By Donna Bourgois. I watched a lot of bad movies this month. Like, a lot. I’m not sure why… must be the typical non-committal attitude that seems to affect everyone when spring rolls around. I also had friends in town every week this month, so I had to really cram in movies whenever and wherever I could.

I’m really unimpressed with myself this month.

There’s so many good movies out right now too! I blame it on hockey and John Cooper’s collusion with Bettman. Yeah that’s right! I said it! Now excuse me while I spend the rest of the season crying. (#excuses)

In other news, next month is going to be sweet. We have my favorite music festival in Austin, which the town will soon be fucking lousy with, Psychfest. The second weekend of May cannot come soon enough! As a result, I am going to attempt what I’m already fearing may be the impossible and only watch psychedelic films. If you have any good recommendations, please let me know; I have a feeling I’ll be hurting for them sooner than later. Also, I’ve reached the completion of the first third of this 365 challenge!

20143814_2_IMG_FIX_700x700Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

Directed by Thomas Allen Harris.

Running time: 90 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

Chronicling the story of photography in the African American community, Thomas Allen Harris sews a beautiful and emotionally charge yarn through the ages. While this documentary is not easy to seek out, it is well worth finding.

Under-Siege-Steven-SegalUnder Siege

Directed by Andrew Davis.

Running time: 103 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

The post-accident Gary Busey film featured in the podcast I co-host, The Gary Buseytown Massacre. (Now available on iTunes and BeyondPod for free!) Before The Fugitive there was Under Siege, and wow, what a movie. As far as Steven Seagal films are concerned this is in the upper echelon, but is it good? No, it is not.

buddy_holly_story_2The Buddy Holly Story

Directed by Steve Rash.

Running time: 124 min.

Screened via DVD.

Having never seen this film before, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. Gary Busey is amazing as the late Buddy Holly. Again, I watched this in preparation for GBTM and it is exactly what I want from a musical biopic and is now easily in my top five of that sub-genre. It’s rare for me to watch a film and think Oh yeah, I’d totally watch that again.

1035x586-20140127-pug-x1800-139085685912 O’Clock Boys

Directed by Lofty Nathan.

Running time: 76 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

The 12 O’Clock Boys are awesome, totally dangerous and totally awesome. As soon as the movie started I immediately identified with the main character, Pug. I was like yeah, duh, I want to join the 12 O’Clock Boys too, that shit’s tight. The film spans three years as Pug tries to join the infamous street dirt bike gang.

Screenshot 2015-04-20 at 5.45.06 PMDevil’s Backbone, Texas

Directed by Jake Wade Wall.

Running time: 80 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Of course I had to watch this. If you haven’t been to the Devil’s Backbone, do it. You will not regret it. An absolutely stunning twisty drive through the heart of hill country and you can immediately understand the multitude of spooky stories about this area. I actually enjoyed this movie, it has a one star rating on Netflix. Totally unwarranted.

the-quiet-ones-014-the-quiet-ones-pseudoscience-vs-the-supernaturalThe Quiet Ones

Directed by John Pogue.

Running time: 98 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Another completely forgettable movie involving a “haunted” girl and a psych professor that thinks he can cure her? Or prove that ghosts aren’t real? Or be a pedophile? Obviously the film wasn’t too clear on what exactly was going on. Lots of double crossing, it was me this whole time kind of garbage. Bah. Boring, predictable, and idiotic.

You are about to enter a week of my life. Some might say it was wasted, and those people are naysayers. Not only did I get (debatably) too faded, but I also managed to have an action packed Friday watching nearly the entire Fast, FF, Furious F, F&F? series. It was awesome.

tokyodriftThe Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Directed by Justin Lin.

Running time: 104 min.

Screened via HBO GO.

Is it crucial to the Fast franchise? Yes, totally. I had a lot of questions, immediately starting with the hairy nips of the 40 year old that’s supposed to be 17. Quickly followed after watching the rest of the films in the series. This shit was bonkers. But, seriously, the tie-in. OMFG

Fast-and-furious-5-film-5Fast & Furious

Directed by Justin Lin.

Running time: 107 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

Back to the basics, the original cast makes a much needed reappearance after the hairy nip fiasco of Tokyo Drift. The fourth film in the franchise sets the stage for the next four films, and boy does it. If you remember the first of the series then you certainly buy into the deep betrayal and cool hate of this return to formula.

91fPoNH-XYL._SL1500_Fast Five

Directed by Justin Lin.

Running time: 130 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

AKA how to ruin a country in film while simultaneously making enough money irl to fund FIFA. All money jokes aside, I was concerned I was having a stroke due to the amount of smells I had that someone may or may not have been cooking. If the previous film set the stage for the next four in the series, five absolutely set the tone.

starry_eyes_2014_movie-1920x1200Starry Eyes

Directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer.

Running time: 98 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Another film that has an abysmal rating on Netflix, so of course I had to watch it. Starry Eyes is not great, however it deserves better than one star. The story is pretty commonplace: girl wants to be a star, some occult shit happens, and her dreams come true.

photo_02All Good Things

Directed by Andrew Jarecki.

Running time: 101 min.

Screened via Netflix.

I was blown away. Gosling displayed a range of emotion the likes of which has yet to come to the surface again. The story is so bizarre and interesting and I thought the first half of the movie was excellent, really well developed. However, I wish Jarecki would have focused on Gosling and Dunst’s relationship; the story was far too jumbled in the third act.

theatrical-trailer-for-a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-westA Million Ways to Die in the West

Directed by Seth MacFarlane.

Running time: 116 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

A Million Ways to Die in the West, or: 116 min of Discomfort and Bore. This movie was so boring and awful it took me three days to get through it. So many bad jokes and missed bits. The only reason this movie is worth watching is for Liam Neeson, he’s great.

Appuntamento-a-Wicker-Park-Immagini-dal-film-2_midWicker Park

Directed by Paul McGuigan.

Running time: 114 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Much like present day, I hated romance movies when I was a teenager. As a result I missed this gem. I realize now that maybe I was a bit generous with some of my other ratings, as this is the lowest rated movie on my Letterboxd account (half a star). This movie is absolutely terrible. What a complete waste of time.

buffalo66-08Buffalo ‘66

Directed by Vincent Gallo.

Running time: 110 min.

Screened via Hulu Plus.

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this movie, but one thing for sure: Vincent Gallo is a freak. (Did you know you can buy his sperm for a cool million on his website? I mean nbd, he is a total babe and everyone has a million to spare for sure.) Gallo really nailed his first feature length directorial debut.

kevin-hart-unhinged-on-the-ride-along-set-1090360-TwoByOneRide Along

Directed by Tim Story.

Running time 99 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

I’ll be honest with you, I pretty much only watched this movie because I am a sucker for anything Jason Mantzoukas. He’s the best and he co-wrote this thing. The story is straightforward enough and the the jokes are pretty funny, but most of the jokes are the ones shown in the commercials. Bummer.

dasfinsteretal-riley_1392810543550265Das finstere Tal

Directed by Andreas Prochaska.

Running time 114 min.

Screened via Netflix.

An absolutely stunning twist on a tired old genre. A western set in the Alps as opposed to the desert. Switching up tumbleweeds for flurries the attitude is all the same, cold and tyrannical. While the film is absolutely stunning and the cast is quite talented it isn’t all good. The characters have little arc, if any at all.

Shock-Corridor-7Shock Corridor

Directed by Samuel Fuller.

Running time 101 min.

Screened via Hulu Plus.

Look, I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover and I think it’s fair to apply the same rule to films and their posters or box art, but what a misleading cover. Criterions are such a gamble and seriously difficult to judge by the art. I was hoping this would be more psychedelic than psychotic, and disappointment ensued.

For this particular screening, as with many at the Alamo Drafthouse, there was a Q&A with writer/producer Nick Kroll. For those unfamiliar, Kroll is one of the stars of FXX’s The League and Comedy Central’s Kroll Show. As one might guess there were a fair amount of bros in attendance, I’m sure most of which normally would not have gone for a sweet and comedic family comedy. Big laughs all around. I think I even saw one of the bros tear up at the end.


Adult Beginners

Directed by Ross Katz.

Running time 90 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

A cute, funny, and heart-tugging film about family. Typically I’m a difficult sell on comedies about family but Nick Kroll nailed every joke. I was fortunate enough to see this in an advance screening a few days before the national release at the Alamo Drafthouse, of course my home away from home (or my office).


The Deep End

Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel.

Running time: 101 min.

Screened via Cinemax.

It’s like We Need To Talk About Kevin but Kevin is gay and his name is Beau, and by “talk about”, I mean “talk to his 40 year-old club-owning boyfriend about ending their relationship”. But guess what?! There’s a fucking twist! This film is so asinine that even sexy Dr. Luka Kovac from ER can’t save it from drowning.

Ex-Machina-Download-Wallpapers - EditedEx Machina

Directed by Alex Garland.

Running time: 108 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

Few sci-fis are a captivating as Ex Machina. Garland creates a beautiful world in a harsh contemporary industrial compound. A beautifully shot film with amazing sound design is well-maintained throughout the film. Unfortunately, I had several issues with other aspects of the film. The dialogue was clumsy at times, and the story isn’t all that unique.


Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Running time: 106 min.

Screened via Netflix.

I saw Unbreakable when it first came out and I hated it. All the while I’ve stood behind that, but honestly I barely even remember it. Good news, I’m still unimpressed. The idea of a superhero origin story is great, but superhero movies with action, how boring. Let’s just do a slice of life character study; surely that will make a great movie.

thekidsarealright_1The Kids Are All Right

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko.

Running time: 106 min.

Screened via Netflix.

While the film is often moving, well acted, and funny the story gets a little over the top in the second act. The story gets too tangled up in itself and ultimately unravels at the end. Cholodenko does a great job of drawing you in (and it doesn’t hurt that the film is filled with stars), but it just takes to sharp of a turn to ever recover.


Directed by Lowell Dean.

Running time: 79 min.

Screened via Netflix.

In my previous reviews I’ve brought up a lot of issues with the commitment a film can have to “camp”. WolfCop is a shining example of how to properly execute campiness. This film is ridiculous: a werewolf alcoholic cop tries to save the town from a series of strange occult occurrences. Tight.

maxresdefaultAnother Me

Directed by Isabel Coixet.

Running time: 86 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

The craziest part about this movie isn’t the story or the concept but the fact that it is only 86 minutes. This film felt like it was 120+. A lot of shit gets thrown together (I assume only to jazz up the script). Ideas were pasted on the wall and darts were thrown at it. Affairs, bullseye; teen romance, bullseye; spooky twin shit, bullseye; suspense? Totally missed the board.

Hey! Do you have a Letterboxd? You should! Get an account going and follow Donna’s daily progress!