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?