Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Haiku Review: ‘Columbus’

December 27, 2017

It’s that post-Christmas-pre-New Years holiday stretch, which means you need safe but solid movies to burn through with relatives. Are they tired of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’? Do they like the most *gentle* of gentle coming-of age dramas? Then BOY have I got a staff pick for you.

Columbus posterArchitecture buffs
Look at some buildings, bone once
Sounds bad but it’s not!

A note before we really dive in here: ‘Columbus’ is a tedious movie. Let’s be super-clear about that upfront! It’s not boring, which would imply disinterest. But baked into the DNA of this relatively doable 105 minute (which easily feel like 170) movie is this “take your time” philosophy that, if you’re not onboard, may put you right to sleep. But this is sort of the point? (Editor’s note: GREAT REVIEW ALREADY, HENDOG.) What I’m trying to say is 1) the tedium feels pretty deliberate 2) it’s hardly a bad thing and 3) it may actually be the most powerful thing about this movie. Beauty in tedium! In an era where everything happens now, yesterday, that’s sort of nice.

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Haiku Review: ‘A Ghost Story’

July 15, 2017

Nobody could have predicted it, but here we are: a weird little indie made for $100,000 toppled ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ at the box office last weekend. How? Who? What? Say goodbye to your loved ones, children, and join us in a communion with the dead.


Casey Affleck dies
Existentialism lives
Letting go is hard

That’s not really a spoiler, by the way, Casey Affleck dying. The call sheet for ‘A Ghost Story’ listed just two actors (Affleck and Rooney Mara) and a bed sheet — one of them had to wear it, right? These are performers already adept at playing figurative ghosts; playing a literal one isn’t the biggest stretch.

After dying in a car accident, Affleck finds himself…well, becoming a ghost. His mortuary sheet becomes a spectral shroud, his modest South Texas rancher a haunted house, and his wife, Mara (she’s “M” in the credits; he’s “C”. The names aren’t important) the bereaved widow struggling to move on. Until she’s compelled to leave. Which is when this nitrous-fueled little tone poem really kicks into second gear.


Haiku Review: ‘Inside Out’

June 26, 2015

THREE YEARS separate this from our last movie review, but rustiness and/or writing validity aside, Pixar’s latest demanded a return to the keyboard. Grab your “All of the Feels” haz mat suits and join us on this overwrought psycho-critical journey!

NEMye3g3VuXNQM_1_1Aimed at children, sure
But adults with movie blogs
Are still children too

Wall-E is the best movie Pixar has ever made, and this is an unequivocal fact. Robots in love dancing through space on vapor trails, expressing this beautiful feeling neither of them really understand (they’re robots) but know their lives would now be empty without? FUCK, BRO, THAT’S THE STUFF.

…Of course for you, “best Pixar movie, unequivocally” might mean the brotherhood of toys embracing each other as they literally stare down death of Toy Story 3. Or the ocean-spanning search for a nervous father’s only son of Finding Nemo. Hell, it could even be Brave, if you’re being deliberately contrarian about it! Everyone has their favorite Pixar movie, and everyone has that movie in their head, consciously or not, when they sit down to watch the studio’s latest.

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The Haiku Review Template

March 30, 2012

Lifting Fog will soon be no more. But should some poor sap want to perpetuate the vaunted “Haiku Review,” we have the tools you need to make it happen. What value is wisdom not passed on?

When we started out, man…we had dreams. Lifting Fog was going to become a true cultural gathering place, a digital coffee shop that TRANSCENDED “blog.” You wouldn’t check out Lifting Fog; you’d just be stuck in it whether you wanted to or not. Like real fog! Or dogshit!

Cultural historians will confirm this never happened. But despite our just not being that good at blogging, we did manage to launch a few recurring features. “The McCrazy Files” charted all the batshit confrontations that have always and will always occur at fast food restaurants. Five times “Lifting Fog Live” took us outside our living rooms and toward events with other human beings, mostly concerts.

Then there’s the Haiku Review™.

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Haiku Review: ‘Contagion’

March 27, 2012

Germaphobes and shut-ins, THIS is the cinematic validation you’ve been waiting for! (Bird — six months!)

Dozens of Oscar
Winners lend B-movie a
Slightly higher grade

There is one reason and one reason only that Contagion made as much money as it did last fall, and it’s staring at you, dying, on the bottom right side of that movie poster. Though hardly a spoiler alert when the trailer gives it away, SPOILER ALERT: GOOP founder and Emmy improviser Gwyneth Paltrow bites it in the first five minutes of the movie. The people want what they want! Why this strategy didn’t work for Jersey Girl I have no idea, but there you go — kill a loathed actress in the opening scene of your movie and the audience will come in droves to watch. Even if the rest of the movie has them grabbing for the nearest bottle of Purell and hoping to God no one in the theater coughs!

Keep reading!

Haiku Review: ‘Shame’

December 9, 2011

He played Magneto.
Now? Poon hound who loves night runs.
…It’s called range, people!

WARNING: this review may feature some saucy language. Proceed with a sailor’s tolerance.

If you’re anything like me, ‘Shame’ will be the first NC-17 movie you ever see in theaters. And, aware of this, you’re going to head into your showing with a checklist of totally high school expectations: Fassbender peen? Check. Mulligan carpeting? Threesomes, alley romps, and furious self-administration? You want it, ‘Shame”s got it; this is sexy Christmas come early, especially for people who really don’t care to see ‘The Muppets’. But for all its titillation, ‘Shame’ is about as far from sexy as a movie can be. Once the novelty of the lead actor’s (let’s just SAY it) sizable penis wears off, what you’re left with is maybe the true successor to ‘Precious’ — or, in so many words, a movie that’s by design the opposite of fun. But also excellent?

You’re intrigued, we know it. Keep reading!

Haiku Review: ‘Drive’

September 22, 2011

“DRIVE yourself to the theater right now and see this revved-up thrill-ride!” – Pete Hammond

Hey girl, you see me
Stomping that bad dude’s face in?
Morse code: “I Love You”

I have to believe that at least half the people who saw Drive last weekend had no idea what they were getting into. Much like fellow pop art pieces 127 Hours and Inglourious Basterds, Drive lures you in on the promise of one movie and then — FAKE OUT — manages to show off something completely different. Oh, the pink font and straightforward trailer had you convinced you were buying tickets to a fast-moving heist movie? That’s adorable! Ryan Gosling would playfully wink at you if he weren’t busy threatening some dude’s life with a hammer. Or shotgun. Or car. He’s adept with pretty much all of those weapons, because your future husband from The Notebook is SOMETHING OF A PSYCHOPATH — handsomer than Travis Bickle, but with the same Vesuvian temper and “jacket as uniform” fashion sense. This ain’t your grandma’s Baby Goose!

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Haiku Review: ‘The Tree of Life’

August 24, 2011

This is the first film
For which a Haiku Review
Is appropriate

Earlier this spring I embarked on what can only be called a “navel-gazing cinematic odyssey” when, alongside roommate Tim Goessling, I sat down to watch all the Terrence Malick movies I’d been avoiding my entire life. MARATHON! It’s easy to understand the hesitation, I hope — Malick’s movies aren’t known for their accessibility or whimsy, and even his shorter entries are supposed to last forever. Why ruminate on the existential plight of man as told through the reflection of a butterfly when there are Jackasses to be punched in the nuts? But as an Art Lover with glasses — or at least, at the time, the need for glasses — I knew it was my responsibility to at some point get down to business.

So I did. Badlands. Days of Heaven*. The Thin Red Line. The New World. All chewed on, swallowed, and digested in the hopes that I might accomplish two things: 1) be able to hold my head high at THOSE kinds of parties and 2) walk into The Tree of Life, at that point the 2011 Palme d’Or winner, with something less than complete ignorance. Over several weeks Tim and I became very familiar with what we’ll call “Terry’s Tics” — those narrative and stylistic choices you see again and again in the filmmaker’s work. Extensive voiceover, for starters. An obsession with “innocence,” especially as exemplified by nature. People living on the fringes of society. Man’s inhumanity to man. Bible passages. Whispering. Classical music. Donkey shows.

The Tree of Life, if you must know, manages to take every one of those tics, marry it to every thought Terry’s ever had, and somehow birth an occasionally coherent — and always beautiful — examination of What It Means To Be Alive. Let’s see how!

Follow us into the void, won’t you?

Haiku Review: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

August 23, 2011

Have you heard about this movie?

Captain America; Chris EvansBrooklyn kid makes good
Minus plaid, glasses, vinyl
Plus super-shield, running

Starting with the end credits of the first Iron Man and cartwheeling through to next spring’s Avengers, Marvel Studios has spent considerable money and effort attempting something that’s never been done before: adapting not just a comic book character, but a comic book universe to the screen. So far that’s met with mixed results. Iron Man 2, you’ll remember, blew — and precisely because of Marvel’s attempts to shoehorn in Avengers subplots that weren’t totally organic to the story. Thor wasn’t much better, introducing a character most audiences were probably unfamiliar with (Hawkeye) in a way that did little to change that knowledge. Also energy cubes or whatever. Point is, in focusing their laser eye so much on this massive 2012 team-up movie, the filmmakers behind recent Marvel “standalones” have sort of lost the forest for the trees.

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Growing Up Muggle: The ‘Harry Potter’ Years (Part Two)

August 22, 2011

Sometime last month we dusted off the root causes of Pottermania; today we take our archaeological dig further and discover why it meant as much as it did…and what future generations will miss on their own Potter voyage. HARD-HITTING EDITORIAL, bitches witches!

2. What’s My Age Again?

Because we never mention this sort of thing here ever, I should state clearly that Steve and I are 25 years old. Most of our friends are between the ages of 23 and 26. So when the first (stateside) Harry Potter book was released, we were all between the ages of 10 and 13 — or to put it more clearly, pretty much the same age as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Although we’d begin to speed past them in age when they’d take their extended summer breaks, the characters were often struggling with the same TEENAGE ANGST we were facing outside the book. Harry and Ron can’t find dates to the Yule Ball? Hermione freaks out over O.W.L.s? Sounds familiar! (They also battled dragons and snake-whispering mass-murderers but, you know, analogous experiences.)

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