Paint It Black

A Free for All after the excitement of October’s Horror Month and we appear to have naturally landed on another very dark movie to kick it off. Another horror if you will. I’m not complaining though, especially since this one stars one of my faves.

Paint It Black (2016)

“A young woman attempts to deal with the death of her boyfriend while continuously confronted by his mentally unstable mother.”

Director: Amber Tamblyn
Stars: Alia Shawkat, Simon Helberg, Janet McTeer, Alfred Molina

By all accounts the book that inspired this adaptation is fantastic. The film is fine, gorgeous to look at and very moody but there’s not much to it really.

Josie (Shawkat) is pissed off with her boyfriend Michael who’s been ignoring her for a couple of days. So she goes out drinking with her girlfriend to take her mind off things. Outside the apartment she shares with Michael (Rhys Wakefield), she realises she is being watched by a middle-aged women in an expensive car. Michael’s mother Meredith.

The morning after a heavy night out, Josie finds out why Michael has gone so silent. After checking himself into a motel under the alias Oscar Wilde, he has taken his own life. The bottom falls out of Josie’s world but she barely has time to register the news before Meredith (McTeer) is on the phone making cruel accusations about who’s fault her son’s suicide is.

At the funeral, Meredith attacks Josie and Michael’s father Cal steps in, sweeping her away for some post-funeral drinks. At the bar Cal admits that it’s always really been Michael and Meredith, with him considered the interloper. After realising that Meredith is still following her, Josie goes to her house and the pair get drunk together. Josie tries to leave but she’s too pissed and wakes up in Meredith’s guestroom. When Meredith finds her looking around Michael’s old room, she screams at Josie to get out.

Later the pair dine together and Josie permits Meredith to visit their shared apartment afterwards but forbids her from taking anything home with her. So begins an unsettling back and forth as the women compete for the prize of Michael; of his memory, his possessions and the right to grieve. Meredith clears out the apartment of everything and Josie steals it back – later Josie accuses Meredith of trying to kill her.

This twisted relationship comes to a head when Meredith makes Josie a peculiar offer that has the power to change her life forever. What will she do?

Well. This is a slow burner. It’s not bad – I mean there’s a lot of strong imagery and it’s very stylish – I just wish it had done more. Josie is starring in some sort of amateur movie project that looks pretentious AF and is being directed by Howard Wolowitz of The Big Bang Theory. She looks great because she’s Alia Shawkat and Shawkat is born to be filmed in low golden LA light (and in delicious vintage clothing) at all times.

There’s a sadness that permeates everything and I have sympathy for both the central characters, despite the fact neither of them are very likeable. Meredith is on the edge but it’s hardly surprising. As a girl her father drowned himself in the family pool, so she’s no stranger to suicide when her son kills himself. Josie doesn’t seem to have much direction herself and shares the history of her relationship with us via deeply photogenic flashbacks. We don’t really know much about the enigmatic Michael and that’s okay, really this is a movie about the women in his life and I like it for that.

Personally, I would have holed up with Meredith and accepted the lavish lifestyle she was offering. Who needs freedom of choice and moving on when you have designer frocks and dinner parties on tap? I jest obviously, and Josie does the right thing.

I’ll probably not think of this movie again honestly but it wasn’t a bad way to spend 98 minutes.

3/5

What does my love think of Paint It Black? Would she run away and live with it in a massive creepy house or drive away as quickly as possible? Find out here.

Duck Butter (Film) Review

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am really not a fan of ‘the disintegration of a relationship’ movies – or Doom Coms™?

This probably says an awful lot about me, that I can’t handle the truth, but there it is. Blue Valentine had me cringing and praying for it to end and there have been many films of the same ilk since. Duck Butter falls into this camp as far as I’m concerned and now I feel like I need my mummy and a big cuddle.

*Spoilers*

Duck Butter (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Two women, who are dissatisfied with the dishonesty they see in dating and relationships, decide to make a pact to spend 24 hours together hoping to find a new way to create intimacy.

My Review

Alia Shawkat is one of my favourite actresses at the moment so it is truly a joy to see her face whenever and wherever it pops up. In Duck Butter, as actress Naima, she meets the soulful (?) Sergio (Laia Costa) in a club and the two quickly hit it off. Somewhere during this evening together the two discuss spending the next 24 hours together, the plan being to shag every hour on the hour in order to create a super intense intimacy. Phew.

Initially, Naima backtracks a little because she’s just taken a new job making a film with The Duplass Brothers and this upsets Sergio.

Side note: the whole film within a film, Naima working with Mark and Jay who are playing themselves thing is so fucking meta that it actually hurts a little bit.

But when she is fired for ‘creative differences’, she persuades Sergio to pick up where they left off – and so begins 24 hours in the life of Naima and Sergio.

Well, there’s not all that much to say other than it starts hot, heavy and sexy, and then the ugly aspects of each of the characters begin to show and the love slowly but surely dies. Perhaps a relationship doesn’t need so much fucking examination all the time?

Naima is obviously still stinging from her professional rejection, while Sergio has a complicated relationship with her mother. Both women are creatives and this lends itself to a passionate and fiery joint temperament. Honestly, I must cop to not really remembering much of the nuance, this is more like a walking nightmare. By the end credits I felt as though I’d gone through my own breakup and I felt sad and battered.

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Both performances are hyper real and it is easy to forget you’re not peeping in on an authentic relationship. Neither are that likable either with needy traits (that lord knows I have when I’m in the midst of a anxiety attack). I think it’s sometimes hard to watch because the viewer will see so many aspects of themselves mirrored back at them. At least that’s how I see it.

There are plenty of awkward moments including a very forced orgy instigated by Naima to mark the end of the relationship Sergio doesn’t seem to want to end. Honestly, I was keen for the end credits to roll – and it was a beautiful release when they did.

I can’t say the performances were bad and aesthetically it’s a hipster’s dream, it just didn’t have the something I expected. I felt no true sympathy for anyone and also, how cheated are we that we only get Mae Whitman for a few measly scenes? It’s a total liberty.

While reading up on this I did find out that this was originally written about a hetero couple. Apparently, the extended sex scenes made Alia and her male co-star uncomfortable so it was rewritten for two women – thank god for small mercies, eh?

My Rating

2.5/5.

What does my love think of this one? Would she last 24 hours with it or would she kick it to the kerb within 90 minutes? Find out here.

New Year, Nice Things: 2 Things I’m Watching

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So January has been dubbed New Year, Nice Things Month (by me) because we all know how truly shitty it is getting back into the swing of it, having to work and adhere to rules while simultaneously dealing with the fallout from Christmas, a nice time admittedly but quite pointless in the long run.

Having to deal with zero money, diet chat, people talking incessantly about going to the gym when that’s the last place you want to be, the cold (which NGL I LOVE) – all of that can take its toll. (It’s meant to snow tonight, yey).

Which is why I’m doing small and lovely things for myself to remind me that I’m Worth It and in more than just the Jennifer Aniston hair flicky way. I started with a new hair colour, booked in a new tattoo (for the 27th) and treated myself to a cinema pass so I can take myself on dates whenever the fuck I like.

I’ve also been watching a lot of TV and Film, which is great because I now have a purpose: this blog and All Out of Bubblegum (of course). Not that I ever need justification to watch a movie about two twin cannibal mermaid burlesque sisters*, you understand.

Anyway, I’ve just smashed two TV shows in a week that I really wanted to share with you because they are so good and watchable. Both are female driven, which is always a plus and without question my favourite kind of television. God knows we need more of the good stuff.

Issa Rae in Insecure

Insecure (2016)

IMDB Synopsis:

Follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman.

I got into Insecure on James’ recommendation and god, I just loved every episode. Dipping into the life and times of Issa Dee (played by Issa Rae) and her best friend Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji), it’s really funny with some of the sharpest writing I’ve seen in a while (since Fleabag maybe).

It’s also incredibly relatable, raising such true points about dating, relationships and the pressures of getting things done by a certain age. It also looks at white privilege and racial insensitivity in such an honest and fresh way, has some brilliant side characters and is just generally amazing. I really hope to see more of Rae, she plays Issa so sympathetically, I just want all the best things for the character, even when she’s messing up spectacularly.

Whether she gets them remains to be seen but Season 2 has just been green lit so I can’t wait.

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Search Party (2016)

IMDB Synopsis:

Search Party is a dark comedy about four self-absorbed twenty-somethings who become entangled in an ominous mystery when a former college acquaintance suddenly disappears.

Another thoroughly enjoyable televisual treat starring one of my favourite faces, Alia Shawkat. I mean, what a face, right? She’s so watchable and in one scene, when her character Dory is shouting at her boyfriend, Drew (John Reynolds) in the street, I couldn’t have related more.

Dory, as it turns out isn’t the most together person, with no real direction in life, that is until she learns about missing Chantal, an old (and vague) acquaintance from college. Suddenly it seems she has new purpose, which leads her on a dark and twisted adventure she may never recover from.

Dory’s boyfriend Drew and her self-absorbed best friends Elliott and Portia (the excellent John Early and Meredith Hagner) are amazing characters, tagging along for the ride as Dory gets more and more embroiled in the mystery surrounding Chantal’s disappearance. The comedy is so dark and subtle that at times you almost miss it. Shawkat is as great as always, again giving a very flawed and selfish character the heart she needs to keep you interested. I highly recommend.

So that’s some of what I’ve been watching. Check them out yourself, if you fancy. ❤

*Jill, god I hope you can locate this!