All About The Awkward Unicorn

The Awkward Unicorn was founded circa 2007 and has since been recognized as the "Weird Japanese Video and Movie Review" Capital of the Internet. It's eccentric founder Zachary Newcott is known for his reclusive behavior and bizarre obsession with Red Pandas. He was last seen traveling down the Louisiana River on a gambling ship wearing a blindingly white suit and sporting a fashionable mustache.

Zack writes movie reviews, and lots of them. As a screenwriter from Biola University in La Mirada CA, he has completed four full-length scripts which each serve as wonderful coasters on his coffee table. A coffee table which is actually a stack of cardboard boxes. He also makes animations, wrote a novel, does web design, and was a skipper on Walt Disney's Jungle Cruise.

He is afraid of crickets and Donald Sutherland.

If you would like to contact Zachary, please do so immediately.

email him at:

or friend him on facebook.

Artsy Fartsy


The iFelt


Memento John G.

Swingers - So Money Baby

Eternal Sunshine - Just This One

The Hot Chick - Monday Nights

And I'm All Out of Gum.


My Litttle Dead Animals


Life Drawing

Art Films


Movie Review Index


30 Days Of Night
3:10 to Yuma
500 Days of Summer


Across the Universe
A Town Called Panic


Bank Job, the
Battle Royale
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Box, the
Bucket List, the
Burn After Reading


Chronicle of Narnia: Prince Caspian
City of Ember
Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the


Darjeeling Limited, the
Dark Knight, the
District 9
Drag Me To Hell
Dragon Wars
Drillbit Taylor



Fly, the
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Funny Games


Good Night, the
Grand Theft Auto IV


Hangover, the
Happening, the
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Horton Hears a Who
House of the Devil
Hunting Party, the


I Love You Man
In Bruges
Incredible Hulk, the
Indiana Jones IV

Into the Wild


James Bond: Quantum of Solace
Jane Austin Book Club, the


Kick Ass
King of California


Let the Right One In


Margot at the Wedding
Messenger, The
Michael Clayton
Mist, the
Mr Bean's Holiday


Nick and Noras Infinite Playlist
No Country for Old Men




Paper Heart
Pineapple Express


Quid Pro Quo


Resident Evil: Extinction
Revolutionary Road
Road, the
Rocket Science
Rush Hour 3


Savages, the
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Sex and the City
Simpsons Movie, the
Smart People
Social Network
Spiderwick Chronicles
Star Trek
Sweeney Todd
Synecdoche New York


Terminator: Salvation
The Final Destination
Thorn In The Heart, The
Time Crimes
Tropic Thunder



V For Vendetta
Vantage Point


What Happens In Vegas
Where the WIld Things Are
Wrestler, the




Year One
Youth In Revolt




I Love You Man - Movie Review


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I Love You Man

Judd Apatow somehow isn't just a name anymore. It's a genre. It's a genre comprised of films that make you feel gross but are grounded in relatable characters facing often crude but also relatable situations, and usually featuring some supporting cast member from the television series Freaks and Geeks. Some of these movies are more successful than others. Many of them were films that had very little to do with the actual Judd Apatow. Even still, Knocked Up was actually quite good. Superbad won me over. Forgetting Sarah Marshall consistently kept me laughing. Labeling them these classics is a tough prospect as much of the humor is dependent upon audience reaction, currently relevant political/social commentary, and most notably, shock value. They just might not be as funny in a few years. With that said, the film I Love You Man has something very strong going for it. It has a sense of observational cleverness that is surprisingly easy to relate to, even when it goes against your better judgement.

Peter, played by Paul Rudd, is a nice guy in a nice happy relationship (something that's uncommon for a "guy flick"), but their relationship is stilted due to Peters lack of guy friends. To balance this problem, and perhaps find someone to be his best man at his approaching wedding, Peter begins to find his search for Mr. Right. With this, I Love You Man becomes an excellent exercise in satire as it examines the dynamics of a romantic relationship and the dynamics of friendship under the same microscope, viewing neither as easy, nor even entirely platonic. What Peter finds is Sydney, played by Jason Segel, whose laid-back attitude and overall demeanor makes him an ideal candidate for best friend material, but Sydney's immediate acceptance of Peter hints that he too may be influenced by an unhealthy relational imbalance.

Paul Rudd has previously proven himself as a demanding comedic force with his minor role as a delusional surfing instructor in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. His character of Peter walks the line between amusing and occasionally annoying, frequently delivering lines in a voice borrowed from Steve Carrell. The movie understands that this voice is not his own, and what Rudd understands is that when he acts like himself, Peter can become rather endearing. His performance is often uncomfortable, but only because his character is trying so hard to be the exact opposite. It's a wonder that Rudd manages to keep himself from falling too far away from the audience's sympathy. Segel is immediately likable, and his brief confrontation between a body-builder and his dog had me laughing well after the film had ended. He functions not just as a buddy, but a sort of twisted psychologist.

Compared to the other "Apatow" movies released in the past few years I Love You Man seems to be going for less visually shocking gags than others, yet it still remains rather explicit. It appears as though in a universe such as this it only takes a moment for any character with any varying degree of innocence to suddenly recite a definition from Urban Dictionary. Which is still funny, at times, but not always THAT funny. At other times the film appears to be catering to the audience that seeks to laugh out of gross revelation, which is likely the male audience engrossed in contact sports and weight-lifting, while the characters themselves are seeking to avoid that very same stereotypical camaraderie that the general public considers healthy male friendships to be centered around. I can't remember any gags involving a kick to the family jewels, but there will be farting, sleeper-holds, and frank discussions of, well, you'll see. It's actually all very funny.

I have conflicted feelings in regards to films like this. Lately I've been overdosing on them, especially with the recent release of the Hangover, and want to give each of them their fair chance. Crude humor often hits me the wrong way. The more I think about the Hangover, the less I like it. With this one it's the exact opposite. What I Love You Man gets right are the moments of keen observation in which the difference between friendships, relationships, and what makes each of them work, or even funnier, result in projectile vomit, are well documented. I laughed consistently throughout, and, even more interestingly, I felt an undeniable connection with many of these characters. Even when it's over-the-top, the frank nature the film exhibits is very honest, which oddly isn't always the case. Luckily, this isn't just another "Judd Apatow" movie.


My New Favorite Website

Haven't you ever wanted to see numerous photographs of cats sitting upright?


Then get out of my face. Right now. Go. You're not wanted at the Awkward Unicorn. Get OUT OF HERE! GET! HISSS!

Some things you just have to stand up for, and I've decided the thing I'm going to stand up for is this crazy Japanese online collection of photographs featuring cats sitting upright.


There isn't a single doubt in my mind that at the precise moment of these photographs being taken these cats passionately hate their lives.
It's wonderful.

Evil Kitty.

Drunk Kitty.

Confused Kitty.

Biola Magazine this time, Rolling Stone next week.

I never got around to mentioning on here that I somehow apparently made it onto last months Biola Magazine cover... Or at least half of me did. In illustration form. I think. I really have no idea. But my mom called to congratulate me on my outstanding accomplishment and requested I send her a stack of copies.

I'm the one on the left. Apparently. I'm still not really sure. Part of me hopes so if only for the reason that I like thinking that some artist out there saw my face and whispered to him or herself "I must draw you."

I think it really captured my long sideburns and the way I always carry around cans of soup, but it doesn't resemble at all the pose I did for that young artist while I sailed on the Titanic. Such is life.
here's another shot for comparisons sake.

I'm pretty positive I'm more happy with that latter photograph.
Still, a cover's a cover, and I think now it's only a matter of time before Biola Magazine gets converted into Newcott Weekly, your source for all the latest Newcott gossip. Only a matter of time my friend...


Moon - Movie Review


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Let's be honest here. Star Trek was really more of an action movie. The Star Wars series was really more of a glimmering fantasy. All in all, there really hasn't been much in the way of a quality science-fiction film in a while. The most memorable one in recent memory was the visually appealing The Fountain, in which even now I'm not entirely sure what actually happened in it. I can't claim to be an expert in the sci-fi genre, but I believe if anyone can it's probably David Bowie. Well, the film Moon has arrived, and it has been brought to us by Bowie's offspring, Duncan Jones (or Little Bowie as I like to call him and he, most certainly I assume, would like to be called).

Duncan, like myself, grew up watching movies like 2001, and it shows. Moon is a combination of many of the best elements from classic sci-fi films. An unnerving talking computer, spaceships, hallucinations, cloning, astronaut beans, these are just some of the tools Duncan utilizes. The greatest concern is that these tools would become derivative, yet their placement within the narrative gives them all new meaning.

Sam Bell (performed by Sam Rockwell) is quickly approaching his third year anniversary of slaving away on a mining facility to collect Helium 3, an ultra-potent power source unrivaled by anything else on our little blue planet. But Sam isn't on our planet. He's on the Moon. And for one reason or another, he's been working alone for the entire duration of his stay. His communication system is also on the fritz. It's no matter now though because in two weeks he's heading back home. Or is he?

Moon captures what it means to not just be someone not of this earth, but to be someone searching for their home. It challenges what a home truly is, what a companion is, and why it's important for man to seek out both, even if they may or may not exist. Where Sam begins at the start of the film is really the only "real" home he has. His only companion is his HAL-esque robot voiced by Kevin Spacey (the role he was born to play, baby), who actually tends to his needs in a way that is genuinely endearing and scary at the same time. The pre-recorded messages Sam receives from his wife are heart-wrenching as they only serve to accentuate the physical divide between himself and where he wants and needs to be.

Then Moon brings in another element by introducing a new character, and the very fact that this character is "new" in terms of his personality brings to mind a whole host of new questions, especially when we don't initially like him all that much. In doing so Moon makes us question the way in which we relate to ourselves. It takes our interior monologue or mental conversations and makes them tangible. At one point Sam tells his new companion that he's a "good guy," and that's one of those moments that resonated deeply within me.

Sam Rockwell is simply outstanding in this film. While mostly being on his own he makes the film into a full ensemble drama. Kevin Spacey not only gives GERTY life but makes him into a memorable and engaging character. Not to mention, Clint Mansell has outdone himself with the musical score. Just try to listen to what he does and you'll realize what this film would have lacked without him. All these elements are not just greatly executed, they're utterly necessary. It all works.

Moon isn't just the best science-fiction film I've seen in a while, it's one of the best films I've seen.
Do yourself a favor and watch it.


Gentlemen, Meet Georgie Fruit

In the current economic crisis it might be frowned upon to take responsibility for an animal. They require time, effort, a bowl to put food into and poop-scooping. This is a huge responsibility, especially considering that I hardly do any of that even for myself. Luckily, Beth was up for such a task and adopted a mighty fine companion.

Gentlemen, Meet Georgie Fruit.

Georgie was adopted from the mean streets of La Mirada. We were lucky enough to snatch him up from the animal house on the morning that he was neutered, so we got to welcome a very groggy and confused animal into her apartment.

Now myself, being a professional at many or all things, was not about to let some cat off the streets start to mess up Beth's quaint little apartment. There's only room in her king sized bed for two people. Her and her roommate. And if some cat who was probably a member of a biker gang thinks he can mess that up then he's got another thing coming.

That's why I bought him a cat-tie.

That, and I like to giggle when I look at him.

Does he like to wear it? That's not the point. Point is, that dude needs to get a job.
If he thinks he can just lounge around eating kibble and having his poop scooped all day, he's got another thing coming. That thing is Wallstreet, and that tie will get him there.

If you don't believe me, take a look at the cover of the next issue of Business Week:

I actually watched him wander in front of the mirror and vigorously shake his head until his tie was well adjusted and even go as far as to turn it to the side at each meal. This officially means that a cat takes better care of himself than I do.

Yeah. He knows what he's doing.


The Hangover - Movie Review


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The Hangover

Was it wrong of me to take my girlfriend to go see The Hangover?
After witnessing Zach Galifianakis sneak in one last chance to expose himself on camera, some might say yes. In fact, probably most people would say yes. Out of stubbornness I regret nothing, but I must admit that The Hangover is very much a "guy movie." This is interesting, because for a "guy movie" this film has an overwhelming amount of male nudity in ratio to female nudity. Did I feel a little gross afterwards? Maybe. But I suppose that's a credit to the film's authenticity. You might get a little bit of a hang-over yourself after watching it.

The movie has a lot going for it, especially with its premise. Three guys wake up in a $4,200 Las Vegas suite with terrible hang-overs, a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, a wandering chicken, a missing tooth, and some very ill-advised interior decorating decisions. The fourth man in their party is missing, and to make matters worse, that man is the bachelor for whom they were throwing the party. The wedding is in two days. No one can remember a thing. From there it's up to the characters to make the premise shift its gears, and this is where The Hangover runs into the majority of its problems.

The dominant characters are simply unlikable. Phil (Bradley Cooper) is a schoolteacher whose gambling money is earned by embezzling the cash that's supposed to be used for the class field trip. He seems to hate children when he's off the clock. Stu (Ed Helms) the dentist is a tad more sympathetic, but only in comparison to his truly awful girlfriend. Meanwhile, the bridegroom is mostly absent. It's up to the brother of the bride Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis, to provide the single most redeemable attributes of the film. He's not just a child trapped in the body of an adult, he's a child who has been living as an adult for far too long. He needs friends, he wants to be liked, and it seems that this hangover is the most quality time he has spent with other human beings in a very long time. It's not just a funny performance, it's a great performance overall, and I'm willing to recommend this movie based upon that alone.

The first half-an-hour of this movie doesn't want you to enjoy it, and you might not want to enjoy these characters or even connect with them very much at all. Maybe I'm too uptight, but the concept, when you think about it too much (and by that I mean think about it at all), of a group of people having so great a time that they don't even remember it, then having to clean up the mess they made, and then returning to the lives they led before with the agreement to destroy all the evidence of their Las Vegas shenanigans, is actually kind of depressing. You can't really say "at least we have the memories." But I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority of male viewers with that opinion, and realizing that now I kind of want to see the film Sideways again.

I'm not giving much away when I say that things tend to work out for these guys. I just feel as though the film would have been far more successful if the audience really wanted it to work out well for these guys. I want to draw a comparison between this and Superbad, a film which shared similar themes of heavy drinking, drunken mayhem, and testing friendship. That film featured characters that said bad things and did bad things, but they weren't necessarily bad people and what they were searching for wasn't mayhem but some kind of acceptance in the form of friendships or relationships. In the Hangover, the character of Alan clearly wants this, which is probably why we like him. The rest of the movie didn't seem to care, and frankly neither did I.

I laughed really hard at times, very hard, and kept smiling for the rest, but the Hangover just didn't win me over.


Knowing and Horton Hears A Who- Movie Reviews


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Horton Hears A Who

Maybe Knowing is the kind of film that will resurface in ten or twenty years and find itself being a sci-fi classic rather than the mainstream paranormal action movie that the trailer suggests it is. Really, there's no way to properly prepare an audience for this kind of film where what's supernatural at one point becomes paranormal the next and celestial after that. How could it be categorized? In actuality Knowing is a film which addresses theology. Its concern is not with what a character can do now that he has certain knowledge of events, but how he can react to it knowing that his actions are futile. Even more interestingly, Knowing poses the question of what it would mean for creation if our placement in the universe could be accounted for by something other than what we call God.

Knowing begins with the always reliable stand-by in the horror genre: a creepy girl with long hair who has the overwhelming urge to scrawl apocalyptic message on any surface available. In an instance of either prophetic inspiration or hilariously cruel pranking, the little girl covers a letter in a series of numbers which are then sealed tight in a time capsule to be opened 50 years in the future. It's then, in 2009, that the letter is opened by another young boy who spends his nights watching discovery channel, being a vegetarian, and generally acting like a D-bag (which is a real shame for the future of mankind if you think about it). His father just so happens to be Nicholas Cage in the role of John Koestler, a professor at MIT and someone who isn't quite as threatening as he thinks when he wields a bat in the woods to ward off the creepy strangers who lurk in the darkness. It's he who gives the numbers a once-over to discover that they correlate to "every major disaster in the past 50 years," in addition to a few which apparently haven't happened yet.

What exactly qualified as a "major disaster" was something that I couldn't really figure out, and is something that seems to be anything higher than a bus-load, which made me think that the paper should have been a tad bigger to cover the past 50 years. Then again, maybe it didn't. The numbers are as much premonitions as they are evidence for their own authenticity and accuracy. Strangely, the later ones seem catered for the area surrounding John and his family, which also doesn't appear to be much of a coincidence at all. In fact, maybe it was designed with the knowledge that it would be found by him.

This film specifically addresses issues of predestination vs. freewill, but interestingly frames it as those who are chosen and those who are not. Knowing really shines best when its plan is completely laid out, when John is no longer perceived as an action hero, but someone who just has to accept the reality of what is to happen. It's then that the question becomes not, "what can we do?" but, "what's going to happen afterwards?" The presence of higher beings, of an alternate explanation for why we're here, the fulfillment of seemingly scriptural events by beings other than God, what would that mean for what we believe? Does this presence negate His existence or do these protective forces strengthen the argument for Him to be there?

Knowing can be a frustrating film because it doesn't answer any questions, and the questions that it does pose are glazed over by high production values and special effects that even if entertaining, frankly, aren't always entirely convincing. Director Alex Proyas is no stranger to the science fiction genre and has the much heralded but unfortunately little seen Dark City accredited to his name. He is also the man behind the film adaptation of I-Robot. All these films run with similar themes in which a character must confront his (or its) true reality as either a created being, a creator themselves, or both.

Meanwhile it should be noted that Ryne Douglas Pearson, the author of Knowing's source material and co-author of the script, is a Christian author with a Catholic background. Does that change how it should be perceived? It provides good perspective, but the film has been latched onto by Mormons, Islamic groups, and I assume Scientologists as well. At the very least, it gets people to ask the one question that the author himself has posed, "What happens after this?" Because of that I say Knowing deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. I'm interested to hear what you think.

I should note that after watching Knowing I rented the recent animated adaptation of Horton Hears A Who which is actually quite similar but geared towards a quite separate age group. I could write a review for Horton, but now that I think about it there's actually not much of a significant difference. In fact, take Knowing, replace Nicholas Cage for the mayor of Whoville, replace other-worldly beings for a giant elephant named Horton, and change Earth to a speck on a pink clover, and you have virtually identical films. Except one might have a slightly more violent ending than the other.

The animation is beautiful, vibrant, colorful and imaginative. The characters are charming, if at times a little over-acted by their players (even for animation which is rather something). Overall, a very funny, satisfying, and actually quite involving of a film.

I can guarantee you'll be more emotionally involved with Horton's struggle and connect with that snuggley giant elephant than with the heavy drinking Nicholas Cage any day.

If you can only go with one, I say you go with Horton, especially if you're five.


The Good Night - Movie Review


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The Good Night

I'm willing to admit that The Good Night might have its share of problems and for many, it may not actually be much good at all. The film is marred by the fact that its thematic elements (primarily dealing with the ideal reality of dreams clashing with the reality of relationships and the working world) follow very closely in the footsteps of Brazil and the Science of Sleep, films that are quite simply, some of my most favorite films of all time (even if they didn't have the Cloverfield monster). Then again, those movies also had their quirks and, even if they were charming, their own flaws (aka: lacking in the Cloverfield monster). Saying The Good Night isn't on par as other films running in the same genre is like saying a film with spaceships is bad because it isn't Star Wars. This film has a lot of great ideas, is charming, serious, and at times quite funny. All in all, The Good Night deserves a chance to be viewed, and considering that I found it in a discount bin at Big Lots two days ago, that chance hasn't been provided.

The Good Night revolves around Gary (performed excellently by Martin Freeman, or more commonly referred to by me as "that guy from the British Office"), who is entering middle-aged life with an emotionally distant girlfriend (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) and a musical career in commercial jingles that is slightly less glamorous than his former rock-star days in Great Britain. One night he is visited by the girl of his dreams, who is, of course, Penelope Cruise, a vision who apparently makes the rounds in male psyches on her spare time after appearing in Vanilla Sky. Gary of course is smitten and takes to learning the nuances of lucid dreaming with lessons from Danny DeVito.

The cast is sprawling with talented individuals who inject personality and passion into the characters. On paper however, the relationships between the characters leaves something to be desired. The audience is never fully clued into who we're exactly rooting for our hero to end up with, or more importantly, who the hero wants to end up with. The girlfriend is too absent and too distant to give us adequate reason to believe Gary has something to hold on to, and if he at one point did have something to hold on to it's not shown in a tangible way. Fantasy is the only place where the audience is given a hint at romance, and its sudden appearance is more confusing than it is immersing or satisfying.

It's not hard for anyone aware of films in the similar vein as this one to know what's in store for Gary. Maybe I've just become accustomed to similar conclusions, but the end of The Good Night didn't contain the same air of frustration as some other films that I have seen, where the resolution feels either cheap or fails to resolve anything at all. Here the ending remains neither hopeful nor tragic, just confident in the good will of its characters. The notion of turning from one fantasy to another as being an ethically correct, and emotionally satisfying choice is something that I found refreshing, redeeming, and different. The more I think about it, the more I really enjoyed The Good Night, which is often the best kind of review I can give.

Under its calm surface The Good Night contains some truly haunting moments. Its pace and style slowly ebb the viewer into a state which may cause drowsiness, which I like. All in all, I recommend The Good Night, and I hope that if you find it lurking on a dusty shelf you pick it up and give it a try.


Muzack - What I'm Listening To This Time

Telekinesis. Catchy, fun, and all around goodness.

Telekinesis - Coast of Carolina (via: rawkblog)

A Cake rendition of Strangers in the Night. Better than the original? Perhaps, perhaps, but I can definitely say it's very fun to listen to and immediately brightens my day.

Cake - Strangers In The Night (via: funhell)

Here's a video of Beth in the midst of a pretty intense fight. Thankfully she seems to have it all under control. That's why I like her so much.

Apparently she screams “Nooo!! Don’t come near me!” in Japanese, which is to say that the Japanese apparently sound exactly like screaming Koala's. Fascinating.


Taken - Movie Review


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There is a plot to Taken, but it can simply be undermined by saying that for 90 minutes we get to watch Liam Neeson get his B.A. degree in kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. And Liam Neeson's all out of gum. Sure, there's something about his daughter being kidnapped while on a trip to France, the city of love and prostitution (mostly prostitution), and being sold to Jabba the Hut. Really, all of that is more of an excuse for action. The film can simply be described as Liam Neeson (apparently starring as himself) getting to kill every single person on screen. Immediately. When he does, it's incredibly satisfying. "Kill them good, Liam," you might say as you give an approving nod. "Don't stop. Even when their down, just keep shooting them." Is it sick? Maybe. But such is love.

Taken has the unfortunate hinderance of a highly polished gleam which occasionally clashes with the gritty subject matter and Liam Neeson's relentless crotch kicking and face-punching. His daughter is too bubbly, too active, and a person who strikes me as someone who Liam Neeson would have broken a long time ago. Are we really to believe that two 17 year old kids that jump on couches and take taxi rides with sketchy French men are in Europe for a U2 concert tour? Somehow I find it easier to believe that Liam Neeson could kill anyone just by giving them a disapproving nod. The man is unstoppable in this film, and most likely in real-life too. I'm that convinced. Taken shines best when it lets him do what he was born to do, and falters when it strays too far from that.

I've watched the movie twice now and zoned out both times during a scene which involves a construction-site car chase. Maybe it's just because I've seen too many James Bond films where it doesn't matter how many machine-guns are firing, the good guy still speeds away completely unchanged. Just because a character is moving doesn't mean he's moving forward in the narrative, something has to happen to justify us watching. Even still, the chase has a satisfying conclusion, one which involves a probable beheading and Liam Neeson being awesome.

I really liked Taken. In fact, I liked the first 20 minutes too where Liam Neeson isn't constantly killing people. Had I known nothing of the film I suppose his sudden transformation from down-and-out father figure to cold-blooded executioner would be even more satisfying. Considering how satisfying his transformation already is, Taken on it's own is extremely successful and immensely entertaining.
See it.