Customer Reviews


191 Reviews
5 star:
 (67)
4 star:
 (33)
3 star:
 (18)
2 star:
 (20)
1 star:
 (53)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Anti-"Magnolia"
No Aimee Mann songs, no tear jerker scenes. It's LA, and it's the end of the world. Huge cast. Epic set-up. Huge budget. Did terrible at the box office, and even now has a growing army of fans. 10 years from now, it'll probably be shown regularly at college campuses at midnight, with people showing up dressed as different characters from the film, and shouting the lines...
Published on November 6, 2008 by Robert S.

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Got under my skin
I rented this movie and couldn't make it all the way through...The tone seemed all over the place, the plot hard to follow. But I loved the sincerity of Boxer Santeros, Krysta Now and Ronald/Roland Tavener. I loved the crazy neo-marxists, the goofy violence. In the end, I went back and rewatched, and suddenly pieces fell into place. There really is so much here, so many...
Published on April 19, 2008 by Night owl


‹ Previous | 1 220 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Anti-"Magnolia", November 6, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Southland Tales [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
No Aimee Mann songs, no tear jerker scenes. It's LA, and it's the end of the world. Huge cast. Epic set-up. Huge budget. Did terrible at the box office, and even now has a growing army of fans. 10 years from now, it'll probably be shown regularly at college campuses at midnight, with people showing up dressed as different characters from the film, and shouting the lines at the screen.

It's like that. If you don't like it after 15 minutes, don't bother. If dark satire about how vain and screwed up American culture is annoys you, don't bother. If wild free form interpretation of scripture bothers you, don't bother. But if you watch it and something gets under your skin, watch it again. Watch it 7 times. It gets clearer and clearer what it's about the more you see it, because it's just too dense to get in one sitting. I didn't really 'like' it the first time I saw it, but I was intrigued by the different layers of subtext, just enough to watch it again. Then I started to really laugh at the jokes...

What's it about? It's a pop culture free poem about Los Angeles, mostly, and the post 9/11 ultra-right mentality. It's very much about the Revelation of St. John, and the 2 main characters would seem at different points to be Jesus or John. And it's a hardcore black comedy.
It's the Anti-"Magnolia", really. It's a bunch of vain, disparate characters intersecting in a way that brings about the end of the world.

If that's your cup of tea, jump in. ;) But don't be fooled by the fact that this film appears to be a thrown together impromptu mess, it's not. It's deeply layered, and carefully put together.. it's just hard to see it on one casual viewing.

The Blu ray transfer is lovely, though you will notice a little grain in some of the composite effects near the end (smoking buildings, etc).

A nice bonus to this release is the inclusion of the 'Southland Tales Prequel Saga' on the disc. You can read the whole graphic novel frame by frame, and it does add some important background material, especially about the mysterious 'FluidKarma'.. where it comes from, what it does, and why Fallujah was such a mess.

This addition makes this disc a real bargain for fans of this film!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


68 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strange yet fascinating, November 19, 2007
This movie cannot be summarized or explained easily so I will provide my impressions of this strangely fascinating movie. First off, it's a long movie (over 2 hours) and the first 15 mins. confused me until I just let go of any normal movie expectations and sat back to enjoy the freak show that is Southland Tales. There is no way this film is going to appeal to the masses and if odd movies appeal to you, then you better run out to see it at the handful of theaters playing it or wait for the dvd release. I know I can't wait for the dvd release (please let there be commentary) for repeated viewings. This movie was so crammed full of insight, digs and jokes that I couldn't catch every single thing. This mind blowing version of what the USA might be like in the very near future is crazy but addictive. I found the scene where someone questions after a commercial, "Did I just see two cars f**k?" "Yes, but that was the European version" to be very telling. The smarmy salesman easily tosses aside any moral questions. Are Americans being sold swamp land by Corporations? Some might even question if the viewer is being sold a load of crap dressed up as fine art. I think not. The aggressive subtext was a nice touch too. Be prepared for very crude dialogue - I found it amusing but it might not appeal to others. The against-type casting was a stroke of brilliance (Sarah Michele "Buffy" Gellar as a porn star and Mandy Moore as a I can't say without giving things away). Obscure references were a treat such as the Baron's "Dune" overtones and Kevin Smith (not easily recognizable) evokes the Wizard of Oz. I loved the light handed social commentary. This film never came off as preachy but made it's point of view on serious issues nonetheless (it's not for the war in Iraq for starters): they used a heavy technology vibe to get some points across (there are many scenes with several computer screens on view with running commentary underneath each screen); the national anthem was being sung in Spanish to start and then continued in English; the energy crisis resolution was pure sci-fi; and the Revelations from the Bible, as read by Timberlake, were played out by the characters (Revelation that apocalypse will be brought on by a pregnant woman (Moore) surrounded by a dragon (tattoo on Mei Ling's back) and two beasts (you get the point). A lot of attention was given to the minute detail of this movie and that dedication showed. The "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" subplot was amusing and only one example of what this movie was all about to me - a joke, and it invited us all to enjoy it with them. At IDent, all the employees wore these see-through plastic jackets that meant what? They looked out-of-place and silly. Soon, the same exact question was sarcastically being asked by an onscreen actor. Another example is when Kysta Now (porn star) attempts to sell her screen play (who doesn't in LA? apparently not even a looming doomsday can stop Hollywood) with such typical blondness ("apparently, the future is much more futuristic then scientists thought") that one actor cannot keep a straight face. Everyone else is nodding along but this one actor cannot stop laughing to himself. It all seems to be a joke and some of the actors got it and some didn't. It's almost as if two sets of scripts were handed out on this film, one set said it was a dark comedy and the other set said this was a serious film about the future of America. Fans of the director's earlier work (Donnie Darko) will not be disappointed. This movie stands out as a film with edge that many viewers will not fully comprehend (myself included) but can certainly appreciate. Well worth watching on the big screen to help with the enormity of the what is going on in this film but waiting for the dvd with cribnotes might help.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Southland Tales "explained.", January 11, 2009
This review is from: Southland Tales (DVD)
This is NOTHING like Lynch, it is a postmodern movie, similar to the books Naked Lunch, by William Burroughs or Gravity's Rainbow by Pynchon. Pop references abound - half the movie is populated by Saturday night Live actors, mixing genres and even media, the first three chapters of the story can be found only in the `prequel' graphic novel, the movie starts in the middle much like star wars. Many of the actors seem to be in on the joke, cracking smiles knowingly. It deconstructs itself as we watch it, cannibalizing other movies as it goes. The Rock plays a superstar actor, which he actually is in real life, the movie almost spills into reality, it never lets you forget that this is all a farce, fake, a movie - and then shows you that real life in many ways is also a farce. In a nod to David Lynch Rebekah Del Rio sings in a scene, as she does in Mulholland Drive. The movie even recycles certain time travel elements from the director's first movie Donnie Darko. It's pop culture turned in on itself, Shakespeare's play within a play, or the postmodern creed of "Nothing is true. Pop cult personality Kevin Smith plays the leader of a neo-marxist group, the movie doesn't even pretend to take itself seriously yet the issues really are deadly serious. Like the Media and pop culture its turns the world's issues, even the world itself, into one giant false spectacle. Postmodern author J.G. Ballard, author of Crash, in 1970 predicted that within a few years we'd all be living in one giant T.V. studio. The news and media now define our consensus of what reality is, we are told and sold on what's really going on. Dance pop star Justin Timberlake parodies himself, reflecting the ugliness of MTV culture his face is scarred, he does an MTV style video musical number of The Killer's "All These Things That I've Done." He also plays an Iraq war veteran, which shows how commercialized and vulgarized war has become, its now practically entertainment: "I think I'll turn on CNN and watch the War show." So, within a self-referencing postmodern context I think it succeeds as a critique of our post 911, post Christian (the movie repeats twice that the NY times has reported that god is dead) world which has no center and the distinction between reality and media is becoming blurred. The candidate's for president and vice-president have the last names Frost/Eliot, both Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot are quoted throughout, Frost being the last modernist poet, while Eliot wrote the first postmodern poem - `The Wastelands,' which this film somewhat resembles in spirit. Plus it's funny as hell.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sick, Sinister, and Innocent - More Bizarre than 2001, March 18, 2008
By 
This review is from: Southland Tales (DVD)
See, here's the thing. This film is like 2001: a space odyssey; it's meant to be "experienced," preferably after two bottles of NyQuil.

It's a hands down amazing film. Well shot, paced, edited, cast, and scored.

But it's borderline insane. Watch with care, but don't hate on the guy for being original.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars semi-brillant, still a great ride.., March 21, 2008
This review is from: Southland Tales (DVD)
it is impossible to neatly catagorize this movie- if you enjoyed "Donnie Darko" you will probably 'understand' better this film from the creative mind of Richard Kelly. Over-the-top acting, a colorful script, and stimulating visuals will keep you guessing. There are several layers to this film, which almost requires a second viewing to piece everything together. I won't ruin the plot by giving spoilers here. Enjoy the ride..
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Either you get it or you don't, August 19, 2010
By 
Christine Beatty (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Southland Tales (DVD)
Those who can only appreciate relatively simple stories, on whom dark humor is wasted, do yourself a favor and stay away. This is a terribly ambitious web of interlocking stories that the director reveals in his own sweet time, which will infuriate anyone incapable of letting the film wash over them, pay attention and allow the story to develop. By combining biting satire of politics and cultural issues, a Sci-Fi element of an alternative energy source, the very real expansion of government surveillance of citizens and the metaphysical (or quantum physics) element of a rip in time & space and its theoretical effects on people, the writer/director has indeed reached for the moon. Whether or not he has succeeded is in the eye of the viewer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even a red-headed stepchild can be terrific, January 23, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Southland Tales (DVD)
Southland Tales is not your typical science fiction movie. It's not your typical thriller, or even your typical independent film (if there is such a thing). I don't know exactly what kind of film this is, and I don't think the creators of Southland Tales really know either. One thing for sure, this film is hysterical, as long as you don't take it too seriously.

Richard Kelly follows his dark cult film Donnie Darko with this portrait of an alternate version of America where darker events and imaginative technological developments have led to a more extreme version of the present day. Terrorist acts on American soil beyond 9/11 have led to more US military incursions around the globe and greater governmental control over civil liberties. It is mid-2008, and people connected to the Iraq war and the upcoming Presidential election are involved in a mysterious technological/mystical/religious/drug -addled conspiracy. The film centers on Boxer Santaros, a movie star married to the candidate for vice presidency's daughter, who suffers from amnesia. He finds himself in the company of Krystal Now, a porn star branching into the reality show/music/energy drink business, who tells him he's directing and producing a thriller about the end of the world based on his own screenplay, which she has actually written herself. And the storyline gets much more convoluted from there.

The best way to make sense of this movie is to read Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga, a graphic novel written by Richard Kelly, which covers the events prior to the movie. No wait, it still won't make much sense. Well, it will at least explain some of the loose ends in more detail, such as how the characters got into the situations they're in at the beginning of the film: how Pilot Abilene (Justin Timberlake) and Roland Taverner (Seann William Scott) ended up in a friendly-fire incident that scarred them both; how the body in the box ended up in Simon Theory (Kevin Smith)'s possession; and what the heck Santaros mumbles when he gets overwhelmed. Reading the graphic novel will lessen (not eliminate) the number of times you say "Huh?" while watching, but nothing will stop the ever increasing times, as the movie continues, you'll say "What?" in greater frequency and volume.

And therein lies the charm of this crazy, patch-work quilt of a movie. As you watch, you'll find yourself moving from willing disbelief to confusion to frustration and then to utter hysteria as the farcical nature of the labyrinthine story line overwhelms you. This will be easier for some to accept than others, for Richard Kelly didn't really intend for Southland Tales to so absurd, but unfortunately that's what it ends up being. The antics of the characters, and the depictions by the actors, are more and more hilarious as the film goes on.

There are too many uniquely memorable scenes and lines to encapsulate here, but some of the best are: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's depiction of Santaro's nervous fidgeting; Cheri Oteri as a psychotic henchman, accompanied by a deadpan Jon Lovitz channeling Rutger Hauer channeling Hannibal Lecter; Amy Proehler (from Saturday Night Live - theres's a lot of Saturday Night Live alumni here) and Wood Harris (from "The Wire") pretending to be a bride and groom in a domestic disturbance; Chris Lambert dealing arms out of a ice cream truck; Seann William Scott playing twin brothers who are both constantly injected with designer drugs causing them to interrupt their deadpan deliveries with cross-eyed collapse (over and over again); Wallace Shawn as a mad scientist wearing mascara and his thinning hair moussed into a curlicue on his forehead; Bai Ling revealing a hideous mole (apparently real) in her plunging (no, more like missing) neckline; and one of my favorite actresses, Sarah Michelle Gellar, as Santoro's scheming porn-star love interest, delivering her lines with a waifish tone and "come hither" look. Gellar, and all the actors, do the best they can with the script, better suited for the world of comic books, but they can't keep the film from devolving into an unintentionally ridiculous commentary on the policies of Bush administration, and the director's view of the world Bush and his people tried to create.

Watching the film as a serious attempt as political commentary melded with futuristic science fiction will lead to frustrated disappointment, but the viewer who is looking for a wacky, comic-book-style ensemble performance will find the 2 and ˝ hour film (that's 2 ˝ hours, be prepared for that) a enjoyable release from reality, even worthy of repeated viewing. If you're in the right frame of mind, you'll find tons of moments to talk about after the film is finished, like whether Gellar meant to sway on her high heels as she walks away in one scene, or Johnson's personal belief about suicide, or Justin Timberlake's singing and dancing interlude (yes, that's right). If you come to this film knowing what it's like, then, like the red-headed stepchild of the family or the runt dog of the litter, it may soften your heart and become a favorite of yours.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Got under my skin, April 19, 2008
By 
Night owl "Amy" (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Southland Tales (DVD)
I rented this movie and couldn't make it all the way through...The tone seemed all over the place, the plot hard to follow. But I loved the sincerity of Boxer Santeros, Krysta Now and Ronald/Roland Tavener. I loved the crazy neo-marxists, the goofy violence. In the end, I went back and rewatched, and suddenly pieces fell into place. There really is so much here, so many small details that are amusing, thought-provoking, or both. There are also so many cameos (where the heck did the idea of casting Christopher Lambert come from? Loved seeing him). I was reminded of some of David Lynch's films. (Was Rebekah Del Rio singing the national anthem an homage to her similar scene in Mulholland Drive? A nice touch.) But whereas Lynch often seems to have some singular focus/theme, this film is all over the place.

How do you really sum up in one sentence what this film is about? It's a wake-up call that we're stupid and on a course for certain disaster if we don't do something about it. That's all well and fine, but there's so much here, criticized in so many directions, it's hard to know what to do about any of it. In the end, some people may shrug at the too-muchness of Southland Tales. For others, they may find a thought-provoking kernal or two and start to really wonder what they think. And if, Kelly gets you to think, then perhaps he's accomplished all he set out to do in the first place.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See This Movie Twice, May 3, 2008
By 
Brian Rooney (Littleton, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Southland Tales (DVD)
Sometimes you don't have to understand everything to enjoy it. Some movies are like amusement park rides, or maybe like hurricanes--you just have to sit back and ride it out. Let it be what it is, forget what you want it to be and let it wash over you. There are so many layers here. This movie is a subliminal experience.

Much of it is sensationally enjoyable to me. It's a wonderful satire. I loved most of the message--particularly the anti-war, anti-government and pro-freedom, pro-sexuality messages--these were among the most overt thematic elements. There are many layers here, and people who aren't well versed in socio-political theory will miss some of them, as well as those who don't connect such ideas with biblical apocalyptic theology. Yeah, that's a lot to expect, and I could probably do just as well with less of the biblical. But you don't have to know how the trigonometry moved the wheels to enjoy the roller coaster ride.

It's an epic fantasy period piece, with less emphasis on traditional storytelling and more of an eye for creating a memorable cinematic experience. Of course there will be at least as many who "don't get it" as there are who have no real understanding of our current socio-political reality. Most of the countless nuances here seem to have real meaning, and connect to both the themes and story. This is what separates literate communication from artsy trash. ST manages to remain the former, if by a hair's breadth.

I'm not entirely certain whether this movie is as smart as I would like to believe, but it certainly is never boring. It is engaging, original, beautifully filmed entertainment, with one of the finest soundtracks in recent memory. Even Gellar's single is remarkable--not to mention one of the boldest and truest political statements I've heard in years.

"This is the way the world ends." That's what it is, not a story so much as a moving portrait--mostly of our schizophrenic, self-destructing culture, but also of the hope that we may ultimately find in self-forgiveness,in the hovering interdimensional ice-cream truck of love.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Odd Epic to Watch, May 1, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I feel Richard Kelly is a genius, blending science fiction plots into the modern film the way many top writers do. It seems the reviews are going towards the negative for this film. I agree: odd. But if you want entertainment, a movie with sci fi themes that you can follow, Southland Tales is it.

I just watched it for fun. I didn't plan on reviewing it, but, since so many think the film is "terrible", I saw a reason to write.

In short, you have what others are saying: A picture of how the world ends. You have Justin Timberlake, The Rock, and a ton of other young actors, or actors who seem to specialize in more B films. This is, in many ways, a B film. It comes close to the complexity of Donnie Darko, one of my favorite films of all time. And it's far more ambitious, almost, almost realizing its ambition. While the film is odd, so was Donnie Darko. While it has some odd science fiction elements, so did Donnie Darko. The point with Donnie Darko was you didn't feel like you were traveling around the world in a huge, sprawling epic, which is what Southland Tales is.

You have travels through time and memories and lost identities. You also have B movie stars rising above their general acting skills. It's a portrait of a future that could be.

The soundtrack was done by Moby, which truly fit in with the odd film that Richard Kelly has here. I am not sure if I would buy it; perhaps you should watch it first. It's an odd epic for people with odd tastes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 220 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Southland Tales [Blu-ray]
Southland Tales [Blu-ray] by Richard Kelly (Blu-ray - 2008)
$14.99 $8.85
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.