Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker

2000 Eyes: But I’m A Cheerleader

[Written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Natasha Lyonne (The Slums of Beverly Hills), the most sardonic young actress working today, puts on a cheery face and wears her pom-poms with pride as picture-perfect cheerleader Megan. But she’s got a problem: her boyfriend’s sloppy, slobbering kisses don’t get her all hot and bothered (“Maybe he just doesn’t do it right,” she ponders), she loves tofu, and she proudly hangs a Melissa Etheridge poster in her bedroom. In this cookie-cutter suburb of Anytown USA, those are the telltale signs of lesbianism.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker

2000 Eyes: Unbreakable

[Written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

What if superheroes were real, not some four-color pulp fantasy or Spandex-and-mask-clad movie daredevil, but a part of the fabric of the world? That’s the core of Unbreakable, a potentially interesting idea deflated by the absurd proclamations of an arch screenplay and smothered under the ponderous gravity of M. Night Shyamalan’s dreary direction.

His much anticipated follow-up to The Sixth Sense draws heavily from that hit; the somber colors and hushed soundtrack create a similar mood of unease and otherworldliness, and Bruce Willis again plays a man disconnected from his life who must discover the secret that leaves him “unfulfilled” with the help of a young boy, in this case his son.

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Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, What to Stream

What to stream: ‘Raised by Wolves’ on HBO Max, ‘Away’ and ‘Borgen’ on Netflix, ‘The Boys’ return to Amazon

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  

Two androids are tasked with raising human children on a barren, far off planet after a devastating religious war on Earth in “Raised by Wolves: Season 1” (2020, TV-MA), an ambitious, high-concept science fiction drama that tackles issues of parenting, intolerance, and religious mythology. Oscar-winning filmmaker (and science fiction movie veteran) Ridley Scott produces and directs the first two episodes. The first three episodes now streaming, new episodes each Friday. (HBO Max)

Continue reading at Stream On Demand

Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Joe Gould’s Secret

[Written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Joe Gould (Ian Holm), a scruffy, disheveled little man, is a homeless bohemian in a tattered secondhand suit and a grizzled gray beard on the streets of 1940s New York. The profane would-be poet, street critic, and professional party guest is famous among the Greenwich Village literati for his colorful stories and explosive personality, but legendary for his oft-discussed but little seen opus “The Oral History of Our Time,” a collection of conversations had and heard and dutifully recorded for posterity by Gould and stashed around the city.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Love and Basketball

[Written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2000]

Monica (Sanaa Lathan) is a fierce, hot-tempered competitor whose tomboy years of playground ball with the boys have given her a more aggressive game than women’s basketball refs like to see. Cocky nextdoor neighbor Quincy (Omar Epps) is the son of an NBA player with pro dreams who becomes a high school and college star athlete, playing just as rough a game to the cheers of fans. We know they’re destined for one-on-one from their first meeting as grade school kids in a driveway game of pick-up. Monica so outplays the flabbergasted Quincy that he shoves her off the court, giving her a combination battle scar and love memento she wears with pride.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Cecil B. Demented

[Originally written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

The revolution will not be televised, but if John Waters has his way it may play at a theater near you.

A spoof of independent filmmaking at its most absurdly radical (and contradictory) fringe, Cecil B. Demented affectionately lampoons both Hollywood and guerrilla cinema in a bizarre revision of the Patty Hearst story. Shrill, bitchy Hollywood screen queen Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith, whose kewpie doll voice and aging baby face are right at home) is kidnapped by shaggy bottle-blonde would-be auteur Cecil (Stephen Dorff) and his slogan-spouting crew of cinema outlaws “The Sprocket Holes,” a combination guerrilla cell, filmmaking collective, and cinema cult.

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Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, streaming, What to Stream

What to stream: ‘Lovecraft Country’ on HBO, ‘High Score’ on Netflix, ‘Chemical Hearts’ on Amazon Prime

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  

Lovecraft Country” (TV-MA) takes on both the cosmic horror and the blatant racism of H.P Lovecraft’s stories with the odyssey of an African-American man (Jonathan Majors) searching for his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams) in 1950s America. He and his travelling companions (Courtney B. Vance and Jurnee Smollett) face both fantastical creatures and very human bigotry. Creator Misha Green, who also made the provocative but short-lived “Underground,” adapts the novel by Matt Ruff and J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele are among the producers. New episodes Sunday nights. (All HBO platforms)

Continue reading at Stream On Demand

Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Shanghai Noon

[Written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A Chinese guy wearing Indian war paint, a braided waist-length ponytail, and a blue silk robe walks into an Old West saloon … and it’s Jackie Chan! Trust me, it’s funny. Cowboys snicker, barmaids stand agog, and human dynamo Jackie transforms a simple barfight into a night at the Chinese Opera.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: X-Men

[Written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

When comic book movies get a bad rap, it’s largely because most comic book movies never quite understand their source. Director Brian Singer (The Usual Suspects) knows exactly what X-Men is about: it’s the pulp superhero version of Rebel Without a Cause, played as a parable in prejudice.

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Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Wonderland

[Written for Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Michael Winterbottom’s checkered career has been inconsistent at best, misdirected at worst. The stylistic chameleon practically remakes himself for each film, from the handsome but chilly restraint of the Thomas Hardy adaptation Jude to the hysterical explosion of sexual obsession in I Want You. The result is a career of fascinating failures driven by moments of pure cinematic passion.

In Wonderland, Winterbottom has found a script worthy of his passion. Writer Laurence Coriat mines the British social realist territory of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach — the travails of working class Brits kicking around their grimy cities — but leaves out the politics for a portrait of characters over the course of a long weekend, grasping for love in a bustling but indifferent world.

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