Hello, film-fans! This week I’ll be reviewing more movies from the emerging medium of the internet. This week I’ll be looking at three pictures: a dark police drama, a fun buddy flick, and an ambitious work of classicism.
F*** the Police: This gritty crime drama is really ambitious. A policewoman, played by Sasha Grey (whom I personally consider to be the next Meryl Streep), is on the beat assigned to infiltrate a gang. The inner struggle here is played beautifully by our heroine: she knows that these men have concealed and loaded weapons, and that they wouldn’t hesitate to unload their arsenal on a cop but she embraces it. She uses the nobility of the thin blue line as the rope with which she ties her noose: driven by the things she’s seen, the dark cavities of society which she has explored in those she’s encountered on the job and in herself. Ms. Grey gives a performance that is so genuine and honest in its stark realism, a truly naked performance which is so touching that you’d have to be a robot to not be reaching for tissues. Her co-stars, unfortunately, are unable to hold a candle to her and their performances appear rigid and hard, contrasted by the scene-stealing Sasha. I would give “F*** the Police” 3.5 stars out of 5.
Lemon Stealing Horse: Now normally, I’m not a fan of popcorn-flicks. Most studios see the genre of fun family films as a simple cash-cow and put much more effort in marketing and tie-ins than they do the picture. But “Lemon Stealing Horse” really breaks the mold. In this wacky tale a husband and wife buy a lemon grove, only to find a pugnacious and petulant young lass snatching their fruit! However, seeing potential in this rough-around-the-edges gal, the husband, played by James Deen, decides to let her pay off the debt. Through a series of trials and tribulations, the unlikely duo learns what to do when life gives you lemons. Actress Joanna Angel plays her part pretty well, but at times she can be unconvincing. For instance, given just how unapologetic she appears at first, it doesn’t take much to get her on her knees (apologizing). Thespian James Deen is remarkable as always. Overall, a great film for what it strives to be: I give “Lemon Stealing Horse” 3 stars out of 5.
Ashlynn Gets a Pizza: This is one for the real die-hards out there. As Christopher Nolan has done with Film Noir in his Dark Knight trilogy, as Academy-Award winning “The Artist” did with silent-era films, “Ashlynn Gets a Pizza” does with classic 1970’s cinema. Often seen as a golden age, the 70s were a time before the gimmicks and high-definition, when it really was about the art. Here, we see a director’s loving tribute to this iconic time in a movie that is faithful to the soul of the genre, without being derivative or cliché. The short film starts with a Fred Astaire-style male lead working at a restaurant which is a clear nod to Hooper’s “Nighthawks”. While on a delivery to the home of our femme fatale (played by Ashlynn Brooke), our hero is driven to share a moment of vulnerability with this total stranger: to open up and deliver not just a pizza, but himself. A truly moving piece which forces the viewer to question the nihilistically banal interactions of our daily lives and to admire the man who says “no more” in a work that’s so classically Americana it would make Norman Rockwell blush, “Ashlynn Gets a Pizza” gets my glowing recommendation. 5 out of 5 stars.