Sicko Movies

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 by Rachel

I’m sick and haven’t done much the last few days except for watch movies. Here are the movies and my little mini-reviews.


Super High Me – A documentary about a comedian who stops smoking marijuana for a month and then smokes nonstop for a month. I was much more interested in the comedian stuff (I love comedian-related documentaries like Heckler) than the marijuana stuff, but I’d definitely recommend this for those who are interested in both.


Pitch Black – Radha Mitchell (from The Crazies) and Vin Diesel rock this weird sci-fi movie where the movie is ½ bright and ½ darkness. Fun for a one time watch. I didn’t love the monster look.


Fall Down Dead – Udo Kier is the Picasso Killer. Do not watch this movie unless you are Udo Kier’s number one fan, because the movie has a lot of things wrong with it in terms of script, pacing, performance, etc. Oh, and David Carradine is in it, in quite possibly the worst acting job of his career. You’d think it was his first movie and not his hundredth.


Body of Evidence – An erotic thriller starring Willem Dafoe and Madonna. So so . Too much focus on the erotica and not enough on the courtroom scenes.


Foxy Brown – One of my new favorite movies. I seriously need to get into watching a lot of blaxploitation movies. I think I enjoyed Foxy Brown more than Shaft. Awesome.


Kalifornia – Brad Pitt is a serial killer. He and his girlfriend (Juliette Lewis) decide to go on a ride-along across the country with David Duchovny, who is writing a book on serial killers. Brad Pitt is disgusting and horrible. Don’t watch this movie if you want him to be a good guy. He’ll only get worse.


Married to the Mob – A movie from my childhood. Fun, cheesy, and campy. Two thumbs up.


Her Alibi – Tom Selleck begins this movie with a beard. Thankfully, he shaves it within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Also, Tom Selleck is the worst clown I’ve ever seen.


Dragnet – Pretty funny stuff. I could’ve used more celebrity cameos though, and I wish that Hugh Hefner had played the magazine tycoon.


Earth Girls Are Easy – Very strange. Is it a musical or not? Is it a comedy, or is it a romance? Will the aliens ever return to their muppet looks? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answers, but everyone should see this at least once.


Extreme Measures – An okay medical drama. It’s been done before (I’ve seen this same plot in a Millenium episode and I think I’ve read a book with this premise) , but Hugh Grant’s performance was believable and memorable.

Exercise Video Reviews

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Rachel

As an alternative to yoga and our Gazelle machine, I’ve been trying out some exercise videos on Netflix Instant Play. Here are my quick mini-reviews (in the order that I tried them) for those of you interested in exercising in your living room!


1) Crunch: Cardio Sculpt: This was a tough first video, and I would definitely not recommend it. This is the kind of exercise video that makes me think I’ll never use exercise videos. The steps were confusing at times and moved too quickly from one to the next. It was a decent workout that brought me to a sweat, but my frustration wasn’t worth it.


2) Crunch: Cardio Dance Blast: This was much more fun than I expected, considering I take myself too seriously most of the time to do something dance-y for exercise. It was 40 minutes long. The host was fun enough that you didn’t feel ridiculous doing the often goofy dance moves. Only complaint is about the exerciser in the background wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Couldn’t a producer find her some work-out clothes? She annoyed me.


3) Crunch Super Slim Down: Pilates Yoga Blend : The host was good, and she worked to show you modifications to the workout, which I really appreciated with some of the more difficult moves. This video also provided a good variety of exercises. Later this night, I thought I was having stomach problems, but realized the next morning I was just sore from the ab work out!


4) Yoga for Health: I was really excited about this video, which was the intro to a series of video, featuring special episodes on headaches, etc. But I was immediately turned off. The host’s accent was too thick to understand, especially in an echoey room. The frustration of the sound combined with amateur video forced me to shut this off within minutes.


5) The Trainer’s Edge: Integrated Strength Training. This is definitely a contender for my favorite video. Instead of most videos that have the host in front, then a random dozen people behind, this one only had 3—including the host. The three exercisers were easy, medium, and hard, so you could watch whoever you wanted to match level-wise. I felt really good doing light weights during this 40 minute workout, mostly because of the clear enthusiastic host. Note: This is my first guy host. I don’t know if some of you prefer women, but I thought this guy was nice. He made sure to say that you should do the workout that’s right for how you feel, because your body changes every day. He also emphasized that we’re working for progress, not perfection.

Mini Movie Reviews from the Past Month

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 by Rachel

I’ve let my list get away from me, but hopefully I’ll be posting these in smaller batches in the future. Any missed movies will be added in a future entry for the sake of my sanity.


Child’s Play 3: After overcoming my childhood-phobia of Chucky, I’ve begun to enjoy these. I give Brad Dourif most of the credit for this, as his voice and sense of humor are what pulls me through this. Second-Jimmy-Olsen and Ari’s Wife aren’t bad either.


Basket Case: I’d wanted to see this movie for a long time, but I was disappointed. In between grossness and weirdness, I somehow managed to doze off in the middle of this movie and wake up again for the ending. As an anti-napper, I think this says a lot about the pacing of this film.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: I’d seen this before in high school, but rewatched it because I thought Derrick needed to see another drag queen movie. This movie blends humor and drama extremely well because of the fantastic cast.


Fragile: After watching some Ally McBeal, I thought I’d give this Calista Flockhart movie a shot. It’s a haunted hospital, with creepy kids and spooky noises. It’s okay.


Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer: Derrick and I gave up on this movie after the first 10 minutes, but I returned to it a few days later by myself. Once the structure evens out, this really becomes a horrifying view into the world of serial killers (both amateur and experienced). Michael Rooker and Tom Towles are both very disturbing in this movie. I’d definitely recommend this movie, but not for the squeamish or skeptical.


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Movie Views of the Past 2 Weeks

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 by Rachel

Maybe this can become a reoccurring column. Movie watching is a regular activity in our house, but I definitely pick up momentum in the summertime.


Suspiria: My first Dario Argento film. Worth watching for the set design, music, ending, and, of course, a brief appearance by UDO KIER


Opera: I watched Opera on the recommendation of a stranger’s tweet. I liked Suspiria more, but Opera is worth watching for the death scenes and the birds!


Eat Pray Love: Beautiful scenery, but I have a hard time getting behind a heroine who cannot figure anything out for herself and has to be told what to think/do.


Raging Bull: As far as boxing movies go, I like Rocky and The Fighter more. But the Boogie Nights –esque ending, De Niro’s bizarre physical transformation, and the beautiful Cathy Moriarty are what made this an enjoyable afternoon watch.


Fire in the Sky: A man gets abducted by aliens in Snowflake, AZ (only 2 hours away from Flagstaff). In AZ, Derrick worked with a man who knew the abducted man. What I really enjoyed about this movie wasn’t the abduction, but the focus on those who are left behind.


Father of the Bride: I’ve never seen this before, strangely enough! I wish I’d watched it during the wedding planning process. Steve Martin’s physical comedy (especially around the pool) made me too nervous, but I enjoyed watching a bride wear sneakers, just like me!


Exit Through the Gift Shop: We don’t normally go out of our way to watch documentaries, but this was a really interesting one. The question of “what is art?” is what takes over this film, when we see a bongo-cans man really lose it as he attempts to become an “artist”.


The Great Buck Howard: A mentalist from Johnny Carson’s day attempts to revamp his career. Watch it to see how John Malkovich shakes a hand. Strange stuff and good cast here.


Lies & Illusions: I’ve never seen the last third of a movie go so horribly wrong. I don’t know what happened! The beginning (especially the animated opening credits), concept, and even Christian Slater’s acting really work, but everything eventually falls apart.


The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made: An hour long documentary. Since each movie is only addressed for about a minute, it’s enough to give you a taste of each film without spoiling any major plot points. Derrick had actually seen a few on the list (Howard the Duck & Troll), but I hadn’t. Ed Wood reigns supreme here.