By Donna BourgoisGood thing I was so ahead of schedule last month, because wow, I needed that buffer. I lost a week due to travel, I flew up to Michigan to surprise a friend at his send-off party to Japan. Of course flying up to Michigan also means visiting the family. All in all I probably lost at least 24 hours driving across the state. I also saw snow, not the fake stuff we get here in Texas, but the beautiful bitch snow actually is. (I ate it multiple times, ultimately culminating in my phone getting destroyed.) Needless to say, I love you Michigan, but I’m not in love with you… oh, and this is my new boyfriend, Texas. Of course, after any vacation, I spent the final week of the month playing catch up.

Now that I’m back home, I’d like to say I’m warm but it looks like I brought the winter weather back home with me. I’m just mentally preparing for SXSW. (I haven’t taken a look at what films or music is coming yet, but the comedy looks amazing.) If you’re coming through for any of the festival, hit me up and let me know what you’re seeing. I hope y’all are staying warm, enjoying all the awesome movies out right now, and getting ready for what will hopefully be the end of winter soon.


Directed by David Cronenberg.

Running time: 103 min.

Screened via Hulu.

If Akira were a live action movie with incredibly bad teeth you’d sort of have Scanners. The movie really excels with the weird visuals you expect from Cronenberg. However, it is a bit slow moving and I did find it difficult to connect with the characters. Well worth watching for this scene and now overused gif.

TownThatDreaded2014 - EditedThe Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014)

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

Running time: 86 min.

Screened via Netflix.

It took me about 20 minutes to realize that this was a remake of the 1976 original, despite the fact that the movie opens at a drive thru showing of the original. Am I stupid? Maybe. Regardless of how stupid I may or may not be this movie runs on the same idiotic premise as Scooby-Doo; it’s a terrible whodunit with acting as bad as the story.

maxresdefaultThe Thin Blue Line

Directed by Errol Morris.

Running time: 103 min.

Screened via Netflix.

While as a film this documentary isn’t particularly amazing, it is amazing that it was instrumental in freeing an innocent man from prison. Mostly enjoyable due to the fact that it illuminated the corrupt justice system that landed an innocent man in jail in the first place, and led to reform the means that were used to resolve the case.

tumblr_mnq0n0GbWk1qcmflho1_1280Fela Kuti: Music Is The Weapon

Directed by Jean-Jacques Flori and Stéphane Tchalgadjieff.

Running time: 54 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

While this documentary focuses more on the life of Fela Kuti, the music does still play a predominant role throughout the film. The movie really gains steam once it focuses on the political issues of 1970s Nigeria. A concise, excellently shot film that centersaround the works and life of a legend.

adieu-111Adieu au Langage

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

Running time: 70 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

3D has become such a gross overused medium. In the rare case that a director actually films using 3D cameras, it’s clear that the imagery is the focus instead of story. Adieu au Langage completely reinvents that format, as Godard experiments with depth and bizarre scenes that morph into and away from each other. It’s amazing.

jdx031p4tbptjtxtReservation Road

Directed by Terry George.

Running time: 102 min.

Screened via HBO GO.

A typical movie about two families that become intertwined after a hit and run kills a child. Most of the movie is spent focusing on how much of a piece of shit Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) is. The issue I had is that there is less focus on him killing the kid and more focus on him being divorced, which I don’t think that makes you more likely to vehicularly homicide up a kid.


Directed by Alexandre Aja.

Running time: 120 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Another movie I missed at Fantastic Fest; too many people wanted in for this Harry Potter film. Ig Parrish (Daniel Radcliffe) attempts to solve the murder of his girlfriend despite being the main suspect. The first half of the film doesn’t embrace the campy nature of its subject. The second is completely ridiculous and pretty fun.

maxresdefault (1)The Double

Directed by Richard Ayoade.

Running time: 93 min.

Screened via Netflix.

I am not a Jesse Eisenberg fan and this was too much for me to tolerate. (I will admit that he was convincing as the charming half of the double, James.) The story is interesting, but the better parts of The Double are found in a long shot, the set, and the lighting. The set is what makes this movie watchable, not the performances.


Directed by Christopher Nolan.

Running time: 118 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Will Dormer (Al Pacino) comes up to Alaska to aid in an investigation of a murdered teen girl and shit gets weird. It doesn’t get that weird, though I wish it would have. The performances are all quite good and the backdrop of Alaska is beautiful. Christopher Nolan is too safe for me. The weirder a film can become, the better.

John-Wick-Keanu-Reeves2John Wick

Directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch.

Running time: 101 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

UH, WOW. Best action movie of the last (I dunno) ten years? YES. Totally. John Wick is everything I want in an action movie. The love interest is killed off immediately, right at the beginning of the movie? PERFECT! I hate romance in action movies. You know what’s amazing, you don’t have to shove some stupid romance into an action movie to make it good. Let the action speak. And oh, did it speak.

Alan-PartridgeAlan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Directed by Declan Lowney.

Running time: 90 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Less witty than slapstick, this comedy has several laugh-out-loud bits. Alan, a radio DJ who faces the threat of losing his job only to come face to face with death as the liaison for the police in an emerging hostage situation. Similar in style to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, an aloof Partridge stumbles into multiple situations where he turns out the hero.

Picture_2The Visitor (1979)

Directed by Giulio Paradisi.

Running time: 108 min.

Screened via DVD.

A friend graciously lent me this bizarre film, one of the many and wonderful Drafthouse Films. It’s as if Paradisi read The Shining and was like oh yeah, I got this, then did a bunch of blow and plopped out a script. The Visitor jumps around a lot without worrying about things like plot or continuity, however there are some pretty well framed shots and the commentary is insane.

maxresdefault (2) - EditedStrange Days

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

Running time: 145 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Do you like the “future” and/or Hackers? Then this is totally in your wheelhouse. Strange Days was filmed in 1995 and takes place in 1999 in the days leading up to the Millennium. The technology that the plot relies on is pretty interesting and generally I’m a pretty big sucker for a mystery, this one fell pretty flat on all fronts.


Directed by Spike Jonze.

Running time: 126 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

If you’re a piece of shit, which I happen to be, sometimes you prep for Oscar season by watching the winners from last year because you missed them in theaters. Her was much more beautifully shot, well acted, and high-crotched than I expected it to be. If you want to treat your eyes to something beautiful I would highly recommend a viewing.


Directed by John Favreau.

Running time: 114 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Chef, or: The Cheeseburger Tales of Johnny Favs (the title I wish this movie had). It’s impossible to live in Austin and never eat at a food truck, so this movie felt pretty homey to me. It’s warm and comforting, like eating a bowl of homemade mac n’ cheese, which I’m sure Favreau ate a million of on set. All fat jokes aside, the movie is great.

dead-snow-2-3Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Directed by Tommy Wirkola.

Running time: 100 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Zombies and Nazis. Finally, I say. The gore and special effects are reminiscent of some campier zombie films post Night of the Living Dead. The plot is not great, I imagine the first is better in that regard. While I don’t think I’ll be watching this film again I did recently add the original to my Netflix queue.

Badass-Colin-FirthKingsman: The Secret Service

Directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Running time: 129 min.

Screened via Riverside Cinema.

Kingsman falls somewhere between Spy KidsJames Bond, and eating shit (like I did on the icy streets of Michigan the night after I saw this movie). Samuel L. Jackson sports an obnoxious accent, clearly trying to distance himself from the Quicksilver cards he’s constantly trying to push at you during Prime Time, bruv.


Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

Running time: 119 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

Another Oscar-winning film that only confirms that the Academy is a good ol’ boys club. It’s difficult to point out the overstated ways that made this the best movie of the year. What I enjoyed the most about Birdman was the pacing. I’m a theatre person at heart, what can I say. Industry masturbation aside, it’s well deserving of the highest Oscar.


Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski.

Running time: 82 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Do yourself a favor, stop what you are doing and watch this movie immediately. A beautiful glimpse into the life of a girl about to embrace the vows of sisterhood. A compelling story wrapped with a bow of death, Ida, is breathtaking in every way imaginable. There is a very valid reason Ida won the well-deserved Foreign Language Oscar.


Directed by Gerard Johnstone.

Running time: 107 min.

Screened via Netflix.

A comedic horror movie that rewards you for watching an otherwise mediocre film with a surprise ending. Housebound tends to lean more towards the side of humor than horror. If you enjoy jump-scares in your comedy I think you’ve found a new addition to your watchlist.

13888-4The Overnighters

Directed by Jesse Moss.

Running time: 102 min.

Screened via Netflix.

A small town in North Dakota sees a sudden influx of transplants in search for work in the oil industry. The documentary focuses on a pastor, his family, and the homeless staying at their church. Unlike other films focusing on those left behind during America’s most recent depression, Moss’ touching film is fully realized as a living thing.


Directed by Christopher Nolan.

Running time: 69 min.

Screened via Netflix.

As it turns out, February is not only the time where I binge on Oscar movies, it’s also the time I watch gross Nineties movies! This movie is less film noir than it is a better version of a Shyamalan film. So many twists and turns you might get dizzy. The performances are good enough to make this worth watching.

High_Anxiety_11High Anxiety

Directed by Mel Brooks.

Running time: 94 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Theres nothing better than covering yourself in blankets and watching a Mel Brooks film. This one is no exception. High Anxiety is play on several of the great Hitchcock’s films. Very well done satire is so few and far between, and revisiting the these films makes you truly appreciate why they are classics.

alice04Alice (1988)

Directed by Jan Švankmajer.

Running time: 84 mins.

Screened via Netflix.

Um… wait, what? Who is the target audience of this movie? I really hate myself for liking this movie; I feel like it puts me way too close to Bronie culture. By far the most bizarre and disturbing version of Alice and Wonderland that I’ve seen, it is also quiet unique and unsettling, like a longer Björk video or the good parts of The Cell. However, there’s too many teeth in this movie. It’s gross.

maps-to-the-stars-img04Maps to the Stars

Directed by David Cronenberg.

Running time: 111 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

I imagine David saw his kid Brandon’s 2012 film Antiviral and said, ok son, let me show you my Hollywood. Cronenberg hits all of the marks we’ve come to expect from him. A twisted satire revolving around the lives of celebrities and what horrible things they’ve stolen and lied about to get to where they are.

Check out Donna’s daily progress over at Letterboxd.