Saturday 26 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · I'm Still Here

I'm Still Here

Rod Lott November 11th, 2010


From the street-art shenanigans of "Exit Through the Gift Shop" to the Facebook fraud of "Catfish," some of the year's most popular documentaries have one thing in common: their veracity called into question.

People wondered the same about "I'm Still Here" while it was being shot. Here, after all, was actor Casey Affleck ("The Killer Inside Me") chasing his twice-Oscar-nominated brother-in-law, Joaquin Phoenix, around, documenting the "Walk the Line" star's apparent descent into madness.

He's given up acting! And maybe even hygiene! He wants to record a hip-hop album! He's doing drugs! And, hey, did you see him on David Letterman? What up with that?

Affleck and Phoenix denied it all along, but once their so-called documentary was complete and shopped to distributors, the pair had to admit that, yes, indeed, the whole thing was a joke.

So why isn't it funnier?

"I'm Still Here" screens Friday and Saturday night at Oklahoma City Museum of Art. It's evident from the start that Phoenix's lost two years were staged. For one, his opening rant sounds too much like an establishing setup. For another, when a dear family member's in trouble, you don't grab a camera and encourage bad behavior; you get them help.

The guys could've used some in making their story more solid in its first half; instead, it's as loose as half-formed Jell-O. Whether or not "Gift Shop" and "Catfish" are 100 percent real life, at least they each tell an utterly compelling tale.

For a while, "I'm Still Here" is little but Phoenix mumbling and talking like a madman, chain-smoking all the while. We see him partying with prostitutes, snorting coke off one's nipple before retreating to the mattress.

He talks incessantly about wanting to be "an artist," presumably choosing rap as an outlet because, well, he's white; ergo, insta-laughs, right? Of course he's not any good at it, even when speaking to his assistants in rhyme. (And about those assistants: For fun, Phoenix often has them pull out their genitals, and they happily comply.)

About halfway through, "I'm Still Here" gets its act together by milking this would-be musical career for all it's worth. In the best scene, that would be a lot, as Phoenix, hoping to score Sean Combs as a producer, plays disastrous demo track after disastrous demo track to the befuddled Diddy. It's so uncomfortable and awkward, and yet hilarious, that one wishes all of "Here" adhered to this "Borat"-esque template.

But it doesn't, and the helium they blow into this balloon all but seeps out before reaching the anticlimactic end. As performance art, the movie definitely succeeds in making Phoenix an insufferable ass.

And at what cost? I hope the bros-in-law had a helluva time, because I'm not certain the rather gifted Phoenix can recover from the negative stench that sticks to him long after the closing credits.

My takeaway: There is a stellar director in the Affleck family. His name, however, is Ben. —”Rod Lott
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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