Part Four of ‘Zontar, the Thing from Venus’

Hi there! 🙂 Once again, it’s time for the Saturday Matinee and another segment of our latest awful awesome feature film, Zontar, the Thing from Venus.

So, here we go! 🙂

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Excellent review of one I’d like to see! 🙂

The Cinema Fix presents:


Directed by: Peter Farrelly

Produced by: Jim Burke, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Charles B. Wessler

Written by: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini


I have to be honest I am getting very tired of racism and racists, so lord knows how the people who it affects deal with it on a day to day basis. To judge and attack people because they have a different race, background or skin colour is, and has always been, the height of stupidity. We are all humans and should be judged on our actions and behaviour and NOT our physical appearance, social background, sexuality or gender. Furthermore, we must not treat someone a certain way based on general experience of how others behave too. I subscribe to individualistic judgement and the desire for peaceful…

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Part Three of ‘Zontar, the Thing from Venus’

And we’re back with the next part of this bizarre silly peculiar little movie.

It’s Part Three of Zontar, the Thing from Venus!

Enjoy! 🙂

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My Review of ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ (2018)

This movie is the cinematic equivalent of a short story anthology. The six short films that comprise the movie are all Westerns and share various themes. So, let’s consider this one vignette at a time.

1. “The Ballad of Buster Scrubbs”

This story leads the pack—in more ways than one. The story of a singing gunslinger, whose acrobatic moves parody that particular trope, also manages to send up the typical saloon scene. The result is clever. Alone, this part of the film would have made a great short.

2. “Near Algodones”

Via Indiewire.

This is an obvious take-off on the Spaghetti Western. The camera work, the bank robbery, the Old Man, the defensive use of metallic objects, the multiple hangings … I could go on. Another winner in the collection.

Now, at this point, it becomes clear that these stories will all have a twist to them involving two of the Coens’ favorite subjects: Death and the Meaning of Life. With that in mind, consider the rest of their offerings.

3. “Meal Ticket”

Via musikexpress.

If the idea of an armless and legless sideshow freak who performs dramatic readings (over and over and over—so you get-it-already that his life is an endless series of acting gigs before ever-diminishing crowds) and, in between, is carted from town-to-town by his quasi-manager/caretaker, you’ll love this one.

I can say without hesitation, I didn’t. I found it slow, repetitive, tedious, and Pretentious. And, unfortunately, that last quality is what informs the rest of the film.

It’s also a depressing tale, which I almost didn’t write, because it goes without saying.

4. “All Gold Canyon”

Via The Stranger

The plot in sum: A grizzled prospector finds a scenic Western canyon and digs relentlessly for gold.

I guess I expected a bit more parody than this story delivered. You might see a passing resemblance between this scenario and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre or the elderly guide who Butch and Sundance worked with in Bolivia in this movie. But not a lot.

5. “The Gal Who Got Rattled”

Via Collider

Probably my third favorite, after the first two stories. It concerns a wagon train heading to Oregon. The main character is a shy, but resilient, woman who was headed there with her overbearing idiot annoying brother, who claims she can marry well once she arrives at their new home. On the drive, her brother buys it dies, and one of the wagon drivers befriends her.

This is a passable love story with frontier complications. And a dog.

6. “The Mortal Remains”

This story is about a group of strangers on a stage coach to someplace or other. Again, I was looking for (the obvious) allusions to Stagecoach—and thought I found them.

But, in the end, the story turned into a lengthy philosophical discussion with one of those endings that invoke bad acid flashbacks to Film Studies 101 (visual effects + dialogue = theme or something). If you like your allegories and themes obvious, this one fits the bill.

The Coens seem to be trying (a bit too hard) to make a Grand Statement here. A sweeping appraisal of the Western genre. Pretty ambitious for a Netflix Original Film.

Ultimately, I felt that any of the six parts would have stood up just fine as a short film. Taken together, the result is long, depressing, and quite the mish-mash.

Overall rating

So … on average, it comes out average. (!) It is an un-average movie, so your mileage will vary. 🙂

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Part Two of ‘Zontar, the Thing from Venus’

And we’re back with another part of Zontar, the Thing from Venus! Aren’t you thrilled? 🙂

So, grab your popcorn and enjoy the film. Or, at least, 11 more minutes of it. 🙂

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Part One of ‘Zontar, the Thing from Venus’

Hi! 🙂 Once again, I have a low-budget, public domain film (with my own bits added in, here and there).

This one is Zontar, the Thing from Venus. Say what you will about the capitalization, the filmmaker did know their punctuation.

In any case, here’s Part One! 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

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My Review of ‘Birdman’ (2014)

It’s hard to know how to categorize this movie. Wikipedia calls it a “black comedy”, which I suppose it is. Along with parody, drama, fantasy, and satire. But then you’d expect something a bit different from a film with a name like Birdman or: (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

It’s about an actor named Riggan Thomson (played by Michael Keaton), who used to portray a cartoon character. Kind of like SuperBird. I guess. But then, he threw that career aside to write a play based on a Raymond Carver short story. Tres serious!

Via Movie Fail

Okay, so you see this guy and he’s levitating and there’s this voice he hears (the Birdman personality), plus he seems to have the power of telekinesis. Except, well … to get back to my point, Riggan not only wrote this play, but directs and stars in it.

Via Wired

The problems start when one of the actors is beaned by a falling stage fixture. He’s replaced by a super-intense, super-serious Method Actor named Mike (who also happens to be another actor’s boyfriend), who looks down his nose at the ex-cartoon/Hollywood actor. (Mike is played by Edward Norton.)

Riggan’s lawyer is producing the play. And his drug-addict daughter who’s in recovery works as an apprentice on the play. She’s the kind of gal who felt ignored by Daddy and questions his relevance given his choice of play adaptation material and his total lack of social media savvy. Riggan also has an ex-wife (who seems to hate him) and his girlfriend (I guess) says she’s pregnant.

Via Untapped Cities

You get the idea.

Notable aspects of the film include:

1. The surreal way each scene appears to connect seamlessly with the next, as if filmed in one long shot. Presumably with the kind of editing trick used in Rope.

2. Set decoration: The interior shots of the maze of hallways and backstage area enhance the surreal and semi-disorienting feel of the movie. The exterior shots of New York City and Broadway overwhelm the senses with its contrast of huge neon signs that loom over the crowd with the squalor life on the street.

Via Variety

3. Cinematography: In a word, masterful. Just enough use of CGI to lend an air of magical realism.

4. Editing: Again, using editing tricks, the scenes flow easily, bouncing around in space and time.

5. Storyline: Non-linear, self-conscious, features a play within a movie, and a hammy street actor doing Hamlet. Or did Riggan imagine that?

Everything blurs together so much, I almost expected Mike (aka Edward Norton) to do a Fight Club number on Riggan/Keaton. But … no … he’s real. I suppose.


My primary criticism is that the characters seemed overly-familiar (which is a nice way of saying they were stock characters). The absent, work-obsessed father (a la All That Jazz), the angry ex, the pregnant girlfriend. How many times will writers trot these types out? Even the enormous talents of the actors weren’t quite enough to make me care deeply about the story.

Even so, I watched it, so I must have cared at some level.

I won’t spoil the end, but frankly it didn’t so much resolve the story as simply dangle like a frayed rope.

Potential longline: It’s kind of like All About Eve meets Barton Fink (in reverse), plus 8-1/2 combined with Black Mirror. And more.

On the whole, not a complete waste of an evening. 🙂

Purchase on Amazon or iTunes.

Posted in Black Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews, Surreal | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments