Skip to content

Tag: OK movies

Doctor Strange (2016)

Surrender, Steven !

For a Marvel joint, Doctor Strange is remarquably squeamish about tampering with the space-time continuum and the multiverse, even though the purpose of its script – and the function of its CGI – are precisely just that. Let’s just say that the Ancient One’s (SWINTON!, one of the two reasons to watch the film) terse warning that that shouldn’t be done comes a little late; I don’t know who’s planning the expansion of the Marvel Extended Universe but that particular Big Bang is a bit messy.

Three quarters ludicrous exposition and one quarter the expedited resolution of a dimensional clash threatening the very existence of the world, Doctor Strange is nevertheless quite enjoyable. Of course, the arc is the same as usual, a powerful character reduced to pulp by trauma only to become a god-like figure having to chose his of the Force, training scenes, time travel, cities folding on themselves, more training scenes, a mirror dimension, a cape, nefarious instoppable villains defeated by fisticuffs, and yet more training scenes. As usual, rooms full of priceless relics in glass boxes have been built for the express purpose to be shattered in said fisticuffs, the vilains of the piece takes order from un uber-vilain from outer space and time (Dormammu is coming and he’s ANGRY!). Also, one specific aspect of the movie kinda swallow all others, this time the polemic about casting Tilda Swinton as an originally Asian character. Which is, by the way, the wisest decision made here: just watch her graciously ackowledge that yes, this is good tea, and succumb to her sublime presence; she actually makes for a credible mentor/antagonist, as was the case in Constantine.

Doctor Strange‘s other saving grace is great production design (apart from this Dormammu guy, who looks like the writers described it as “generic evil CGI entity). Sets and costumes look great – and expensive, magic is not too shabby either. Casting is prestige Hollywood all over. Oh, right, casting, so easily outshone by Miss Swinton that it’s like she’s actually able to manipulate screen time.

Benedict Cumberbatch keeps on auditioning for the Bond role, driving a sports car over the speed limit in a tuxedo, which owns him the stupidest accident ot recent memory (a neuro-surgeon checking CAT-scans while driving at night, really?) and equipped with a rotating display for his collection of super expensive wrist watches. Forget about his smug attitude and God complex, the rotating wristwatch display says all about what a self-imbued, callous moron Steven Strange is: definitely, the new James Bond will be a throwback to the Roger Moore era. His love interest is played by Rachael McAdams, which has the virtue of answering the question what she has done lately, not that it was a very interesting one. Madds Mikkelsen plays Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner with his customary inexpressiveness, with the help of “Strong Zealot”, “Tall Zealot”, “Blonde Zealot” (one can’t help loving that one) and lots of glitter. Chiwetel Ejiofor looks gloomy about having to feature in the sequel, and Benedict Wong plays Wong, because the writers couldn’t come up with a better Chinese name.

The final showdown is rather good for once; the vilains stop their annoying antics and get their comeuppance like nothing had happened. Comedy scenes rub shoulders incomfortably with lines like “Who are you in this vast multiverse, Mr Strange?”, an instant contender for 2016’s worst dialogue. The nature of reality is once more questioned, only to be swiftly put aside as a perfunctory plot point. After the movie ends, all sorts of questions remain unanswered, the least of which not being how The Ancient One built three sanctums (Suspiria, anyone?) in New York, London and Hong Kong,& centuries before these cities even exist. All in all though, a decent entry in the Marvel canon.

Leave a Comment

Don’t Breathe (2016)

screenshot_20161102-124238

Panic In Detroit

A weird mix of Alone In The Dark, The Bling Ring and a Natascha Kampusch biopic, Don’t Breathe is considered good because ir is, for his perilous high concept, far less worse than most other flicks in the “home invasion” sub-genre. Still, it is far from great. Starting on an opening plan reminiscent of Dawn Of The Dead (remade) and of course The Shining, the movie swiftly exposes said high concept as follows:

A thoroughly unprepared suicide squad of burglars conceive the brilliant project to rob a blind guy who just got a lot of money in court, said their unreliable snitch, since another one of their botched jobs just went down the drain. Please meet Alex (Dylan Minette, distractedly handsome and not a great actor for drama) and Rocky (Jane Levy, looking a bit like Reese Witherspoon used to, and quite good in spite of her “I promise you California” dialogue). Only option left is therefore to go for the blind man (Stephen Lang), but there’s a catch: he’s an army veteran with a shady past. Blissfully obvious of that fact, our sexy losers enter the house and to say that they are not welcome would be gilding the lily.

Fede Alvarez (previously: the Evil Dead remake) has a flair for suspense and a good eye for fluidity, as demonstrated in a CGI-enhanced Argento moment from the the ground floor of the house to under the landlord’s bed. He pulls off some good scenes along the way, like the intrusion of an attack dog in an airduct, ot the way poor Rocky’s bashing is filmed in a single, distant large frame. The villain’s “I’m not a rapist!” scene is good too, and surprisingly bitter in such a context; and as far as movie quotes go, his three minute remake of Cujo is perfectly decent.

On the other hand, he’s in a bit of a pickle remembering his villain’s infirmity. Yes, he’s blind most of the time, but on convenient occasions he’s also deaf, not to mention mute. He’s far from paralytic at least, as he repeatedly captures the heroes, only to let them escape a few minutes later. Uncomfortably good at its most claustrophobic moments, Don’t Breathe requires its heroes not to move or react in any way, a bit like Alvarez imagine his subjugated audience.

Yet, it is hard not to giggle at times. The movie proudly displays what must be the most unsafe safe ever filmed, and the plot twist in the basement will require all suspension of disbelief you are able to muster. Advice to revenge kidnappers everywhere: in case you intend to impregnate your basement protégée, always keep a jar of your semen at hand, even if she’s already two months pregnant. Who knows, other opportunities may occur… Sequel unavoidable.

Leave a Comment

Friend Request (2016)

screenshot_20160922-173821-copy

Through A Screen Darkly

Starting as a cautionary tale about cyber-bullying, Friend Request morphs into quite something else along the way to a rather predictable ending but is a pretty enjoyable ride. The prologue, in which a lonely student commits a decidedly foolproof form of suicide, is a mistake, as it makes one suspects too early that more than the power of Facebook friendship is at work in the ordeal faced by Laura, a nice girl whose online popularity takes a sudden nosedive when she decides, half from pity and half from an ill-advised taste for gothic graphics, to befriend otaku in residence Marina, the one ugly goth chick with zero friends and stickers on her laptop.

What the movie does best is visualising the dark cormers of Marina’s loneliness, switching to animation scenes which make complete sense considering her personnality. She’s very tortured, Marina, and she doesn’t take rebutal in a graceful way. After she pushes too hard to be invited to Laura’s birthday party and discovers, as the diligent little stalker she is, that the alleged romantic diner with the boyfriend includes in fact everyone but her, she has one of her mood swings, involving tearing off her own hair and hacking into Laura’s profile to send the suicide video to all her contacts. Most of them moderately enjoy the view and her popularity starts decreasing, wittily measured by an onscreen counter. But that’s only the beginning of her troubles as her friends start dropping like flies or, more exactly, wasps.

Marina is a social ghost, with no real name or social security number. Should the movie have sticked to that it could have been better, the conflict between virtual popularity and social inexistence a nifty idea, actualising the Single White Female formula for the Facebook generation. Granted, it would have required a major suspension of disbelief, but that’s the paradox of our day and age: it’s easier to write Marina as an actual witch than a tech wizard, because it allows all sorts of (sometimes successful) visuals, like in a scene where a computer room becomes a spooky art installation.

Machines do not connect well with witchcraft. One of the first movies to attempt this unholy union was Evil Speak, a 80s turkey in which the kind of guy we now call a nerd used a computer to evoke a demon from some ancient evil book, allowing revenge on his jock bullies. The same kind of naive technological possession is at work here, including printers with endless toner cartridges and undecipherable source codes. Some better ideas appear to counterbalance this weakness though, like the analogy made between the computer screen and the dark mirror used by witches, or the Facebook unwanted friend request as an occult spell, potentialy harbouring death and destruction.

The death scenes are quite interesting for an amateur of the genre. the first one relies too heavily on witchcraft, another writing mistake further screenplay polishing could have avoided, but they get better. A Linda Blair moment at the hospital elicits giggles; there is nevertheless something truly spooky about someone so intent on dying that she tries again, differently, as soon as she wakes up.

In the end, evil wins because there is no end to it. Friend Request, in spite of its imperfections or limits, is a legitimate way to spend some time wondering what our lives would be like if Mark Zuckerberg was a wizard in more than the technological sense.

Leave a Comment

The Shallows (2016)

screenshot_20160920-1042062-copy

Let Me Surf, Godammit!

The story of a bizarre love triangle between Steven, a male seagull, a female shark and the blonde bimbo who flies all the way from Texas to make a mess of their otherwise platonic relationship, The Shallows doesn’t escape all the traps laid out by its problematic title: none of the three characters has much depth. Fortunately, the surf bimbo is played by Blake Lively, who has enough warm and empathy to embark the viewer in her quest for survival when she realises that interfering with Mother Nature is indeed a bad idea, even driven by the best of intentions, here paying hommage to Mother, period. Her Mom had a dream beach in Mexico (here played by Queensland) but she died, so Nancy is perpetuating her legacy, even if it means dropping out of medical school on her very last year. She’s driven to said beach by a sympathetic local, Carlos, who twice eludes her question about the name of the place. One has suspicion it is Tiburon Playa, as “tiburon”is Spanish for shark. Why it has to be kept a secret among the locals is beyond one, and the writer, but it makes Carlos a harbinger of doom.

Starting with found footage that at least has the dual elegance of not being grainy VHS and being explained by live action later in the movie, The Shallows has maybe its best scene in the jeep driving Nancy to the beach, with the inability of a white US citizen to communicate even in the simplest way with the latinos who have been part of the nation for quite some time.There would be a point to be made that Nancy relates more easily to Steven the Seagull and to the shark that she does with Carlos and the local surf buddies she quickly joins in some satisfying aquatic exploits. The beach has “incredible tubes” when the tide is up. Blake Lively is credible in her surf scenes (she’s after all a Californian, not a Texan), but for some reason she opts for riding one more of these tubes when the sun is very low on the horizon, in spite of what she professed five minutes before. That, and her blind reliance on finding a Uber from a deserted Mexican beach, makes her quite air-headed, but since she’s a pleasant and focussed actress we follow her on her predicament, suspending all disbelief.

See, Steven is nursing his wounded wing on a small rock near the beach and the female white shark whose object of affection he is will have none of this nonsense about bipeds ridind surf boards to hit on him. Sensing that the blonde is a stronger rival than the couple of male locals, she attacks and hurts her. Nancy is saved by a beached whale painfully dying from her wounds (apparently, it came to say hi to Steven and was the previous victim of Sharkette’s jealous wrath). But wait, the whale is not dead yet and swims away, leaving Nancy with only one possible shelter: Steven’s rock. That proves a terrible mistake as now it gets personal and Sharkette will do anything to prevent the blonde alien to steal her beloved’s heart.

At that point one feels compelled to remind the reader that sharks are essential to the ocean eco-system and are far from the demonic creature Hollywood has complacently made of them since Jaws. Sharks are not much worse than dolphins, in the cold light of science: they are just much less cute and never went to see an orthodontist. That’s the reason why one was tempted to root for Sharkette during the rest of the movie, as she proves both determined and rather smart. Nancy, on the other hand, is very resourceful and use a variety of factors, like her earrings, jellyfishes or a buoy to get out her predicament alive. Girlfriend only wanna have fun surfing, not being mauled by the underwater equivalent of Glen Close in Fatal Attraction!

The Shallows is short and compelling. Only Mexicans die. CGI Sharkette is good, especially when she’s first glimpsed, or when she furiously chews on the buoy’s metal structure. Blake Lively is as solar as one remembered her from The Savages, and her Instagram is rather hilarious. You could definitely waste 86 minutes in a much worse fashion than watching her fight for her life. Steven Seagull steals the show, though.

MONSTROMETER
MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer3
BOREDOM    Monstrometer1
FEAR    Monstrometer2
TIME   Monstrometer3

IMDB page

Leave a Comment

The Neon Demon (2016)

screenshot_20160901-214503-copy

Beauty Stab

Nicolas Winding Refn doesn’t know fashion, he doesn’t care about fashion, but most importantly, he doesn’t feel fashion. That’s why he’s copycatting Guy Bourdin in the rare occasions it is given screen time. But of course fashion is the least of The Neon Demon‘s concern. The closer but most elusive domain to cinema, fashion is a mighty beast to tame, and the list is long of directors trying to use it, either as satire or backdrop. Count this movie as another ill-advised foray into the carnivorous industry of youth, beauty, and the predatory behaviours it entails. Oh it’s beautiful to look at, and too clever by half. But it’s a ridiculous movie all the same.

There are a lot of questions to be asked about where Refn’s love for genre will take him at the expense of a coherent cinema. “Do you mind if I use you for that?” is a key phrase, said by a photographer to a model towards the end of the movie. This is definitely a question Refn should have asked Dario Argento before committing his feverish dream about the loss of innocence to film. To be honest, no one has ripped off Argento more shamelessly and unsuccessfully than Argento himself, and before the Suspiria remake hits the theaters next year, The Neon Demon might be the next best thing to the original. But as it the case with fashion, one will argue that Refn doesn’t get Argento either. He knows the notes but does not sing the tune; once again, it is not what interests him here. So, what does? Christianism, apparently, as was the case with Only God Forgives. It makes sense: after the Old Testament comes the New.

For some reason everything seems to be happening in bathrooms/toilets, at least the three best scenes. They play like a Christian allegory. The first one, in a dark club, has the Three Mothers (cleverly?) presented in reverse order, and the Mother of Tears, the most dangerous of all, has Jesse (Elle Fanning perfect as a preraphaelite nymph with porcelain skin), lured her out of her comfort zone and orally dissected by her two sisters, the Mother of Darkness, a top model who proudly lists her cosmetic procedures, and the Mother of Sighs, never the It girl to begin with and therefore on passive-agressive auto-pilot. This is as much temptation as it is a Holy Spirit visitation.

The second scene has Jesse meeting an unfortunate candidate for a runway show after she smashed the ladies room mirror. Jesse attempts to comfort her but is scorned for it. She cuts her hand on the broken glass. What follows is as sudden as it is ghoulish, a communion of sorts which emphasizes what is barbaric, vampiric, in the idea of drinking someone’s blood as a religious rite. In the audition scene itself, starting as the Malcolm McLaren video for Madam Butterfly, the way Refn uses sound is very clever: the models walk, and you can hear their shoes creaking on the white floor of the studio. The designer never looks up. When Jesse walks, there is no such noise pollution, so he has to look up, and she’s cast.

The third bathroom scene is the shocking one, with an apocalyptic blue pattern on the walls and the body horror you might have heard about. It is another hint at communion, in a potent mix of glossy styling and gore. It might also be the most ridiculous way a director as gifted as Refn can take this idea across to his viewers. The scene has to be seen, and can’t be unseen; it is both gross and weirdly disincarnate. The Neon Demon is not sadistic, not even voyeuristic. It makes an earnest attempt at figuring out what it is to be the most beautiful girl in the world, and guesses rightfully that she has to be punished for all the love and lust she inspires. It’s too bad the movie wasn’t shot in Japan as initially intended. Los Angeles is the wrong Petri dish to grow these alien life forms, reduced to one designer, one photographer and one make up artist (Jena Malone, poised even in the movie’s most incongruous foray into exploitation).

There is a thin line between using a genre form for such an aloof purpose and having the rubber, once stretched too far, snapping back in your face. The Neon Demon describes our iconisation of beauty as a pagan cannibalistic cult based on the debasement and consumption of virgins all too willing to sacrifice themselves to the titular demon, a vaginal pentacle devouring them whole at the end of a runway. The virgin thinks she gets a chance at becoming a Holy Trinity of herself, but instead of making her whole the demon slices her up, pixellating flesh and soul alike. There is definitely something Christian in that but, like barocco churches, there is so much imagery at work that it’s all to easy to get lost in looking and missing the point.

MONSTROMETER
MONEY    Monstrometer2
LONELINESS    Monstrometer3
BOREDOM    Monstrometer3
FEAR    Monstrometer3
TIME   Monstrometer3

IMDB page

Leave a Comment

Money Monster (2016)

Screenshot_20160901-090848~2 copy

Occupy The Screen

If not a stylist in the slightest, Jodie Foster is a very smart lady and a capable director with a keen flair for tone. Both funny and utterly pessimistic, Money Monster brings welcome memories of (admittedly better) movies like Network, and there are much worse associations than this one. Presenting the alliance of computer trading and cable television as a weapon of mass destruction, of value as well as lives, Mrs Foster packs up a convincing case, if not escaping all traps of such a complex subject having to be laid out and resolved in 138 minutes, which by the way breeze by as if they were 98, one of the best possible compliments for a movie in our age of bloated freak shows.

The Ibis corporation took a plunge of 800 M$ after a “glitch” affected its high-speed trading, this mere weeks after Lee Gates, star anchor of the Money Monster cable programme, has deemed its share safer than any life insurance policy. Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), one of the 99%, having lost everything, breaks in the TV studio, takes Gates hostage, put an explosive vest on him and asks for answers. They prove difficult to get, as Ibis’ CEO has vanished. Gates can only rely on himself, and on Patty Fenn, the studio director (Julia Roberts).

It is not useless to underline that the ibis is the animal form of the Egyptian God of Knowledge, due to its ability to make the difference between drinkable and corrupt water, a form of wisdom which all concerned are deprived of, intoxicated as they are with the promise of money acquired faster than the speed of light, thanks to inscrutable algorithms in a world shrunk to a few stock exchange places. Greed, once heralded as good, is still the same, though, and for lack of a better word, greed is a bulimic monster that cannot be satiated.

There is a measure of squeamishness in having close friends Clooney and Roberts sharing top billing. Both are consummate professionals, but it is hard not to think once or twice during Money Monster that they are not stretching their acting chops to a dangerous extent in it. Clooney is his usual jerk with a heart of gold and easy empathy to his fellow humans, whatever disturbed they are, and Roberts is her trademark strong woman whose inner vulnerability allow her to act noble instead of curt. They make the show, however, since the other actors are something of a white noise, except Emily Meade as Molly, the hostage taker’s girlfriend, who is brought on the air to mollify him and has one excellent, enraged scene.

Money Monster wears its ideas on its sleeve, but they are treated without naivety. On one hand Mrs Foster is obviously sympathetic to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and clearly thinks that unregulated finance is the enemy. If something catastrophic occurs, blame it on computer programming, on Europe, on the ways of the world. Never blame yourself for your mistakes regarding others as long as you make a load out of them. Last time one checked, this was the 21st century definition of capitalism, a battle of financial kaijus eradicating industrial sectors or countries alike. On the other hand, her movie is pessimistic as hell regarding the ability of the common man to make any change to this current state of affairs. There are a couple of chilling moments towards the end of the movie, one an enthusiastic flash mob marching in support of Kyle Budwell, only to vanish like a flock of sheep as a gun is fired, the other the immediate loss of interest for whatever the same had to say when his fate is sealed. Case closed, let’s have a commercial break. “What kind of programme will we have tomorrow?” ask Lee Gates to Penny, whom Drama Day has obviously brought together (again).

Ending up in memes and tweets like most things do whenever they start nowadays, Money Monster sums up in a rather tight bundle a sizable portion of what is going wrong in our wretched century, bringing short attention span disorder in the realm of terminal illness. We don’t have enough memory to process everything happening at the speed it is happening. Our short bursts of indignation are followed by long bouts of complacency. If money has always been the root of evil, it is now a very modern and capable monster indeed.

MONSTROMETER
MONEY   Monstrometer4
LONELINESS    Monstrometer3
BOREDOM    Monstrometer1
FEAR    Monstrometer2
TIME   Monstrometer3

IMDB page

Leave a Comment

London Has Fallen (2016)

Screenshot_20160625-134505 copy

MONSTROMETER
MONEY   Monstrometer2
LONELINESS   Monstrometer2
BOREDOM    Monstrometer1
FEAR    Monstrometer2
TIME   Monstrometer2

 

Welcome to Bordelistan

It starts with a bang (very distinguishable India standing for the Philippines drone massacre) and after the mandatory “Two years later” card proceeds to a 40′ gleeful mayhem in which no less than six Heads of States are dispatched through a bloody carnage leaving the center of London eviscerated. After that it becomes a regular thriller for its remaining hour, albeit a violent one, its hero brutally played by Gerard Butler, not known for his lightness of touch. Accordingly, it starts and ends on very unpleasant notes. But let’s separate the grain from the chaff first.

More deserving a deconstructing recap than an analytic review, London Has Fallen is competently made by Iranian-born Babak Najafi, after some shorts, two episodes of Banshee and two feature films, first of which he directed in Sweden. Its premise is clever, if not novel: after the British Prime Minister dies “mysteriously”, leaders of the Free World congregate at the St Paul cathedral memorial service held for his State funeral. This is a nightmare scenario for logistics and security services alike. It’s also about to become a nightmare, period.

To enjoy this movie, suspension of disbelief is of the essence. You will have to accept that the London police force has been infiltrated by the personal militia of a vengeful arm dealer mourning his daughter. You will have to take at face value that even the Royal Guard has been infiltrated. You will have to be fatalist about the fact the “the most protected event on Earth” therefore becomes a fish-in-a-barrel shooting party. Your reaction will probably be “Why don’t they just blow up St Paul Cathedral once everyone is inside?”. Well, I’ll tell you why: it would be less fun.

The best moments of the movie are the Heads of State’s dispatch. Apart from the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart) and the Canadian Prime Minister, no one seems in a hurry to attend church. The German Chancellor (even more poorly dressed than Angela Merkel) is gazing at the changing of the Royal Guard, the French president procrastinates on a Riva Bella motorboat stationed on the Thames river, the Italian Prime Minister treats his 30yo mistress (one guesses) to a private visit of Westminster Abbey, while the Japanese Prime Minister… is stuck in traffic with only one driver and no security.

After all are dead but POTUS, thanks to Butler, an exfiltration turns really bad, killing Angela Bassett in the process, which is inexcusable. The two last men standing will have to find a way to avoid that the president is decapitated online for the whole world to see, an exploit they achieve by killing dozens of terrorists and exchanging one-liners. “I was wondering when you would get out of the closet” says his Head of Security to the President. What are they, f*** buddies?

It ends with what seems to be an inflection in Hollywood policy about terrorism. It is unpalatable, to say the least, to show the US military in full knowledge there will be collateral civilian casualties to yet another drone strike, especially so when the Vice President ordering it is played by Morgan Freeman, aka God. No doubt it has, and will, happened. But that it appears as just retaliation in such a movie makes one wonders if the neo-cons who left the White House have found shelter in the Dream Factory.

IMDB page

Leave a Comment

Starry Eyes (2014)

Screenshot_20160417-150634~2 copy

MONSTROMETER
MONEY    Monstrometer1
LONELINESS    Monstrometer2
BOREDOM    Monstrometer1
FEAR    Monstrometer2
TIME    Monstrometer2

 

Better The Devil, You Know…

Sarah (Alexandra Essor, fearless), an aspiring actress, pays her bill by working at Big Tatters, a family restaurant with boobs where the waitresses wear potato-skin-inspired very tight pants. She shares a house with a bunch of bros and hoes, endlessly discussing the movie they will never shoot. For some obfuscating reason, the scene is in Los Angeles.

Sarah gets an audition for “The Silver Scream”, produced by Astreus Pictures, a once prominent company now on an eclipse but planning their big return to the horror genre. It does not go well and she throws a fit in the bathroom, banging her bag on the wall (with her cellphone in it, one presumes), screaming and pulling off her hair, a rather mild reaction after such a disappointment. Her rage attracts the attention of the casting director who’s not played by a terrible actor and she’s asked to replay her fit, only with epileptic shaking.

By the time a disheveled Sarah walks the streets while synth music plays, two things have become obvious: the movie will follow the same Halloween-inspired horror nouveau template than features like The House of the Devil or Girl Walks Alone at Night, and it will neither be great or awful. But it has a certain something in the slow burn vein.

At her second audition Sarah is asked to disrobe completely, which she does reluctantly at first, until she experiences some kind of an epiphany possibly induced by the flashing strobe lights. Are they trying to give her a seizure? The casting matron sports a pentacle pendant, so one knows that some cult is behind Astreus. Ominous name, check.

Three being the charm it is, she’s invited to met the producer, a libidinous creep who tells her in a conspiratorial tone things like “Ambition is the blackest of human desires” and “I want to capture the ugliness of the human spirit” before feeling her up. Being the epileptic goody-two-shoes she is, Sarah backs off and storms out. Her one female roomate who’s not passive-agressive is appalled: “You don’t mean sex!” she scoffs as if the casting couch was an alien notion in LA.

Sarah takes the walk of shame, begs for her job back at Big Tatters and threatens to spiral into depression. She musters the courage, or is desperate enough, to beg Astreus for a second chance. At this point, one would be allowed to think of her as a tad irresolute.

She goes to her meeting with the head of Astreus dressed as a hooker, because life is for doers, not quitters, and she also gets to meet his other head. “Show me the real Sarah”, he says, to which she doesn’t respond since her mouth is full. The producer has a pentacle tattoo and a very vulgar diamond watch. A masked silhouette observes Sarah, well, performing.

Morning after is a b****. She feels nauseous, gets fired, flashes her roommates and loses her hair while wandering the streets on obsessive dialogue loops. Visions of herself dolled up like a drag queen alternate with losing tooth and nails in he fashion made popular by The Fly. At the point her vagina bleeds and she throws up worms, one wonders what it was she actually swallowed the night before. Astreus explains her that she has to die for a new star to be born.

But not before killing her roommates, in a slasher segment which provides a welcome rush to the movie pace. The worst of the lot has the best death scene, Torn Curtain-style, before it is time for Sarah to lay down and die.

In a finale which does not make any dreadful mistake (ultimate jump scare, loose ends, call for a sequel, to name but a few), Sarah is born again as Annie Lennox, complete with Savage wig and make-up moves from the Why video. Part character study, part body horror, part slasher, part satanism, Starry Eyes does not really coalesces into a coherent whole. The idea that to become part of the Hollywood elite you have to suck c***, lose your teeth and vomit maggots seems eerily adequate, though.

IMDB page

Leave a Comment