Mr. Tusk Watercolor Illustration

#29: The Walrus and The Carpenter

*Danger, Will Robinson: Affiliate Links Ahead! Clicking on some links may compensate myself and the blog. Read the disclosure policy for complete info.*

Republished today in memory of Michael Parks, our own Howard Howe.


I became acquainted with a Walrus when I was lost at sea.

I would describe Tusk as a horror-comedy. I really would. I’d also describe it as the most atrocious, upsetting, horrific concept I’ve ever had to wrap my head (and my poor, poor eyes) around. So, while Kevin Smith will offer you his usual jokes, I cannot be responsible for how many of you will not find this funny. Just not even a little bit at all.

Read more

Quick crit and review of Yorgos Lanthimos' dark comedy "The Lobster" |

The Lobster: Greek Myths and Lonely Men

The Lobster is the kind of movie you’re going to need to see twice.

The Lobster (2016)

Because lobsters live for over one hundred years, are blue-blooded like aristocrats, and stay fertile all their lives. I also like the sea very much.

Three times. Possibly four. You’re going to need the appropriate amount of viewings to sort it all out. One, to feel uncomfortable. Two, to understand why you feel that way. Repeat ad nauseam until some sort of cathartic experience is had (*note – it may never come).

Quick crit and review of Yorgos Lanthimos' 2016 dark comedy "The Lobster" |
Pin it for later!

Read more

Apocalypse Now by Alex Landers | From War Babies on

War Babies: Apocalypse Now and Green Room

Let’s talk about war, shall we?

“You have to have men that are moral, and at the same time able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill; without feeling, without passion, without judgement. Because it’s judgement that defeats us.”

– Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Drop the bomb! Exterminate them all!

When I think about Apocalypse Now, I think about where it ends – in a green, foggy haze. Marlon Brando mumbling a mantra equal parts survivalist and absurdist. Crazy-eyed Martin Sheen wielding a machete under orange lights, while Vietnamese men perform a ritual ax murder of a (literal) golden calf. This is a surrealist film, right?

Read more

Two romances, each with a classic southern belle - The Notebook and Boy Meets Girl are on the blog |Read the full review at | #chickflickfebruary

Charm Makes a Southern Belle: The Notebook and Boy Meets Girl

It’s two days into March and I’m bringing an official (and officially late) end to #ChickFlickFebruary. I wanted to end with something classic. I wanted to end with something new and different. I had a strong desire for something with a bit of a twang, maybe a Southern Belle, and crazy rich mothers with a lot of absurd rules for their precious daughters. I figured I’d watch The Notebook. It was also suggested I watch Boy Meets Girl.

Made a decade apart, there are many reasons these films might be seen as polar opposites. What’s most striking, though, is that their differences are totally unremarkable.

The Notebook (2004)

I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, that has always been enough.

This is the new classic, isn’t it? This is the movie women supposedly sit down and watch with a cup of tea, a box of kleenex, and/or a pint of ice cream (depends on how much crying you’re planning on doing – that shit melts).

I admit to owning The Notebook.

Read more

Philomena was NOTHING like what I expected|Read the full review at | #chickflickfebruary

Philomena: Finding Faith in Stories

Shame on me for assuming Philomena would be precisely the type of “based-on-a-true-story” sentimental feature I hate. Shame on me, because Stephen Frears’ Philomena is a great deal more than that.

Philomena (2013)

Because ‘human interest story’ is a euphemism for stories about weak-minded, vulnerable, ignorant people, to fill newspapers read by vulnerable, weak-minded, ignorant people. Not that you are.

That quote said it all, and it said it within the first fifteen minutes of the film. It was said by Steve Coogan, playing Martin Sixsmith, telling one woman why another elderly woman’s story wasn’t worth writing about. It was curt, honest, cruel, and wrong. And clear that what Mr. Sixsmith was really referring to, were stories about women, for women. Those are the stories not worth writing about.

Philomena does a great deal to prove that notion wrong.

Read more

The Runaways is a rock 'n roll biopic about Joan Jett's original band, written and directed by Floria Sigismondi | Full review at

The Runaways, The Band, and Girl Power

There are movies with lesbian subtext (Buzzfeed wrote about it just this week), and then there are movies that don’t need to bother with the subtext at all. Enter the The Runaways. 

The Runaways (2010)

Rock ‘n’ roll is a blood sport, a sport of men… This ain’t women’s lib, this is women’s libido!

I had an editing teacher at film school tell me once that irony was a dishonest practice, and that I should just be honest when making a movie.

I disagree.

Read more

Robert Altman's murder-mystery "Gosford Park" is perfect for the Downton Abbey fan in your life | Full review at

Robert Altman and the Femininity of Gosford Park

Gosford Park is a Robert Altman movie. Therefore, it is approximately eight hours long, difficult to make out what everyone is saying, a cattle call of twenty plus actors, and also – very, very, very good.

Gosford Park (2001)

Could you imagine someone being hanged for something I said?

It’s “officially” two hours and seventeen minutes, but you tell me it doesn’t feel twice as long. In a film billed as a murder-mystery, it takes exactly one hour and nineteen minutes (I timed it) for anyone to be killed. That’s 57% of the way through the movie. Altman spends more than half the film shooting the prep and aftermath of a dinner party (and one clumsy foray into hunting). It’s tedious. It’s absurd. On my fourth watch of the first Altman film I ever saw, I’ve finally decided – it’s a parody, a lampoon, a big old laugh at everything he did before, and everything he’d continue to do after. Gosford Park is Robert Altman at his signature, long-winded best.

Also, Maggie Smith. MAGGIE SMITH.

Read more

The Turning Point is the dance movie you've never seen, starring Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine| See the full review and join in on #ChickFlickFebruary at

A Dance Movie for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m celebrating with my one true #chickflick love – the dance movie. Today, it’s Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, and Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Turning Point.

The Turning Point (1977)

I don’t believe in being sorry. We are what we are.

I hadn’t ever seen The Turning Point, so when it popped up on my Netflix recommendations, I was thrilled. If there is one “guilty pleasure” in my life (and I really don’t feel at all guilty about it), it’s a good dance movie – specifically, ballet. Something about the bodies, moving more gracefully than I’ll ever hope to, combined with the music, and the layers of leg warmers on tights. Ballet has all of the beauty of femininity, and also all of the strength. It is a pleasure.

Baryshnikov’s not so bad to look at either.

Read more

Pixar's Inside Out is a romance for all the emotions | See the full review and join in on #ChickFlickFebruary at

Emotions, Gender, and That Inside Out Feeling

Remember when Inside Out came out a year ago and you all saw it? I didn’t. So, today was my day.

Inside Out (2015)

I’m too sad to walk. Just give me a few hours.

I knew I wanted to see Inside Out this month because of its female protagonist. I’m focusing on #chickflicks, but namely chick flicks that appeal to women for a variety of reasons. I can’t think of a better one than seeing Pixar’s first feature film with a regular girl at the forefront (not including Brave, which I qualify as a Disney Princess film).

What I maybe didn’t anticipate was its wealth of emotional scope, and how this anxious-depressed-nervous wreck of a creative would react to it.

I bet you can already guess what I thought.

Read more

Goodnight Mommy is an unsettling horror/thriller from Austrian directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala| See the full review and join in on #ChickFlickFebruary at

Goodnight Mommy and the Alienation of Women

Fair warning: Goodnight Mommy may not be your chick flick style. But it’s mine.

Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Our mother wouldn’t do that.

There’s a reason I’ve asked everyone sending me recommendations this month to hashtag their choices with #thischickpicks. Goodnight Mommy is that reason. A horror/thriller with torture tendencies may not be your idea of a romantic good time, but for some girl (namely, this girl), it absolutely is. If we are going to talk about “women’s pictures,” then it only makes sense to talk about films that highlight women’s fears.

This does the trick.

Read more