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100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / The Wind

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / The Wind

If The Wind is any indication of the storytelling potential that can be mined from melding the western and horror genres, then we should expect great things to come. Caitlin Gerard (American Crime) stars as a headstrong frontierswoman who fears an entity is terrorizing her and her husband after a newlywed couple settle on a nearby homestead. Ben Lovett’s score is particularly effective at provoking dread in this claustrophobic chiller. While the film loses wind in its third act, viewers who prefer slow burns may appreciate what screenwriter Teresa Sutherland and director Emma Tammi have achieved on a small budget.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Unicorn Store

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Unicorn Store

Unicorn Store is Peter Pan for Millennials who were obsessed with Lisa Frank. It’s a colorful, mystical film, where real life clashes with the Millennial-American dream of never having to grow up.

Kit (Brie Larson), toggles between making real friends, getting a real job, or sticking with what she knew as a child - playing games with an imaginary unicorn.

What this movie does well is makes the viewer question Kit’s (and their own) sanity. Do we believe that Kit is going to get a unicorn? Or is this another movie about mental health? It depends on when you grew up.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Shazam!

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Shazam!

Arguably, every superhero is a kid’s movie, or, at least, adolescent wish-fulfillment. But Shazam!, the latest film from DC, is the first superhero movie done specifically as a children's movie. The colors are bright, the plot is breezy, and the entire enterprise is focused on the gee-shucks fun of having superpowers. This also means the film feels less capital “I” important than the latest offerings from either Marvel or DC—and for that, at least, we can be thankful. Zachary Levi’s enthusiasm wore thin for me, but it won’t for eight-year-olds, and that’s all that matters.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Piercing

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Piercing

Piercing follows married man Reed (Christopher Abbott) who decides to kill a prostitute (Mia Wasikowska) to find the tables turned on him. Adapting a Ryu Murakami (Audition) story, director Nicholas Pesce (Eyes of my Mother) employs graphic horror and dark humor—including a laugh-out-loud sequence of Reed pantomiming his planned murder in slapstick fashion—to good effect, but everything else feels like pastiche: Miniature building sets, split screen camerawork a la Brian De Palma, Goblin soundtrack themes from the giallo classics Deep Red and Tenebre. However, Abbott and Wasikowska’s beguiling on-screen relationship is worth the trip down this rabbit hole of homage.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Climax

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Climax

What is supposed to be Gasper Noe’s most accessible film for someone like myself who hadn’t seen any of his films before, turned out to be a buzzkill for me. While Climax is visually impressive with a free-roaming camera set to a killer soundtrack, the hallucinatory imagery was nauseatingly unpleasant. I did, however, appreciate Noe’s references to Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession. But two scenes—one where a woman who is allegedly pregnant gets repeatedly kicked in the stomach and another where a young kid is locked in an electrical closet—made me mentally check out. I guess I know my limits now.

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / The Field Guide to Evil

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / The Field Guide to Evil

An array of folktales serve as the bases for this horror anthology. Featuring international directors such as Calvin Reeder (The Rambler), Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mommy), and Agnieszka Smoczynska (The Lure), each short is visually impressive and atmospheric. For example, one involving goblins in Greece contains vibrant colors reminiscent of The Red Shoes, while another set in India features claustrophobic black and white cinematography. While some get under your skin, they don’t stay in your mind long after. Since most are low-key affairs, they don’t carry much of a pulse. Still, indie-horror fans may relish these intriguing tales.

ESSAY / Started from Degrassi / Nikki San Pedro

Maybe if there was a Degrassi episode about Liberty getting injured on a school trip to the US and needing to get surgery before she could return back to Toronto, I could have been warned about how shitty it would be to have to pay out of pocket and would’ve remembered the importance of keeping my OHIP valid. Or at the very least—remember that it was possible to still seek help and pay out of pocket because my mental health was worth it. 

FICTION / CPA of the Sith / Mike Sweeney

It was a free trial of Star Wars Galaxies. He should’ve just waited till he got home. Instead he logged on to an external server from inside the Department of Justice and spent two hours roaming the Dantooine countryside as “Darth Laser.” It was the name Mark used when he played Star Wars as a kid and now it was going to be officially entered into his record.

POETRY / The Patron Saint of Poor Millennials Who Sniff Candles at Anthropologie / Justin Karcher

growing up, you always thought you’d be as tall as lightning in a bottle, so damn electrical
you’d shatter any prison with your brightness & shoot through the clouds in a blaze of glory
it hasn’t worked out the way you had hoped, wasting your wilderness on the American Dream
partying in the gooey lowlands & cutting up napkin monsters, all that talk about howling
where were you when all the broken people in your life built boats out of used razor blades?

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR / April 2019 / Kolleen Carney Hoepfner

Image copyright Bravo

Image copyright Bravo

Hello, Friends: 

Welcome to April, and to our second annual pop culture extravaganza!

I hope you enjoyed our March issue—I know for a fact you loved Meghan Philips’ “It’s Me…” because wow, the traction on that one! We had a great collection of work, including Writer of the Month Teo Mungaray’s poetry. If you missed out, don’t worry. It’s under “past issues”, as always.

So hey! This month we have Lauren Milici as our WotM. Let me tell you: I love everything I have ever read by Lauren, and I think you will, too. She is one of my most favorite writers at the moment, and I am so grateful she is allowing us to feature her work. 

The pop culture issue is always a blast for us, but it’s always a lot of work. So I want to give a major shout out to founder Matt Guerrero, Managing Editor Chris Pruitt, my husband Fritz (I rope him into a lot of stuff), and editors Ashley Perez, Kia Alice Groom, Joey Gould, and Jeanne Obbard, for working long and hard on this issue (and all issues, really).

This one’s a good one. We have pieces about DegrassiSpider-Man, I Love Dick, Skins, and, in the debut of our new column, “One Perfect Episode”, the MST3K classic, Pumaman—plus a bunch more. 

I would be remiss if I did not mention that, once again, our issue title comes from the Drunk Monkey staff’s favorite show, Vanderpump Rules. Last year, it was all about the pasta—or was it? This time around we’re channeling LaLa’s constant raging against that machine called life. We love VPR so much, we’ve even indoctrinated our newest DM member early:

After a month-long break, I am happy to announce we are once again open for submissions in all categories! We’re looking for more in fiction and essays, so send it all our way. And while we won’t be open for our November special issue for a while, I would like to formerly announce it now: we’re going to be featuring work that previously appeared in now defunct journals! So if you need to rehome something, get ready for us. We’ll be open for that over the summer.

It’s been a great first quarter, and we are so lucky to have your readership. We love our contributors, we love our audience, we are so full of love. 

Be well, 

Kolleen Carney Hoepfner

EIC