Monday, August 27, 2012

A Review: The Bourne Legacy

"Who the hell is he?!"
Yes. Just who in the hell is Aaron Cross? Why is he a white man, with medium build, short brown hair and hard stare? Because this is America, we're assholes and these are our heroes? An international agency with global operatives and this is the best we can come up with to separate ourselves from Jason Bourne? And why is he towing around a white brunette who looks scared and needs saving again? (Sans Euro-accent, points for that) Why, did the man who crafted the scripts for first three films, feel the need to keep the two new leads so close to the formula of the original trilogy?

Why not Idris Elba and Penelope Cruiz? Or Adrien Brody and Kerry Washington? Joseph Gordan-Levitt and Kate Mara or a Christina Hendricks type? (Reaching, maybe, but it's not entirely stupid) Just, totally new and fresh faces, anyone else but these two--as great a pair of performers as they are with film legacies and history behind them set. And that's not the point of these opening paragraphs either. Their fine, but not for material that needs distance from it's predecessor literally in need of a face-lift.

Lord knows after Clayton, Gilory has his pick of actors. How do you think he got Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz in this picture?

A Review: Total Recall

"Look at you. . . You're still fighting and you don't even know who you are!"

In this future, at the ass-end of the 21st century, robotic police officers that resemble Slim-Fast versions of Storm Troopers mixed with legitimate human cops patrol the streets. Cars can sorta fly. Almost everything electronic is now glass touch screen. Young adults are still punks. Cell phones can be secretly implanted (and painfully extracted) in your hand.

And an elevator (with small scientific theory and history behind it) cuts through the earth, zips around the core to the other side. It heads to either (you guessed it) Great Britain, 1 of 2 remaining habitable parts of earth along with the other: Australia a.k.a The Colony.

The Colony resembles a slum of Asian-likeness. I found out later that was little bit on purpose and not me simply drawing semi-racist juxtapositions in my so-called-mind. Living space is shrinking in the two land masses. Things are getting tight, literally and figuratively for people. The colony is a crapland of slum and "United Federation of Britain" is a great place to live and work. But not for the blue collars and foreigners apparently. Okay.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Review: First Knight

Movies like this are ungodly annoying because they throw the word of "Love" around like bread crumbs at the birds. All, willy, and yes, nilly, too. Which is offensive to the word and anyone who's had intimate relations with it. Movie or not, this material takes itself very seriously. So I will, in turn, do the same.

There is no foundation, weight, or  responsibility to the meanings, or the tutelage and right of passage to get the heart in meaning of the word. The movie only gives us a nebulous definition and I don't feel anyone feels it's true meaning. Only that it means a great deal. And having known this word myself, and been to the ends of the earth and beyond in it, I can say First Knight knows no true love. But only the idea of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Review: Monsters

"I guess that's what they mean by 'Infected Zone'."
I've said before that it takes a lot to scare me, and more so than that, most horror movies will bring me a giggle quicker than a startle.

With that being said, I wouldn't presume to call Monsters a film that intends to scare, or provoke fear. I'll say the provocation of sense of wonder, awe, and misunderstanding in the film about said monsters is more prominent than anything else. Including the images Edwards gives us (doubling as cinematographer).

The Mexican landscapes almost like tapestries before our eyes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Review: The Fugitive Kind

         "There's another kind."
             "What kind?"
             "It's a kind that don't belong to no place at all."

Tennessee Williams is a guarantee for the much more dramatic, enlightening and heightening sort of fair. In The Fugitive Kind we're given a film that is not about happy, bright people. Optimism is not a daily practice for most of the characters we meet, but not all of them. And maybe they don't even want to be happy. Their stuck. They have deep-seated issues of shame, guilt, loneliness, infidelity, bleak self-direction and unfair lives considering what they've paid into life so far. Some, not so much of a pension considering their life credits.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Review: Signs

"I think God did it. . ."
Every year for the past six, on the 23rd of August I watch this film. I chose this particular day because it is the day of birth for a very dear old friend of mine. She and I no longer speak, but that has only been a recent thing. Secretly, to honor her and our friendship, years ago I began watching this in a commemorative fashion of her, first time meeting each other, first hug, first laugh, everything since then, all the great years spent. Silly to you maybe, but call me a nostalgic old soul.

The years have gone by and still I dive into this film. Enjoying the saturation in the thrill, the wonder, the drama, and the dread each and every time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Review: Sabrina

"It's all in the family."
                                         --Linus Larrabee

With the stars out, she sits at her desk draped in a silk robe and writing a letter to her father about her two years spent in France. Her hair is short and cropped freshly. The night sky's wind carries La Vie En Rose from a French accordion player through her patio double-doors (or french doors) left wide open. Her back to the picturesque view. She has a smile on her face of quaint peace, and she feels at home with herself. She's excited about the world.

Meet Sabrina Fairchild.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Review: Eden Lake

"How now brown cow?!"
I suppose the new trend of horror, or, the old trend, or, the smarter tend (does it matter?) is that the movie ends in ways you didn't expect. Or, it does so in ways that don't serve the purpose of triumph for certain characters. I won't say if this one does or does not, but I've been noticing as of late, the trend has set itself none the less.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Review: Wrecked

"Fuck! I'm. . . FUCK!"
We almost think the name of the movie should be called "Goddamnit." It's accurate in regards for his bad luck and situation. Wouldn't be far off from what the title is ultimately suggesting.

The first thing we can see clearly is Adrien Brody's eyelid as it opens to reveal a weathered ball behind the skin. Then the camera shifts to a broken windshield and the dense green foliage beyond it. Eventually he comes fully to and gazes around. Beat to hammered shit would just about some up his appearance. Stuck in the front passenger seat of a car, he's wrecked it in the bottom of a ravine in the woods, some how. And yet he looks as if he doesn't have the slightest how he's there.

The man in the back seat is either unconscious, or, dead. Later, we find out he is not playing possum, and Brody is all alone. The driver is missing, we don't know about anyone else from the backseat. And that's just the beginning of his problems.

A Review: The Descent

"I'm an English teacher not fucking Tomb Raider."
There is a darkness to this movie combined with it's perfect, expansive and finely detailed set construction that adds a certain level of authenticity it deserves. I was happy to feel, at times, like I was in that damn 2-miles deep down cave system with the girls. Director Neil Marshell achieved his desired effect of claustrophobia, insidious pressure and atmospheric strain in his Brit-Horror flick to a good effect.

Sarah, Juno and Beth are whitewater rafting in Scotland, then, boom, Sarah's life comes to a halt. A year later, we see her in North Carolina with Beth and their driving through the Appalachian Mountains for a spelunking trip. Unfortunately there not about to find the Batcave. No, something else lurks down there.

A Review: Kill List

"It's complicated."

Please understand, and do not be confused: this film is horrific. It's true what they say, the genre while arguably a family drama, with flights of crime/suspense ultimately falls under horror. I'll agree with that and say it conceals itself in the former two categories well. Do not be fooled by the first two acts, which go by very curiously and enlarge our interest in where exactly it's heading.

My favorite part was getting through the last thirty or so minutes having not a single clue where it was going. Then arriving at our destination seemingly pulled the from the deep innards of the Bermuda triangle. Boy, was that fun.

Inside the film, there is a regular occurrence of a reverse bell toll and slow, sloshing music in a dark, unyielding tone. It doesn't exactly stop, almost, but when it's not sounding, we feel it's presence has done it's job to give us feelings of dread. Things--as well as you'd think they'd go with two contract professionals--don't exactly go that way. What did you expect? A movie where the hit list is quietly executed and then it's Bob your uncle?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Review: Bel Ami

"The most important people in Paris are not the menThe most important people in Paris are their wives."

I remember hearing about this project's inception, and the thing that sparked my interested most certainly went in a different direction then all 6 studios who share credit intended. T'was not Twilight star Pattinson, Robert that had my knees weak. But Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci all inside one film, a period-setting, a French aristocratic love drama. There we go. . .

Accomplishing such a unlikely containment of talent is a feat in itself, the likes of which could only be attained through a box office top-billed star the like of which has the crowd draw of Edward Cullen.The sheer spectacle of those three actresses with long standing ties to film was enough for me to watch the trailer in anticipation for the celluloid and then sit through this.

And as it turns out, my instincts lead me to watching a real gem of a film about three wives in Paris, played with delicious fancy by three skilled performers.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Review: Mother

This film is a delectable delight of an adorable fancy and almost, whimsically dramedic--if I may merge two words--at times.
Balancing flights of mustily dark comedy, police procedural and (at times suspenseful) family drama, Mother is certainly more than the title suggests.

Even the open sequence alone is enough to rope us in tightly with it's capricious nature, and, avant-garde approach almost, dancing along in front of our eyes. We need to find out more about this woman, her story and this film.

A Review: The Woodsman

"I see something in you. Something good. You don't see it yet, but I do."
A regular occurrence of this film, almost like a running gag, is Walter's door, and the people who knock on it.

Every time the door to his apartment gets knocked on, we feel that Walter's patience dwindles by another percentage. Serenity in his solitude is something he initially sets out for.

Solemn grace inside his own walls, not the walls of a prison sentence on a 12 year stretch.

A Review: There Will Be Blood

"I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. . .  I hate most people."
                                                                                                                                                  --Daniel Plainview

Daniel Plainview has done whatever it took him to get to the top of the oil business, to do deals with others to attain his wealth, success and seclusion. Although I won't say he wasn't an honest, hardworking businessman who took all the (nearly) legal steps to get to where he is by the end. Eventually spending his days shooting his rifle at random objects inside the halls of his mansion.

Drunk, dark, wobbly, and greasy. But alas, this is we feel, the payoff he has been working his whole life for. To do what he wants, inside his own walls, with only himself.

The two scenes that follow that introduction to Old Man Plainview are both, powerful, darkly comic and quite simply an astonishing show of an acting Grandmaster, who essentially, is just not acting anymore.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Review: I Am Love

"Happy? 'Happy' is a word that makes one sad. . . Why aren't you happy?"

I Am Love. A line taken from the song, "La Mamma Morta" as sung by the legendary Maria Callas, one of my favorite singers. In this beautiful aria from Andrea Chénier,    Maddalena is conveying her feelings and past to Gerard, who vies for her affections. 

She sings to him of her hopes for life, for love, for beauty and grandeur in the world after living sickly and poor through the horrors of the French Revolution. 

Tilda Swinton is directed by Luca Guadagnino (Melissa P.) as a Russian expatriate wed into a wealthy Italian family. It doesn't taker her long to fit in, and acclimatize to her new lifestyle as the wife to a Milano Textile Manufacturers. The grandfather announces at his birthday party his retirement as head of the family company, Recchi. He names his son Tancredi, and grandson Edo, as his replacements. 

From this moment on, the events of the film begin to truly unfold, and that's we're I'll leave it, and only speak cryptically of the things I'll reference.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Eva: "You don't look happy." 
Kevin: ". . .Have I ever?"

There is nothing quite like a mother's love. And when the words in the above quote are spoken, the scene in which they are heard reflects the power that specific love contains. Trust me, it's a palpable stench that reaches out and grabs hold of you. Such a brilliant and potent few minutes.