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jmunky [2017] TV

 

Forensic Files [404 episodes, 1996-2011] * * * * *

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Forensics: helping criminals get away with it and convicting the innocent for hundreds of years. I think I got that right. Can't think straight. Wait a sec, maybe I'm drunk. Lemme check using science. Ok, there's an empty bottle of Jameson's on the floor, strong evidence, but did I drink it? How can I prove this? There's a naked girl with me in the bed. After introductions, she assures me I'm drunk, but can the testimony of this witness be trusted? I need more. DNA maybe? Nah, that won't help, not in this situation. A toxicology report! That's it! I'll drive down to the lab now.


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Isaak von Seggern [2017] FILM

 

Margot at the Wedding [2007] * * * *

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Nicole Kidman as an Alcoholic Apathetic Asshole is probably my favorite film genre ever.

I recall a conversation with a friend a bit ago about who we would cast in our own Ghostbusters reboots, and I think mine was Michael Cera, Nicole Kidman, and Michael Caine. But Nicole Kidman would totally be a drunk narcissist who just makes really inappropriate comments to Michael Cera about how inadequate he is as a human being, whilst also constantly coming onto Michael Caine, despite his marriage to, I was going to say Sean Connery but as he's retired, I say what the hell, we'll cast Udo, who turns out to be a ghost, maybe even Slimer, and then we can re-enact that scene where the ghost gives Dan Aykroyd a blow job, except with Michael Cera, and it's not a blowjob now, it's a sexually suggestive belly rub because we want to stick with that hard PG-13 rating.

I never saw that Ghostbusters reboot. And I hopefully never will. I quite frankly, don't respect myself enough to.

It's probably rooted in my intense hatred for women.

And men.

And franchises.

And also I really just can't get on the Leslie Jones train.

Anywhoo, this movie is so funny and depressing at the same time, it's kind of amazing. Nicole Kidman's character is such a terrible human being, and makes fun of autistic people and talks about people openly behind their backs, and she has a fun hat, and doesn't wear a bra for some reason, it's just such a beautiful movie. Baumbach is definitely one of the best writers working today. Where Frances Ha is more inwardly tragic, Margot at the Wedding is just tragic, but the fact that everybody in the film just SUCKS at being adults makes it funny when nothing works out for them. It lacks a real visual style to complement the great writing like in Frances Ha, but the writing is so perfect, and Nicole Kidman is just so damn mean-spirited that it almost negates any real criticism that would hold up in the court of law.

"Deodorant-Cancer" - haha the things we tell our kids to make sure their personal hygiene stays as abysmally low as possible.


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Swartacus [2017] MUSIC

 

Top Gun (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [1986] * * *

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Compact Disc found at Mill City Sound, Hopkins, MN at a 99 cent sidewalk sale
(It already was 99 cents though, so Swartacus had the good fortune of acquiring it for 50 cents, American)

Let's face it. The Top Gun soundtrack consists of two of the greatest '80s anthems of all time ("Danger Zone", "Top Gun Anthem") bookending what is quite possibly the worst collection of foul smelling filler ever assembled.

Kenny Loggins' lifelong meal ticket - Danger Zone - is without a doubt the most electrifying 5-hour energy drink of a song ever put to wax (or in this case... compact disc). I dare you to find a situation in which this won't get you amped up like a 48 oz Red Bull/vodka at a flea bitten backwoods gentlemen's club.

Have the honor of being a pall bearer at your uncle's funeral? Put on some Danger Zone. About to spend 6 months sequestered away on jury duty? Drop the needle on some Danger Zone. Just got served divorce papers? Rewind to track 1 on your official Top Gun soundtrack cassette and just push play.

This isn't something I am willing to debate. Go off and try it yourself... I'll wait right here.

See what I mean, Vern?

Now let us continue...

The final track on this 10-song aeronautical opus - Top Gun Anthem - is aural catnip for which there is no male born between 1966 and 1977 who wouldn't don a star-spangled loin cloth and air guitar this sizzling instrumental from their roof with a lit bottle rocket protruding from his weenus hole.

If it weren't for Giorgio Moroder, Harold Faltermeyer would be forever known as Lord of the 80s. A synth lord on par with Darth Vader or Lord Helmet from Spaceballs. Seriously, google him.

But I digress...

The rest of the album is pure box office poison. Comprised of sloppy drunk prom night weepers ("Take My Breath Away", "Heaven in Your Eyes") and rollicking coke-fueled "The Heat Is On" Glenn Frey rip offs ("Lead Me On", "Hot Summer Nights"). And they aren't even FUN Glenn Frey rip offs (if there is such a thing).... Take a listen to the bleating sax blasts on these tunes... it sounds like someone is strangling Black Phillip from The Witch.

I will however salute the revolutionary dust head who came up with the bed of synth/mournful sax trend. That shit is more smooth than chocolate and peanut butter coming together to make a Reese's peanut butter cup... and twice as sweet.

Even Loggins himself gets in on the act, becoming the only artist in the history of recorded music to have both his peak and his nadir on the same album. His horrific attempt at a Prince Rogers/Cyndi Lauper mash-up yields what is possibly the gayest heterosexual anthem of all time - "Playing with the Boys". This song would be completely unlistenable if not for the goony grin it puts on everyone's face when they picture Iceman, Goose, and Pete "Maverick" Mitchell frolicking on a sand volleyball court.

But the coup de grace is the Rocky IV montage homage "Through the Fire". When our children grow up, how will Gen X describe the 6-year period from 1982 to 1988 in which we all were completely engulfed in a fog of upbeat aerobicized honk ass wankery? It's bad enough we had the music, but the lyrics were about as deep as a puddle in the desert on a hot summer's day.

I'm sure the lyrics to "Through the Fire" were scribbled on a cocktail napkin littered with remnants of Columbia's finest... but how do I explain why I get so goddamned jacked up to shop vac my SUV when this clarion call comes up on shuffle?

Through the fire
To the wire
When the flames are burning hot
They take you higher
Through the fire

God bless you, Jerry Bruckheimer.


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Isaak von Seggern [2017] FILM

 

Tragedy Girls [2017] *

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One reason critics are saying watching Tragedy Girls is like being a lower class family on the Titanic is because HO-LE-EE SH-EE-I-TT this movie is worse than spending the rest of your life savings so your family can start again in America, only for the "unsinkable" ship to be like "Ta-da bitches unsinkable my ass!", AND THEN, come to realize that no one cares about you, and even if you can make it from the bottom of the boat to the top, everyone else does the "fuck you I'm a rich/suck on my singular Gucci" routine and gets to revoke your "lifeboat privileges" so you end up drowning alongside your inconsolable wife who holds your infant child the whole way down, and it isn't romantic or sad like in James Cameron's Titanic, it just sucks the whole time, and then you die a cold and horrible death that could have been avoided, but serves as a proper end-cap to the terrible poverty stricken life you led up to that point.

"You can't make an omelet without killing a few ex-boyfriends" is a real quote from this movie.

Some hack, (ahem) HACK, film reviewer at Collider wrote that the film is a "slick" movie "with style to spare".

Right?

WRONG!

SO FUCKING WRONG!

(note: everyoneisentitledtotheirown opinionscollider'sisjust wrong)

I heard someone compare this to being something along the lines of a Disney Channel original movie that is also a hard R-rated horror comedy, and that is literally the best way to describe it. Though I would also say it's a lot like Heathers, but not funny, and regardless of whether you like Heathers, way worse than that. Anyway when I heard that I got excited because I thought it was going to be a satire, but no, it is literally
just
the
worst
thing
ever.

It is not "stylish" at all, just overly colorful, but used in really ugly and forgettable ways. I know I'm going to sound like an asshole, but color has to be used in ways so that emotions can be dictated to the audience subconsciously. I think how an artist uses color to complement the story and beats in a scene within a movie is the most important thing, and this movie is like a big fuck you in that regard. It's like someone just took a paint bucket and threw random colors over everything, and then it's just really gory for no reason. I would guess the director would say it's like dark humor, but when the whole joke is that they cut off some girl's head and stuck it on a drill so it spins around, it's not funny, it's just super lame.

Also the main characters are so shallowly written and uninteresting to watch. They pretend to be these two outsiders who are edgy because they say the fuck word and obviously are going around murdering all these people. The whole first half of the film is devoted to just them trying to murder people so they can get a larger social media following.

It was soooooooooooooo boring to watch them do these rinse and repeat serial killer type murders for the first roughly 45 minutes of the movie. Especially the one with Craig Robinson, which it's like first, why Craig, why you got to do this thing to me, but it's just filler, and the movie is only 90 minutes. You got like an hour's worth of real, trashy human garbage content here, and a half an hour of filler trashy human garbage.

In conclusion, don't stick the Portlandia theme in your movie, it's weird.

Also, Trash Girls is an incoherent cluster-fuck, which is saying a lot because I watched Charlotte Gainsbourg dry hump Michael Fassbender's tummy only for him to give everyone blank stares in return and read a teleprompter for two hours this week as well.


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Isaak von Seggern [2017] FILM

 

Teeth [2007] * * *

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I have always wanted to watch this movie ever since I was a wee boy, but as the main character of this is surprisingly not part of the official Disney Princess Lineup my mom would not hear any of it. Some kids like baseball, others like action figures or Polly Pockets, but as a 9 year old I wanted nothing more than to see a movie where a rampaging woman eats people with her vagina... and boy was I not let down. As a kid with very little understanding of sexual anatomy, I assumed her vagina would make loch ness monster noises and then proceed to open up kind of like a garage door and eat people whole like an anaconda, but I now realize the filmmakers were on a whole other playing field. Rape is only funny if you yell in a really whiny voice "BUT I HAVEN'T JACKED OFF SINCE LAST EASTER!" immediately before getting your dick bitten off by someone's vagina.

It was a bit of a letdown for me to find out that the twist ending wasn't that she had anal dentata too as I had suspected. Though becoming a sort of vagina vigilante is pretty cool I guess. Being rejected from her rightful place as a Disney Princess is kind of a missed opportunity, but the next best thing is for her to join the Avengers. You got Iron Man shooting his laser beams, Hawk Eye shooting arrows, Scarlett Johansson just... shooting people, and Bam! in swings the Vivacious Vulva Vampire. The studio heads weren't too keen on a hero that eats people with her vagina, so I say we make her a kid-friendly vampire that sucks blood out of the bad guy's vagina instead. We will make her have a cape like Dracula, but it will be hot pink, and she can wear a ski-mask like Pussy Riot! Then you will able to go to the men's section at Walmart and in addition to only selling pre-faded Captain America and Iron Man t-shirts, you can get a pink pre-faded Vivacious Vulva Vampire with a picture of her blocking an uppercut with her steel vagina! Then all the 20-something dude-bro men will buy it and be like "bUt I aM NeRd bRo MaN ToO I eNjoY VagInAs!"

I don't know if I can say the word vagina any more times in this review so I suppose we will call it day and just leave it there.


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Swartacus [2017] FILM

 

Over the Top [1987] * * * * *

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"Then hate me... we have to start some place." - Linc Hawk to his son Mike

There's a microscopic hole which exists inside the soul of Swartacus. In this little crater there is a tiny temple. In this temple sits Lincoln Hawk and his switch hat. There is a tiny hammer on a chain next to a pane of glass marked "emergency". I think most of you know what happens when the glass is broken and the hat switch is flipped....

This film is tattooed on my soul. I was 11 when it came out. Probably around the same age as the kid who plays Michael Cutler. I watched this film on a continuous loop for the next 3 years. This film had everything that made the '80s the '80s... and everything that would appeal to a child of that era. An underdog "Rocky" story, soaring anthems by Kenny Loggins and Sammy Hagar, weird '80s bodybuilder culture, Terry Funk, a poor guy smashing up a rich guy's mansion with a semi truck, a grizzly bear motherfucker who wears a FUBAR tee shirt and guzzles motor oil, Peak Era Stallone Grunt Face, musical training montages, and a 12 year old boy stealing a 4Runner and heading to Old Vegas in gleaming white rich boy pants.

On the surface this was the god damn Ringling Brothers circus.

But wait a minute... there was a little more depth to it than that. At least for me. You see I was living a nightmare at the time. My parents' marriage had recently exploded and spewed toxicity all across every inch of my life like some sort of relationship Chernobyl.

I was currently living with my mother and three siblings on welfare and was trying to eke out an existence on food stamps and Kaboom cereal. My father continually no-showed for every specially planned conjugal visit and my grandfather seethed the hate of 1,000 Robert Loggias.

It was around this time that my mother took up with a hippie trucker named Dave (I say hippie because he once gave my mom shrooms and drove a pumpkin colored VW bus). Dave was the heir to a rotting apple orchard dynasty across the river in Wisconsin. He was gone for very long periods of time on his cross-country trucker runs. When he was around... the best way to describe his attitude would be "prickly". He wasn't mean or violent... he was just distant. And who could blame him... he had an insta-family of four kids under the age of 12 (two of which were under the age of 4). To say there was a lack of testosterone and male mentoring in this situation would be the understatement of the millennium.

Enter "Over the Top"... my oasis. My crystal ball. My all-knowing truth serum of the world. You see this film does have depth, at least to the 11-12 year old set. Sure it has all the things I mentioned above... but it also contains some big issues in a manly package. It has the Terms of Endearment-level melodrama of a dead mother, the patented "rich can buy their way out of anything" motif, a father who wasn't present, Terry Funk, the simmering hate of a young child of divorce, the David vs. Goliath bully factor, kidnapping (what MN kid wasn't terrified by the Jacob Wetterling case in the late '80s... seriously google it... it's fucked up) and an angry tyrannical grandfather who is not only won over... but driven to tears by the triumphant finale (God rest your beautiful soul Robert Loggia).

These were weighty issues for my 11 year old mind. All I wanted to do at that time was become a professional skateboarder and eventually meet Axl from Guns N' Roses. In this film it seemed possible to triumph over anything - the macho arm wrestler goons AND the pain of death and divorce.

Watching this film again I was reminded of how beautiful it is compared to some of the other "meathead" action films of that era. It's not surprising that this bombed hideously at the box office. What fan of Raw Deal, Rambo 2, or Top Gun wants to watch Sly Stallone stare at the grand canyon out of his truck or watch 14 minutes straight of father/son bonding dialogue? The Moroder score is completely melancholy and haunting. This does get lost within the anthemic butt music used to pump up the arm wrestling plot. But I defy you to not be moved by Stallone in this. He sells it because he can act. I mean actually act. This is the Stallone of the first Rocky, 1997's Cop Land, and 2015's Creed. It is a perfect amalgamation of his meathead persona and his gentler side. Frankly it is by far my favorite movie he's ever done.

My love of this film is proof that anyone can have an attachment to any film from any era at any time. Movies can change who we are, soothe our nerves, and make us think anything is possible. Sure a few years later I pulled a Michael Cutler and ran away to my father. I found out the hard way that "the world meets nobody halfway" and let's just say there was no giant arm wrestling trophy at the end of that journey.

My grandfather is now dead.... I never realized that he was the driving force behind my life until after he was gone. I found out a few years ago that Trucker Dave died of some heinously terminal type of cancer. How was I supposed to feel about that? I don't even know... he was just some guy that stayed over at my house every once in a while for a few years. But when you are 12 you are influenced by just about every person that comes into your life. So, watching this film again, I thought of him and wondered what the hell he did with the rest of his life.

A friend read my review of Knight of Cups and told me that I thought that I was Rick (Christian Bale's character). Maybe he's right.... There is probably a part of me that wants that and is at the same time repelled by that. However, I do know for a fact that there is still a small burnt out ember that was once 12 year old Michael Cutler. Son to Sly Stallone and Grandson to Robert Loggia. I hope I can rekindle that kid's spirit and give some of his grit to my own kids. Then hopefully they'll never have to crawl out of the '80s tar pits the way I did. And yeah... I did nearly start bawling when the kid found all of Sly's unopened letters that the mother had hidden from him.

When I see this film I don't see another dumb Sly Stallone movie. I see my past and all the ghosts I've left behind.

Michael Cutler: "If I went with you, where would we go? Where would we end up?"
Lincoln Hawk: "Together is all I can guarantee. I'm just a father who messed up pretty bad, I know that. I've done things real wrong, now I want to try fix things up as best I can. I want to give... you... what's inside of me. I may not have much and I may never have a lot. But I've got something inside I want to give to the only person that means something to me... you."


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Biscoito18 [2017] FILM

 

Wish Upon [2017] *

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A fairly predictable plot filled with soulless supporting characters to be discarded before the climax, basic production and an uninspired direction.

In more capable hands, the premise could've given life to a very interesting film about greed, morality, and what one really wants in life. But the execution here is pathetically generic.

No wonder the director behind this failure is the one who directed "Annabelle" and "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation". Some good work as a cinematographer isn't a guarantee of quality as a director.

I liked Joey King as the protagonist, though. She has enough charisma to make up for her lifeless character.

Also I like that "Wish Upon" avoided wasting time with scenes involving characters trying to convince other skeptical characters or giving explanations to the police.

Overall, the conflicts created by Clare's wishes are a watered down version of what we saw in "The Craft". It's impossible not to compare.

Like, for example, revenge against a bully through "body horror":

In the '96 cult classic, the bullying shown involved racist jokes and shocked the audience by the naturalness with which it was practiced. You had a strong motive for despising the racist girl, and that gave strength to the scene were body horror is used as revenge, because the audience observes her ego and self-confidence being destroyed next to the character who took revenge, and feels her shame and pain of having done this to the other human being, even though she had strong reasons.

Here, the bullying is nothing more than nonsense like destroying a poster or posting stupid jokes on social networks, and the revenge ends up looking like something totally exaggerated, but, at the same time, without much impact on the audience, because the afflicted character simply disappears from the film, and even when resurfaces, she continues to be the same old bitch.

It's just pointless. The same thing happens with the "love spell", which in this case would be the "wish for love", which never gets close to reaching the frightening level of obsession shown in "The Craft".

Oh, and Ryan Phillippe is in this movie too, playing the hottest waste picker in the world and being cute in some minor scenes here and there.

And some death scenes are hilarious. They are the "so bad, it's good" parts of the movie.

"Wish Upon" is pure "more of the same". Recommended only for nostalgic fans of supernatural slashers involving teenagers in the 90s style.


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Biscoito18 [2017] FILM

 

Gerald's Game [2017] * * * *

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Mike Flanagan is one of my current favorite directors.

When I read about him being hired to adapt Stephen King, I knew that the movie was in good hands and that it would be perhaps the best original horror movie on Netflix in 2017, just as it was in 2016 with his amazing "Hush".

I was right! Flanagan conducts the film elegantly, dealing with heavy subjects with calm, letting the actors lead the scenes and positioning the scares and the carnage at the right moments and in the correct doses.

Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood carry the film with brilliant performances, never making the scenes boring even when there is only a series of dialogues between the two.

Both, mainly Carla, take the audience for a walk through different personality traits of their characters.

I couldn't imagine a better cast, which also features veteran horror icon Carel Struycken (Addams Family movies), embodying what may already be considered one of the scariest characters of his career: the Moonlight Man.

Regarding the controversy surrounding the Moonlight Man, I'm glad that Flanagan respected the work of Stephen King and remained faithful to the text, a rare attitude in Hollywood.

The practical effects and makeup are great, and help create one of the best "body horror" scenes of recent years. Unfortunately, although they are rarely used, the special effects are often lacking, especially in relation to the reddish lighting during the eclipse scenes.

The jump scares are top notch and really effective. No loud noises or screamers. Just a quick cut and an unexpected and disturbing sight. Perfect.

I loved the references to his earlier films like the book that appears in "Hush" on the shelf above the bed and the underside of the famous Lasser Glass (the mirror present in "Oculus") used to mount the headboard. Also, the beautiful Kate Siegel, who starred in "Hush", appears in some flashback scenes as Jessie's mother.

Made with absolute respect for the text being adapted (including the controversial points), "Gerald's Game" is a carefully crafted film with a hand-picked cast, that shows a lot of competence in adapting what was once considered to be unadaptable. Another great work by one of today's most capable horror directors.


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Chad S. Walsky [2017] FILM

 

Southbound [2015] * * *

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Not since the 1990 release of Public Enemy's "911 Is a Joke" have dispatch operators been made to look this bad. Yikes.

Southbound is an anthology horror film from the crew that brought us the divisive V/H/S series. Most anthologies are a mixed affair, but the V/H/S franchise has been wildly inconsistent and with only a few moments of greatness (V/H/S 2 is easily the high water mark and that's mostly based on Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans incredible "Safe Haven"). But I can confidently tell you that Southbound is the most entertaining of these films, with "The Accident" standing shoulder to shoulder with the previously mentioned "Safe Haven". Sure, the acting sometimes isn't the best, but the unsettling stories and twisted execution really elevate it. Of the five stories, only one falls completely flat ("Jailbreak"), but "The Accident" and "Siren" are fantastic.

Gore, alternative dimensions, Satanists, David Yow of The Jesus Lizard, desert landscapes, demons, mind-fuckery, and a compound fracture so gnarly it would make Joe Theismann crap his pants. Oh, and comedian Dana Gould plays a satanic bible-thumper and CRUSHES his scenes. Yep, all that shit happens.

Sneaky good horror flick.


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Biscoito18 [2017] FILM

 

A Ghost Story [2017] * * * *

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When "A Ghost Story" was over, I started crying in a way I hadn't for years. Good thing I was alone because the tears rolled and my nose dripped while I felt a confusion of feelings, including shame of myself. Why was I crying?

After reflecting, I discovered that the answer is simple. The film didn't introduce to me any new knowledge, but what it did was focus on a single feeling, the biggest dilemma of any ghost, and convey that feeling overwhelmingly to the audience, to me.

It's all about detachment.

The most difficult task for any newly deceased.

According to beliefs, attachment to their loved ones is what creates ghosts. And a ghost is nothing more than a glimpse in time, fruit of the consciousness of the immortal soul that can't let it go.

No other film represented this dilemma so elegantly.

For those who have not felt the horror proposed by the film, try to imagine the feeling of having to forget all those you love, and who love you, so you can continue your evolution and get out of an eternal loop of memories.

In relation to the mythology of the ghosts, the film innovates in the quality with which it treats the "creature" and its drama, at the same time that stays faithful to its more classic design.

Never a white sheet with eye holes looked so beautiful! Especially in a scene where the ghost walks through a field under the sunset.

I also enjoyed the cyclical passage of time, where the ghost is something much bigger than all that.

Obviously, some scenes could've cut off a few seconds, but I understood that the proposal was to move the film extra slowly to match the ghost's state of contemplation and to give greater prominence to the big jumps in time that occur later.

The, already infamous, endless pie scene is a good idea on paper, but almost torturous to watch for the wrong reasons.

As I said, the slow pace makes total sense but also causes damage by making the movie exhausting and even annoying at times. Almost unbearable to watch again without skipping several parts.

Other director's choices didn't please me as the time spent with the protagonist's indie songs and the choice to make an "explanation" on the subject of the movie through a snobby and drunk hipster who seems more concerned about looking cool and smart to the girls drunk at the party than to explore the topic seriously. That was a pretty distracting moment to say the least.

"A Ghost Story" is a great experience focused exclusively on transmitting and intensifying the sense of detachment in all its pain and its importance in the evolution of the immortal soul.


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