Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hot Girls Wanted: To do or Not to do Porn

*Disclaimer: I will not use any real or pseudo names for the people in this documentary. I do not want to promote them in or out of the business. I can almost guarantee 50% or more have watched this documentary and immediately opened their laptop and searched for their videos. That is one reason for this article is to shine light on what the documentary could actually promote.

Is this documentary educational, scary, or motivational? You decide.

If you have Netflix, there may have been a movie in the recently added section that caught your eye - Hot Girls Wanted. This is a movie about girls aspiring to make it in the pornography industry, but have to start in the amateur circuit, or what I would call, the minor leagues. From start to finish, from fact to fact, from person to person, and from act to act, you cannot take your eyes off the screen. You want to know what is going to happen to these girls and who will make it. As far as a documentary goes, I got what I wanted - solid basis of people to pay attention to and enough facts to blow my mind. What I really got out of this movie though is questionable. The tone of the documentary is very difficult to figure out. I will break it down into two sections - I am not terrified to get into any form of porn and the opposite affect this movie could have - This does not look like a bad lifestyle for the amount of money, sign me up.
I feel that since this is streaming on Netflix and most likely did not hit a lot of ground while distributed, you may need a synopsis - something I normally hate in an article or review. The documentary focuses on a handful of girls trying to get into the pornography business. They are starting out in the amateur circuit, which some feel is a trap for a lot of young women. They see posts online like “Free Trip to Miami” and when they inquire about the trip, they begin to understand they must do something for the “free” trip. They take up residence in the “Talent Scout’s” house and pay rent in order to stay. They are then booked for small shoots that are filmed like the are “real.” The handful of girls will either make it in porn, be stuck in the minor leagues, or quit. The fascination lies within who will end up where, which is why it is difficult to stop watching this documentary. Basic synopsis that could peak your attention.
Let’s get into the two tones of this documentary that will leave you wondering what you just saw. The first is a fear tactic to scare any young female who may be interested. The statistics are overwhelmingly interesting and disturbing at the same time. We are following girls who are already in the industry, so they know what to expect. There is only one girl who is brand new and will film her first scene in this documentary and she looks a little tense. They stay in a house owned by the “Talent Scout” and pay him rent. Yes, the rent comes from their paycheck for filming a scene.
The house is pretty rundown, but this guy is playing it up like it’s a mansion. The girls all seem to like it as well - which when you watch the documentary would scare you because of what could possibly be going on in this house. The main character that we are following has many ups and downs. She does bondage scenes, she gets some sort of bump on her genitals at one point, and most terrifying of all, we see her go home to tell her parents what she is doing. The disappointment in the parent’s eyes are what would be the most frightening. Adding to the parents, she has a boyfriend who is long distance and when they go to a party, his friends want to put her scenes up on the television. Now for any guy who thinks it would be cool to date a pornstar, it is now scary. I won’t give away all the scenes of terror, but I will say there is a vomit scene that will make you cringe. Some survive and prosper in the industry and some do not. It is explained that most girls “shelf life” in this part of the industry is 3 months to a year - so don’t expect a career. The scariest part is just how interesting this section is, instead of educational.

Here is where the tone shifts and leaves the film misunderstood. Greatly.

I watched this documentary with my girlfriend, because she was interested and hit play (yes, I wanted to watch it, but it surprised me she did too). When it ended, we looked at each other and wondered what we were supposed to gather from this documentary. We didn’t understand if it was a negative documentary or a positive one. I guess it is how the viewer depicts it - which is not how a documentary should presented. Let’s look at the tone shift. The girls inside this house are very happy to be there and seem to be thoroughly enjoying their camaraderie. The enjoyment of sex and having fun is placed front and center. Everyone seems to be taken care of greatly by this “Talent Scout” and he seems harmless. The documentary shows a statistic that on average a girl can make around $800 per scene. That is a lot of money for little work, if you are up for it. The main girl mentions, although very briefly, that she made $25,000 in four months. That quote alone is enough for a lot of girls to open their laptops immediately and try to break into the game. The fear tactics were spread throughout and placed nearly right after you saw, what could be construed, as good business. The family still loves the girl no matter what she does and they will always be their daughter. We were scared at first of this encounter, but now all is right in the world. The end shows us who is still in it, even after we have watched them slurp up vomit and pretend to be somewhat molested. They seemed to have found happiness in what they are doing and they love getting paid for it. We then see a new batch of girls ready to move into this house and start their new lives. They seem happy and hopeful. It is a never ending cycle and the tone of this movie - depending on your mindset and how you watch it - could motivate someone to look into it

This article is not intended to contribute or to denounce the pornography industry. This article is not to bash the film. I enjoyed the film and was surprised by how I felt watching it. I would call it a Subjective Documentary and you will get out of it what you want. It doesn’t feel like an “Agree or Disagree” documentary, but more a “Could I Ever Do That” documentary. The film is a very interesting watch, but I would watch it with caution. At times I was scared for these girls, and at times somehow I was happy for them. If you hate the industry then you will not see any tone but horror. If you are unbias of the industry you will see a very interesting documentary with statistics you never knew. If you enjoy the industry, you will watch this documentary with your laptop open and searching for these scenes. If you have ever thought about utilizing porn to get some cash, you will watch this documentary and know how to do it. This documentary won’t sway you one way or the other - it will keep you where you stand on the industry. The tone is your’s to decide.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Toy Story That Time Forgot


Toy Story That Time Forgot is the latest installment in the cherished ongoing story that has touched the hearts of millions of people.  They continue to live through their shorts and all of their shorts have seemed to live up to every expectation of the films, but with different criteria.  Each story has focused on a different toy from the series and the latest one focuses on Trixie, Bonnie's dinosaur.  The gang is taken by Bonnie to a play date and when they arrive she sees her friend playing an Oculus Rift type video game and ignoring her toys.  She wants to play that, so she throws her rocket backpack into the other room that is full of toys and the action begins.  Trixie and the gang meet up with a brand new toy set of dinosaurs and a dinosaur world.  The only problem is, these toys haven't been played with so they do not believe they are toys.  War begins.

The new story of the latest installment brings back a lot of nostalgia with it's story.  It seems to recycle Buzz's story when he first encounters Woody and the others and firmly believes that he is a real spaceman.  They use this premise, along with Bonnie's toys being able to play any part that she may want - not just a dinosaur or a spaceman.  Pricklepants seems to be a big catalyst in everyone being okay with having different roles, seeing how he has "acting experience."  This makes the toys almost seem more lovable in a way.  It gave our old friends a new feel.  I like catching up with old friends and new things have happened.  That is what this is.  The story is not recycled when the "King Dinosaur" discovers Bonnie's name under her foot.  This is a play in the original that broke our hearts with Andy marking on Woody and then giving Buzz the same marking and forgetting Woody - this is different.  They cut the ties with toys believing they are real and not by calling her mark a "Mark of Obedience."  Meaning she has fallen claim to an owner and therefore isn't her own person.

Trixie is in full force in this one as the main character, a love interest, and the hero.  Once the action pursues, which has a fantastic "Bloody Scene," thanks to crayon wax, has Trixie trying to get to Bonnie to play with these toys and reset the balance.  The best part of every short is the spotlight of a toy that's been a sideline character.  It's a focus shift that can continue in this universe for a long time.

Instead of showing the owner's connection to these toys or the toys need to be played with as the previous movies displayed - I felt this one was more of the toys were playing with the owner.  They enjoy acting.  They are taking new roles and they are having as much fun being whatever they can as opposed to fighting for playtime as what they are.  

This 30 minute Toy Story "short" (episode?) - what are these now? - ranks above Toy Story of Terror because I did not feel Toy Story of Terror met it's theme correctly at the end.  This one had an ending that could have continued and could inevitably be written into the next Toy Story movie.  I would match this with Toy Story Toons - Small Fry.  I enjoy the Toy Story shorts greatly and it seems like these 30 minute episodes could use more time to get their full story out.  The shorts pack a big punch and end in the time needed.  I wanted more from tonight.  I hope I get more.

I will be a Toy Story lover for life and will continue to watch them.  This one did not disappoint, it just made me want more.  I wasn't fulfilled at the end.  Rushed.  It's a beloved story to get into a small segment.  I will be back again the next time they have them though.  It's a part of my childhood like all of my actual toys were.  

Thank you, Pixar.  

Tusk Review - Second life coming to VOD

Tusk Review - Will it find a new life on VOD?

Tusk is about to be released on VOD and at the end of December it will be released on DVD.  Not a lot of films these days, get box office redemption and a new life on VOD or DVD (Unless you’re Adam Sandler), but after breaking even in its theatrical release, Tusk is primed to find new traction being available to the masses, including the millions of Smith followers and fans that didn’t get the film near them.  Tusk is a movie that can show you that you don’t have to have a serious concept to bring out brilliant performances and leave you with a film that you will never be able to forget.  The premise is very straight forward about a podcaster (Justin Long) that interviews strange people that he finds on the internet.  He stumbles upon a man (Michael Parks) who would like to share his stories of travel and survival.  It turns out this man missed his Walrus friend that helped him survive on Ponder Rock and wants to turn Justin Long into a human walrus. Yes, a human walrus.  He makes his escape call and then you get his friends (Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez) on the trail to find him.

The only thing that everyone can think of when they hear this premise is, Human Centipede.  This is not Human Centipede.  This film is Silence of the Lambs meets the Jersey Universe that Kevin Smith created.  The story, if you leave out the walrus, is a creepy story that, in this era of the internet, very logically could happen.  Everyone is trying to create the next big podcast, while there are people like the Craigslist Killer out there waiting to prey on people searching through the internet for anything from household items to a spouse.  The progression of Michael Parks slowly turning Justin Long into a walrus is one of the best paced, creepiest amount of time I have seen in film in a long time.  The anticipation of seeing if Long actually goes Full Walrus is more than enough to keep you entwined in this film.  Along with this skin crawling scenario, you then get an old school detective story (filled with nostalgic cop show camera shots) which features a very hidden Johnny Depp in a character you never thought you would see him portray, but he does it, perfectly.

The acting and writing of this movie stands out the most.  This movie was clearly written for Michael Parks and he completely became Howard Howe.  The believability in this performance is very reflective of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector.  You forget the premise of what you are watching and you become enthralled with his performance and how you would never want to meet this man.  Parks was fantastic in Red State and From Dusk Till Dawn, but whoever views this film will say, “This was Parks greatest performance.” I would even chalk this up as the best villainous performance of the year, and am sad when I think that due to the films content, no one would take it seriously for an Oscar.  Although the film is heavy with Parks’ brilliant performance, you cannot count out Justin Long.  He plays his obnoxious podcaster role well, but shines as a victim.  The sympathy and heartbreak that I was truly feeling while watching this made me feel as if it were actually happening.  Parks and Long as villain and victim are a combination that I never thought I would say I couldn’t have been more happy with.  The supporting cast do not play too big of a role until they are on the hunt, so they do not get as much play, but when they do they are overshadowed by a dopy detective played by Johnny Depp.  This is not a role that Depp fans will enjoy, but you can clearly see the fun that Kevin Smith was having in developing this character and getting Depp to play him.  This character is there to remind you - This is not a serious film (although I would strongly disagree in some of the parts.)

“Tusk is a movie that shouldn’t have been made.” This is a direct quote from the Jersey auteur himself Kevin Smith.  He uses the word “shouldn’t” due to the movie’s premise and how Hollywood and audiences would accept it.  His huge fan base wanted this from the start and said #WalrusYes, but they could not all have access to it.  That is my reasoning for its box office numbers.  This movie hits VOD and DVD soon and I firmly believe it is about to find a new life - much like Mallrats.  Word of mouth from this film will keep it alive and passed from friend to friend.  If you are staying away due to the premise, give it a rent or purchase for the performances.  You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let's Be Cops


Let's Be Cops is a gem of comedy during an unfunny Summer.  It came a little late, but at least the funny arrived before we end the summer and we can forget about movies that promised us laughs and never delivered.  I am speaking of at least Sex Tape and Tammy.  Let's Be Cops delivers what you see in the trailer and gives you a surprisingly good story arc to go along with the normal buddy movie.  It takes a little bit to get into the laughs, but when you get there it stays.

Let's Be Cops seems like one of those movies that spoils the funny parts during the trailer - not true.  During the first quarter of the movie you begin to wonder where this movie is going and where the funny is, but soon after everything unravels and pulls you in.  The trailer doesn't show the main story focus after they begin pretending to be cops and get in the mix of a mob shaking down a local business and decide to investigate.  Jake Johnson's character does not have much of a life of his own so he takes the police work very seriously - so much so that you forget he is not a real cop.  Damon Wayans Jr. has a little more of a life and doesn't want to go to jail so he plays everything down and tries to stop the shenanigans.  They may be fake, but this mob is real and thanks to YouTube they may be taken down.

Jake and Damon's chemistry from New Girl transfers wonderfully onto film.  You can tell these two had a lot of fun filming and are proud of their work.  The characters are similar to their New Girl counterparts which should bring that whole audience into theaters.  When it is time to get serious or throw in some action, these guys deliver just as easily as they do in their comedy.  The comedy peaks going into act 3 with Damon Wayans Jr. shining like he has never shined before.  This will be the hardest you have laughed all summer.  

During this wake of the summer dying, Let's Be Cops takes us out of the galaxy and off of a planet ran by apes and takes us home laughing.  This is a movie you will want to pay attention to as the jokes come pretty quickly.  Laugh with everyone, but be alone in the theater.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Remakes are getting made all the time and sometimes you have to ask, why?  Some writers or producers want to keep things alive and present them to a new generation just to bring that love back into the culture.  I do not believe there has been a remake that has startled everyone as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did when it was announced.  No one wanted to see a Michael Bay version of their childhood as they have already seen before.  More importantly the phrase that came from this was people didn't want "their childhood ruined."  The heroes in half-shells were iconic in their cartoons and reached even higher with movies that every child loved.  Well now we have a two-fisted movie - We are introducing a new generation to a new form of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and we are ruining our childhood at the same time.  

This review will seem bias to my childhood, but I stepped outside of my childhood self to give this movie a chance - it did not bode well.  The origin story for the TMNT has been altered and it is no longer the ooze from an accident, rather it is an experiment for an eventual villain who needs the turtles blood.  If you are new to the turtles then you will enjoy this origin story and kids will want all of their pets to be mutants.  Shredder is more of a Transformer than anything else.  I could not tell when one part of his armor started and another ended, but when I almost figured it out, more items and blades came out of nowhere.  The (spoiler free) climax happens when the poison that is about to take over the city is actually placed on top of the science building. 

Let's take a minute to think of the originality of using the top of your building to try and infect a city.  It is overplayed and unoriginal.  

The acting in this film is nearly unbearable.  Megan Fox delivers the worst performance she has ever given.  I want to watch Jennifer's Body after watching this movie.  She does not portray a graduated journalist and she cannot deliver a line without sounding like a stereotypical high school blonde.  Will Arnett needed to have more lines because he did the impossible - he made Megan Fox enjoyable when she was with this comedic counterpart.  The choice to use known actors for the voices of some of the CGI characters was a bad idea.  You spend time figuring out who it is instead of enjoying the character.

I saw this in an early screening and was alone in the theater.  When you encounter a film that you cannot find bearable, some might find it enjoyable and you should still be respectful.  Leave or sit and be alone in the theater. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy


Any review or opinion of the movies can be cut down from paragraphs to one world - fun.  This movie has everything that any audience can enjoy and they utilize humor, action, tragedy, good/bad, and nostalgia to the fullest.  The soundtrack to this film gives you a nostalgic feeling and a great 80s tone to this movie - as it does take place in 1988 at the beginning.  The juxtaposition of the incongress (characters) add to the hysterics as they all have mega-egos that cannot be one-upped.  The climax of the film is a battle over an orb that can destroy planets and a super villain that seemingly has the highest pain tolerance in the galaxy.  The two plot points that I did not understand too well as it isn't explained thoroughly.  

The acting in this film is spot on.  Pratt is cast perfectly and delivers on every line in the script and every action point.  I never would have thought that goofy character from Parks and Rec could every be a believable galactic outlaw - I ate my words.  Zoe Saldana.  That's all you need to hear these days in mega movie franchises - Zoe Saldana.  Bradley Cooper is almost undetectable as Rocket if you did not see his name in the credits.  His voice and inflections match perfectly with this perfectly CGI'd raccoon.  Rocket is easily one of the best parts of the movie.  Vin Diesel Groot is hilarious in his very simple way.  He is also very lovable.   Dave Bautista as Drax is very well done and is completely psychopathic.  

The fault that I saw in this film is the object of everyone's desire and the villain.  There was quite a bit of the film dedicated to back story of the characters which is absolutely needed and adds to the fun of the movie.  You see the object for the majority of the movie and when it is explained what it inside of it, I felt that it fell short and confused me.  When you meet the villain, there is never an explanation for the amount of attacks this guy can withstand.  These two parts left me confused, but I kept forgetting about them because I was having a lot of fun.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the most fun that you will have at the theater all year.  I would not compare it to any super hero movie, because that is not what this is.  It is a sci-fi movie that you can revisit any time and have just as much fun.  

There is a great post credit cameo that reaches into Lucasfilm's vault.  It was great seeing this guy briefly again.  

This is a movie that will be packed when you go to see it.  I saw this in a pre-screening and I was literally alone in the theater.  Find a way to ignore everyone, keep your eyes on the screen, and be alone in the theater.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

And So It Goes


There is a key element that has to be followed in order for movies like this to work - It isn't the acting, it isn't the directing, it is all in the formula.  The title of the film suits it very well because it describes 90% of films in this genre.  If you've ever made the connection between Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Notting Hill - they are essentially put together the exact same way.  The best part of this formula is that it works.  It works every time and just makes movies enjoyable to watch.  And So It Goes follows the formula. Simple.  (Man and woman don't like each other, catalyst, enjoy each other, action to dislike, man and woman get together...and so it goes)

This film does feel like a Rob Reiner, but does not sound like a Reiner film due to him not writing it.  You have the cynical man that has skeletons in his closet and the upbeat hopeful with similar skeletons in her closet.  They do not like each other during the beginning of act one and then a catalyst is brought in that connects the audience to these two and brings a glimmer of hope for both of them.  The movie moves linear throughout its acts and does not keep me in the emotional moments that it contains.  Once the emotion happens, it ends, and we move on.  This is where the script and the story needed help and I feel the writer, Mark Andrus, could have asked Reiner to put his touch on it.

Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton are terrific in their roles, as always.  Douglas can attach himself to the dark side of characters with ease and turn the light on on that character just as quick.  His drunken character in this film is better than the lighter side toward the end as nothing in the story is overtly wowing.  Diane Keaton is Diane Keaton and there is nothing else you would want.  The part is seemingly written specifically for her, as her.  This is a continual occurrence as it seems she is the same in every one of her recent roles.  Why?  Because it works.

Think of a time where a movie is on and you stop because the movie is so easy to watch.  The plot flows, there is no over-thinking, you are satisfied with the ending, and then you go about your day. This is that movie you will see on tv, stop, and just enjoy.  It is simple, it is easy, takes nothing from you, but also gives you nothing as well.  I can't pick any point of this film that I would necessarily describe as must see nor are there any 'don't go see this' moments.  

The older generation movies still connect and still work.  The audience is still there and the actors and actresses are some of the best in our time.  These films need focused on and produced with the passion of all film if it wants to maintain a vast audience and not pander to a certain demographic.  

If you enjoy film then you should support it all and not just "your age" films or films you might now know actors from.  Go meet them for the first time at the theater.  Sit down and enjoy their presence alone in the theater.