Category Archives: Good

The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige

Genre: Drama

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson

Synopsis: In Victorian England, two rival stage magicians compete to create the best illusion.

When I look at Christopher Nolan’s filmography, I am always surprised to find this film there. It’s not that I don’t know Christopher Nolan directed and wrote this movie, it’s that I always forget that he did those things. When I think of his films, humungous box office smashes such as the Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception come to mind. It’s never this film that I think about. Re-watching this movie, I kind of figured out why that was: it’s a lot less flashy than Nolan’s other work. I don’t mean that it’s less impressive in content. I mean that it’s got less of the stuff that audiences seem to like in his movies: fighting, explosions, and Joseph Gordon Levitt in a tailored suit…..drool. The Prestige is more of a stylish and moody analysis of revenge and rivalry. That may not sound overly exciting but this film as at its core something that wins audiences over: magic.

Everyone loves magic, I am sure of it. For me, I was always drawn to the magicians who understood that magic is as much about theatricality as it is about mystery and wowing audiences. Can you blame me for liking theatricality in my magic shows? I grew up watching this bad ass mo fo:

Masked MagicianLook at his harem of super fine b*tches!

The great thing about The Prestige is that Nolan understands that style plays an important role in magic shows and performance art in general. As a result, the production design is top notch. It kind of has a “masked magician meets upscale Victorian whore house” vibe. Basically, it’s how I want my future bedroom to look. The film also manages to catch the beauty of the American west and there are some stunning shots of (what I assume is) Colorado. The result is that you can’t stop looking at the screen. However, when the movie ends, you might want to hide your wallet or credit card to avoid an online spending spree that results in you buying useless shit like ornate bird cages and devices invented by Nikola Tesla.

On the down side, this is a film that requires a lot of attention from the audience, which can be hard to give if you’re stoned. The film’s opening sentence (“Are you watching closely?”) essentially acts an invitation for the audience to try and figure out the twist before the end. All the clues are given away during the course of the movie but they’re hard to pick up on. Only the diligent will figure it out. If you haven’t figured the twist out by the time the film comes to an end, you might feel a little bit cheated because it’s actually brilliantly simple and kind of obvious. Then again, maybe that’s what is so good about it because mixed in with all the Tesla magic is a very simple and effective illusion.

Another downside to this movie is that none of the actors can seem to nail a British accent…even Christian Bale, who is practically English. It was so bad, I even started to have doubts about the authenticity of Michael Caine’s accent. I don’t know why the accents were so bad in this movie. I’ve seen some of the actors pull of good British accents in other movies (for example, Johansson in Under the Skin), but here it felt like they were doing some kind of parody. I’m fine with the idea of a parody of British people but The Prestige could not have been a parody because it didn’t have the teeth thing down.

British smilesPictured: the brilliance of old Simpsons episodes

However, these criticisms don’t dull The Prestige’s positive aspects. At the end of the day, this is still a fun movie that keeps its audience on its toes thanks to a satisfying blend of style and mystery.


  • Very stylish.
  • Fascinating film for people who enjoy magic shows.
  • DAVID BOWIE!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. And this time he’s not wearing his codpiece.
  • Eye candy for every kind of person.


  • The accents! They burn my ears!!!!
  • A little too long and drawn out.
  • Ending can feel a little flat.


This is the sort of film made for people who like stylish noodle scratchers. In that sense, it was a very good film to watch while stoned as it satisfied my cravings for visual beauty and challenging narratives. While I don’t believe that this is Nolan’s best film, I must admit that it is still a very fine film and one he should be proud of.




Filed under Drama, Good

Practical Magic (1998)

Practical Magic

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman

Synopsis: Bullock and Kidman play two sister witches who are plagued by a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed die early.

This must be one of the chickiest chick flicks to ever grace cinema. It’s got everything women love: sisterhood, sappy emotional drivel, and Wicca. Also, Sandra Bullock. She is like cat-nip for white women. Ordinarily these things combined would scare me off but, after having an American Horror Story: Coven marathon over the holiday season, I decided to give this a shot to see if it was just as good. Turns out it wasn’t. Surprise, surprise. However, as I always say, some of the worst films out there can become the best films with the aid of a little weed. While I wouldn’t say weed made this one of the best films, it certainly made it more enjoyable…most likely because it helped me to realise what this film is actually about.


Yes, that’s right. This film is all about Nicole Kidman’s character overcoming her addiction to blow. How do I know it’s about cocaine? Well, for starters Kidman runs away and becomes this groupie chick in the desert and then starts hanging around with a sordid crowd. She then goes into this house, kind of like the one in Boogie Nights, and then starts talking a lot about “Angel love” i.e. angel dust. Boom. She’s an addict. It’s hardly surprising really. Most films about witchcraft seem to have addiction as a central theme. Just look at The Craft, which was all about heroin addiction. I wonder why that is. It’s probably because performing magic would give you a power trip in the same way that doing drugs sends you on a trip. If you could alter the laws of the universe for personal gain, it would be hard to use that power responsibly. Willow from Buffy found out the hard way….and she was clearly on some strong shit.

Dark WillowMy guess is that it’s meth

So, drug abuse aside, what is good about this movie. Well, it’s quite stylish for one thing. These women live in a gorgeous house. It’s a grand old wooden Victorian house next to the ocean. It also has a sick greenhouse. I would push my mother down the stairs if it meant I could live in a house like that. Also, the soundtrack is surprisingly good in places. It’s got that one Faith Hill song in it that everyone likes but no one can remember the words to. However, the film also has a song in it in which the artist rhymes the word ‘glove’ with ‘love.’ That’s pretty amateur.

Something else that’s pretty amateur in places is the writing. Whoever wrote this film clearly had no idea about police procedure. I can’t believe these women let the cop in without a warrant and he handles evidence without the proper equipment. Any hack could get his entire case thrown out. Seriously writers, if you are going to have a cop as a character in your work, whatever it may be, please learn about proper police protocol. It’s very easy and it is mistakes like these that threaten to derail an otherwise coherent movie.


  • Stylish.
  • No matter how you look at it, Sandra Bullock is still kind of a BAMF.
  • It has the cat-faced lady who played Mona in the first Tales of the City series!
  • The scene where Sandra Bullock hears the beetle is actually quite good.


  • It kind of skims over the Salem witch trials, which is one of the most interesting points in history. I would have preferred more detail on how idiotic people were back then….”My milk hath gone sour! It must be the doing of a witch!” No, it’s because your dumb-ass left the milk outside in 40 degree weather.
  • It was sad how the kids stoned young Nicole. Kids are shits.


This is one of those light, feel-good movies that will completely disappear from your mind a few days after watching it. That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes it’s good to watch these sorts of movies just to kill some time or to impress your girlfriend. From an objective point of view, Practical Magic is kind of mediocre. Let’s be honest, it was never going to light the world on fire. However, under the right circumstances (i.e. you must be blitzed) it can be a pretty enjoyable film if you let it be. It wins points from me because of that.



Filed under Comedy, Good, Romance

Collateral (2004)


Genre: Thriller

Cast: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo, Jada Pinkett Smith

Synopsis: An unfortunate cabbie is forced to drive a hitman around LA so he can kill his targets.

A few days ago I noticed a post on Reddit that asked about good “unofficial trilogies.” The post that caught my eye was one in which someone suggested Collateral, Drive, and Nightcrawler. If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I love the last two movies. However, at the time I couldn’t confirm whether the suggestion was a good one because I hadn’t seen Collateral. I decided to change that and, after one of the most stressful work weeks of my life, I settled down for the night with my good friend Mary Jane, this film, and a bag of almonds because I had a wicked craving for almonds….not that that’s relevant.

Whenever I approach a Tom Cruise movie, I always worry it’s going to be terrible. I am not sure why that is exactly but it might have something to do with the Katie Holmes/Scientology affair. Whatever the reason, I am always forced to eat my words because the guy always manages to prove his worth. The same thing happened when I saw Edge of Tomorrow this year. In Collateral, he gives hitman Vincent a cool and steely demeanour but you can see that Cruise adds a hidden edge. You never know quite what to expect and the unpredictability of Cruise’s character heightens the film’s tension because anything could happen. This is perhaps best shown in the jazz club scene. The climax, although not entirely unexpected, was still a shock. Kind of like when my asshole colleague gives me Earl Grey tea when I ask for regular tea.

British-Simpsons-Tea-SpitMe….every damn day

The rest of the cast put in solid performances too but, for me, the real star of the film is the camera work. The film is noted as being the first major motion picture that used the Viper FilmStream High-Definition Camera. Michael Mann’s decision to use a digital camera for some of the scenes was a stroke of genius because it allows the audience to witness the Los Angeles in its raw glory. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Los Angeles is a beautiful city but it’s not an obvious beauty. It’s not beautiful in the way that San Francisco or Paris is beautiful. Los Angeles has grit and, on first glance, you would probably dismiss the city. However, the city’s beauty comes from the small details injected into the dark corners. It’s stuff like seeing the Downtown skyline surrounded by oranges, reds, and indigos at sunset. It’s seeing the wind blowing through the palm trees and knowing that the rugged wilderness of the desert mountains is at your door step. At times it feels as if nature is reclaiming the city. Collateral captures those moments very well, as evidenced by this scene.

When I first watched this scene, I thought it was a bit cheesy but I found myself rewatching it and every time I saw it my appreciation grew. Any film that captures the duality of the city’s character immediately gets my approval and this film does it every bit as well as Drive and Nightcrawler. Therefore, I think it is appropriate to lump these films together as an unofficial trilogy. If I were to name the trilogy, it would be something along the lines of the “LA Traffic Light Trilogy.”

However, it is my personal belief that Collateral is the weakest of the three films. That’s not to say that it is bad. I just feel that the film didn’t do enough to push the envelope in the way that Drive and Nightcrawler did. Those two films delivered an emotional experience that hit a lot harder and ended on an ambiguous note, ensuring that the experience kept in the mind of the audience after they left their seats. Collateral is a very good film but it feels a little too clean-cut. The ambiguity isn’t there and it ends with a nice little bow on top. I would have preferred something a bit more complex.


  • The beauty of Los Angeles is on full display here.
  • KTOWN!!! My old hood!
  • Solid performances, including a cameo from Javier Bardem.
  • Astonishing camera work.


  • Why are these people still dancing in the club after some guy has been killed in front of them?
  • You wouldn’t walk away from a car accident like that.


Collateral is a very good Los Angeles neo-noire and I’m glad that I finally got around to watching it. If you’re a fan of the genre, as I am, then by all accounts you should see this movie. While it does have its flaws, they do not spoil the positives and the film may just encourage you to take that trip to LA….which is kind of weird because this movie is about people getting shot in LA.



Filed under Good, Thriller

Cherry Falls (2000)

Cherry Falls

Genre: Horror

Cast: Brittany Murphy

Synopsis: Someone with a jank-ass weave and wardrobe goes on a killing spree, slicing and dicing the local teenage virgins.

Aaaah, Cherry Falls…the death knell of the 90s teen slasher subgenre and a perfect inclusion into the Baked Movie Review Halloween Rundown. I suppose it was appropriate to kill the subgenre off with such a fucking ridiculous movie. The plot of Cherry Falls is just plain bizarre. If Scream breathed new life into the slasher genre with its gritty realism, self-awareness and wit, and I Know What You Did Last Summer was a logical extension, then Urban Legend was the fatal blow but Cherry Falls did awful things to the body afterwards…weird things. How weird? Like Japanese cartoon weird.

Japan Porn

Part of the weirdness is what makes this movie so fun though. Horror movies should always introduce well-scripted humour to break the tension and to give the audience some variety. Sorority Row is a good example of a film that managed to accomplish this rather well. Cherry Falls does not, however, because the humour is all a bit ham-fisted. I mean, you will be laughing at Brittany Murphy’s inappropriate relationship with her father and her fetish for getting her feet tongue-banged. Similarly, when her boyfriend tells her his dad likes hookers you’ll all be like: “say wut?” It must have taken some balls to pitch this film to a studio.

Then again, I can see what Cherry Falls is trying to do: it’s trying to turn the “only virgins survive horror films” rule on its head. It’s an interesting route to take but one that is not wholly original. Let us not forget, Sydney lost her V-Card in Scream and there’s no way Moesha kept her minky in her pants in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. The point is, in the 90s horror rules were there to be broken and it feels as though Cherry Falls missed the boat simply by being a product of the early noughties…perhaps the worst time period ever. Who could ever forget the horror that struck us all in 2001?

DenimNever forget.

Having said that, the movie does deliver some positives. For starter, the killer’s methods are fucking brutal and creepy and the scene where Brittany Murphy is first chased by the killer is pretty tense. She really gets into the fight scene by turning into some sort of cornered animal which is what I feel I would do if some bitch tried to cut me. Also, the stoner guy is kind of cute and by the way he eats his food you can tell he really knows how to give great oral sex. My point is that there are positive things to find in this movie if you look hard enough and if you’re in the mood for a laugh with some friends then this is a pretty good horror movie to watch.


  • I love Brittany Murphy.
  • “My dad’s into whores”…OK. “I even think my mum may have been a whore”………….OK.
  • “It’s Loralee Sherman….Is your mum home?” Why the fuck would you open the door!? Your classmates have just been brutally murdered and your parents aren’t home and you don’t know who this bitch is!


  • A sad reminder that Brittany Murphy is no longer with us.
  • The scene where Brittany Murphy sleepwalks to the window, says “Daddy” and then turns and opens her eyes proving she wasn’t sleepwalking is weird as shit.


Funny, stupid, bizarre, and at times scary, Cherry Falls actually makes for a pretty decent film to watch on Halloween because it embodies everything that holiday is. It’s not a genre game-changer in the way that Scream was but it doesn’t have to be. You can take it for what it is and still enjoy it.



Filed under Good, Horror

Orphan (2009)


Genre: Horror

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Synopsis: A family with a whole load of problems decides to bring another fucked up person into the family, adopting some crazy and violent Eastern European girl from an orphanage that clearly do not run background checks.

Welcome to my second Halloween-themed post. This time, I decided to watch a psychological horror and I opted for Orphan because I needed something to put me off having children for at least another five years. I think parenthood is something a lot of people are scared about. Lord knows I am. That’s 18 years of tantrums and back-talk, not to mention the first year or so when kids are just poop and vomit machines. I don’t think anyone ever feels ready or prepared for kids, but most people settle into it once it happens. You can never really know when you should have kids…unless you’re a woman in which case you should have a kid sometime roughly between the ages of 18 and 35. Clock’s a ticking ladies.


You can always tell when you shouldn’t have kids, though; when your marriage is falling apart due to an affair, when someone in the family is an alcoholic, or when both parents already have their hands full raising a disabled child. However, that doesn’t stop the fuck-tards in this movie from adopting another child. Seriously, no wonder the girl went bat-shit insane. OK, that’s unfair: the girl in this movie was already insane when she joined the family but the toxic environment couldn’t have helped any. The mother shouts at her deaf child for making too much noise. That’s fucked in the head. She is almost as bad as the mum in Home Alone.

Child botoxBut still not quite as bad as this mum

I feel that Orphan makes light of quite difficult subject matter, namely troubled families and parent who fail to form an emotional attachment to their children. Also, there is a pretty harrowing miscarriage nightmare scene, which will make audience members very uncomfortable. It feels tasteless to deal with this subject matter and these themes in a horror movie, one that is designed to give audiences a cheap thrill and one that is frankly rather predictable. A hard-hitting drama would have been more appropriate than setting a horror film in a barren landscape to mirror the barrenness of Vera Farmiga’s womb.

Having said that, the tastelessness does not entirely ruin the movie. In fact, there are still many things to enjoy. For instance, the performances from the children were impressive and, collectively, they are probably the best child actors I have seen in a movie in long time. Fuhrman, in particular, stands out. She outperforms every adult and manages to grasp the subtleties of her character’s sinister and scheming nature and executes her shocking actions with a confidence that emphasises the brutality. Also, there are some scenes that are so uncomfortable that they become comedic and it’s always good to cut the tension with a bit of humour….then again, I don’t know if a child putting on a sexy dress and makeup to sleep with her adoptive father is supposed to be all that humorous.


  • Good performances from the child cast.
  • Some gruesome but well-executed violence.
  • In soviet Russia, brick kill pigeon.
  • “I’m not your fucking mommy!!!”


  • Seriously, why did no-one do a background check on either the girl or the parents?
  • Inappropriate and tasteless at times.
  • Kind of puts you off adoption.


Orphan is a horror film for people who do not like horror films. There are no ghosts, serial killers, or monsters in this movie, just a sociopathic and psychologically disturbed girl from the Soviet bloc. It won’t give you nightmares. Still, prospective parents may want to give this film a miss as it may cause you to regret your decision to spawn…don’t get me wrong, you will regret it at some point but it’ll most likely be after the kid is born and you’ve gone months without a good night’s sleep. Children are such a blessing.



Filed under Good, Horror

Fame (1980)


Genre: Drama

Cast: Lee Curreri, Irene Cara, Paul McCrane

Synopsis: The film follows a bunch of teenagers as they go through their studies at a top performing arts school and get into all sorts of angsty 80s teen shit.

If there’s one thing I love (excluding weed, movies, and sarcasm) it’s taking the piss out of histrionic people with no clue. Throughout my years, I’ve met a whole myriad of people from different walks of life and, on the whole, I’ve found actors and dramatists to be the best source of hyperbolic craziness. When I decided to watch Fame, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was I would be getting. Would it have the optimism and exuberance of Flashdance, or the infuriating teen angst of Beautiful Creatures. It turns out that Fame has a little of both but this is a good thing: it creates an viewing experience whereby you can enjoy the fruits of the performers’ labour but then laugh at them when they have their dreams crushed…like when figure skaters fall over.

ice-skating-fallsSchadenfreude, making me feel glad that I’m not you

It’s not that the characters are unlikeable. In fact there are some really nice ones in this film. They’re all bright-eyed and bushy tailed….but that’s what is so God damn irritating about them. They have all the optimism in the world and they need to be taken down a peg. One of the good things in this film is that it shows how badly life can mess with you so you had better toughen the fuck up. For instance, unwanted teen pregnancy is a thing so if you want to be a prima ballerina you had better find a doctor who knows how to keep his mouth shut and ask few questions. Similarly, there are people in the world who will try to get you to take your clothes off in front of a camera…for free. Learn to say no to these people and walk out the door, which isn’t even locked.

I did sympathise with two of the characters a lot though. The first is the creepy ginger kid who has inappropriate relationships with both his mother and his shrink. Turns out he’s gay but back in 1980 it must have been tough. Then there’s the girl whose mother is bat-shit insane and makes her perform in the way an organ grinder makes his monkey perform, only sans handjob. These two are likeable because they do fucking weird acting exercises like sitting in the snow and pretending to be poor and Russian. It’s this kind of weirdness that I like…although the girl almost ruined it by giving a monologue while looking pensively out the window while wearing a fucking beret. Fashion advice ladies: no-one ever looks good in a beret.

Prince Harry Tours Jamaica To Mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee….I stand corrected.

If I had a major criticism about the film it’s that it can seriously disjointed. Some of the storylines are introduced but then left without a conclusion or any sense of resolution. Take the girl who gets naked on camera. Nothing happens to her after that. She just graduates and that’s that. Similarly, does the black kid learn to read and does the posh girl get the abortion? Who the fuck knows? I’m the kind of guy he believes that every plot should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Fame may have the first two parts down, but some of the characters don’t get an ending and that bothered me. Graduating is not the end….there’s still a ton of fucked up shit that can happen and I want to see it happen!


  • The film is set in that really gritty 80s New York…the one we all secretly wish it was still like.
  • That black kid is such a queen…it’s hysterical. I feel bad for his audition partner though. She’s probably in the strip joint now.
  • “You don’t have it Lisa!” Yeah Lisa, GTFO!
  • The ginger kid and the Jewish girl being weird.


  • Some of the characters don’t get their ending.
  • Although I was born in the 80s, it’s a shame that I never got to experience the craziness of the decade.


I had fun watching Fame. I don’t think it’s quite as good as Flashdance, but it manages to mesh the optimism of the 80s with the horrors of reality, which is much appreciated. Because of the film’s foray into both the lighter and darker side of life, you’d best watch this when you yourself are feeling balanced. If you’re unhappy, then the optimism will annoy you and you may take a little too much pleasure in the misery…not all of it is funny. Some girl gets accosted by a junky, which is pretty fucked. Similarly, if you’re happy then the hard dose of reality may bum you out. You need to have your shit together to enjoy this film.



Filed under Drama, Good

Save the Last Dance (2001)

Save the Last Dance

Genre: Drama, Romance

Cast: Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas

Synopsis: After her mother dies in a tragic accident, a young girl moves to the Chicago hood where she gets an education in dance, love, and life….très corny, I know.

I have never been much of a dancer. In fact, I’m one of the clumsiest people around. I trip over flat surfaces and have a tendency to knock things over. Moreover, I have no natural rhythm. Watching me dance is like watching Bambi learn to walk for the first time. That’s not to say that I hate dancing. If you read my review of Flashdance then you will know that I love awkwardly gyrating around my room when nobody can see. I my head, I move like someone from So You Think You Can Dance. In reality, I move like a typical white person.


I know that I’m giving in to racial stereotyping by saying that white people can’t dance but, in my experience, it’s generally true. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a very rural and white area, but I’ve yet to be blown away by a white guy on the dance floor. This is why Save the Last Dance gives me hope. Here, you have a girl who is whiter than mayonnaise. She knows a thing or two about dance but lacks the ability to get crunk. After moving to an inner city environment, however, she blossoms and becomes the dancer she always wanted to be. It makes me think that one day I too can mesmerise people when I throw shapes on the floor…instead of just filling them with silent dread.

All joking aside, this movie is tooth-achingly sweet. It has that 90s/early 2000s optimism that features in other teen movies from that time. It’s about overcoming adversity and achieving your dreams. Ordinarily, this would not appeal to me but this film is different. Part of the reason why I like this film is that there is a hot and steamy interracial relationship at its core. I wish I could say that we were at a point, as a society, where interracial relationships on screen were not a big deal. Unfortunately, I do not think we are there, even 13 years after this film came out.

Think about all the romance movies out there. How many of them have an interracial couple in them? I guarantee you it’s not that many and a lot of those films will have an African-American/Hispanic relationship as opposed to an African-American/White one. That’s part of the reason why Save the Last Dance is so good. It’s willing to go where few films have gone. Not only that, it presents a realistic yet positive spin on these relationships. This movie doesn’t shy away from the fact that interracial relationships can be seen as taboo. In fact, it deals with the subject head on. I took a critical race theory class while I studied in the US and I know that talking about race in America is hard thing to do. It makes people uncomfortable. However, it’s important to have those conversations and it’s impressive to see a movie engage in a discussion of race so responsibly.

White Chicks movie imageOthers have not been so responsible…

Beyond the topic of race, Save the Last Dance is enjoyable for other reasons. Firstly, Julia Stiles is awesome and she pulls off some killer moves in this film. Secondly, the supporting cast is strong and her sassy friend lets off some cracking one liners. Finally, the music makes you want to bust a move, even if it is in the privacy of your own home. Who can resist grinding to ‘Murder She Wrote.’ I’m very much talking about the song by Chaka Demus and Pliers, not the TV show. As much as I love Angela Lansbury, I wouldn’t get down to the TV show.


  • Great presentation of an interracial relationship.
  • Julia Stiles is my teen idol. I wish we saw more of her today.
  • It’s a sweet story but not too sweet. There’s hardship in there too.
  • Epic dance choreography.


  • It’s kind of depressing to realise I will never dance that well.
  • Inner city Chicago is bleak. It’s sad to see parts of a city like that. It’s a reminder to all that inequality is alive and well.


Save the Last Dance is the sort of movie you should watch when you’re feeling down in the dumps. It’s a film that is uplifting and just a little bit inspirational. Don’t get me wrong, the movie has its moments of cheese but these can be ignored by focusing on the epic dance scenes and the chemistry between Stiles and Thomas.



Filed under Drama, Good, Romance