Thursday, November 5, 2009

Last Life in the Universe

Thailand/Japan 2003


Damn. I put this one off for too long and I'm not really one to talk not having seen
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang first feature 6ixty9ine. This is good stuff. I was very impressed
with the amount of detail put into this where it was actually questionable.
Questionable in the realm of it was probably real and not staged. The house in the film
was so disgusting and laughable. Very convincing. The film really went no where but it's so quietly done and delicate that it never feels aimless even with the linear breaking editing. Things feel ghostly, throughout, where tragedy strikes and beauty grows where one dies and loneliness is a gift in disguise that holds an even bigger gift inside. This guy loves Woody Allen. And Takashi Miike has a role in the film's 3rd act!
I really want to see Nymph now.


France 1997


Okay. 2 Things I learned from watching Dobermann. Gaspar Noe really looks up to Kounan
and Tchéky Karyo is one of the best fucking actors that has ever lived.
This is a stylistic, violent romp about a wreck loose team of professional thieves headed by the notorious Dobermann(Cassel), who after years of dangerous successful and reckless bank heist have finally left a money trail with a team of by the book cops hot on their asses. By the book obviously has not worked in the past and this is realized by a rogue Inspector played fucking brutally brilliant by Tchéky Karyo. The movie itself is a triumphant whirlwind of detail and deep, rich cinematography. Based off a series of books the movie fumbles a few times where continuity and whimsically needless destruction weighs down the violent edge the film sharpens throughout, but ultimately never dulls and full delivers at it's climatic, awesomely brutal end.
There's even a cameo of Gaspar Noe serving a french fries and beef jerky hoagie to Tchéky Karyo. Noe has definitely borrowed quite a bit of style and brutality from Kounan's uncompromising direction. I'm sure Kounan is also a fan of Kergl's ANGST.
Though BLUEBERRY wasn't that great, it had the best visuals I have ever seen and
that was something Noe tried to accomplish with ENTER THE VOID, but 5 years too late.
I'm not sorry, Noe.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where the Wild Thing Are

USA 2009

4.5/5 8.8/10

An adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world--a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.

A potent exclamation of being a lonely troubled child, is adapted better than anyone could of imagined from the Maurice Sendak book.
From the start an intimate portrait of the young boy Max is painted beautifully. Confronting his fears,
unbeknown insecurities of his older sister's coming of age lifestyle, understanding his jealousy issues with his financially stressed, but loving mother's relationship with a boyfriend who doesn't approve of Max's out lashes. A story about building unconditional friendships, with understanding that you're not alone in the world and there are in fact others just like you is delivered sincerely, with a great cast. Funny, natural, smart and profound the dialog is genuine and deep. The impact is heavy with this one. Don't miss.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Chile 2007

5/5 10/10

A shy, inconspicuous man named Maco (Marko Zaror) decides to become a self-made superhero when he gains national notoriety for unintentionally rescuing a television reporter from the clutches of two dangerous criminals. Action director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza follows the success of his South American breakout film, Kiltro, with this martial arts gem that also stars Maria Elena Swett, Ariel Mateluna and Mauricio Pesutic.

This film is pure gold. Reasons being many, but mainly for rich character emphasis and the action sequences.
Secondly there is a deep emotional construction of all the characters. Focusing on those who have withdrawn from
society as true underdogs and some that are in the spotlight doing anything to boost their financial and commercial ego.
A young shy martial artist who works at a dead end local club as a doorman, trains extensively in the martial arts as a passion and purpose.
His heart is big and pays weekly visits to his younger artistically talented brother in a mental hospital who has lost all of his barrings due to being raped by a group of men who killed his family during a random street assault.
This group of men are of larger crime syndicate known as The Pedophile Network who kidnap and market young children in
a twisted sexual trafficking ring. Police are helpless due to lack of evidence and cannot seize, search the powerful crime ring.
One night while jogging the young shy martial artist prevents a burglary and a rape of a young news anchor. She then calls
him out during a report on live television and kind of paves the idea for MIRAGEMAN.
From there we see a classic take on developing a super hero, but in a low budget, modestly ambitious stylistic way.
Setting up an email MIRAGEMAN receives messages online of people in distress, sometimes backfiring in his face.
We see him deal with his social insecurities and the treachery of the media moguls that helped his inception into crime fighting.
From natural comedic relief to sad sights of emotional distress as well as brutal full contact fight scenes. I actually think this may
be my favorite super hero movie. Do not miss this inventive and big hearted action film.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paranormal Activity

USA 2007

3.5/5 7.5/10

Bumps in the night begin to spook San Diego couple Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat). When Katie fears their home may be haunted by ghostly intruders, skeptical Micah plants a camera in their bedroom to prove nothing is amiss -- but he's in for a chilling surprise. Soon, the stage is set for a roller coaster of creepy thrills in this intensely gripping, no-budget suspense thriller in the vein of The Blair Witch Project.

3.5 out of 5 rating. As a hyped up phenomena that corroborates with the Blair Witch project as far as marketing and budget goes, I would most definitely agree that Paranormal Activity as a movie itself is just as formidable in it's scary succession. Though well thought out, believably acted and genuinely creepy, there were times where it felt contrived. But more pros than cons, this minor gripe is easily forgotten and long lost in the character build. I personally could identify with the bf and gf because a lot of the dialog reminded me of my gf and I. From harmless bickering and teasing to intense yelling and passion for one another onn both positive and negative scales. The main emphasis of what is actually happening to the 2 is extensive but over all leaves the audience in the dark with what the cause or reason of such a "haunting" is. That is definitely a pro about the film. Merely hinting around and poking at some back story involving the GF and her past, really upped the creepiness. Full of sounds, and subtle visuals and psuedo-spiritual psychological torment, each step the film takes is careful, well played out, hardly compromising the pace of the film in any aspect. Despite the ending and some minor contrived comic relief, Paranormal Activity is a robust, low budget, clever little social experiment on the masses that no one really needs to watch again, but something most people will be thinking about for days.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Devil's Game

더 게임
Deo ge-im

Korea 2008

4/5 8/10

A young illustrator in his prime named Min,lives a modest living doing portraits in the city,
his girlfriend whom he's very much in love with, owns a flower shop with her mother.
The Mother and girlfriend owe money to some local gangsters and it's a lot of money for those living a modest life.
One day, Min gets a mysterious phone call from a joyous old man who declares Min lucky and that by being male, he had won the old man a bet. The old man insists on thanking Min personally. Min meets the old man and discovers he's loaded with billions, huge paintings cover his mansion walls, with butlers and servants at his beckoning. The old man wants to make a bet. What is at stake is huge. And what
follows is a 180 degree turn into loneliness, self loathing, true love, treachery, cold heartedness, a couple ridiculous break throughs in medical science and an open ending that leaves the viewer thinking not only about the turn of events that have unfolded in front of them
but your actual life and what you should not take for granted.



USA 2009

2.8/5 5/10

When an accident takes the life of the unborn, 8-month-old fetus inside her, Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) insists on delivering the stillborn child -- only to discover that the baby is alive and heinously hungry. Before long, voracious baby Grace spurns milk and forces Madeline to slake her insatiable appetite for blood. Paul Solet directs this masterful horror movie, while Gabrielle Rose and Stephen Park co-star.

As much as I wanted to like Grace, I just could not get passed a few key points that were just left empty.
There is this ominous shell of promise around Solet's debut feature but the hollow inside suggests that maybe more attention
should have been made to cementing the reason behind what Grace is all about, a zombie/vampire baby and her docile mother.
The look and feel of the film is really well constructed and directed. The acting is fallible but satisfyingly convincing.
What makes the audience wonder is the point, the reason, the explanation. Where in films that interpretation and open endings
are made essential and acceptable, Grace I feel as a story, doesn't cop out, but the film does not know what to do with itself
and ultimately in the end does feel like a cop out. The director's point I'm sure was to establish the idea of unconditional love
amongst a Mother and her kin, but ends up being a passive aggressive utterance of vaguely captured emotion that bears no substance
or true understanding of what is trying to be said. The idea would have been cool if a balance of such anxiety could have been
laid next to, what exactly the baby was and why. Because a Mother's love and yearning and desire to have a child for which on 2 previous occasions her husband and her had a miscarriage, doesn't constitute any substantial reason for such an exploitation.
Subplotted of Grace's dead father's Mother, desiring to take the child away and raise it her self is just as forgetful and loose
as the midwife, hired by Garce's Mom who was once involved as lesbians with... Huh?

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Okay, this isn't really a review or an over view this is me being mad and disappointment
in the lack of character richness that I've come to expect from Noe's films.

I did not give a fuck about these characters, they were pieces of shit who deserved their tragic upbringing and the whole reincarnation out of body experience, if that was the point and the characters were something to forget, you failed even more Noe.
And I love the guy.

Enter the Void 2/5 6/10

Cool idea, technically the best film ever made thus far, but poor, writing and the mistake of casting no name actors
to fill in such shallow shoes, leads to a tiring whirlwind of contrived profound failure. A film that is probably the most inventive and obscure pile of shit ever constructed yet it holds no substance or real character value. No name actors could have worked but these ones sucked and ruin it from the start. The characters of Alex and the parents of a drug abuser friend Victor are the only characters that can act and they are mere sub blots. The children actors couldn't even save this despite the few rewarding moments the younger Linda tour de forced. Half of the film could have been left on the editing room floor. I absolutely fucking hated how demanding this films was. Some might defend it, "Oh the hallucinations and visuals, er"... People, Jan Kounan in 2004 made a half decent film called Blueberry: L'expérience secrète and guess what? They easily rival those of Enter the Void.
However, all the hating aside; best editing, I've ever seen. This is such a subversive stamina draining journey on an impact scale of 2001: Space Odyssey. 155 minutes and the opening credits are the best thing about this film. The transitions are amazing at first, but continually their grandeur is over played and their welcome over stayed and they become ridiculous, needlessly self indulgent in all the wrong ways. Sorry but maybe I'll like this in 4 years because right now I just don't get it.

Oscar and Linda are brother and sister. As toddler's they are young and happy amongst their happy parents.
One night, the family in a car in a tunnel, are in a head on collision with a semi truck. The parents die.
The kids are kept by their grandmother who is dying. For the children's sake despite their incredible bond and
traumatic life altering experience are then given up for separate adoption to foster homes. This is never expanded upon
and makes the grandma a dying idiot for why would she separate the two?
This feels completely empty, needless and just a contrived emphasis on their tragic up bringing.
Oscar as a child seems to understand being 2 years or so older and plays it a cool silent soldier.
(I guess the blood pact the two toddlers made with a knife
in flashback scenes means he knows they will never truly be separated...pft)
in the meanwhile toddler Linda is flipping out, screaming... exclaiming stuff about them always being together.
Usually when little kids flip out and act crazy it's effective in adult films, in Enter the Void this is hit or miss.
So after 15 years or so of living apart Oscar moves to Japan and meets Alex.
A sensitive artist drug dealer who introduces Oscar to his drug contacts. Oscar then begins dealing drugs to make a living.
He doesn't really deal seriously, or get even when they flashback and explain how everything unfolded
so this makes the turn of events even more obnoxious.

He meets up with a creepy
gay drug dealer, who really holds no value to the story, (like most of the characters). Once Oscar had made enough money that is when he called his sister up, paid for her to fly over to Japan and live with him. For some reason she lectures him on becoming a druggie when she's out at the club dancing nude and face sitting and whoring herself to the owner. She's a stupid fuck. As is
Oscar. I have no sympathy for these people, both are shallow and clueless and deserve what they get.

Valhalla Rising

Valhalla Rising 4/5 8/10

1000 AD, for years, One Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner by the Norse chieftain Barde. Aided by Are, a boy slave, One Eye slays his captor and together he and Are escape, beginning a journey into the heart of darkness. On their flight, One Eye and Are board a Viking vessel, but the ship is soon engulfed by an endless fog that clears only as the crew sights an unknown land. As the new world reveals its secrets and the Vikings confront their terrible and bloody fate, One Eye discovers his true self.

A Tarkovsky throwback to the bone. From graphic violence to atmospheric art house, the score swells as the blood spills
and each character delves into their self questioning being and the audience is subjected to it. It pulls you in, it doesn't demand your attention, you ask for it's. The film builds, stacking on layers of a foreboding sinisterness, only to let up with the silence of
violence and wilderness. A character dissection of a mythical mute warrior named One Eye (for literal reasons) who is said to be from hell, escapes captivity where his unmatched strength was exploited in brutal fights to the death by his captors. One Eye upon his escape comes across a group of Christian Inquisitors on a distorted journey to claim and rebuild the Holy Land of Jerusalem in the name of their lord and riches. The Christian vikings murder and burn those who deny Christianity but dare not challenge the legendary strength of One Eye. As the film assembles itself in 6 labeled parts, we see each of the men unravel into their own perception of existence which clearly

What we get here is pretty much Torkovsky's Stalker meets all the cool violent parts in that shitty movie Pathfinder.

Deliver Us From Evil

Denmark 2009

Fri os fra det onde 4.8/5 9.5/10

A father returns to his old hometown with his young family. Events force him to face the small town's xenophobia.

Very nice, Bornedal. Will you ever let me down? This director knows not only how to make the movie look good
but write as well. This is an intense, cold hearted film based in a small, middle of nowhere town,
about two brothers, Johannes and Lars. A vitally brilliant cast.
The brothers are polar opposites. Blood is thicker than water and in this movie, there is a lot of it.
Lars is the alcho-loser scum bag selfish brother with the whore girlfriend that he beats.
Johannes on the contrary is the modest, successful lawyer with the beautiful, smart family, renovating an old house.
Alain is Johannes friend who buried his family in the conflict of Bosnia and then fled to the remote region.
Alain is known to Lars and his troupe of even bigger scum bag loser friends as the "Nigger" because of his distinct Islamic "irregularity" of the small town's folk. This all comes down strongly in a whirl pool of intense violence when Lars runs over the wife of an old senile, retired local gangster turned Christian extremist, known as Major Ingvar. Lars frames Alain who then is sheltered by Johannes with his family caught in the middle when the senile old man comes out of retirement to avenge her death,
but spirals further into his senile Christian extremism with violent revelations.

This film brings it. The grain and hue of the cinematography is some of the coolest I've seen in a while.
It's silver with veiny blues, allotted with deep greens and rich, black reds. The pace is flawless and told without
a second of lag or loop hole. It's a film of great acceptance and exceptional craftsman ship.

A very heartfelt and brutal story of all the essential elements of friendship, family, redemption and death.

Stoked on his adaptation of Dean Koontz novel The Husband.

I Am Not Your Friend

Hungary 2008

Nem vagyok a barátod 3.8/5 7.8/10

I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND is a film of improvisations - not only from the part of the nine amateur actors, but from the D.O.P, the director and the scriptwriters as well. The story unfolded itself instantly by the reactions and ideas of actors during the 20 days of shooting and developed into what is presented to the audience. But the story perhaps is less important than the world which opens up in front of us, a taste of Budapest in January 2008

György Pálfi's 3rd feature is far from his previous as far as directive style and story telling.
Like a Hungarian cinema verite styled Closer, I Am Not Your Friend opens with a short film
that takes place in a daycare center, where voyeuristically captured hungarian children interact with
one another is purely rewarding experience. Where conversations amongst the kids (ages 3-5 approx)
seem adult despite their frivolous content. As the feature starts we are introduced to each character
in an off kilter sense. One character is the focus and named and interacts with characters that eventually become
introduced as the focus, even though that have already appeared with dialog and intermittent character development
through relationship establishments that eventually leads to a whole cast of interconnected characters.
The characters are all sexual deviants. Some having sex with the other's spouse or husband and not even realizing it
and some realizing it and not caring. Almost all the characters are shit beings but every one of them
has a favorite song and when alone they sing that song aloud. This anecdote provides a depth to each of them.
As the film progresses and relationships crumble and/or grow, one may begin to wonder where the film is going or
what it's trying to say. But with it's hefty, realistic, subtle twist, some one fucks over the wrong girl.

The message and moral becomes very clear;
Women are strong, resourceful creatures especially when their heart is broken.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sleep Dealer


In a futuristic yet not unfamiliar world, the lives of three strangers connect in surprising ways amid a backdrop of militarization, closed borders and an all-encompassing global technological network. At the center of this potent sci-fi tale (nominated for a Best First Feature Independent Spirit Award) are Memo (Luis Fernando Peña), a peasant displaced after his village is attacked; Luz, a writer (Leonor Varela) who plugs her brain into the net; and Rudy (Jacob Vargas), an American security company worker.


A potent, time piece of realistic technologically steered rhetoric placed in the not so distant future,
where the borders of Mexico and the USA have been permanently blocked off to end illegal immigration.
A young man named Memo is out of touch with his boring country lifestyle and does not appreciate the smalls things in life until they are taken away from him, though his heart is indeed a great one.
Upon a tragedy Memo sets off to Tijuana to get a job working in San Diego, Ca... wait, what?
You see there is a company called TruNode, throughout the film we are filled in with commercials that throwback to propaganda, encouraging people of all shapes, sizes and creeds
to have nodes installed into their bodies and "plug in" and via remote viewing, work remotely a machine in the United States. A very cool concepts filled with budgeted yet ambitious special effects and detailed, yet not far fetched gadgets and machinery.
Along the way Memo befriends a girl and there is your love story. Great film. Looking forward to seeing what this director does next. A very promising young talent.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009



Nicolas Winding Refn's vivid and unflinching biopic delves into the life of Britain's most notorious prisoner, Charlie Bronson (Tom Hardy) -- who's been jailed for nearly 35 years -- and attempts to dissect the real man behind the deranged persona. While Bronson's primary ambition was to be famous, he became a celebrity of sorts as a criminal who seized myriad opportunities to demonstrate extreme and terrorizing savagery.


This is near masterpiece for reasons not only associated with the main actor, Tom Hardy's performance, but because of it's on and off linear, narrative story telling. From the get go we are immersed into a biopic told directly through the words of the Bronson character himself, in a black abyss of a room with only light shining onto his bald head, distinctly twisted mustache and prison coveralls that stick to his broad shoulders.
He's not charming,he's not smart, or resourceful, but he's intimidating. Really intimidating.The look of self certainty in his eyes and his raspy, yet brooding voice with his thick British accent, begins to elaborate his life's tale in visual gushes of realistically choreographed fist fighting, face stomping, face biting, mouth frothing, veins popping, plethora of testosterone and ego maniacal... well sanity. Whether most of this biopic is true or merely elaborated for cinematic purposes, the point is finely met and it never gets boring, that being a character study/biopic hybrid that shows from start to finish the self-transformation of a man. As it is really well made and done so with a high entertainment value by somehow, attaining substance and sincerity.
If I had to make any comparison to any other film,
I would utter CHOPPER but if it were done by Kubrick. This film has a risky pace, that really works for it's content. Which all in all, is pretty twisted and hilarious. Don't miss it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


USA 2008

Kidnapped by an escaped convict (Shea Whigham) and his young accomplice (Rachel Kerbs), Seth Belzer (Paulo Costanzo) and Polly Watt (Jill Wagner) are thrust into the fight of their lives when the four of them become the prey of a bloodthirsty splinter parasite. Trapped inside an abandoned gas station, the foursome is forced to band together to thwart the monster's vicious attacks and make it out alive.


A few lackluster moments of pure stupidity kept me from loving this film. The more I think about it however, I'm really starting to believe it was the film maker's intentions for the characters to make such ridiculous choices in order to supply the film with an unsettling climax, wherein the audience is yelling at the screen in dismay. The plot is pretty cool, where a parasitic fungus comprised of intricately bacterial splinters infects the body and physically and might I say painfully contorts body parts, breaking bones, splitting skin and you know, killing it's victims. The creature is totally a wannabe "The Thing" via Carpenter and Bowtin, but definitely has a personality and brutality all in it's own and looks really cool and creepy. The acting is damn good
despite the idiocy of the cast scripted as being smart people each in their own way. The ending however, is not satisfying and the lack of explanation of what the creature is, is a total cop out, if I wasn't so sure there would be a sequel. Which there will be. Watch it. You'll like it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Informers

USA 2008

Based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis and set in Los Angeles during the sex-, drug- and rock music-fueled early 1980s, this series of intertwining dramas features a range of characters reveling in the debauched excesses of the era. But as movie execs, vampires, ex-cons and others traverse the same seductive landscape, they also reveal the emptiness lurking just beneath the city's shiny veneer. Kim Basinger leads a star-studded cast.


Spotlighting the likes of both the top and bottom of the social heap, that being rich snobby spoiled twenty somethings, their formidably arrogant and selfish parents interconnecting to and from a voyeuristic hotel desk clerk(Renfro) and his relationship with his ex-convict uncle,(Rourke). The Informers is full of people you will just hate. Where luxury spawns hedonism, and what seems like a complete absence of morale, passion appears to only be in the form of carelessly having sex with everyone around you and snorting coke up your nose. As a marriage is attempted to be rekindled (Thornton/Basinger) despite a scandalous affair with an anchorwoman,(Ryder) the toll the adultery has taken on their marriage is far from forgettable let alone able to be repaired. The story is oddly told in a way where the audience is introduced to the characters with no dialog, merely a visual narrative dictating the irrelevance everything holds to each character outside of their drugs and promiscuity, provides an interesting overcast of depression and emptiness, that all in all, makes very clear the intention of the film. 3.5/5 stars.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Butcher Boy

USA/Ireland 1997

Neil Jordan adapts Patrick McCabe's novel about Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens), an overimaginative boy whose dire home life turns his harmless fantasies into murderous delusions. When his abusive father (Stephen Rea) dies, and his suicidal mother is institutionalized, Francie acts out in homicidal fashion. Disturbing and surreal, Jordan's film is notable for, among other things, casting controversial singer Sinéad O'Connor as the Virgin Mary.


I went into this movie not really knowing what to expect. I'm a fan of Neil Jordan and had never seen this up until now. I can't really explain really what it is I just watched. It's elaborately acted,
as a timepiece; very, very detailed and accurate.
As a film that should, with all it's momentum, build some sort of empathy for any of it's characters, doesn't. Whether this was the writer's intent is unclear, for as an adaptation, the film could have lost the story's original intention by being alive and visual. I wasn't bored, that is certain. The film itself is very top notch and the acting very theatrical and boisterous. Loud and uncompromising, the dark humor definitely saves this movie. The narrative is a tad contrived at times, but for the most part never fails to deliver a clever emphasis on the events unfolding before your eyes. Ending was not a satisfying wrap up, but was in no way a bad one. 3.5/5

Saturday, April 11, 2009


USA 2008

After accidentally killing a burglar while trying to protect his family, regular guy Wade Porter (Stephen Dorff) finds himself convicted of involuntary manslaughter and thrown into a maximum security prison for three years. Facing a harsh new world -- including a notorious mass murderer cellmate (Val Kilmer) and regular beatings organized by the head guard (Harold Perrineau) -- Wade soon realizes he'll have to toughen up if he's going to survive.


What starts off as a pretentious, 2 dimensional character infused movie, turns out to be a riveting, emotionally strong, raw acted, suspenseful triumph! There was some really deep dialog in this that brought tears to my eyes. Such a big surprise, I highly recommend this. The prison quarters and the guards procedures and ethics are very educational and degrading to even those that deserve to be treated in such a way. Wherein a realism is captured making the experience seem authentic. Full of sorrowful lessons of life in the cell with a life awaiting you on the outside as well as without anything to live for but respect on the inside, "Felon" delivers on all aspects of life making it easy to identify with, regardless if you have been to prison or not and especially if you have a family.

Fine, Totally Fine

Japan 2008

Teruo, the eldest son of a used bookstore owner has a dream: to build the world scariest haunted house. About to reach his 30th birthday, Teruo is still idling away his life. One day, through the introduction of childhood friend Hisanobu, an extremely clumsy painter/artist comes to work at the bookstore. Meet Akari. A cute, attractive girl that both Teruo and Hisanobu soon fall for.
This small bookstore could be in any town and becomes a refuge for these individuals that have fallen out of the mainstream society. EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT is an eagerly awaited hilarious film that portrays an easy-going, comical and heat-warming story that unfolds in a bookstore.


This is a comedy. A love story. A tale of brotherly commitment to their family and their Father's business. A tale of doing the things in life that make yourself happy while not compromising others. Simply a riot! I laughed from start to finish. Loving to hate some characters for their stupidity and just adoring the evolved throwback to slapstick comedy but with more of a horror genre twist. Very well acted and intriguing cast of characters that has to be seen to be understood. A very fulfilling story full of subplots that come together quite satisfyingly in the end. I highly recommend getting your hands and eyes on this. Some of the best sweaters you'll ever see. Yes, like winter sweaters...


USA 2006

Enrolling in a drug study to spice up his humdrum life as a low-paid meter reader, Les Franken (Michael Rapaport) begins taking an experimental antidepressant, which proves to have a few unexpected side effects. Convinced that he's actually developing special powers that can be used to fight evil, Les decides to quit his day job and focus on being a superhero … despite his doctor's professional opinion that his abilities are all in his mind.


Getting right to the point from the get go, "Special" sets the viewer up for an intimate look into the life of a lonely meter reader, Les,(Rappaport) who just doesn't seem to have anyone other than 2 brother nerds that own a comic book shop. Upon signing up for an experimental medication, Les believes he has developed super powers that are too real to him and all but real. Throughout the film, there is a psychological evaluation that preps the reasons why Les has powers not perceivable to anyone but himself. Les's life lacks a sense of purpose. Bottled up emotions and depression pour out into an interesting portrayal of a lonely man trying to find his place in the world doing what he feels is right for him; Saving the world while sacrificing himself. Paranoia and near psychosis ensues as the medication permanently etches itself into his bloodstream. An amazingly well acted depressing, yet completely uplifting film. Exceeded my already high expectations.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


United Kingdom 2009

As he nears the end of a lonely three-year stint on the moon base Sarang, astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) begins to hear and see strange things. It's not long before Sam suspects that his employer -- the conglomerate LUNAR -- has other plans for him. Featuring Kevin Spacey as the voice of a robot, this sci-fi thriller also stars Matt Berry and Kaya Scodelario. The film was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.


In the future Earth's energy crisis is solved when it is discovered that the dark side of the moon's rocks serve as a sponge soaking up the sun's solar energy. The rocks are then harvested and the clean, energy source is coined HE3, or Helium 3. On the moon there is a 1 man crew thus the film begins... What a gem! There are so many levels of empathy towards the orphaned protagonist played by Sam Rockwell that is developed so delicately, yet so straight forward with vast amounts of small practical detail. That makes the film undeniably potent, emotionally. 2 weeks from fulfilling his lone 3 year contract with his employer, Lunar Industries, an outing into the mining area on the moon's surface afar from his station, Sam has a freak accident which opens up a tightly locked secret that his employer has been keeping from him. I would really like to take this a step further in great detail, but it would spoil the film. Really, I do not want to say anything other than how well acted and made the film is. Very original and evenly poignant, attaining humor. Go to the Moon!


Hong Kong 2005-2008

Sparrow is a story that begins with intrigue: A group of petty pickpockets falling and heels over a beautiful woman of mystique. But during the course of their playful adventure, the film also attempts to capture something subtle and yet more poignant: The city of Hong Kong.


Sparrow is a heart felt, high brow examination of a group of anti-heros on the streets of Hong Kong and their lifestyle as "professional" pick pocketing. Kei (Simon Lam) is the groups leader, who like an army general dictates the guise of the crowd and his pick pocketing team of friends tactical alignments. When an attractive and seemingly distraught woman enters each of their lives, Chung Chun Lei (Kelly Lin) on separate occasions, each pickpocketer falls head over heels but never turning on one another, which is great! They all embrace the fact of the matter and that fact is that of the woman is running away from something or someone. Kei plays detective and discovers
that Chung Chun Lei is the young mistress of a high up crime, Mr. Kim Fu, a boss who earned his fortune through pickpocketing and is now retired and still has a lot of power. In an attempt to free Chung Chun Lei the group of pickpocketing friends serve as her knight and challenge the crime lord to an old fashioned duel of pickpocketing, totally shot in a signature Johnnie To style.
What a clean, honest heartfelt movie. BEST SOUND TRACK EVER!!!!!!! Seriously.


USA 2008

Revealing the stunning truth behind a horrific string of homicides near Santa Fe, a young girl (Ryan Simpkins), police officer (Kent Harper) and drug addict (Pell James) spill their wildly different witness accounts to FBI agents Elizabeth Anderson (Julia Ormond) and Sam Hallaway (Bill Pullman). Jennifer Chambers Lynch (Boxing Helena) directs this thriller that co-stars Michael Ironside, Cheri Oteri and French Stewart.


Jennifer Lynch's sophomore effort to follow in the footsteps of her legendary director father, seems to teeter and divide the audience. First off let's get this straight, the acting in this, so solid. You have Michael Ironside, Bill Pullman, Julia Ormond, French Stewart and Cheri Oteri. The lesser known names are great additions too, including the little girl, Ryan Simpkins who totally serves as the heroine but not as a the typical hero archetype. Now when it comes to the plot, the predictable twist and the resolution; Eh, whatever... really. Nothing special. Oliver Stone emphasized madness and love pretty thoroughly when he put out Natural Born Killers which I personally thought spoke loudly enough for this film to go in another direction.
Love and madness are Surveillance's connection and it's point
and despite how BRILLIANT Pullman's performance is, the film really just seems to be very unlikely and not worth all the tediously crafted plotting of the killers.
If someone is that sick and demented, I think it would be a lot more meticulously strategic opposed to just... a romp, dare I say?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Candidate

Denmark 2008

Jonas Bechmann, a defense attorney, is a man of the system. Until the day he himself is accused of murder. Taking matters into his own hands, he throws himself into the hunt for a group of blackmailers who threaten to expose him as the killer. But nothing is what it appears to be, and the blackmail links back to his father's death under mysterious circumstances a year and a half earlier.


Besides two major bummer flaws of "The Candidate"; One being something I must not spoil the other is just the whole reasoning and justification behind what is really causing the antagonists to go through all this intricate blackmailing scheme.
Once you see how detailed and technically, psychologically involved this master frame job is for Jonas, you will just be wondering, why?
Fast paced editing and brilliant performances, you got Bodnia who I just love, Nikolaj Lie Kaas who was intimidating as fuck in Bornedal's "Kærlighed på film", which was one of my favorite films I saw last year. Some other familiar faces pop up through out making a solid cast. However with too many curve balls there is just something loose
with the big picture.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Japan/France/South Korea/Germany 2008

Directors Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Joon-ho Bong each contribute a short film set in the great metropolis of Tokyo. Gondry's "Interior Design" follows an aspiring filmmaker who drifts apart from his girlfriend as they pursue a future in the big city. In Carax's "Merde," a strange man commits a bizarre series of controversial public acts on the Tokyo streets. And in Bong's "Shaking Tokyo," a recluse falls in love with a pizza delivery girl.


Inventive, imaginative, intriguing yet completely identifiable. Tokyo! brings three non-Japanese director's visions of Tokyo, Japan together in this 3 part movie of top notch performances and production. Each film maker, with their distinct styles really bring a lot to the table. Where a despairing laugh or an empathetic tear is just around the corner of every scene, TOKYO! is absolute in it's searing captivation of all things that make the human condition complicated, yet so frail and unstable, yet intelligent and simple.Very fascinating movie with a high replay value!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chop Shop

USA 2006

Twelve-year-old street orphan Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco) lives and works amid the mass of auto shops and junkyards known as the "Iron Triangle" just outside Queens, N.Y. When his teenage sister (Isamar Gonzales) arrives, the ambitious boy is inspired to make life better for them both. Nominated for a couple Independent Spirit Awards, this second feature from director Ramin Bahrani is a tough, eye-opening look at life on society's margins.


I'm not Ebert, so in my review I am going just to express how I felt about the movie, not what it's about. Read the synopsis for that.
Despite what every one declares about the
no name, right off the street kids being phenomenal
actors, I am going to disagree. However I do think
for not being actors, they do an amazing job.
With the way the film was shot, no steady pans, documentary style, a genuine sub culture is captured within the boroughs and characters.
Chop Shop brings an underdog to life in it's main young actor by displaying his adaptation to capitalist ideology, without school or parent figures, only through the streets and body shop workers and owners has he learned to survive.
At such a young age in such a hard position, adolescents mature beyond their years when self realization and survival are laid out in front of them before puberty even comes close. Good stuff.


Italy 2008

The intertwining tales of a delivery boy, a tailor, a businessman and two cocky teenagers form the fabric of this gritty and lyrical examination of the influential Neapolitan mob known as the Camorra. Peering into a multitude of social strata within present-day Naples, director Matteo Garrone's film -- a hybrid of melodrama, crime and art-film genres -- was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe and a Best Documentary Independent Spirit Award.


Nothing special. Totally worth the watch, but the whole cinéma vérité style has been done with crime and mobsters before. Refn's Pusher trilogy, in fact.
Not only did it remind me of the Pusher Trilogy to the t, of course except being Italian, it's seemingly a replica and not nearly as good. People complain about plot with this film, when undoubtedly it's a pure examination of different people caught up in the crime syndicates that run Italy and how they all interconnect. Definitely some major rawness, but when you shoot something cinéma vérité, it's not something that s hard to obtain. Well acted, kind of boring, but an interesting authentic look into the Italian street mafias of modern Italy. It makes for an intersting watch, regardless if I didn't feel attached to all of the characters.

Monday, March 16, 2009


2002 United Kingdom/Germany

Jamie Bell, Hugo Speer, Laurence Fox, Andy Serkis and Matthew Rhys play English soldiers stuck in enemy territory in this spooky World War I thriller. Desperate to stay unseen, they bunk out in an abandoned German hideout, where slowly, one by one, they're picked off by an otherworldly enemy they can't identify. For the rest of them to get out alive, they must understand what they're up against so they can vanquish it before it conquers them.

Deathwatch contains a lot of original ideas of violent oddities throughout it's wet and muddy terrain. Though the acting is terrific, the soundtrack seems out of sync sometimes with the films pace. Don't get me wrong the score is great but at times it brings the film completely out of it's structured environment, really weighing down what momentum the director had obtained through the intrigue of strong character discrepancies. Ultimately the film is a sure winner. But with the fore mentioned, the revelation the film builds up and spills in to sort of leaves you with a bland, unsatisfying taste in your mouth. Good film, though.

Secret Screening VOLUME I ISSUE I

I held a private event at my house with limited RSVP. Pretty much
I cram 20 people into my living room, 50/50 strangers to one another.
Some are even partial strangers to me, for the love of film.
What do we do? Consume beverages, pro or con alcoholic, munch on goodies
and watch a movie or two of my choice, on a 8' screen via my HP DLP.

I initiated these events for a sense of community in Cleveland revolving
around more of a geeky, snobby inside group of "genre" and "era" film love.
The opening event was on March 7th, 2009 at 8PM. The even went over great!
I had 19 people in my living room, relatively comfortably an attentive crowd
watching something they've never even heard of or seen.
Which was great for an opener. A great way to break the ice.
That film was, Taxidermia.

Everyone was really receptive and effected by the movie which saved room
for the already well known mockopic, JCVD. Everyone who had seen it, didn't
mind watching it again and anyone who had not seen it, loved it.

So the premiere night, was tight and felt as successful.
Next event is April 4th, 2009 8PM. With a secret opener
followed by a great Korean crime/thriller, "The Chaser".

3 seats left. This is going to be an interesting and ridiculous opener.
A lot of people have heard of and have seen bits, but maybe not in such
a big crowd on such a big screen, on a 250 watt PA...
I'm so excited to see how people react to the film.
Simply golden.

Aw Lizah, I luh you sah mawch.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


USA 1989 Released in 1992

Suburban teenager Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) seems out of step, even more so than most kids his age. When his sister's boyfriend (Tim Bartell) introduces him to an underground society, Bill discovers a disturbing world of carnal expression, cannibalism and other dark desires. This disturbing tale of escape from the normal was the debut film for director Brian Yuzna (Bride of Re-Animator).

Brian Yuzna directs this slow burning horror romp about a seemingly misplaced youth troubled by what seems to be a teetering conspiracy that points back to his family as the antagonists. A bad script, some hit or miss acting, but a completely shocking and unpleasing(in a good way) climax that will leave you baffled if you are unaware of what's in store. Awesome practical special FX and a brilliant ending, leaves this psuedo-cheesy, cult classic embedded in your head and most definitely in my DVD collection.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Room

USA 2002

Terrible performances, ridiculous situations and unbelievably dim-witted dialogue abound in this unintentionally hilarious masterpiece about a banker (Tommy Wiseau) who discovers his fiancée (Juliette Danielle) and best friend (Greg Sestero) are having an affair. Lead actor Wiseau writes and directs this steamy, quirky and utterly bewildering cult favorite, which fails on so many levels that it delivers nonstop laughs from beginning to end.
1/10 yet a 10/10 (HUH?)

This film divides audiences. Critically it is either the worst film ever made or the best movie ever made. I was blown away. This is the biggest pile of steamy lard to ever be made and for $6 MIL! With a crew of over 400 people?!! This is genius it is that bad. Wow, absolutely terrible. It changed my life. I could not get this film out of my head. Watch the interview with Tommy Wiseau on the special features menu after you watch the feature. Your guts will hurt from laughing so hard. Love to hate it. This is a must see! There's nothing special about the plot, in fact it's horrible. Guy really loves woman, woman pretends to love guy, sleeps with the guy's best friend. That is it. Nothing else. AMAZING! Most awkward sex scenes I have ever seen and they do not ever seem to end. The score is so typical and tries to build a suspense that only lingers like a bad soap opera. Tommy Wiseau is the best in this. A Christopher Walken that had a stroke and then was retrained to talk by Anthony Hopkins and 1990's Van Damme. You have to just buy this.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Norway 1997

Sent to a Norwegian town to help with a homicide investigation, tenacious detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) and his partner set a trap for the suspect. But the fog-shrouded stakeout goes awry: Engström mistakenly shoots his partner, then covers his tracks -- forgetting that the suspect witnessed the killing. Soon, Engström's guilty conscience and insomnia in the land of the midnight sun lead to a downward spiral into chaos.

How does one wash their own hands of someone else's blood? What if that blood belonged to a dear friend of yours who fell victim to your panicked split second decision? Apparently to the lead actor Stellan Skarsgård's character, Jonas;
Just lie about it and cover it up.
Jonas is a Swedish detective you is assigned to a murder case in Norway of a high school girl.
His reputation of being one of the best detectives creates a tension on the investigation team assigned to help solve the case. Jonas goes without end on not only protecting his integrity and reputation against a mortal mistake but also to solve the murder case jeopardizing innocent lives to find the killer, boring a deep well of guilt and a sense of inhumanity in his subconscious. Amazingly acted and really well shot. The pace of the film holds strong and interesting. Continuity is played forthright to a taut expertise, infallibility. Rich in character and tension is pungent with the cast's chemistry.
Overall intently satisfying finish. Do see.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Nest

France 2002

Samy Naceri, Benoit Magimel, Nadia Fares, Pascal Greggory and Sami Bouajila star as the ruthless members of three warring gangs who end up hiding out in the same warehouse. Although it's gargantuan, the place isn't nearly big enough for all their egos, grudges and baggage. Everyone's jostling for control, and worse, they're all armed with weapons to ensure they wind up at the top of the bloody heap. Who will end up in the seat of power?

I really loved how this film's pace and direction utilized minimal dialog and straight forward construction of storyline by just showing how each group of characters come to intersect in what I'll just call an intense predicament. 3 separate parties of armed people with their own missions mesh together in a bloody showdown. Santi and Nasser are best friends who head a underground crime ring of electronic sales, by picking off company warehouse stock piles of laptops, stereos etc. It's not just small business either. The group of individuals are elite and big time professionals. An elite group of police are transporting a notorious mass murderer/rapist cult leader, until his private army comes to his rescue. The private army is nasty and very intelligent, making for a very difficult obstacle to overcome for the small group of elite police, even with their armored vehicle that they are transporting the cult leader in. Upon the rescue attempt a missile dislodges the armored vehicle killing a police officer and forcing the police group to hide out in the warehouse the professional thieves just so happen to be robbing. At first tensions are infallible between the gang of thieves and police but then are forced to join sides as the private army becomes a threat to both. Face paced. Violent. Straight forward. No prisoners. And a subtle commentary on dedication, sacrifice and true friendship.

Dragon Tiger Gate

Hong Kong 2006

A dispute with his master (Wah Yuen) at Dragon Tiger Gate martial arts school leaves Dragon (Donnie Yen) on his own. But the appearance of the evil Shibumi (Yu Kang) prompts Dragon to reunite with his younger brother and fellow student, Tiger (Nicholas Tse), to battle the ferocious Shibumi. Wilson Yip directed this action-packed adaptation of the smash hit comic book series by Yuk Long Wong.

Despite never being keen on the comic book Dragon Tiger Gate kept my interest through and through. Reasons being; 1. Donnie Yen. The man is amazing and has a distinct prowess that is so well developed stylistically that he appears so much more superior than all even when the main bad guy seems to have the upper hand. The acting is great but the storyline and choice of climactic settings and turnabout could really drive a viewer into a more negative leaning of a partial opinion. Overall, if you do indeed understand that it is based off a comic book and the story is just following the origin then you can really let bygones be bygones and appreciate the ferocity each fighter displays in the brutal over the top fight choreography. Delicious and intense even with the crappy ending.


Thailand 2008

Acclaimed Thai action director Prachya Pinkaew helms this martial arts drama, which follows Zen (JeeJa Yanin), a young autistic woman who discovers that she has the uncanny ability to absorb precision fighting skills just by watching martial arts movies. When her cancer-ridden mother's creditors come calling, Zen attempts to settle the debts by standing up to a hardnosed gang of criminals who have wrongfully swindled money from her family.

Opposed to typical Thai action films, this one stands out even with the homeland of Thailand's signature over the top premise. There is some awesome emotional build in this. I felt tears building in a few parts just because of the sincerity backing the emotions of a dying mother,
her husbands absence, a caring cousin and an autistic child. The fight scenes were hit and miss to be honest. The hits just were not brutal nor did the lead actress Jeeja Yanin have a follow through style that ever remained consistent. To someone who is not as critical, this movie will blow your mind if you can get past the build up let alone appreciate it. The first 35 minutes, I LOVED! There was no action in that 35 minutes either! The fight scenes were brutal merely because some of the surroundings being utilized to just seriously wreck her opponents. As the film goes on, the absurdity ensues on a much higher level, becoming more outrageous in a completely dumbfounding spectacle of very entertaining proportions. It really grows on you for it's progression in pacing intends to.
There is one of the most original ideas of fighting I have ever seen in this where Zen is faced against another fighter with a mental disability, that has to be seen to be believed. Awesome movie.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Wrestler

USA 2008

Mickey Rourke (in a Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated role) stars as retired professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson, who returns to the ring and tries to work his way up the circuit for a final shot at defeating his longtime rival. Along the way, he tries to reconnect with his daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood), while exploring a relationship with a stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei, also nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar).

Ashamed of his real name "Robin", Randy The Ram is a struggling professional wrestler veteran on the his last leg. Between small gigs on the weekends and his job at a butcher deli, Randy visits a down to earth stripper, Cassidy or Pam rather for which he confides in. Telling her about his past glory, as well as his self realized detriment. Things go from depressing to tragic when The Ram suffers a heart attack after a brutal match. After a bypass procedure Randy is told he can never wrestle again. This film is so well done. I was teary eyed 10 minutes into the movie. An hour into the movie I had an epileptic fit from laughing so hard. Genuinely saddening, heart warming, brilliant dialog, perfectly shot and very straight forward. No gimmicks. The cross referencing of Rourke and Tomei's separate occupations holding similiar resonance to one another, is absolutely minimalist and completely genius.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

USA 2005

Petty thief Harry Lockart (Robert Downey Jr.) gets caught up in a murder investigation in this action-packed comedy. Posing as an actor, Harry heads to Los Angeles for an unlikely audition and finds an authentic acting coach in detective Perry Van Shrike (Val Kilmer). But the bright lights of Hollywood fade when a murder takes place and Harry, Perry and Harry's high school dream girl (Michelle Monaghan) become part of the investigation.

Despite an incredible cast of American talent, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang teetered me with confusion. Not in the sense that I did not understand what was going on, that was relatively easy, but if I was enjoying the movie is what I mean. There are a lot of creatively funny moments throughout the movie. Think "Family Guy Flashback" funny. These alone are enough to make the film entertaining. What threw me off was the editing and the very flashy and over eccentric scripting. Half the time the dialog of each character seems to be trying too hard to be over the top with pop culture analogies and self parodying. The other half of the time the film does cut deep with some intriguing moments that maintain the film's undeniable vigor. The plot falls somewhere between a film industry crime drama and a noir novel inspired conspiracy of "Johnny Come Lately" coming of age comedy... One could gripe about how the pace of the film is wishy washy without continuity, however the climatic end of the film really made up for all the forced eccentricity. The satirical narration of Robert Downey Jr. is great. Definitely worth watching. I hate Michelle Monaghan but she is actually amazing in this which caused me to have a new found respect for her.

Friday, January 30, 2009


France/West Germany 1981

In this controversial epic of obsessive love and sexual psychosis, Isabelle Adjani (Nosferatu, The Tampyre, The Story of Adele H.) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) star as married couple torn by emotional instability and carnal infidelity.

In this off the wall psychological horror, theatrics are full swing. Intensely executed dialog keeps this slow burner boiling until the film overflows with completely twisted interpretive perverseness.
Isabelle Adjani is absolutely incredible as a woman gone completely insane. Sam Neill is genuinely creepy and concerned. As well, over the top.
Once the script establishes that the wife has left the husband and child for promiscuous ambitions,
Sam Neil's character, very determined, sets out to uncover his rampant wife's secrecy. As the unimaginable truth becomes apparent, he then begins
to spiral into madness to appease his wife's neurotic sexual instability and carnal interbreeding indecency with a shocking revelation that entails. Full of dancing cinematography, twisted scenes of perverse innuendos, an amazing and original storyline, superb special effects, brutal kill scenes, perplexed dialog and an effectively exhausting amount of epileptic fits,
POSSESSION places itself on my top 10 list of all time. It has aged so well.

Friday, January 23, 2009

White Dog

USA 1982

After hitting a German shepherd with her car, young actress Julie (Kristy McNichol) adopts it and nurses it back to health. When she discovers that her pet has been trained to viciously attack black people, she convinces dog trainer Keys (Paul Winfield) to try to cure the animal. Samuel Fuller directs this controversial, chilling drama based on Romain Gary's 1970 memoir, Chien Blanc. Burl Ives co-stars.

Ha, PG rating. Hilariously erroneous according to the MPAA's standards not only now mostly, but even then. This film is great. The director really knows how to shoot. Samuel Fuller's ability to envision such transitions places a smooth current of tension right down your back. Simply controversially nerve racking, especially if you have ever been attacked by a dog. The film is based off of true events, but of course as an elaboration. There is a blatant and very strong racial social commentary of imprinting prejudice beliefs on attack dogs. The lead actor, is the woman who hits the dog and takes it in as her pet unbeknown to her that the dog is a "White Dog". Which is a coined colloquial term for a dog trained to attack African-Americans. Once the dog attacks one of her co workers whom is a black woman she is forced to consider her options of either killing the dog or reconditioning the dog. She then finds a man who trains exotic animals and who has a past with trying to recondition "white dogs". Yeah, he's black and hella awesome. Failing to recondition his past attempts at previous "white dogs", he then takes the matter of resetting the conditioning of hatred in the abused domesticated animal, very personally and passionately. The controversial premise is really showing how ignorant and vain the ego of humankind can be. How our species cruelly molds an animal to their prejudices. And how you can't take the bite out of an afflicted killer. And the price others pay, merely being innocent bystanders caught in the unflinchingly ferocious grips of an emotionless monster bent on destroying them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fist of Legend

Hong Kong 1994

Before the outbreak of World War II, Japanese troops occupying Shanghai threaten the city's most revered martial arts teacher. When the master is killed, star pupil Chen Zhen (Jet Li) returns to avenge his teacher's death and set things right. With blistering action and old-fashioned fight scenes (with minimal use of wires), this remake of Bruce Lee's classic Fist of Fury from director Gordon Chan highlights Li's timing and acrobatic ability.

Fist of Legend is one of the best Kung Fu/Martial Arts films ever made. The fight scenes are kinetically shot creating emphasis on intensely fast fight choreography. Jet Li in his prime, just gets right up in his opponent's faces with a blank expression. Li is really the ultimate bad arse in this. Nearly unstoppable with a refined coolness, Chen(Li) is in love with a Japanese girl Mitsuko. With the film's setting being 1937 there was Japanese and Chinese conflict. A social commentary on the racism, corruption in Military and Government as well as deep family ties and tradition, set an undertone of very human, unbiased resonance of life during those times. INCREDIBLE fight scenes! I can not stress this enough.

House of Fools

Russia 2002

A true story about the patients of a Russian psychiatric asylum (in Caucasus, on the Chechnyan border) who become involved with the Chechen War after their doctors, nurses and attendants abandon them. Amidst the turmoil, a young woman, Janna, falls in love with a Chechen soldier. Canadian pop singer Bryan Adams (playing himself) appears to Janna as a hallucination singing his hit, "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"

A rich, distraught, quirky, emotional ride embedded with grit, blood and the insane or physically challenged. The cast of House of Fools are of both great actors and real life people with mental and/or physical illnesses. The institution's faculty are scarce but prevalent subsidies of the main cast of mental patients. At the beginning and quite often throughout the film, Bryan Adams pops in looking like a Willem Dafoe/Jeremy Irons hybrid, into the imagination and dreams of the lead actress. During which the feel of the film turns from the rugged cold stain, to a light and warm lather. The film really just goes on and on in a great way. It's a war film. But as you watch it, you wouldn't even know it. The lead actress is intentionally easy on the eyes but absolutely insane. She seems to maintain a distinction of sanity over the other patients, being creative, interactive and kind to all of them. However, as the film unravels more into the war going on around them, she becomes more displaced and unstable than perhaps all of the fools. This film can be really funny at times as well as really despairing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why are there no new reviews?

Well, I am purposely a late bloomer on watching television shows.
I do not watch anything current, because being strung a long is for
people with no lives and need a weekly activity to keep them sane.
So I watch shows after they end. So I can just pound them out
from one episode to the next.

Which is the case for the last month with SIX FEET UNDER.
it's running my life and I'm only watching a movie like, once a week...
I average about 5-6 normally. So, that's my reason. Reviews will be
back in full swing once I finish the last 2 seasons of Six Feet Under.
Fuck, that show is amazing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Unborn

Thailand 2003

After waking up in a hospital to discover she's been brutally beaten and is pregnant, Por is understandably confused, unable to make sense of her surroundings. For one thing, she can't stop hearing the strange voice of a disembodied child, which seems to have something to do with an animated doll. And for another, she's forced to interact with a mysterious woman she's never met before. Intira Jaroenpura stars in this hallucinatory horror flick.

This film could not hold my attention.
There are good qualities about the film in mere instances. Such as it's production quality and acting and some fairly original ideas. Ultimately though, as a whole, there is no real character substance or identity. The entire film is soaked in a wrongfully scored soundtrack. The story just completely becomes gooey and loses all it's foundation by trying to redeem the fact that long black haired ghost girl stories are a dime a dozen by adding some ritualistic occult ideology to the plot. For which is teeters into another underdeveloped portion of a movie just becoming a seemingly long, uninteresting drawn out, and unsatisfying pretentious mess.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Citizen Dog

2004 Thailand

Ignoring his grandmother's warning that he'll grow a tail if he moves to Bangkok, Pod leaves the safety of his village for a job in a big-city factory that produces canned sardines. He accidentally loses his finger, but he ultimately finds true love. Wisit Sasanatieng directs this surrealistic Thai romance with fanciful visuals and elaborate special effects that has drawn comparisons to the French film Amélie.

I can definitely see the comparisons to Jeunet 's Amelie. I have even heard that this was better. I couldn't disagree more. On many notes this film does pull out a thorough imaginative set of cards but I absolutely could not stand the lead actress in this. As hard as Wisit pushed to make her character intriguing and/or compelling it was an epic fail. I completely despised her autistic-esque naivety, which for me was one of the FEW flaws of the movie. Another issue I had with the film was the constant music video pacing and editing however the attention to detail through sequences with extensive lush colors made up for the forced quirky characters. You know in all Disney movies there is just this one character by Disney default that is super corny and funny but also irritating? If you know what I mean, well this film's cast was filled with them. Hit and miss at that. But it really is a great film and I was satisfied and I think a lot of people that have yet seen it, will love it.

The Edge of Heaven

2007 Turkey/Germany/Italy

When his father (Tuncel Kurtiz) accidentally kills a prostitute (Nursel Koese), Nejat (Baki Davrak) seeks out the woman's 27-year-old daughter, Ayten (Nurgul Yesilcay), to make amends. Nejat focuses his search in Turkey, but Ayten, part of a closely scrutinized activist group, has already fled to Germany. Lives intersect in unexpected ways in writer-director Fatih Akin's multilayered drama.

A perfectly knitted sociopolitical commentary on 3 families intersecting lives. In vein of Alejandro González Iñárritu's style of connecting people together in interesting ways through dramatic story telling, Akin definitely has cast searing talent who really bring realistic human interaction to a film.
How the camera dances and the direction of each scene is set up aesthetically pleasing to the eye, from The Black Sea and it's beaches to Istanbul and/or Hamburg's charming cultural backdrops. The film is told in three portions, the first two parts are the deaths of two characters explaining how the 3rd part begins and comes to be. Just over two hours, the movie's pace is reset as each story ends and the next chapter begins. That technique really keeps a movie interesting where it's strength is dialog acted right. Tragedy turns to enlightenment as each separate character comes together teaching one another some very subtle yet vital lesson about one another and their lives.