I went to a party once, and there was a palm reader there and when she looked at my hand, she just froze. And I said to her “I know. My lifeline is broken. I know I won’t live past thirty.”
Runtime: 1 hour, 39 min
Genre: Biography, Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Jimmy Fallon, Jack Huston, Armin Amiri, Tara Summers, Mena Suvari
Amazon Link: Factory Girl
SYNOPSIS: “Factory Girl” retells the meteoric rise and fall of the 1960′s “That Girl” Edie Sedgwick, a celebrity who came to define both the faux glamour and the tragedy of the chaotic, drug-addled 1960s. Initially on film, Sedgwick appears to be the stereotypical (read as vapid) American princess, but when she meets up with anti-hero Andy Warhol, everything changes. Suddenly, Edie find herself at the center of a vortex brimming with sex, illicit drugs, errant style and rock ‘n’ roll — and desperately groping for fame and fabulousness that was destined to end her life in ruin. The film records the Poor Little Rich Girl‘s downward spiral from Cambridge art student to Andy Warhol’s disposable model/actress/muse and finally to institutionalized drug addict.
Factory Girl has a number of problems. The script is incredibly weak. In fact, it’s so scattered and borderline incoherent that you’d think that Sedgwick herself, hopped up on crank, made it herself. The high points all get a moment in the limelight: child of mentally ill and abusive parents, involved with freaky artist types and hangers-on, attention and love-starved, high all the time and doomed to the inevitable downward spiral. You just never know exactly the who or why of what happened. The film heavy-handedly drives home its interpretation of Edie as the abused and abandoned target of a series of childish, manipulative men, with the ultimate blame saved for her family. But in fact, Edie was not a victim. She was already a wild child by the time she left for New York City. What made Edie Sedgwick so tragic is that she was the Poor Little Rich Girl by her own mistakes. She was terribly self-destructive and yet so beautiful and promising, and that creates the interest surrounding her life. Unfortunately the film never capitalizes on this dichotomy.
The acting is atrocious. Sienna Miller’s crying hardly seems real. Scrunching up your face does not make the audience think you’re crying. Hayden Christensen is absolutely ridiculous. He tries to channel Bob Dylan’s persona, called Quinn (after his musical tribute to Nicholas Ray’s The Savage Innocents) but inevitably just comes off as such a douchebag. Christensen even tries to imitate the same speech patterns and tone of voice as the famous singer, but ends up botching the character much like did Vader/Anakin in the Star Wars trilogy. Simply put, Hayden is painful to watch: And don’t even get me start on the uncomfortably awkward sex scene between Hayden and Sienna. Guy Pearce’s Andy Warhol, as idiot savant, is flawed from the moment he appears on screen. Pearce delves into Andy’s strangeness to postulate that Andy compensated for ugliness by leeching on to pretty people. That might well be valid, but neither the film nor Pearce fully explore the validity of such a premise.
The film depicts The Factory as high school with more flamboyant clothes and hair and stronger drugs. Petty jealousies and backbiting create a pernicious environment in which sycophants vie for Warhol’s attention and bask in his reflected ‘brilliance.’
Unfortunately, Factory Girl’s flaccid visuals do not make the movie worthwhile. What could have been a decadent experience in terms of the fashion, music and surroundings of 60′s counter culture turned out to be mundane, unfocused, and very contrived. Simply put: A complete and utter disappointment.
Goozlepipe Rating: Hated It
“I thought you of all people would appreciate efforts to deconstruct the colonialist paternalistic agrarian hierarchy that disenfranchises the Tanga te Whenua and erodes the natural resources of Aotearoa.”
Runtime: 1 hour, 27 min
Genre: Horror, Comedy
MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Nathan Meister, Danielle Mason, Peter Feeney, Tammy Davis, Glenis Levestam, Tandi Wright, Oliver Driver, Matthew Chamberlain
Amazon Link: Black Sheep
SYNOPSIS: An experiment gone horribly wrong turns flocks of docile sheep into zombie sheep in this black comedy by Jonathan King. When the death of his father and probataphobia, fear of sheep, brings him to the verge of a nervous breakdown, skilled farmer, Henry Oldfield (Nathan Meister), leaves the family farm. Fifteen years later, Henry discovers that his brother, Angus (Peter Feeney), has been performing genetic experiments on the sheep. Unfortunately for both the brothers and everyone else, the experiments have produced a strain of sheep that crave human flesh and will stop at nothing to satisfy their hunger.
In New Zealand, there are more 10 sheep for every person. Therefore, it can be assumed that it was only a matter of time before someone from that part of the world made a movie about the sheep. That person is Jonathan King. And as far black comedies go, King’s zombie sheep flick reminds viewers a great of deal of Edgar Wright’s zom com, Shaun of the Dead.
The Oldfield farm has been in the family for a hundred years but when dad dies, younger brother Henry moves away with a vicious phobia of sheep leaving older, evil brother Angus to mind the farm. Unfortunately, Angus has no interest in traditional farming and has adopts a genetic program to create a better sheep: the Oldfield.
When a pair of well-intentioned animal rights activists accidentally release one of the mutant sheep, they unwittingly trigger an ovine massacre. One bite from one of these genetic freaks has the power to turn regular sheep into rampaging bloodthirsty beasts Humans bitten are transformed into a monstrous were-sheep.
Now Henry has to overcome more than his phobia as he faces flesh-eating sheep with blood-soaked muzzles. He gets some help from the local farmhand Tucker (Tammy Davis) and a cute vegan named Experience (Danielle Mason).
Black Sheep is a horror-comedy, light on the horror (not the gore) and heavy on the comedy. Director Jonathan King wastes no time plunging in full-scale: The blood is hot and copious, the wool white and fluffy, and the dialogue and situations every bit as silly as you might expect. Black Sheep is more of a gross-out black comedy than a smartly crafted take on the zombie genre. But the film definitely has many hilarious moments. I give King credit for a clever twist on the zombie/gore formula; however, this isn’t the first time that warm and fuzzy creatures have turned lethal. There’s the killer rabbit from Monty Python’s Holy Grail and the unforgettable Night of the Lepus. Nonetheless, Black Sheep does deserve kudos for taking the genre to a nasty yet grossly funny extreme: Its a film that’s not sheepish about gore or the violence of the lambs. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.