Lil' Movie Reviews:



Written by Dan Sinclair





Written & directed by Ari Aster


Look, I’m not here to bash any movie (or creative people of any type), because I know how much work goes into making art, but goddamn, I really wanted to love this film, and instead I left feeling pissed off/ripped off.
First, let me say the nice stuff-- brilliant acting all around, it looked pretty and there were a few semi-creepy sequences.
Next, let me say I am so fucking sick and tired of gimmicky, manipulative writing. Don’t worry, no spoilers here. I will speak in general terms. But let me say to potential writers everyone: even if modern day audiences seem to fall for it more than ever, leaving out pertinent information is NOT the same thing as creating tension. It’s bullshit. It’s bush league. It’s a fucking cop-out, and you can do better.
My mentor Jeanne Leiby used to have a term called “wind chiming.” It came from a movie trope where two characters are about to have sex, and instead of showing the passionate confrontation that the story had been building to, the camera pans to wind chimes outside the window that blow in the wind. FUCK YOU. If you have worthwhile characters that the audience has invested in, and these characters are about to come to a head--- show that shit! Don’t skip over it, withhold all information that would’ve happened in that scene, only to throw it back in our faces an hour later and shout, “Ha! Gotcha!” FUCK YOU.
This happened in a very, very important scene in HEREDITARY. And when this confrontation was glossed over, I couldn’t stop thinking about what the fuck happened? What did they say?! What did they do?! And then when they finally (kind of) reveal what happened (but not even really), I almost shouted out loud, “WHY THE FUCK DID IT TAKE SO GODDAMN LONG TO SAY THAT?! THIS MOVIE FEELS LIKE IT’S FIVE GODDAMN HOURS LONG, MOVING AT THE PACE OF A DEAD SNAIL FARTING OUT A SHIT LOG OF MOLASSES, AND IT TOOK YOU THAT LONG TO SAY THIS?!”
And then I realized HEREDITARY had been doing this the WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE! It might as well just have been called WIND CHIMES: THE MOVIE. The movie would go on and on, something slightly creepy would happen, we’d wind chime from that moment to 20 minutes later or the next day, then it would go on and on again, and then a character (usually Toni Collete) would spit out a monologue of exposition, and it would go on, rinse, repeat.
But even after all that, I accepted it was a gimmicky-style script and kept watching to hope to at least get me to an ending with a payoff so big it would make me forget all the bad... but no. The third act was every horror movie scary moment cliche from all your favorites rolled into one. My eyes rolled so hard, so many times, I had to spit them out of my mouth and stick them back in my sockets upon exit of the theater.
Sure, HEREDITARY had its “oh, shit!” moments, all usually delivered in dialogue by the-possibly-Academy-award-nominated-for-this-role Toni Collete (yeah, she’s that good) or acted out brilliantly by a telephone pole, but ultimately its gimmicks wear thin and prove to be its undoing, leaving the viewer pissed off and wanting his money back. Luckily, he used his Movie Pass, so it’s all good.




Written & directed by Paul Schrader

There’s a lot of interesting things going on in Paul Schrader’s FIRST REFORMED, but perhaps its undoing lies in its attempt to get just a little too fresh with a subject matter that has explored time and time again in the cinema world. That makes sense, right? Sure it does, Dan. Sure it does.
First off, Ethan Hawke’s performance is quite possibly the best of his career as Reverend Toller, a priest caught not only in moral struggle with his faith, but also with a physical struggle with his own mortality. Just, wow, Ethan. Wow. Good job, buddy.
But to explain my opening statement a little more clearly, let’s talk about the environment for a second, shall we? We care about the environment, right? All of us, at least to a certain degree have some sort of stake in planet earth surviving our lifetimes, yes? Yes. Yes, we do.
Well, do we like to watch movies preach (see what I did there?) about saving the planet? No. No, we don’t.
In the world of cinema, good causes often come off corny/cheesy/I-don’t-want-to-think-about-that-right-now-I’m-trying-to-watch-a-fucking-movie-y for most of us; especially while watching something as gritty and dark as FIRST REFORMED seems to be aiming for. Not to say Schrader doesn’t do the best job possible placing the subject matter in this crisis-of-faith film, it just doesn’t matter. We hear certain things and our eyes roll involuntarily and immediately.
As good as the rest of the film is, it’s just too hard to shake the activist stigma in order for me to recommend this film. But don’t worry, the ending just would’ve pissed you the fuck off anyway, so really you should be thanking me.




Written & directed by Chloe Zhao


This may be the best movie no one sees this year.
Chloe Zhao’s THE RIDER features real people playing themselves in a fictionalized version of their lives... and it’s not terrible! Admittedly, it takes a little getting used to at first. I didn’t know these were the actual people going into the movie, but within the first five/ten minutes, I could at the very least tell these were not the most experienced actors in the world, so I adjusted my brain accordingly, and ended up seeing one of the most moving, powerful, and depressing films I’ve seen in quite some time.
Seriously, I could never sit through this film again. And it’s not because of the acting, because actually for non-actors, they’re really not too bad; especially the lead, Brady Jandreau. And it’s definitely not because of the craft, because Zhao is at the top of her game both from a storytelling and cinematographic standpoint. It’s simply because it’s that fucking heavy.
As a viewer, I felt like I was on a ride, as well. Perhaps I was the rider? Because even though horses scare me to the point I would never sit on top of one, let alone ride a bucking one in a rodeo, I could easily relate to someone losing the one thing that they loved, and then struggle with what life was supposed to mean after that.
Do yourself a favor and watch this movie when you can. I certainly won’t ask you to watch it twice.




Directed by Sebastian Lelio
Written by Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz;
based on the novel by Naomi Alderman


At first glance, DISOBEDIENCE may not seem like a film for everyone, but I’m willing to bet that if you give it a chance and take the time to understand it, you’ll find it pretty relatable no matter who you are.

Also, what film is really for everyone anyway? Aside from FREDDY GOT FINGERED, of course.
Sure, DISOBEDIENCE is a lesbian love story that takes place in an Orthodox Jewish community in London, but... Shit. I just lost half the audience that even bothered to take a look at this review. Well, that’s only one person, anyway, so fuck that guy.
Anyway, “rebelling against society telling you what to do” is where I’m going with this. Everybody at some point in their life felt the pressure to conform to some sort of norm set by others, and has either fought against it or just put their head down and did as told-- every-fucking-body. And while there could have been any number of great reasons for either choice, wouldn’t love be the strongest reason for most people? Let me rephrase-- wouldn’t love for Rachel McAdams be the strongest reason for most people?
Super strong performances from not only Rachel McAdams-- who is fantastic, by the way-- but also her counterpart Rachel Weisz and Alessandro Nivola, who plays their childhood friend now married to McAdams character.


6/8/18 Lil' Movie Reviews: UPGRADE & DEADPOOL 2




written by Dan Sinclair



Written & Directed by Leigh Whannell

Okay, so I only saw this film because of timing, really. Showed up about 10 minutes too late for SOLO, and had absolutely no interest in seeing BOOK CLUB (but with my Movie Pass dancing in my pocket) so UPGRADE it was. I had absolutely no expectations going into the the theatre with almost no idea whatsoever what this movie was even about, and maybe that’s why I enjoyed the fuck out of it!
You should probably go watch this film without hearing too much about it, too, but this is a movie review-- lil’ or not-- and so I have to say something. Okay, so I will say the following words: FUN, BLOOD, ACTION, SCIENCE FICTION, FUN, FIGHTING, HACKING, WEIRDOS, FUN, COMPUTER VOICES, GORE, FUN, FUN and, um, FUN! Oh, and one more: FUN.
UPGRADE is not a great movie, but it’s a fun-as-fuck one that accomplishes all the goals it set out to accomplish as a film, and split those goals wide open like some dude’s jaw--- OOPS! SPOILER ALERT!

Rating: B+





Directed by David Leitch

Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wenick & Ryan Reynolds


Quite simply, DEADPOOL 2 was the best TERMINATOR movie since T2.

As far as DEADPOOL movies go, it places second, just as the number two in the title would have you believe, but honestly, it’s a pretty solid sequel for a huge, big-budget Marvel/Disney movie. It’s got all the rated-R stuff you loved in the first one and the jokes... Oh, let’s be honest. It’s ALL the same things you loved about the first one just done in a slightly different story (with basically all the same self-deprecating tropes, as well).
Nothing special, but I laughed a lot, so that’s always good. If you liked the first DEADPOOL, you’ll like this one, too. As will anyone looking for a better movie about time-traveling cyborgs than TERMINATOR 3, TERMINATOR SALVATION and TERMINATOR GENISYS... and THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES... probably. I never watched that shit.





with Arielle Brachfeld,
Michael Chrisoulakis 
and the Jacksons,
Camilla & Guy (no relation)






From time to time, I get asked, "Dan, do you ever interview anybody on this site or are you the only one who gets to talk?" To which I always reply, "Please shut up." But the real answer to that question is YES, I do let artists speak for themselves from time to time and that's exactly what this post is-- an interview.

I recently watched the indie film noir gem LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT and had the privilege of chatting with the film's star Arielle Brachfeld, director Michael Chrisoulakis, writer Guy Jackson and producer Camilla Jackson. This is that chat...




The BMM Interview is broken into three parts. I'm willing to bet that the pictures will help you decipher what the subject matter in each section will be. If they don't, perhaps the fucking name of the Web site will. The writer's questions are in italics and the artists' responses are in BOLD. But why don't you start by watching the trailer for LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT?




First off, thank you, Arielle, Michael, Guy and Camilla so much for taking the time to sit down and talk to us here at lil' ol' BeerMoviesMusic!

ARIELLE: Fuck you, Dan! Just kidding. Thanks for having us!

MICHAEL: Cheers, Dan! Happy to be talking to a fellow movie/beer/music lover.

CAMILLA: Party time. Excellent.

GUY: (sits stoically)




So, let's start with the important stuff-- beer. Tell me about your relationship with God's most beautiful creation...

MICHAEL: Love a cold beer at the end of a long day; especially after being on set. While I was in L.A., I discovered a lager called Third Shift, which I could only find at my local grocery store. Back in Australia, I do like to try some new craft beers from local breweries. I'm mainly a lager drinker, but don't mind an IPA now and again.

ARIELLE: I actually no longer drink, but when I did, I enjoyed Allagash White, and wheat beers in general. Also was a big fan of ciders, if we're being inclusive like that. I will say I am partial to micro-brewed root beer. Anytime my husband and I are road tripping, we'll have a local brewery's root beer. It's amazing.

GUY: Honestly, I like Pabst Blue Ribbon. That's the only one of the beers that seems like "1970s beers" that I like. Very strange.

CAMILLA: If you're gonna spew, spew into this.



Did beer-- or any other recreational substances-- influence any parts of LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT?

MICHAEL: I do believe there was quite a lot of beer consumed during pre-production, and perhaps a few after shooting in the peak of the L.A. summer. Guy, Camilla and I had to crack open a beer after shooting the Oil Fields scene out in the desert. That felt well deserved.



GUY: Sure, I was a cigarette smoker once long ago and smoking is kind of key in LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT.

ARIELLE: I feel like Priscilla would have avoided beer and alcohol because of the empty calories. But, personally, I do recall indulging in some herbal recreation after some long shooting days.



CAMILLA: Sometimes I wish I could boldly go where no man's gone before, but I'll probably stay in Aurora.



What would be the perfect beer for watching LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT?

MICHAEL: Probably something from Angel City.

GUY: Probably something like a Grapefruit Sculpin. Or cider.

ARIELLE: A dark, mesmerizing stout, probably with a hint of caramel.

CAMILLA: Stop torturing yourself, man. You'll never afford it. Live in the now.








Okay, so this one's for whoever speaks up first-- where did the idea for LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT come from? And how did it go from idea to "Hey, we're gonna make this!"

GUY: Michael and I took a walk around his neighborhood, when he lived by Raleigh Studios, which is a cool studio to walk around, and Michael's like, "Please write a script about an actress who steals to fund her career and overhears something she shouldn't and everyone in the movie has to have a dream and palm trees. We'll make it in a couple weekends for five grand." And then it ran away with us.



ARIELLE: I can speak to the amazing (and painless) casting process. I was invited to an informal table read, and much to my surprise and delight, was offered the part right after. I'd seriously love all auditions to be as non-anxiety-inducing. From there, it was just about lining up schedules to shoot over the next year or so.

CAMILLA: It's like a new pair of underwear. At first, they're restrictive, but then after a while, they become a part of you.


Michael, when I watched this film, I saw some David Lynch in there-- am I wrong? Was Lynch and influence on you as a filmmaker? 

MICHAEL: Not wrong at all. There's definitely some Lynchian vibes in this film. As much as I love Lynch and his films, I think those vibes actually came more from Guy's script and the off-kilter world and characters he created.

What other films/filmmakers have inspired you?

Other influences for me are the Coen Brothers. I love the line they walk between the humor and tragedy and the way they have such a sure hand in guiding their storytelling. Hitchcock is another influence, as well as Cassavettes-- I love the raw energy he captures in his films.



Arielle, you're the lead in LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT, and you're acting against the greats like Peter Bogdonavich, Lin Shaye, and of course, the Jacksons known as Camilla and Guy-- how did you prepare for this role?

ARIELLE: It's a funny thing acting with amazing, talented actors you look up to. Once I got over the initial nerves of going toe to toe with the likes of Peter, Lin and Sally Kirkland, it was wonderful just playing pretend and getting lost in moments just like with any other actor. Michael didn't tell me we had them on board until the day before I shot with them! It was probably a good thing because I think I would have gotten into my head way more if I'd had more notice.



I remember specifically letting go and letting Lin just take me on a journey playing off of her, finding little moments with the give and take. Being able to get lost in the scene with her. With these great, iconic actors, the main thing is they were very generous. They were present and gave a full performance even if it wasn't their coverage. They were right there in the moment with you, and so very, very kind. I admired their artistry before working with them, but admiring their kindness and humanity is what I came away with.

Camilla is so naturally charming and funny, where it made it so easy to develop that friendship and chemistry. Guy was really interesting, just because he's such a 180 in real life from his character, Smalls. He surprised me with his darkness and the danger behind his eyes. They're both stupidly talented. I can't wait to work with them in the future.

Did you draw from real life-- either as a waitress or a thief/murderer?

On top of my normal character work, I really embraced the feeling of desperation I've known as an actor in this hard town. I took it as an opportunity to show what it's like, how heartbreaking it is to want something so badly, you'll compromise yourself to get it. The murdering part we'll save for another day... 




Camilla, you produced this film and played an important supporting role in it-- what was it like tackling both tasks? Which was harder-- telling people what to do behind the camera or hiding your Australian accent while in front of it (since clearly you made both look easy)?

CAMILLA: I'd have to say ass sphincter says what?


A sphincter says what?





Guy, you wrote this film and also had a pretty big role in it. What was it like playing a character you wrote? Did you know you were going to play the role while you were writing?

GUY: Yeah, and I'd done all these one-man shows in years gone by, and writing stories and performing them at open mics and stuff, and ll that was so many years of boring-ass memorization, the worst chore of acting, so I gave myself no lines.



Everybody, what was it like working with each other on this film? Do any of you hate each other? Is there anything else you would like to say about Los Angeles Overnight before I stop typing and hit the word "Publish" on the Web site?

GUY: Great! I feel like Michael and Camilla are my brother and sister about now. But to be clear, Camilla cannot bear to be pegged as being related or married to me, for obvious reasons. We're not related FYI! And yeah, Michael is great to watch as a director 'cause he's so calm, and Camilla came swinging into he picture like a hero, nabbing us Peter Bogdanovich and Sally Kirkland, and becoming the lead producer as well as turning in this adroit performance. It was amazing to watch both of them create. And everyone else who worked on the film, for that matter. Sheesh, you should've seen Arielle keep a proper bookmark in her performance over nine months of filming-- that was so cool. It was amazing who came along to help and that began with all the generosity inherent in a Kickstarter. Behind the scenes, stuff happened like Gypsy Taylor designed Peter Bogdanovich's costume and the waitress costumes, but then all of a sudden just this year Gypsy's been back and doing these series of brilliant lobby cards, and designed our new poster, and done our logo, and made us a font. Our own font?! That's the magical thing about moviemaking: all of a sudden someone who can design a font comes along and designs the movie a font.



ARIELLE: I just adored working with everyone on this project. I went through a major post-project depression when it wrapped because I knew that was the last time I'd get to play pretend with Michael, Guy and Camilla with this story and these characters. Working with people over such a span of time with such an incredible role like Priscilla, you develop some great friendships.

I would say this is a very honest look at L.A.; at the idea of "Hollywood." That's what spoke the most to me about the film. Minus the brutal murdering part.



MICHAEL: Ha ha! No hate here. It's pretty much a little love fest between us. Guy, Camilla and I have worked very closely on the release of the film with Camilla taking the producing reigns towards a release that we had never thought we'd get. I was/am in awe of Arielle's dedication to the film, especially as it was such a long time to get it out into the world. Guy is just a workhorse and on the lows of the rollercoaster ride would always send through a positive spin pep talk to get the wheels moving again. Lucky to have a team filled with decent human beings.

CAMILLA: A gun rack? I don't even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do with a gun rack?



Obviously, LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT should eventually become a favorite movie of just about anyone who watches it, right? What movie do you think viewers should immediately stop liking so that they can now make room for it in their favorite movie database? For example, I was watching DANCES WITH WOLVES the other night on TV, and was all, "Hmm, I thought I liked this movie, but right now it feels boring. I wish this movie was LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT, but it's not. DANCES WITH WOLVES out of the database and LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT in!"

MICHAEL: Man, I don't want to rag on anyone else's movie, because if they experienced just half the energy and stress we did, then full respect to them! But I did think the remake of POINT BREAK was unnecessary.

GUY: Well, people should just decide to watch LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT as the next movie they watch, and then it won't be nudging out anything.

ARIELLE: (laughing) Oh, man. I don't know how to answer that one! I guess Mulholland Drive because I like this one waaaaay more than that movie and they're kind of similar.

CAMILLA: She makes me feel kind of funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class.





According to my quick search on IMDb, a man named Michael Lira did the music for LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT. Anything you'd like to say about his work on the film? I mean, I was gonna say, "It was good. I liked it," but I feel like someone else could probably do better than that.

GUY: Michael worked with and hired Michael Lira, so ask him.

Okay, I will. Michael?

MICHAEL: Yes, Michael Lira composed the music, and I think he did an incredible job. He's a very versatile musician, in that he can pick up any style and just run with it. I personally love movie scores and wanted something that was quite bold and unique. I remember that by chance, Camilla and I happened to be listening to M83 quite a bit at the time and felt the synth vibe would match well with the images we were getting from the shoot.

Other soundtracks I was listening to at the time-- Animal Kingdom and lots of Trent Reznor from various Fincher films.



ARIELLE: The music added this amazing element to the film. When I was filming, I had songs to help me get into character, etc., but seeing the movie with that score brought out these awesome poignancies that just took the story to another level.

GUY: I think the music is super cool and so unique.

CAMILLA: I see a little silhouetto of a man. Scaramouch, scaramouch, will do the fandango? Thunderbolt and lightning very, very frightening me.



If you had an unlimited budget, what songs might you have added to the soundtrack that would have really captured LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT's soul?

GUY: "California Dreamin'."

MICHAEL: Good one-- knocks off two elements of the film in one song!

ARIELLE: I listened to the Naked and Famous' "Hearts Like Ours" a lot. And I had a miztape with Kavinsky's "Nightcall" and LP's "Into the Wild" that I played on repeat driving to shoots. Finally, Bleachers' "I Want to Get Better" was a constant audio loop for me. I will associate those songs with certain scenes for the rest of my life.

CAMILLA: Gallileo! Gallileo!



What's everyone listening to right now? Anything new I should check out or are you all just like me and keep listening to the same four indie bands from the '90s over and over again?

MICHAEL: I'm listening to the melancholy tunes of Ray LaMontagne quite a bit as well as the scores from Arrival, Sicario, and other tracks from the late, great composer Johann Johannsson.

GUY: I only just discovered Wilco, weirdly. Also back into Sinead O'Connor as a kind of duty because things are so sad for her with her mental illness.

CAMILLA: Jolly Green Giants, The Shitty Beatles...

ARIELLE: I rediscovered Paul Simon's Graceland as well as Jim Croce's repertoire, and have been on a 1960s Motown deep dive recently. '90s alt and pop rock are awesome, though! I have a not-so-secret affinity for Eve 6. I'll sit in embarrassed silence now.

Please do.


Okay, well, that's it. We covered all three-- Beer, Movies and whatever the third one was. Thank you all so much for talking with me, and also for adding LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT to the wonderful world of cinema!

MICHAEL: Thank you!

CAMILLA: Catch you later, Bill and Ted...

Wait, this whole time, I thought you had been quoting WAYNE'S WORLD.


Oh. Okay. Yeah.

Please go out and buy or rent LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT on iTunes or Amazon or wherever you usually buy or rent your movies. Support indie film!

For more information on the film, go here or here.