Marc Maron’s Thinky Pain

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Some days you just may not be in the mood to endure the grief and anguish associated with Marc Maron’s IFC television show, and, at this stage of his career and popularity, Maron certainly doesn’t need a blogger’s help for exposure.

However, this “stand up” / story telling Netflix special clocks in at 90 minutes, feels like it’s barely a half hour long, and at that, you’d be happy to sit through for hours of it. The way he’s able to engage his audience without directly telling “jokes” is in rare form here.

What is even more fascinating to note is that there is an episode of Maron’s IFC show where he dates a dominatrix style sex worker, the dialogue complete with lines of her pissing on clients. That episode has commercial trailers for it, it’s marketable, it’s a thing. How crazy is that?

If the same story scenario would have been released in, oh say, 1990, it would have been given at least an NC-17 rating and made 80% of it’s audience ashamed to to talk about it, and that would include the reviewers that gave it a positive rating.

These days, it’s a regular type thing that we can grasp and have a good laugh about, and to that I say…

O.k society, we’re in a good spot now, let’s not fuck this up.

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Starlet

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The ambiguous, out of focus, opening shot of Starlet, with it’s soft indie music, will tell you as much as you need to know about what kind of film you’re about to watch. It might not be a great film, it may not even be a good film, it will however, be a cool film.

21 year old Jane, ( played by Dree Hemingway) an up in comer in her profession of choice, forces a friendship with 85 year old Sadie after their chance meeting at a yard sale. Sadie is played by the age appropriate Besedka Johnson. Amazingly, this is her first film credit, and, unfortunately, it will be her only film credit as she passed on in 2013.

Starlet is  a actor driven melodrama that lends it’s characters and events the space to breathe. There several minutes of porno quality nudity, and you will not mind seeing the sleek and slender body of Dree Hemingway.

While the expected and obvious storytelling payoff is not to be had, anyone who can put two and two together will be able to figure out that both people in this new found cross generational relationship were keeping something from each other. With an ending as nearly as ambiguous as the beginning, this film as a whole is a satisfying piece of cinema.

Cosmopolis is a little too Cronenbergy for our refined tastes.

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Robert Pattinson plays Eric Packer, a 28 year old billionaire/captain of industry who’s limo is crawling it’s away across a futuristic Manhattan, security detail in tow. Frequently interrupted by flash mob anarchists chanting ‘ A Spectre Is Haunting The World’, Eric Packer plays with all the women and soaks up all the danger.

Cosmopolis is dark and weird, as only director David Cronenberg can deliver, and unfortunately as tunnel visioned as Pattinson’s neo yuppie character Eric Packer. Sure, it features probably the longest proctology exam in cinema history, and a cool ambiguous ending, it’s just that the overall sustenance isn’t much to brag about.

What we have to say boils down to this- if seeing Cosmopolis at your run down art house theater followed by drinks and light conversation with the right company , then you will have yourself a time. Beyond that, it’s certainly not worth owning, watching again, or even mentioning it beyond the company of your next day’s companions.

” So what have you been up to lately?”

” Oh, I saw the new Cronenberg film, and it wasn’t a big deal”

The Babysitters

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After an ride home turns into an evening of spontaneous exploration with an older man( John Leguizamo), over achieving high schooler Shirley (Katherine Waterston) tricks out her babysitting service to provide teen call girls to suburban dads. As with any extended level of crime participation, not everything goes as planned, although nothing truly seedy or dark happens either.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just seems like with this type of story line, for no one to really get hurt in the end, for there not to be any sort of payoff one way or the other for the quickly deteriorating display of morals, for it to be neither a sexploitation nor a sex comedy, the product on display leaves a lot to be desired. Where some movies will make up for there lack of character depth and unresolved plot lines by giving us the filthy goods, The Babysitters grossly under delivers in every way possible . The idea of a small army of middle aged men raping high schoolers without consequence raises questions of serious storytelling credibility.

There are some high points, especially if your name is John Leguizamo. After shooting wrapped, Mr. Leguizamo may as well have just shot himself in the head, because even with his top dollar, he’s never going to kiss a finer body than the one owned by Katherine Waterson. I wouldn’t trade her extended scene where she walks around in a shirt you can practically see through for any other nude scene in the world of cinema.

A significantly more graphic and plotted out version of this tale as a weekly one hour drama could very well be the type of thing to be the next big hit for an A&E, Showtime, or HBO. This version of The Babysitters however, is just plain bland.