post

A Higher Form of Heresy

noah_posterI’m not religious. Well, not religious in the sense that I don’t believe in a God or some other deity that made the world or is watching over us. So, if there’s a film that has even a passing resemblance to what is written in scripture, it has no impact on me as a piece of religion. I only see it as a work of art, first and foremost. The controversy surrounding Noah has, unfortunately, been unprecedented, with a seemingly legion amount of detractors calling it sacrilege and that writer/director Darren Aronofsky and star Russell Crowe are going to burn in hell for this. Or something. It’s unfortunate because it is selling short a fascinating movie. Noah is imperfect, but it is such a imaginative, majestic, heartfelt rendition of Old Testament text that it’s hard to not find something to admire. It’s a film that swings a lot of punches, and while not all of them land, at least it has the balls to clench its fists in the first place.

Noah is a descendent in the direct line of Seth, the third child of Adam and Eve. The children of Seth live in harmony with the world, working and nourishing the land to grow crops and live peaceful lives. However, Noah, and the children of Seth by extension, are something of an endangered species, as the children of Cain, Adam and Eve’s first son, have spread across the world. The children of Cain are industrial behemoths, abusing the Creator’s gifts and exploiting the planet, leaving desolation in their wake. They also may or may not be cannibals. When this planetary devastation reaches its zenith, the Creator sends Noah a vision. He is primed to wipe out humanity in an immense flood and tasks Noah with saving Earth’s innocent wildlife. To do this, Noah and his family set about building a massive ark to shelter all the creatures of the world and themselves when the storm comes. Such a task is impossible to keep hidden, and Noah’s venture soon catches the attention of Tubal-Cain, a direct descendent of Cain, and his army of savage men who, desperate to survive the coming apocalypse, take up arms against Noah and his cause.

That Noah plays fast and loose with “facts” of the story goes without saying. Bible movies these days worship the text of the book, often to the detriment of the film itself. Noah isn’t a bible movie. Here we have a glorious return to the days of Cecil B DeMille’s The Ten Comandments, only with 100% less childish melodrama and 100% more rock monsters. Noah is, above all things, a sweeping fantasy epic, with grand spectacles of catastrophic destruction, titanic battles, and creatures both familiar and alien. It succeeds mightily in this. Aronofsky hasn’t really done a film on this scale before, but he shows a deft hand with everything he’s given to work with. Noah is an imposing figure, but he might as well be an ant compared to the things that Aronofsky throws at the screen.

There’s an action beat at the cataclysmic peak of the film that is, from a pure epic perspective, above and beyond anything that has come out in recent years, from 300: Rise of an Empire to Game of Thrones. It’s an incredible sequence that makes us privy to all the juicy money shots, but keeps up a strong sense of spacial relationship and danger. It’s also surprisingly brutal, and that goes for the movie in general. The Old Testament, for all the bible thumper’s claims, is a messed up piece of text, and the movie doesn’t shy away from showing the gory details. It’s PG-13, but it pushes it.

The scope for this kind of movie has never been bigger. You have to keep constantly reminding yourself that Aronofsky actually built the arc to scale for shooting. That kind of commitment hasn’t been seen since James Cameron sailed about in his own boat, and Aronofsky outdoes even him.

Thankfully though, the human element of the story is not forgotten. What is most remarkable about Noah is the respect that Aronofsky shows to both sides of the argument. This is perfectly exemplified in a sequence that sees Noah recounting the creation of the universe to his family. The words are from the old testament, with all the “Let there be light” that the purists could ask for. But the images are of evolution and ecology hard at work. The world is formed from fiery matter being mashed together and humans are shown evolving from monkeys from fish. It’s an astounding sequence that beautifully demonstrates complete harmony, the scientific and the religious co-existing without a single doubt.

noah_2

The characters’ faith is also approached in remarkable ways. Tubal-Cain is a total bastard, yes, but he is presented as one who once had faith but has since lost it due to the Creator seemingly turning a blind eye to him. In a way, he’s just a kid craving the love of his father. He even, at one point, refers to all of mankind as nothing more than a pack of orphans. Noah as well is handled in ways you wouldn’t expect. For the first half of the movie, he’s presented as the classic soldier of the Divine, devout and true in staying the course. But then the film pulls an about face and uses him as a tool to examine pure, unwavering fanaticism. So convinced is Noah of the Creator’s will that he becomes as much a threat to his family as Tubal-Cain. It’s a ballsy move on the movie’s part to turn its hero into the villain in the third act, but it rings absolutely true and provokes plenty of thought on the actions that men take in the name of their Lord, from back then all the way up to today.

Russell Crowe and Ray Winstone both portray these men like the veterans they are. It’s easily the best work Crowe has done since A Beautiful Mind and just might be one of Winstone’s best performances ever. Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson provide the grace and Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth provide the voices of reason. Everyone works together harmoniously here. It’s a nice to Aronofsky return to a more ensemble driven film after his work in single character examinations.

The most recent pop culture touchstone that I find myself comparing Noah to is The Book of Mormon. That show is a scathing critique of Mormonism and religion in general, but it’s also a celebration of it. So much crap goes on today in the name of religion, from discrimination to straight up destruction. But religion can be a wonderful thing to have. Faith can save people, giving them the means to find in themselves the strength to overcome and rise above. Noah is a movie that criticizes the things people do in the name of religion, but it also has an undying respect for faith as a whole. The word God is never mentioned, and that’s because Noah isn’t about Christianity. It’s about all religions in general and how, in the midst of all the atrocities and bullshit, there is still beauty and wonder to be found.

Noah, the character, is portrayed here as well meaning but certainly more than a little nuts. The same can be said of Aronofsky. He’s insane to take a story like this and turn it into an epic spectacle whilst still retaining all the meaning that drew people to the story in the first place. And that’s a good thing. Only someone completely batshit could make a movie this ballsy and pull it off. Noah is flawed, yes. The overt message of environmentalism is heavy handed, and I didn’t buy some of the character beats, particularly anything that Lerman’s character did. But the films defies all expectations and delivers the message of the story in a profound and exciting way, while still being an incredible piece of fantasy escapism. Sometimes deviating from the source material is the best way to reveal what it’s all about in the first place.

ECSTACY

post

THE CK’S NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA REVIEW SWAP (IN JULY): WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE

So, Nick over at The Cinematic Donkeysex Katzenjammer had this bright idea for a blogothon. Like Secret Santa, everyone would throw in a movie and once a big pool of films had been collected, we would all be assigned one at random just like, you know, Secret Santa. It’s a really cool little thing, and has already gotten a lot of traction. Check it out here.

Now, I was assigned a film that I really should have seen many years ago. For some reason, I never did. It goes without saying that it is a wonderful film, so writing a review just seemed kinda pointless to me. So I decided for something a bit more fun and improvisational. So, without further ado, here are the 14 Things That I Thought Whilst Watching What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Whats_Eating_Gilbert_Grape

14. I’m picking up the tear soaked towels I preemptively put on the ground. Should I watch movies like this with girls I like? Will that make me come off as sensitive?

13: Life Lessons Courtesy of Foodland: Consumerism Will Ruin All Our Lives

12. Burger Barn! There’s real milk in there.

11. John C. Riley! Don’t ever change.

10. I feel like I should think this movie is a lot funnier than I do.

9. I really wish Johnny Depp didn’t get famous. He used to be sooooooo good.

8. I’m really happy Leonardo DiCaprio did get famous. He just got better.

7. What the hell happened to Juliette Lewis?

6. It must be hard to do mentally challenged really well on film, cuz this is probably the best I’ve seen.

5. Yeah, haha, people of Endora, Iowa. Fat people are funny. You know what else is funny? Murder. That shit is hilaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarious!

4. Speaking of which, good on the movie for not treating Bonnie as either comic or villain. She’s super sympathetic, and I loved that.

3. That moment where Becky’s car starts and she and Gilbert think they are gonna say goodbye but then it breaks down again and they are so happy? That was lovely!

2. You know what is great? Brothers! We got each other’s backs on all things.

1. You know what else is great? This movie!

Is your mind blown?

post

Going Big

pacific_rim_posterI’ll just get it out of the way right now! Go! See! Pacific Rim! No, don’t go see it because it is a wholly original work in a season made solely of franchise reboots, sequels, and reimaginings. Don’t go see it because it is made by one of the true visionaries in fantasy and science fiction working today. Go see it because it is amazing, a exhilarating, majestic, imaginative, and flat out AWESOME action movie, packed to the gills with one scene after another that will leave you beaming from ear to ear. Pacific Rim is like something out of the past, caring nothing for serious moral introspection or a deconstruction of the nature of heroism or villainy. All it cares about it delivering on one thing, giant robots fighting giant monsters, and boy does it ever deliver. Throw in fully realized, if archetypical, characters, a healthy dose of humor, jaw dropping effects, a badass score, and a clear respect and love for the films and stories that inspired it, and Pacific Rim might just be the best time I’ve had at the movies this year. Actually, scratch that. In many years!

Some time in the near future, a trans-dimensional portal opens deep in the Pacific Ocean, and out come the Kaiju, giant, lizard like monsters with a serious hankering to destroy our cities and devastate our population. Normal military tactics prove ineffective, so to combat this new threat, the world’s nations put aside their differences and put all their stock into one program, Jaegers. Giant, heavily armed mecha piloted by two individuals who are mentally linked, these war machines manage to hold the Kaiju back for a time. Fast forward five years later, and the Kaiju are on the brink of victory. In a last ditch effort to win the day, what remains of the Jaeger program goes on a full offensive, led by a veteran pilot and his rookie partner, driving a famous, but outdated Jaeger. It’s pedal to the metal from then on out.

What is refreshing about Pacific Rim is its simplicity. You can explain the premise to your friend in one sentence: “Pacific Rim is about giant, human piloted mech suits fighting giant monsters.” “That’s it?” “Pretty much.” It’s true though. Where most blockbuster action films these days get away from why people go to these movies anyway in an effort to tap into the vein of anything Christopher Nolan has made, Pacific Rim and director Guillermo del Toro couldn’t be bothered. What character development there is is only in the service of the giant robots punching the crap out of the giant monsters. That may sound like a criticism, but it’s not. All character development here is in service of the story. Since all pilots are neurally linked while driving their Jaeger, they are fully in tune with each other’s emotions, thoughts, and memories. Absolute trust and compatibility are required to drive a Jaeger. It’s not something that comes easy, and there’s your character development right there. These men and women need to overcome their emotional baggage and discover their own strength, not because it makes for a good story, or because they owe it to their brothers in arms. No, it’s because doing so will make them more effective when it comes time to beat up some Kaiju. And, I don’t know about you, but that’s brilliant.

Pacific Rim, like The Avengers and like Independence Day realizes that simple doesn’t for a second mean stupid. Is Pacific Rim a dumb movie? Oh, god yes! It has no pretensions to be anything more than what it is, pure, unadulterated filmmaking with the intention to make every single person in the audience feel like a little kid again. The world is at stake here, but the whole carries a very light feel. You can’t not beam as these forces collide, because it’s presented with so much conviction and love. Despite its apocalyptic subject matter, Pacific Rim is actually a very optimistic and hopeful movie. I mean, any film that depicts a multi national effort to save the world, where every country from Russia, to China, Japan, and Australia is represented, and America isn’t the one big hero, is about as radical as anything we’re gonna get these days!

pacific_rim_2

Everyone involved in every stage of the production contributed to that love. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi make a sympathetic and cheer worthy team of Jaeger pilots, even though they are basically playing cartoons. Charlie Day is an absolute riot as a frantic scientist obsessed with understanding the Kaiju. Ron Perlman is Ron Perlman doing his Ron Perlman thing to the max, and I’ve said before, if anyone can do Ron Perlman’s thing, it’s Ron Perlman! And Idris Elba… well, you no doubt heard his speech a thousand times in every trailer, so to say that he runs away with the movie is just air wasted!

The creature and robot designs are inspired. The Kaiju look exactly what the classic monsters from all those Godzilla movies would look like if WETA Digital got their hands on them. The creatures are so influenced by those films, that each and every Kaiju looks like it could very well be a suit with a guy inside it. And the Jaegers all look like they marched out of an anime fanatic’s sketchbook. The effects are astounding, doing away with muddy browns and grays and instead catering in vibrant blues, oranges, and neon.

And the action is awesome. Jaegers are really cool inventions, packed to the brim with awesome shit. But, del Toro has a keen sense of what is necessary for the film to be as fun as it could be. He’s setting out to indulge the fantasies of every kid who every dreamed of this kind of thing. So, yes, it would be more practical for hero Jaeger Gipsy Danger to use its arm swords all the time. Think of the number of Kaiju it could kill with those. Why doesn’t it? Because using those swords is not nearly as bad ass as picking up an oil tanker and wielding it like a baseball bat! Everything here is in favor of the experience. The action is framed confidently and with a clearly defined sense of space and momentum. We are always privy to the juiciest shot. The music, composed by Ramin Djawadi, is your usual blockbuster score, that is until the action picks up. Then it turns into a head banging, hard rock symphony with all the crunchy guitars and pounding bass you could want.

Pacific Rim is that rare breed of movie where it delivers in shining spades exactly what was promised. Almost every movie these days, regardless of overall quality, falls short of this. Not Pacific Rim. You go in expecting balls to the wall robot on monster action and that is exactly what you get. As an action movie, it humbles every other movie from this summer and many others, from Transformers to Man of Steel. As a work of imaginative science fiction, it stands right up there with District 9Independence Day, and The Matrix as something truly different and exciting. Everyone involved brings serious conviction and adoration to the project, and that commitment to the material shines bright! Is it, on an objective level, a good movie? God no! The script isn’t gonna be winning any awards. Ditto for the acting. It’s a big, goofy, childlike ball. And you know what? Del Toro told us, from the very beginning, that it was going to be just that. Well done sir! Well done indeed!

ECSTACYON A WHOLE NEW LEVEL!!!

 

post

Battle of the Copycats: Olympus Has Fallen vs. White House Down

 

So, here I was. Sitting at my desk. Bottle of scotch in one hand. Cuban cigar in the other. Life was on its way toward a glorious train wreck of something, when the whole operation was derailed even further. Through the door burst two burly men, one in black collar and flak jacket, the other in white beater and flak jacket. Both carried large guns, both were bloodied and covered in dirt, and both had fire in their eyes. I immediately paged my assistant. “Cancel all my appointments. This is gonna take awhile.”

These two folks were Mike Banning and John Cale. I could tell that there was a disagreement between these two manly chaps, given the dirty looks they were throwing each other and the fact that Banning kept trying to knife Cale (He was very fond of the knife.). They wanted me to settle it, cuz I was ca-learly the authority in this. What follows is the transcript.

White_House_Down_posterolympus_has_fallen_poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SG: Ok, why don’t you just calm down and take a seat. No, uh- Mike? Is that your name? Ok, Mike! Put the knife away. And, uh, John, is it? Why don’t you set that belt of grenades off to the side. Just for now. You are both men of action, I can tell, but why don’t we take a break and try diplomacy for a change. What do you say?

MB: Ok.

JC: Yeah, fine. One thing though. Don’t refer to me as John. Refer to me as the party I represent.

SG: Uh, what?

JC: White House Down. Call me White House Down. 

MB: While you’re at it, call me Olympus Has Fallen. 

SG: Uh, ok. Whatever you want. So, let’s hash this out. Um, Olympus. Let’s start with you.

OHF: Well, I’m a badass action movie in which a lone wolf secret service agent fights to retake the White House from a group of Korean terrorists that have taken over the building and have captured the President. I have bone crunching action, stalwart patriotism, a serious mindset, and blood. And this prick stole my concept and took a giant shit all over it!

SG: Alright. Sounds fearsome. Uh, White House Down. What say you?

WHD: Well, I’m a badass action movie where a lone wolf DC cop who wants to be secret service fights against a group of paramilitary americans who have taken over the White House in an effort to stop the president’s peace acts which would render their corporation’s military assets inert. I got bone crunching action, stalwart patriotism, humor, and a actual character development. And this asshole is pissed because I did what he couldn’t.

OHF: Prick!

WHD: Bitch!

SG: Gentlemen! Please. Name calling with get us nowhere. Now, I can see the problem. You are both action movies that deal in the same concept that came out within a few months of each other. Well, not to worry boys. I dealt with this a few years ago when Armageddon and Deep Impact had the same problem.

OHF: Oh yeah. Morgan said something about that.

SG: Yeah. He and I have done lots of business together. You should have seen him after Shawshank. Anyway. The clear problem is which of you stands tall over the other. White House, make your case.

WHD: Gladly. Well, first of all, I have at the helm the guy who made blowing up the White House cool!

SG: Tim Burton?

WHD: Are you high? Roland Emmerich, dumbass.

SG: Sorry.

WHD: Emmerich knows how to make action. He knows how to stage it so that it is coherent but chaotic, tense but thrilling. And I am one of the best examples of his abilities. He’s not destroying cities here. No, now he’s dealing with man on man action, guns and grenades and… ok, there is still a ton of property damage, but who cares! It’s stupid fun.

SG: Stupid? Are you sure that’s how you want to be selling your party?

WHD: I mean, the mother fucking White House is taken over by a bunch of pissed off Yankees, who proceed to get their asses handed to them by one guy who just happened to be there. I am Die Hard in the White House perfected. The premise is absurd. Emmerich realizes this, and decides to have some fun with it. Does Olympus Has Fallen have an action as unapologetically entertaining as the scene where Cale and President Sawyer burn rubber around the White House lawn in the president’s bulletproof motorcade? I think not!

1183878 - WHITE HOUSE DOWN

SG: A point well made. Olympus? 

OHF: Well, first, I’d just like to call out this bozo here on his blatant abhorrence of the American ideal! The White House is the center of our government, a grilled cheese and Budweiser filled symbol of hope to all the people around the world. The concept of it getting taken over is chilling stuff. This guy would have you believe that it’s all one big joke! HAHAHAHA! I’m made of more patriotic stuff. I treat the premise the way it should be treated, totally serious, with not an ounce of humor at all. My director isn’t known for action, but he is known for handling drama and characters well, certainly more than that weird german with a fetish for worldwide destruction.

SG: Fair enough, but, how can you possibly expect the audience to have any fun if you don’t have any humor about it?

OHF: Well, my violence is harder hitting, more intense, and waaaaaaaaay bloodier. Movie audiences like blood, right?

SG: Sometimes.

OHF: Well, I got lots. And a bigger threat to America itself. The bad guys here are attacking our country. I can’t believe this guy over here would believe that any serious American would think of attacking the White House.

WHD: Willem Dafoe did it!

OHF: Shut up!

SG: Ok. Fair enough. Who are your villains again?

OHF: Koreans.

SG: Ok, why?

OHF: Cuz Koreans are evil. And Arabs had been done to death!

SG: That’s… kinda racist!

OHF: No it’s not. Is it racism if you speak the truth. Korea is the enemy, along with Iran, China, and Russia. Any of those would be viable threats. Certainly not America.

SG: I… White House Down?

WHD: First off, yeah. It totally is racist! And second of all, I agree it is totally nuts that Americans would attack the White House. Then again, it is totally nuts that anything would attack the White House. Have you seen the defenses around that thing? That place is equipped to survive all the friggin’ terrorists or zombies or whatever you could throw at it. I get that. So I’m using the whole absuridity of the situation to actually say something about the state of the world right now?

SG: Really?

WHD: Well, not much. I am a badass action movie made in the 21st century, remember? But yeah. Look, the president in my movie represents everything that a certain wing of Americans believe is the way back to prosperity. Peace, dealing with poverty, the environment, blah blah blah. The guys attacking the White House represent corporations and special interests groups that the president threatens with his plans. I mean, given that corporations probably have a hand in congress, influencing votes and whatnot, in real life, it’s a blunt but compelling statement. Certainly more so than having the bad guys be a nation we aren’t on the best of speaking terms with.

Olympus-Has-Fallen

OHF: Jerk!

WHD: Slag!

SG: Guys! Olympus, he makes good points. Countless movies have Arabs or Koreans as bad guys. Very few have the stones to make the enemy come from within. What’s your comeback?

OHF: Look. At times like these we need to stand together. We can’t be divided, like this one would have us be. We need to unite against a common foe as a whole nation. The threat of nuclear annihilation certainly helps us. I mean, we can all get behind a bunch of white extremists who want to blow up the middle east!

SG: Wow, you are really racist!

WHD: Seriously!

SG: Ok. I’ve heard enough. Look, Olympus. You take your premise seriously, and don’t wink at all in the process. And I respect that. Not enough action movies these days do this. And yes, the blood is a nice touch that adds a bout of realism to the whole thing. But, come on. You have to admit that any movie dealing with the scenario is going to play more like a comedy than anything else. White House Down, you get that. You have fun with the whole thing. And you manage to say something a bit different than the whole “America is awesome, Other nations aren’t” schtick. So… actually, real quick. Olympus, who plays your hero?

OHF: Gerard Butler.

SG: And you gave White House Down shit about being unpatriotic when you cast a scotsman in your film? Get out of my office!

WHITE HOUSE DOWN: 

SATISFACTION

 

 

 

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN: 

INDIFFERENCE

post

Acting ‘Spicious

spring-breakers-posterPart of me feels guilty. Part of me doesn’t. And that part of my doesn’t feel guilty makes me feel even more guilty. Spring Breakers is an interesting movie because it caters so much to the sensibilities of my generation, while simultaneously frowning on those very sensibilities. Equal parts exploitation and condemnation, Spring Breakers is a fascinating movie to watch. It’s so wickedly absurd and perverse that you can’t not watch it. It’s also poorly written, poorly acted, with a direction that is almost offensive in how traditionally indie it comes off as. At the same time, the soundtrack kicks ass, the visuals are striking, and the ultimate point of the movie is way more thoughtful than you would have believed. You just have a pretty dull movie to endure to get to that point.

Candy, Brit, and Cotty are cut from the same cloth. They are hard partying, sexually wild, drug abusing, mid-drift baring, authority hating college girls whose only current goal is scrounging up enough cash to pay for a trip to Florida for spring break. They rope their more timid, religious, but just as angsty friend, Faith, into their plots, and decide one day to get all gansta up in this bitch and steal the money they so desire. Funds acquired, bikinis on, birth control at the ready, the four girls hit the Miami beach ready to debauch their days away. Unfortunately, they go a little too hard, and end up in the slammer. Enter Alien, a dreadlocked, gold toothed, practical walking stereotype of a gangster, who takes a liking to the girls and bails them out, roping them into his wild lifestyle. As the girls get further seduced into Alien’s life of crime, they start to become aware of their immaturity and naiveté. Only thing is, that rabbit hole might be too deep to climb out of.

The easy selling point of Spring Breakers was that it saw two Disney princesses flipping the bird to Mickey Mouse and delving into seriously raunchy, hard-R material. And believe me, if Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens want to make a career as serious actresses tackling adult roles, by all means. They could do very well for themselves. I can’t decide if the casting of them was simply a marketing stunt, or an act of insane brilliance on writer/director Harmony Korine’s part. Maybe he’s trying to show that even the most pure of souls can be corrupted by the lifestyles that kids are thrown into once they enter a higher state of maturity. I feel like I’m giving him too much credit, but if that was his motivation, it is sound. It just doesn’t really work. He hamstrings that point by casting Gomez as Faith, the only one of the three to be serious in her doubts of the actions her friends take. She is immediately turned off by Alien, whose presence makes her realize how poisonous the whole spring break scene really is. Gomez does well, but I feel like the point of the movie would have been better if she were one of the sluttiest girls of the group.

Hudgens doesn’t have that problem. She’s arguably the wildest one. It’s probably the biggest abrupt change of pace for an actress since Anne Hathaway dropped trow in Havoc. Hudgens pounds the booze, snorts the blow, talks none too subtly about her nether regions and… well, you get the idea. She goes for it, but the fact that she was the star of every High School Musical movie just can’t be overlooked, and her presence here is just laughable.

James Franco, on the other hand, is sensational. In an example of total, 100% role commitment, Franco goes hog wild with Alien, becoming almost unrecognizable as this tattoo bedazzled, uzi wielding drug baron. He’s amazing, and it’s through him that the point of the movie is made.

spring-breakers-2

I guess Korine, despite his lovingly crafted montages of hard partying coeds, is selling that this lifestyle will ultimately lead to your downfall if you get too wrapped up in it. Alien is the epitome of the kid who never got rid of the #springbreak4eva mentality. “Look at all my shit!” roars Alien, rolling around in a huge pile of money, bragging about his legion of shorts, and waving around his, probably illegal, arsenal of assault of weapons. “Yeah, look at all his shit!” the movie roars with him. It’s shot and presented in a way that makes it seem that Korine is glorifying Alien’s life, but I’m getting a different vibe. Alien is, actually, the most childish of all the characters in this thing. He’s permanently stuck in his coed days, obsessed with the time when ne’er-do-well kids come to town so he can party with them or, barring that, rob them blind! That’s fine when you’re the girl’s age. You’re young, you’re experimenting, you’re having a good time. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll learn your lesson, and you’ll grow out of it. Alien never grew out of it, and the arc of the movie is how each of the girls come to realize that they are better off leaving this part of them in the wrecked hotel rooms of Miami Beach.

It’s a good message, and the film doesn’t shy away from giving it to you. It’s just that, for all it’s scenes of naked girls, waterfalls of beer, mountains of cocaine, and forests of marajuana, Spring Breakers is just mind numbingly dull. Said good message isn’t all that interesting, we’re never given any reason to care about the characters, and, being honest, the montages of gyrating, scantily clad girls gets old super fast! The movie is nuts, no denying that. One ridiculous situation paves the way for another ridiculous situation so that by the end, you more confused than astonished by the level of absurdity in the thing. But rather than thinking long and hard about the message or, hell, just laughing my ass off, I just kinda sat there. I didn’t check my watch, but I did wonder how much time was left at various points.

Spring Breakers is a fascinating movie. It’s so nuts, perverse, and goes so far with it’s setup that you kind of have to admire it even if the individually pieces aren’t all that. It’s compulsively watchable, if only because it leaves so confused in the intended message. Yet, all the amounts of skin, debauchery and disney princesses slutting up can’t excuse the dullness of the film, the poor script, or the hackneyed direction. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen a film that was more overt in how aggressively “indie” it was trying to be. And yet, Spring Breakers is a film that I don’t think can be written off after one viewing. It may not be a good movie, but I am sure glad I saw it.

At least Skrillex and Cliff Martinez turned in an AWESOME soundtrack!

INDIFFERENCE