Archive for legend

‘Clown’: This ain’t no kiddie show

Posted in horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2017 by aliciamovie

clown

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Jon Watts

Studio: Cross Creek Pictures

MPAA Rating: R

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

A harried father, wanting to make his sons birthday not clown-less, dons an old clown costume he found in a house he’s renting and soon discovers to his horror, he can’t take the cursed thing off!

One would think, from that oversimplified version of the plot I just spouted, that the movie is just going to be a gore-fest of body-Horror-turned-hack-n-slash, which is fairly standard for Eli Roth’s MO. However, Roth had little to do with the film in the beginning and was half seduced and half strongarm-convinced to lend his name and reputation to Clown. While yes, there is plenty of body Horror, as poor hapless Kent discovers himself literally turning into a demon, and lots of hack n slash as Kent makes his way towards the sacrifice the demon demands, the story behind the clown skin is quite cool and very different, a welcome unexpected treat.

So Kent McCoy (Andy Powers) is your standard real estate contractor type, he sells houses and has a wife and son he loves; your average schmo who’s done not a thing to deserve this nonsense. It just so happens that Kent wants his kid Jack (Christian Distefano) to have the happiest birthday possible, and if that means donning a borrowed clown costume he found in the trunk of some house he’s renting and going out to be the entertainment his damn self, he’ll do it. Good for you, Kent. The trouble is, now, he can’t take the damned clown suit, or that idiotic nose and the rainbow hair, off. Kent’s early attempts to get the cursed suit offa him, or at least cover it up, are some of the bright spots of a very dark movie.

Kent’s wife Meg (Laura Allen), well of course she’s mighty concerned, and it doesn’t help that the bit of clown-nose she managed to get off Kent only to have it eaten by the dog, is now causing the dog to act funny too. Tracking down the costumes previous owner, Dr. Martin Karlsson, proves difficult, but his brother Herbert (Peter Stormhare) has some answers that Kent really doesn’t like. And here is where Clown takes an abrupt turn down a very different Krampus-like path – Herbert informs Kent of the legend of Cløyne, an ancient demon of Northern Europe that requires a sacrifice of five children, one for each month of winter where it comes from, to eat before it is satisfied. That clown suit that is now taking over Kent is no suit, it’s the actual skin and hair from a Cløyne demon, and that is precisely what Kent is becoming.

From there, we have a mix of hilariously dark moments where Dadclown is still trying not to turn into Cløyne by killing himself and it so doesn’t work, or Dadclown deciding to get some revenge for his kids bullying while getting his demon parasite fed at the same time, interspersed with some truly odd moments with Herbert showing back abruptly to try and finish Cløyne off himself. Things come to a showdown in a Chuck E. Cheese’s, of all places, and we are forcibly reminded that there are few things scarier in this world, even moreso than an actual demon, than a mother afraid for her children.

The makeup affects for the body horror and transformation in the film are astounding, and they had better be, considering there’s practically nothing in the way of CGI. The feeling of plausibility that comes across, this could happen to you too in the right (wrong) circumstances, is also well done and gives the movie that extra creepy kick. While the slaughter-y scenes certainly do have Roth’s signature on them, one would be hard-pressed to tell that from the rest of the film. Director of the film Jon Watts, who also did Cop Car (and directed and freaking co-wrote the upcoming Spiderman Homecoming movie), gives us a stylized Horror flick that he clearly felt passionately about. For all Watts’ love of the movie and the Cløyne legend of the demonic clown, we are treated, almost tricked, into a Horror flick that has a bit of everything, and that is what the dark carnival is all about.

Visit the legend of Cløyne in Clown on Netflix!

San Diego Film Week presents ‘A Life Lived’: For Love or Money?

Posted in comedy, drama, Movies, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2017 by aliciamovie

alifelived-1

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Riley Wood

Studio: Not A Camel Productions

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

The journey of a single dollar bill and the lives it affects, inadvertently and directly, along the way.

We as collective humans have more in common with each-other than most of us ever realize, or are willing to admit in some nasty cases. We all covet and desire, love and hate and all kinds of emotions betwixt and between, torn between responsibility and the need to just say, “Screw it all!” Our actions, and occasionally the very lack of acting, ripple-affects those in our lives, and sometimes even outside or our sphere of awareness, in ways we can’t possibly begin to fathom, but are endlessly fascinating to ruminate upon. And it is this circular unknowing that A Life Lived dives into, presenting the journey of a dollar bill with a heart on it for our perusal.

One wouldn’t think that a man who had dumped his wife and gotten a brand-new upgraded girlfriend who need to pay for his sex elsewhere, but there you have it. Our first protagonist went to get change for a $20 from the grocery store and the adorkable eternally smiling cashier was not only super-duper extra-nice to him, she drew a heart on one of the dollar bills. This is of course how we know that it’s that particular dollar bill we’re following, but hey, that works for me. And not too much later, when he decides to go get his rocks off with a motel Dominatrix, that’s where the hearted dollar bill ends up.

We follow the heart to a botched robbery of a convenience store; Tom’s wife is dying, his insurance has run out, and he’s been nerving himself to rob in full view of the store for hours. In trying to be nice and let Tom off with a minor infraction, the store clerk actually made it worse for him, but there are still some avenging angels in the police force, and a certain Mr. Jackson pockets the hearted bill in an actual theft for a genuinely good cause.

We follow the heart unerringly through a thievery sleepover, a cocaine slide from whacked-out performer Dixx, the revenge of Dixx’s assistant and her attempt to break the 4th wall inside the movie, the plight of homeless George, a disgusting attempt at sexual coercion when the bill goes “missing” from a diner till, and finally Delby Madison gets a lawyerly consultation fee from Peter, Tom’s brother, for, you guessed it, a single dollar bill with a heart on it.

We’ve come round to the end, at least the end of this bill’s particular journey, and as many journeys do, this one ends in death. The death of Tom’s beloved wife Martha, yes, but he was sprung from jail in enough time to say goodbye to her, in tears and lamentations and perhaps even a little relief that her pain had finally come to an end. Tom will have to do some time in jail, but it’s likely to be very little, and he’s allowed some extra time off for the funeral and a night of mourning after. As Tom sits and ruminates over a life he lived, with Martha, and now the life he may have to live without her, he needs some way to light the very fine Cuban cigar his brother gifted him. Wooden matches aren’t doing it. And then, finally, Tom’s eyes fall on the dollar bill with a heart drawn on it that made its way back to him – a fitting end for the life lived of that one single solitary dollar bill.

Of course there is a wonderful little easter egg after that, we see the morning routine of the kooky cat lady grocery store clerk, as she prepares to be eternally cheerful and smiling no matter what comes her way, and always and forever drawing random hearts on peoples single dollar bills. What lives will these bills lead, how will they cross us in unsuspecting ways and bring us together, or apart, depending on the choices made with these little green pieces of paper that can move the world?

After the showing of the film, which I greatly enjoyed, there was a Q&A session with filmmaker and director Riley Wood, who delightedly told me about more easter eggs and tidbits to be found in A Life Lived. Such as the number 13 myth, referencing the original 13 colonies and said to be found hiding all over in our currency, connecting to all sorts of mysticism and ancient secret socities; director Wood subtly inserted the number 13 in many places in the film. Wood confirmed that the cocaine legend was indeed inserted into the film, for it is after all part of the dollars own legend, and that every named character in the film was named from a person somewhere on U.S. currency (Jackson, Jefferson, etc.). And lastly, Wood talked about giving each of the main characters a few moments alone in their vehicle as a spotlight into their heads, because every one of us is at least a slightly different person when we’re alone in our car.

The film is still working on distribution rights, but believe me when I say it is a delightfully heart-strung romp and should be viewed whenever possible.

A Life Lived Trailer from Riley Wood on Vimeo.