Monday, September 28, 2009
Having had the misfortune of sitting through this dreadful adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's adventure story I have to say Bob Keen should stick to special effects. Mind you, I've seen better effects in Saturday morning cartoons than what I witnessed here. While I never mind watching Montreal's Jane Heitmeyer I'm afraid even her presence here can't make be recommend this yawn inducing mess.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
My biggest complaint about the latest Bruce Willis action vehicle would have to be Michael C. Hall was not in it. Of course he not supposed to be in SURROGATES, he is starring in GAMERS but this is what I get for spending too much time watching previews at the pub in the middle of the footy! Just the same, I spent a good deal of time during SURROGATES waiting for DEXTER to show up, which he didn't. Who did was Willis in one of his best thrillers in ages. Granted, this is not high-brow science fiction but there are enough elements in play to keep one thinking but don't brood too long or the ending will have you pulling your hair out. Think of it as DIE HARD meets BLADERUNNER and while it in no way comes close to the level of the latter it does have an interesting visual execution and some neat sexual qualities. It should be mentioned this is a Jonathan Mostow picture and those who have a hate on for U-571 or TERMINATOR 3 may wish to take a pass but for my my money I got what I expected and then some.....all except for a robotic Dexter...speaking of which...that might be an interesting story arc for the future, oh...nevermind.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The Basketball Diaries
Yes, I was sadly quite aware of the passing of Jim Carroll this week past. Having met him a couple of times back in the '80s I felt a look at the filmed version of his most famous work was a more fitting tribute than a mere little obit related blurb. Scott Kalvert does a fair enough job catching some of the grit to be found in Carroll's bildungsroman and it is interesting to see Leonardo DiCaprio develop some of the traits he would use as Rimbaud in TOTAL ECLIPSE but overall I never thought of this as a great film. A few future SOPRANOS regualrs appear here, Lorraine Bracco, Vincent Pastore and the great Michael Imperioli who is making his directorial debut with THE HUNGRY GHOSTS and will also soon be seen in THE LOVELY BONES. Look for Brittany Daniel in her feature debut and Carroll himself has an interesting cameo but I won`t ruin it for those of you who`ve read the book but not yet seen the film. Worth a look for the edgier teen set or those who survived the era but alas THE BASKETBALL DIARIES does not have mass interest appeal.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Love him or hate him the man sure had talent. Have fun with Jeff up there in the big Roadhouse in the sky!
Friday, September 11, 2009
World Trade Center
As today marks eight years since this life changing event of a generation occured I thought taking a moment to blurb this Oliver Stone film proper. Of course we all know what happened and everyone of us remember where we were when we heard. In my case it was listening to Howard Stern of all people and following the events and misinformation through his media bent was unique to say the least. In the case of WORLD TRADE CENTER many felt Stone moved too quickly but upon watching it those concerns are silenced. It is a straight forward look at the firemen who risked and gave their lives to save other in this horrible crisis. Stone plays it straight here and the expected conspiracy theories are nowhere to be found. Nicolas Cage does the same given an honest no nonsense performance in the lead. Not the greatest film either has made but a fitting tribute to some of the heroes on that tragic day.
As Canadian TV movies go this one stands out for actually having a half decent script and some rather spooky direction. Might have had something with being shot in Moose Jaw where director Jeff Beesley was born or maybe it was the above average performance of Alberta Wilson for this sort of fare. It's a neat little story involving near death experiences and misplaced souls and is certainly worth a boo though I must confess to having laughed through a great deal of it. This had nothing to do with the picture but with me thinking Eugene Lipinski looked a hell of a lot like Michael Coren and the idea of Coren in a supernatural thrilled had me in bloody stitches!
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Uh...let`s see. Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell kind of fight over Michelle Pfeiffer. I'm of the mind she did this better a year later in THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS but who can blame her for wanting to take a dry run at the concept first. Actually, TEQUILA SUNRISE isn't bad at all and we do get a command performance from the late, great Raul Julia, no doubt due to Robert Towne's script and direction but it never raises the bar and you get the sense of been there, seen that and I think I've already thrown out the t-shirt. Look for Lala Sloatman in her film debut.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
In the Bedroom
I must say I found it odd Andre Dubus would set this story in Maine rather than somewhere around Boston. I say this because IN THE BEDROOM, despite being a serious drama comes off as something Stephen King might have written if he ever had the drive to nab a Pulitzer or such. Make no mistake from the title, this is one heavy piece of work and it was because of said title and the fact Sissy Spacek was in it that the DVD stayed on a shelf unwatched for years. I always make this mistake with Spacek. I'm expecting some chick flick drivel, watch whatever film it happens to be and time and time again walk away amazed at her work. I also say, "next time it won't happen" but it does. This picture was nominated for 5 Oscars, earning Tom Wilkinson his first nod and I mention this because the film for the most part is about his character and how he deals with a "situation". As an aside, a "REAL" film critic friend of mine always chides me about having it easy on my blog as I'm not required to tell readers what the film is about. Sometimes I do but for the most part I like to let you find out for yourself. The blog is used by most as a late night guide, as in HAIRY BOTTOMED BOOGER SUCKER is on in 5 minutes, it's 2 in the friggin' morning, is this worth staying up for. With IN THE BEDROOM you don't want to be watching this at that hour nor when you might be suffering from a bout of depression as this one is bummer central. It also happens to be brilliant but will require your full attention as it's quite complex in it's simplicity. Marisa Tomei has some fine moments but I must take a second to point out William Mapother. ost of his know him from LOST and here he delivers equal creep-out factor. Fine acting, amazing story and script...just be careful when you choose to watch it.
Friday, September 04, 2009
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
Although this Lewis Milestone picture gets thrown in with the Film-Noire genre it is in fact more of a true drama. Yes, elements and stylings of the F.N. are certainly there but THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS hold truer to the crime romance more than anything else. A stunning cast with Barbara Stanwyck and Lizabeth Scott it also marks the film debut of the great Kirk Douglas who begins with on hell of a bang. Van Heflin is a true feature here even though I can't watch him in this film without thinking he's James Cagney and the lovely Ann Doran, even with little total screen time, upstages everybody in the beauty department. As with many of the older films the slowness of pacing may turn off younger and modern viewers but well worth the effort for the lighting and sets alone.
I found myself watching this one without any idea of what I was getting into. Sure, knew it was a little romantic teen comedy and I recognized Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari right away but what I didn't know was LOSER is a Amy Heckerling film. We of course love her for FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and LOSER has aspects of the teen angst and wonder she captured there. By no means a great film it does manage to be above average due to the interaction bewtween Biggs and Suvari which was surprisingly effective. Parts were shot in Toronto and locals will notice landmarks from the Gay Village. Dan Aykroyd and Andrea Martin make appearances as does Scott Thompson and Greg Kinnear brings his sleaziest role to date to the plate. Light and fluffy fare for when the brain needs no stimulus.