?!! C’mon! The animal race characters — I don’t remember them from the manga at all, but I do remember Merle from the anime series as being “an annoying cat girl”. The animal races weren’t part of the original manga (at least, not the original 4 books that I read, which are the first 16 or so “visions”). WTF is with people having wings? I don’t remember that from the manga, but maybe that’s because I didn’t read the whole series.

Still, I wish this was based on the manga more than the anime series. I’d like to see Hitomi as the energist, in Escaflowne, turning into a blonde when she powers up.

CONCLUSION: A darker, but ultimately disappointing adaptation of the original manga and anime series … But at least it’s nice to see the story in motion again. This might be less cutesy than the anime series, which I watched a decade ago. But it’s definitely not as good as it could be, based on recently reading the first 4 books of the original manga.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6.8/10. (Which, strangely, is IMDB‘s exact rating!)
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.8/10, Netflix: 3.7/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.0/5 stars–How well Netflix knows us! That’s our exact rating!).

Andy C: i didn’t really like the movie either. if you liked the anime though, check out eureka 7, which i think is a much better take on the whole “boy meets girl, blah blah” anime storyline.

RECOMMENDATION: Only watch this if you already watched the anime series The Vision Of Escaflowne… or if you’ve read the manga.


This article makes me angry. On the one hand it’s telling women to be more confident and just “act”, on the other it is admitting (rightly) that: “When women do behave assertively [telling that the authors didn’t use the word “confidently” here], they may suffer a whole other set of consequences, ones that men don’t typically experience. A host of troubling research shows that they can still pay a heavier social and even professional penalty than men do for acting in a way that’s seen as aggressive. If a woman walks into her boss’s office with unsolicited opinions, speaks up first at meetings, or gives business advice above her pay grade, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch. The more a woman succeeds, the worse the vitriol seems to get. It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character.”

So quit putting more pressure on women to “act” [and then get fired] and put it on society to accept confident women!


  • ClintJCL i think acting is a precondition for acceptance; it won’t just come out of thin air. some people gotta take one for the team and prove people wrong. Not that that’s fair…“Wanna play the civil rights board game? You never win; you just do a little better each time.”
  • [RANDOM DUDE] I think it’s a very interesting article… Although there is no single cause of the achievement or pay gap I do think they’ve hit on a huge one. In my experience it’s true that women are on average less confident… Less willing to be wrong, more measure and certainly more risk averse. In some ways these are strengths (as with the noted finding that women are better hedge fund managers due to making fewer moves). But like it or not, people make their opinion of you in large part based on your opinion of yourself… I think part of the issue with current reactions to assertive women is that its not common enough… If more women were assertive in the right ways that change would be normative.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith Right, but you’re neglecting the fact that a lot of women started out assertive and were effectively punished for that, so they’ve learned not to be.
  • [RANDOM DUDE] Okay what if this was civil rights, and it was the 60s, and you were essentially saying ‘blacks spoke up for their rights, and they were punished for it, so they stopped doing that.”
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith I’m not saying we (women) shouldn’t speak out, I’m saying that there are a lot of bigger issues at play. Speaking out doesn’t just fix things when the problem many people have is with women speaking confidently in the first place. There needs to be a larger campaign targeted to the people who react poorly to women speaking out. Let’s take civil rights – there were laws that were passed, rallies that were held, etc. to hold white people accountable/create change. No one in the working world is really being held accountable for, say, punishing a woman by cutting her hours because she recommended a policy change; or firing her because she is perceived as “pushy” when a man would not be; or getting angry and cutting her off and telling her she doesn’t “get to make decisions” when she’s just trying to explain best practices in her field, while a male colleague (who is an idiot and does not work in her field) is allowed to speak about these best practices, which he does not understand (true story, happened to me a couple of months ago)…
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith It’s a very complex topic and it requires more open conversation, I think. And until you’ve been a woman working with misogynistic men (and women) it’s difficult to understand. But I would be careful in assigning the majority of the responsibility to women. That puts it on their shoulders, and this is something that is very deeply societally ingrained, something that individual women cannot fix just by speaking out, even if a bunch of them start doing so at various jobs…
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith I can tell you from my personal experience that they will likely get silenced and then fired first, before that strategy works to bring about some sort of revolution. Ha.
  • ClintJCL Nobody is protecting men from having their hours cut because they recommended a policy either. Repercussions for standing up for yourself is not a problem unique to women. If anything, they are the largest majority (since they are actually a majority!), so they should have the easiest climb to rights of any oppressed group. But oppression in general? Same for everyone. Obviously the specific instances aren’t the same (for any 2 things, ever), but it’s the same shit: People treat you worse because they judge you.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith What I’m trying to say is that you are told as a woman everyday, whether verbally or nonverbally, not to piss people off at work. I’m told that I am “the new girl” and I am “in a service role” and I need to “make people like me” and I need to “not talk” etc. etc. If I speak up I’m told not to, quite often (now granted, my current boss is an ex-military pig). But even at previous jobs, being a woman, and a young woman, with a strong professional opinion that is stated professionally, makes you a MAJOR THREAT. I’ve been fired for doing my job countless times. One time I was told that it was because I was “like a bulldozer” in the way that I delivered information (straightforward, as I was asked, in an [WORK RELATED REPORT] that I was asked to write for the sole purpose of [PURPOSE THAT REQUIRES STRAIGHT-SHOOTING HONESTY]). I was once told, before quitting a job because the female boss was so brazenly bitchy and wanted complete control over her female staff, that I should not have spoken up in a meeting when I was told it was my turn to speak, and that because I argued with a male colleague (who was very argumentative), I did not play well with others. Etc etc. List goes on and on…and I doubt all of these things would happen if I were not a female. So Clint, please spare me the “men and women face the same challenges in every arena” thing…that’s just nonsense.
  • ClintJCL Everyone is told not to piss people off at work. I can’t speak to communications-specific roles, though, but I don’t know of many jobs where you are told to piss off your co-workers. Your situations aren’t unique to women. They are unique to people. Of course your specific situation is unique, by definition, but I’m pissed on very frequently as well…..But the difference is I don’t get to play gender-victim when it happens to me. I blame it on assholism, which is a root cause to patriarchy *and a whole bunch of other shittiness*. It’s generally better to strike at the root cause of problems, rather than go for the leaves.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith Clint – read the study reflected in the article for gods sake. What I’m describing (perception of confident women as bitches) is scientifically proven!! You have nothing to offer to these conversations if all you offer is denial. Furthermore, I take offense of the use of your term “gender victim” and your devaluation or my experiences, which you as a man will never experience.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith Take a fucking women’s studies class for cris’sakes! Do something, because at this point you sound as out of touch as a climate change denier or something..
  • ClintJCL Let me know when you can climb to the top of the pyramid and, y’know, communicate (wasn’t that your major?) instead of just calling names. Here’s a handy reference:

    Did I offend you by delivering information straightforward? Perhaps how you’re feeling now is how you made your co-workers feel? By throwing a temper-tantrum you validated their similar reaction to you.

  • ClintJCL Seriously – I stated my opinion and analysis of things. You threw a temper-tantrum. Isn’t that exactly what you were just complaining about? People reacting crazily to iconoclasts? If you’re this intolerant of someone stating an opinion matter-of-factly, are you possibly exhibiting the very behavior you’re complaining about?
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith I’m not intolerant and I didn’t throw a “temper tantrum” ya nut. I’m telling you that you’re out of line, offensive, and ignorant with your opinions.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith It’s not like I’m deleting them, even though they’re getting more and more personally offensive. Go take your shit to a message board where ppl enjoy arguing with you. I don’t!
  • [NICER FEMALE] Cool story bro
  • ClintJCL You’re absolutely intolerant if me stating an opinion makes you call me out of line, offensive, ignorant, “your shit”, and “ya nut”, without giving any reasons or justification.That’s absolutely a temper tantrum — though maybe you threw one becauseI accused you of that, which is something I do (if you blame me for X, i’ll then do X even if I hadn’t before).You also seem to be misconstruing what I said as “women have no problems unique to women”. Of course they do. But every human being has problems unique to that human being.

    The specific scenarios you describe – being shot down for arguing with people, pissing people off, or stating items matter-of-factly/like a bulldozer, even when asked (which describes me as well) – These are all things that happen to me. Every. Single. One. And I’ll get shot down by my female boss.

    Throw as many temper tantrums as you like, but the specific scenarios you described are not unique to women. Instead of addressing the assholism that affects 100% of us, you want to whittle it down and only advocate for your half. That makes you as insular as any sexist patriarch.

    I’d suggest taking another look at the pyramid.

  • ClintJCL Huh? Are you construing temper tantrum to be some sexist term that is only used against women? Because going to all caps is just tantruming harder.
  • [FEMALENAME] Smith No. I’m “construing it” to be the way you speak to a child. I won’t have this argument with you any longer. You are way too patronizing to be taken seriously.
  • ClintJCL Now tell me why the situation of getting cut down if you argue with people or piss off the wrong person is a problem unique to women. Ever since I’ve left a comment saying it isn’t, you’ve left 1..2..3…4…5…6 comments insulting me, but never refuting what I said.The message that sends to me is that you are unable to refute (top of pyramid), so you instead call names (bottom of pyrami

GAMES: Cards Against Humanity: Pretend You’re Xyzzy

Finally, an online Cards Against Humanity!

LINK URL: http://pyx-1.socialgamer.net/game.jsp

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Another Japanese gore flick with the word “Girl” in the title. This movie is very similar to The Machine Girl, except worse.

PEOPLE: Written and directed by 2 Japanese b-movie directors, the first of which served several roles [but not director or writer] in The Machine Girl. So of course there are similarities. The actors are Japan B-movie actors. The vampire girl is very, very beautiful, but in an unassuming way that you almost don’t notice. The Frankenstein girl is “cutesy high-maintenance girlie-girl” hot. Someone you’d take home, but not marry. So the casting of these 2 characters is at least done very well — they are arguably hotter than the 2 hot girls in The Machine Girl.

PLOT SUMMARY: Really, the whole plot is a huge contrivance made up in order to have a battle between VAMPIRE GIRL and MACHINE GIRL.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Serial killer trades up boyfriends.

QUIRKS: Japanese B-grade gore, with an emphasis on vampirism and utterly ridiculous situations that make no sense. Apparently, this might be based on a manga. Ha!

VISUALS: It was very colorful. They sometimes used virtual sets — which were neat, even if they looked fake. There were way more hot girls and colorful costumes and different types of people in this movie (compared to The Machine Girl). And the racist club of Asians who made themselves look like racially-stereotypical black people was a sight none of us will ever forget (more on that below). The wrist cutting club was pretty awesome too. The visuals are a 7/10 — but not enough to save this movie.

Of course, the special effects were all really bad. Some things didn’t even make sense. Poor CGi blood, and poor spurting “analog” blood as well. This really reminded me, exactly, of The Machine Girl.

SOUNDTRACK: Weird out-of-place songs. It was more interesting than the soundtrack of The Machine Girl.

POLITICS: Racist humor apparently flies over much easier in Japan. The “black Asians” club was some of the most ridiculous shit I’ve ever seen. Especially when they started talking about Obama, and chanting “Yes we can!” over and over again in Engrish. Oh. My. God. That was so over-the-top. They’d be scared to be this funny in America, where you can wear any color on your face except black. Of course, this is merely an over-the-top depiction of the ridiculous-in-real-life Ganguro Japanese subculture. Just click the word to see pictures of these real life Japanese girls. Yup. They definitely need to be made fun of. To quote one IMDBer, it was the “most mindbogglingly racist thing that I’ve seen on film in the last 40 years that wasn’t a parody.” But of course, this movie is a parody of good movies, and they were a parody of Japanese Ganguro girls, so his statement might not be valid.

GOOD STUFF: It was funnier than last night’s movie too. i was originally thinking 7/10. The wrist cutting club was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile.

BAD STUFF: So now vampires can walk in the sun, die from falling, and can control their own blood in a telekinetic manner? Who decided this? Well, I’ve always been one to preach that every vampire movie has different rules… But making swords out of your own blood and fighting with them is, to me, lamer than sparkling in the sun.

In general, this went for “shamelessly ridiculous”. We actually thought Machine Girl was shamelessly ridiculous, but it turns out that movie actually had shame. You wouldn’t know it until you watch this one, but this movie is like what Machine Girl would have been, had they not exercised artistic restraint. It’s quite amazing how this movie’s main function seems to be to make The Machine Girl look better in comparison.

The dialog is worse. The acting is worse. The writing is worse. The costumes are better, though. The film looks better, though. The best effects out of the 2 movies are in this one, even though they are bad in both. So you really gotta be prepared to be underwhelmed when watching this.

CONCLUSION: This movie beats Machine Girl in the categories of ridiculousness, bad acting, bad writing, and bad plot, but also beats it in the category of hot girls, “shit you never thought you’d see in your life”, colorful visual effects, racist humor, and shamelessness. I think this movie’s primary function is to watch after watching Machine Girl, just to see how much worse Machine Girl *could* have been, had they abandoned all shame and restraint. Either way, both movies are ridiculous gorefests full of laughs. This one is arguably more interesting, but not as good. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.


Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5.6/10 (a low 6). Though visually, I’d rate it 4/5 stars, 7/10. Too bad for the sake of Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl that a movie is more than just how pretty its pictures are.

Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10. “It had some slightly funny moments, and it was entertaining, but it was ridiculously over the top. And not in an especially good way like Troma movies, or even Machine Girl.”

The native public rating for this movie for IMDB is: 6.2/10 [Machine Girl got 6.0/10]

The native public rating for this movie for Netflix is: 3.0/5 stars [same as Machine Girl].
(Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars, unlike the 3.9/5 prediction for Machine Girl. Netflix is smart!)

RECOMMENDATION: Watch this after watching The Machine Girl, just to see the “right” way and the “wrong” way to make a Japanese gore B-movie. Both movies are very interesting and hilarious, yet this one is clearly worse. I have no idea how this one managed to be rated as good as Machine Girl. It may be by virtue of the fact that it simply looks more modern [despite both movies coming out within a year or two of each other]. Apparently, you can enjoy with with the subtitled turned off as well. I think you’d get less out of it — but you’d also manage to escape some cheesy dialog.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Machine Girl – a more serious, less ridiculous, less funny version of this movie. By the way, I never in a million years expected to use the adjectives “serious” and “less ridiculous” for Machine Girl. Never in a million years. Let alone 24 hours.

MOVIE QUOTE: Kenji Furano: “Dicing one’s daughter is true happiness!”

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A girl gets her arm replaced with a machine gun. That’s it. That’s enough to make me watch a movie, no matter how bad it may be. LET’S GO!

PEOPLE: Written & Directed by Noboru Iguchi, who has some 40 titles under his name. Quite a few with “Girl(s)” or “Boy(s)” in the title.

PLOT SUMMARY: In the land of the Yakuza, the one-armed woman is queen.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Serial killer kills serial killers.

QUIRKS: So ridiculously campy, it’s almost like watching a bad comic book in movie form. Was this inspired by the character in Grindhouse who had a gun replacing her leg?

VISUALS: It was well shot, but then there were the CGI special effects. Bad CGI special effects. Even some of the non-CGI special effects were bad. Like, so bad they looked like they came out of a different decade than the film itself. I am hoping this was deliberate campiness for cheeziness’s sake. Still, I felt it detracted from things. At least in a Troma movie, things are consistently bad. But this was shot in high-def, with decent cinematography — looking like a 2000’s movie — but with effects that looked like 1980’s Troma movies effects. The blood is either analog “real” blood that spurts out like a sprinkler in an utterly ridiculous and unrealistic fashion, or it’s digital fake blood that’s rendered so poorly that the blood in the weightless ship-fight scene in Star Trek 6 (or was it Star Trek 5?) — a movie that came out ~10 yrs prior to this — actually looks good in comparison.

The 2 main female characters (Ami, Miki) were indeed quite hot.

MORALS: Non-violence doesn’t solve all problems. Sometimes, violence is the only solution. And sometimes — it is the best solution.

POLITICS: Yakuza seems to have too much power in Japan!

GOOD STUFF: Soo ridiculous, so much girl-fightin’ action. Utterly campy. Often in a good way. Ninjas with track suits? Yes. Lots of blade fights. Knives, scythes, swords, you name it. Lots of gunfire too.

Man, the bad guys are SUCH ASSHOLES in this movie. Needless assholes. This movie is really good at making you hate the bad guys… So that you enjoy seeing them meet their just desserts later.

BAD STUFF: The special effects and fights. They were so poor as to actually detract from a movie that is already obviously going for cheesy camp. That’s a big mistake.

They obviously don’t know how throwing stars (shurikens) work. In this movie, I referred to them as “tossing stars”. Really, it’s so unbelievably bad you have to see it.

The writing is bad. The dialog isn’t great, either.

Also: The ending. She doesn’t [highlight for spoilers] kill herself because something rustled in the bush? Really? That’s the worst “reason to live” I’ve ever seen in anything ever.

This is, most definitely, a very flawed film.

30 ROCK: Also, look for a clip of Machine Girl in the background of a bar in 30 Rock S3E13.

CONCLUSION: Despite its flaws, Carolyn & I still both “really liked” this movie, but not as much as most movies we “really like”. The cheesiness was cool, but then they over did it to the point of making it distracting and detracting. Still, it’s quite an awesome action movie for being SO UTTERLY RIDICULOUS. It’s like watching a bad comic book unfold in a Troma-esque way. The end also isn’t as good as the middle. The blood was ridiculously bad. All the effects were ridiculously bad. This seems to be an obvious tribute to the American Grindhouse-style movies of the 1970s — much like Machete (which was way way way better than this). That’s what saves it. Well, that and hot Japanese girls covered in blood.

Clint: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (“a low 4”). IMDB: 6.6/10 (“a low 7”).
Carolyn: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
TwoBeans: 27/40.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.0/10, Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars–nice job, Netflix!).

Neal D: “i watched this movie earlier this year, i loved it”

RECOMMENDATION: If you want ridiculous Japanese girl action, done in a grindhouse style — go for it. But be prepared to laugh at the bad special effects.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Look for the 22-minute “spinoff sequel”, Shyness Machine Girl aka The Hajirai Machine Girl (2009) (rated 5.6/10 on IMDB, vs 6.0/10 for this movie). It does not feature the same Machine Girl from this movie, except in flashback scenes.



SHYNESS MACHINE GIRL: Okay, we watched it the next day. It’s too short to warrant a separate blogpost review, so here’s our mini-review:

Wow. That was retarded. Just flat out retarded. And oh, everyone killed in the movie who appeared in this movie miraculously had an operation resurrecting them from their deaths in The Machine Girl. A butt-gun? Bullets that don’t leave any wounds? Embarrassment as a combat tactic? Eyes popping out? Again: A butt-gun?!?!? Basketballs and machine guns falling out of the sky? Tokyo Tower up her ass? What?!

Clint AND carolyn: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars (almost liked it, but ultimately didn’t). IMDB: 4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.6/10.


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Gotta finish watching the rest of Todd Solondz‘s movies…

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Racist girl fucks teacher and cries rape; Rape-mothering maid kills family and children.

PEOPLE: Selma Blair with pretty blonde hair with pink highlights. Robert Wisdom (Alpha in Sex & Death 101). Mark Webber. John Goodman. The still-lovely-at-50 Julie Hagerty (Airplane 1-2, Malcolm In The Middle, Just Friends). Paul Giamatti in one of his dorkiest roles ever. Lupe Ontiveros (who we JUST saw in Dark Mirror). Conan O’Brien (cameo). A bit part by Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe from 24, The Larry Sanders Show, Human Giant, Dude Where’s My Car?, etc). Bit part by Xander Berkeley (George Mason from 24, Coldsteel from Gargoyles, the king from Year One, Tapeheads, Superman/Batman:Public Enemies).

James Van Der Beek’s parts were cut out. [discussion]

QUIRKS: The movie consists of 2 completely separate stories, dealing with interracial teacher-student text, racism, apathy, teenagers, homosexuality, family crises, writing, and filmmaking Both sub-movies involve people making their own creative works: Either writing fiction, or making a documentary film.

The IMDB forums are definitely insightful for this movie.

SOUNDTRACK: I really could have done without the Belle & Sebastian.

MORALS: If you’re looking for morals, you probably shouldn’t be watching Todd Solondz films.

BAD STUFF: The 2 stories don’t really interconnect, which makes this less of a movie in my mind. And it’s nihilistic to the point of making you wonder why Solondz bothered to make it into a movie. The points ARE in there — you just have to look for them. This isn’t really made for a “casual” moviegoer.

CONCLUSION: While definitely being more interesting than most movies, and making more discerning points… This still failed to really ‘wow’ me; it was kind of bleak and about nothingness, in a sense. It’s definitely an above-average film, but my favorite Todd Solondz movie is still Fear, Anxiety & Depression, followed by Happiness. (But I still haven’t seen Welcome To The Dollhouse.)

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.7/10, Netflix: 3.1/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.5/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Todd Solondz enhtusiasts should check this out. MAKE SURE TO GET THE UNRATED VERSION.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Todd Solondz movies. Actually, Gregg Araki films kind of remind me of what Todd Solondz films would be like, if they were a bit more fun.

MOVIE QUOTE: Mr. Scott: “I don’t know about what happened… because once you start writing, it ALL becomes fiction.”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Eric M & Christie loved it. Glen really liked it. Ian liked it. Benj was not interested in it (I think he would have maybe liked it). (more…)