I love me some guest posting! Dying Breed is Doomed…

I’m at the tail end of a very intense move this week but that doesn’t mean that I can’t  get down to some serious reviewing.  This time it was “Dying Breed,” which I did for Doom Generation, my go to site for awesome Horror reviews. Admittedly whenever I’m geared to write one lately I find that the lovely Alex and her team have beat me to it, but you know  what they say about great minds ‘n all.

Anyhoo, here’s the review. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those that like their movies to make sense. Hash tag ‘just saying’…

P.S. Please hold the line for Book 3, Amazon are mulling it over as we speak.

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Holly, just Go…

Recently, my local culture centre was doing a rerun of classic films, and a few friends and I went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I probably hadn’t seen this film since I was a kid so I thought it be a chance to refresh my viewing of this classic since it was an open air theatre, and most importantly a free showing.

The thought of reviewing classic books and movies has been in the back of my mind for some time, so what better way than to start with a film that is considered highly iconic in glamour circles and as well as an ode to love?

I did a little googling and was reminded that Breakfast at Tiffany’s had been quite a hit at the Oscars back in the day, receiving, Best Dramatic or Comedy Musical Score, Best Original Song for Moon River (which is an awesome song no doubt) while Audrey Hepburn was nominated for Best Actress.

I think part of the reason the film was such a hit in its day, was because it was written by Truman Capote, one of the most celebrated minds of his time, though from what I understand, the book and the film have many differences. Admittedly I’ve never read any of his work, though I have been meaning to read In Cold Blood since forever,  and I am aware of his status and impact.

I won’t go into details regarding the plot, which is all over the web, but in a nutshell we are told the story of a socialite, looking for a rich husband. Classic ‘girl needs boy’ to keep her in the lavish style to which she is not really accustomed. Holly is essentially a party girl who dates men who tip her to go to the powder room and also visits a mafia boss in Sing-Sing prison from whom she transfers messages to his lawyer for a small fee. Between parties she whiles her hours away by getting plenty of beauty sleep, with the help of some highly ridiculous ear plugs, and going to Tiffany’s where ‘nothing bad ever happens when the mean reds strike.’

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When handsome Paul comes along, she takes a shine to him because he reminds her of her brother and the two strike a friendship, which eventually turns to love, which then turns to rejection-she is looking for a rich guy after all-culminating in a big “get your shit” together lecture from Paul to Holly. Why does Paul feel the need to give a Holly a piece of his mind? Because throughout, she behaves like a spoiled brat.

I know I’m judging this film with modern eyes, but I did try to view it with a Mad Men perspective, where women were mostly house bound, or at best secretaries in some office, condescended upon and made to feel powerless and inferior, and I guess that for the period, the independence of a socialite making a buck any way she could, might appear empowering and therefore propel the film towards iconicness. Correct me if I’m wrong.

What I don’t get however, is why it’s still iconic today, almost 60 years later, where women are in many ways still struggling to overcome those stereotypes. Ironically, modern women still face many of the challenges and injustices they did back then, particularly in places like the States where maternity leave is non existent, pay inequality prolific and condescending attitudes not a thing of the past. So again, why is this film still considered a classic?

And if we were to ignore the hair-brained heroine, there are two more points that are so wrong with this movie. One, was the “small” issue of the abandoned cat in the alley when she has her aforementioned hissy fit. I know we’re told she doesn’t own him so feels like she’s setting him free, but it was such a jarring scene for someone who loves cats. You just don’t do that to your pets ‘cause animals get scared when things change.

Finally, the thing that bothered me the most however, was the portrayal of Mr Yunioshi as the stereotypical Asian caricature. The mind boggles that even as recently as 1961 something so offensive was consigned to film, and a film that is highly celebrated no less! Where do I start? The dayglo skin, the fake squinty eyes, the buck teeth and the anal attitude of a character who can’t decide if he’s the offensive stereotype of a Japanese or Chinese immigrant, (I mean they all look the same right?) and one which makes you cringe, when I assume, the intention was to make you laugh. I dread to think what was going on there, even in 1961, but once again, it doesn’t fare well anymore; assuming it once did.

On a side note, you might have heard about the MAC cosmetics furore that exploded on the net last week where an African American model’s lip size was  racially mocked after MAC instagramed a pic of her wearing one of their shades. One of the reaction videos I stumbled upon online (regretfully I couldn’t find it again in order to verify) rightfully featured several tweets of incensed black women condemning the abuse and expressing pride in their heritage, which would have been a good and meaningful gesture if it had stopped at that, but in the end they closed off with a picture of Holly Golightly, which I’m guessing was put there to symbolise poise, becauty etc. Shame about the missed racist undertones though… So prolific is the idea that this film embodies feminine power, that whoever made it didn’t think twice about how racist it was as a whole.

So, just because something might have been iconic in its time, doesn’t mean it has to hold the title for ever. Perhaps way back when it came out it was seen as the ultimate in female emancipation, the farm girl who strikes it out on her own to become an “independent” socialite in search of herself (though she’s really looking for Hubby McBucks), but well over half a century later, the one dimensional, erratic, purposely vacant headed Holly character smacks of misogyny. The casual racism and animal abuse peppered throughout the rest of the film just add insult to injury. Have we not moved on at all?

What to watch vs What not to watch this week.

I make these sacrifices so you don’t have to. I put myself through some of the world’s most terrible films so I can spare you the agony. It’s tough but somebody has to do it.
Warning: Grown up words have been typed here, not for the faint of sensibility!

What to watch this week:

Big Bad Wolves.

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My regular readers know that I like to do the odd movie review, particularly when it involves horror. My go to movies are usually well cast but not so well known or a bit out there as far as theme is concerned. I’m a sucker for foreign movies, particularly horror, which are often done with more finesse than American versions, no offence to any American Horror Directors out there.

In recent weeks one of my friends has been bugging me to watch Big Bad Wolves which apparently Quentin Tarantino called the best horror movie of the year (2014).

BBW is an Israeli film and starts with a slightly surreal scene of a group of kids playing while the titles roll, by the end of which one of the girls disappears. It continues very ominously with a bunch of cops taking a man to an abandoned warehouse and beating the crap out of him for paedophilia. We are not told how this man has come to be their prime suspect, merely that they are all certain he is the one whodunit! Managing to get little out him, they let him go, and the overeager cop on the case is suspended for managing to get the beating caught on camera and posted to youtube. Deciding he will do everything in his power to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the teacher they were beating, Dror, is his guy, he tails him constantly and finally decides to abduct and scare him into confessing. In all, this movie places a lot of emphasis on extraction of information via violence.

Half way through his intimidation process Mickey (the cop) is unterrupted by Gidi, the dead girl’s dad, who decides to take over the interrogation. In true assasin style he moves them both to an abandoned property he’s bought purely for the benefit of torturing Dror and the two get to work.

He begins by reading Dror the police report of what his victims allegedly experienced and proceeds to adopt all the criminal’s methods in order to extract that elusive confession. Mickey, who has collaborated with Gidi up to that point, starts having second thoughts whether Dror is indeed their man and when he hesitates to further torture him is also handcuffed to the wall by Gidi who is dead set on getting his confession. At no point during the torture does Dror confess and the viewer is left to frequently wonder whether he is in fact guilty.

The movie progresses via a series of comic/tragic developments where even Gidi’s elderly parents get involved. There is also a Palestinian man peppering the film but I couldn’t understand if it was done as social commentary or just a bit of relief from the main story.

I won’t spoil the ending by telling you what happens next; I’ll just say that it’s worth watching even though I think Tarantino’s claim was a bit farfetched. I will mention however that unlike Hollywood films this movie is low on special effects. The blood looks fake, the wounds don’t bloat and in all you can tell it’s amateurish (which does somewhat detract from the suspension of disbelief) but as the movie’s strength lies in the acting, you learn to ignore it.

What not to watch:

The Babadook.

The Babadook is an Australian movie which came out last year and though all the reviews made me feel like I should watch it, I wish I hadn’t now.

It starts with a cunty kid who is afraid of monsters and cannot sleep at night making his cunty mother’s life a living hell. I disliked both the main characters straight off the bat. The kid is whiny, annoying and well… childish and the mother is bland, weak, unrelatable and has absolutely no saving grace as a character. Half way through the movie I actually wished the Babadook would get them and spare us all the torment of watching the rest of it.

When the kid starts exhibiting antisocial behaviour in school in the form of hand made weapons in order to protect himself from the monsters he sees, the mother takes him out of school as she feels they don’t understand his anxiety. I have to pause here and ask how a six year old can make projectile weapons (a mini cross bow and some kind of cricket ball hurling thing with straps no less) from what looks like a busted picture frame and some wire and bits of old wood and a can? I mean just how bad is his mother to not notice him cutting and sawing and nailing and possibly even welding bits of metal and wood. I’ve customised furniture in my day, I know how hard that shit is alright?

Moving on, swiftly. As the cunty mom goes on to indulge every single one of her kid’s unreasonable demands, she also reads him stories at night in order to help him go to sleep, and on one fated night the kid chooses “The Babadook” book. Presumably they have been living in the same house since her husband was alive, (he died on the night the kid was born, hence some of her distraction) so we’re not told how this Babadook book found its way into the kid’s hands. Apparently it was on the bookshelf. When the book encroaches more on her life she tears it up and throws it away, after being warned however that the more she denies its existence the stronger its hold on them becomes. So what does she do? She barbecues the book of course! Anyhoo to cut a long story short, the Babadook is a spooky under-the-bed kinda monster which slowly proceeds to make their lives hell and drive the mother closer to her wit’s end. Her increasing madness stems from the fact that the cunty kid’s former behaviour has alienated virtually every single person she knows, so currently has no one to turn to bar the very old next door neighbour. This situation goes on for about two weeks so I’m not sure how she keeps her job or her kid out of the hands of the social services in the interim. In all it was slow to pick up, repetitive and dull despite its attempts to the contrary.

Admittedly I did not see the end coming, which was probably the cleverest thing about it all. Is it worth watching to the end? Probably if you fast forward through the rest.

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Other Meh movies:

Contagion-promising premise but totally unemotive.
Redirected– I’ve seen it described as a cross between Hangover and Lock Stock. Only watch if you love Vinnie Jones.

Hugs y’all (and raise your kids right, so when the Babadook comes you have friends to call!)