Wednesday, April 28, 2010


There is a great line from SOUTH PARK where Cartman goes on a rant concerning foreign art films where he states they are nothing but "gay cowboys sitting around a campfire eating pudding". One could take that a step further and say American art films are nothing more than "people sitting around coffee shops and getting all fucked up on drugs and having sex with anything that moves". This pretty much sums up BROKEN, which I kind of liked but I can't say I'd recomend it to anyone. I've always said I could watch Heather Graham on the bloody Shopping Network if I had to but BROKEN sure pushed that idea....hard.....and do I really need to Jeremy Sisto play another screwball slime-bucket. How Linda Hamilton ended up in this "film" is beyond me and the music...oh...the music, if you want to call it that, will have you wanting to pull your hair out midway through. Not an outright trashing from me but viewer beware!

The Grudge 3

There it was on the new release shelf, direct to DVD, yet another GRUDGE as if they hadn't managed to wring enough cash from poor Kayako's hair. There it sat on sell-through, ever dropping in price until I could resist it no more and alas we embark on a look st THE GRUDGE 3.
Right off, the scariest thing about this one is how much two of my favorite A-list hotties have aged being Marina Sirtis and Shawnee Smith. No, I'm not insulting them it was merely the observation of time passing and this leads into my issues with THE GRUDGE 3....Ive seen it all before.. That being said this, the first period not to have been directed by Takashi Shimizu, isn't all that bad. It has a fair story, good acting, some nice scares and even more blood than we've seen in the American versions. Sadly, we have a new Kayako as I gather some thought Takako Fuji was too old. I'd rather think she was simply fed up with donning the white body paint and twisting herself into god knows what positions on a cold soundstage but that's just me. Same for the spooky cat kid Toshio now played by Shimba Tsuchiya. Problem here is the kids too damn big for the role and when the character shows up you almost expect the little bug eyed fucker to go (insert Japanese here) "dude, fuck off, I'm playin' Xbox here and you're harshing my buzz" and for my money they should have found Garrett Masuda who was the ghost kid in SCARY MOVIE 4 to play the part. Aiko Horiuchi is a fine replacement for Fuji but my original point was meant to be I'm getting old. As bad as the American GRUDGE 2 was I was at least happy to see the old crew back in action. Now, with a new breed and the sex symbols of my younger years I said before...that's scary. For gawd's sake, they are now remaking the films of my youth on such a regular basis (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET anybody?) that I feel like I'm in a time-warp. Why just the other day I heard a cover OF A cover which was already a cover OF A cover dammit but I digress. THE GRUDGE 3 was good enough they might get my money a little quicker when number 4 hits the stands which, just like this curse, is inevitable.

Crazy Heart

Remember THE X-FILES episode RUSH? Remember the hunky (so I'm told) "speed" freak Max Haren? He was played by Scott Cooper and who would have though a mere ten years later he would be directing Jeff Bridges to his first Oscar. I sure wouldn't have but that's exactly what he did and because of that Oscar I don't feel much need to babble on about CRAZY HEART. Was Bridges good, did he deserve the gold statue...yes and yes. Should he have sang, maybe not. I found that to be the weakest part of the film. Was Maggie Gyllenhall too young to play the love interest. Considering it's a story about a country and western singer I didn't think so and I'm of the opinion she did a mighty fine job. Was Colin Farrell believable? Knowing the way new country is I certainly thought so and I'm of the opinion he did a mighty fine job. Should T. Bone Burnett and Bobby Duvall duke it out for God-hood? Nah.....let T-Bone have it when Robert is sleeping and I'm of the opinion they both did mighty fine in their respective jobs. Is it THE WRESTLER with a twang? Similar story but the same can be said about many things and I'm of the opinion CRAZY HEART does a mighty damn fine job.

The Steam Experiment (The Chaos Experiment)

For those wanting a SAW with a bit more brains THE STEAM EXPERIMENT may very be the answer. Not a fantastic picture but unique in it's approach and, no pun intended, execution. Simple premise has Val Kilmer playing a scientist gone mad who lock six people in a steam bath as a way to prove a theory and make a larger point. Sure, not unique but the way Philippe Martinez (another predominantly producer turned director) puts it together makes it work when another style might not have. Kilmer is a lot of fun here, if you want to call it that, and I commend him for his continued support of independants and it's because of him and a few other "stars" that THE STEAM EXPERIMENT stands out. Armand Assante has it up as the detective investigating Kilmer and while the whole thing might have been filmed in a day it looks like he's having fun. Also having fun is Eric Roberts whose dialogue alone is enough reason to watch the little psycho thriller. With support in the steam room from Cordelia Reynolds, Eve Mauro and Megan Brown this is one experiment you'd do well to partake in.

The Haunting of Molly Hartley

I'm often asked why I bother to keep this blog when a site like IMDB exists and this film would be a good way to start. Pop over to and you will find THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY rated at a whopping 3.6/10. Read through the user comments and you will discover one mighty heavy hate campaign against it and why you wonder is this important. Because this haunting isn't as bad as they claim. It marks the directorial debut of producer Mickey Liddell and while I'll grant you he's a little zinger happy in this project he has delivered a more than adequate teen set spooker. Haley Bennett does a great job as Molly and with Shannon Woodward, AnnLynne McCord and Shanna Collins (fantastic as a bible thumping psycho!) by her side this could easily be a CARRIE meets TWILIGHT gig. It's certainly not the greatest film but when you have a bunch of IMDB users ripping it a new asshole and they can't even wrap their heads around the "twist ending" (which, by the way, if you don't see coming means you've probably never seen a horror film before) then it is necessary for folks like me to have blogs like this. You'll have a sense of having seen much of it before but it's still worth a shot when nothing else is in the slot.


If you will like UNTRACEABLE depends on two things, if you like the films of Gregory Hoblit (PRIMAL FEAR, FREQUENCY, HART'S WAR, FRACTURE) and if you can handle Diane Lane in the lead. Both seem to be an either you love or hate proposition, in my case I fall under the love category. While UNTRACEABLE is nothing special to write home about it does achieve what films of this nature are supposed keeps you on the edge of your seat while entertaining you for a couple of hours. Will you remember it a day later....maybe one scene but who cares. As Howard Stern used to say, "life is simple, if it's good you have a job you don't hate, you do it, go home and hopefully have a meal and a movie that doesn't suck and you get laid. Life is good".....or something like that. UNTRACEABLE doesn't suck.

The Hangover

I don't imagine there is any need for me to blurb much on this sucker, it seems to have recently set some record for most number of DVDs sold (not sure if AVATAR beat it yet or not) and the cross section of folks who have not only enjoyed but seen it several times should tell you all but for those who need has a naked Asian with a crowbar flying out of a trunk and an incident with Mike Tyson's tiger. Yeah, the real Mike Tyson. Oh, and Heather Graham plays a stripper. These three elements by themselves means THE HANGOVER should have won a fucking Oscar in my books.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Panic Room

The thing I found puzzling about THE PANIC ROOM was the fact it was directed by David's was just sooooooooooooo unlike anything we'd seen from him before. Then of course came ZODIAC, which is similar but then it didn't prepare us for THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON so it's fair to say Fincher is a hard bird to predict. Unfortunately THE PANIC ROOM isn't but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Jodi Foster always manages to elevate a project but when you throw in Forrest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam in one of his best roles and you end up with something special. Oh, did I mention this was an early role for Kristen Stewart she of the whole TWILIGHT craze and I'll be the first to admit she cranks out some good work here. We even get a cameo from TWIN PEAKS' Ian Buchanan and a vocal bit from Nicole Kidman and the Howard Shore music is perfect for this simple but effective story which once again proves that proper direction of good talent can make anything watchable.

Lucky Numbers

It doesn't matter if LUCKY NUMBERS is one of Norah Ephron's better films or not, it has something we all want to see, namely Lisa Kudrow putting a strange on Michael Moore! It's a clever little picture with a standard showing from John Travolta and some fine backing work from Tim Roth and Ed O'Neill but when you get right down to it there is nothing to make it stand out from the thousands of others in the same ilk. Then again, in the hands of Ephron even an average work if worth one's time and there is the death of Moore I mentioned.

The Marine 2

No, I'm not going to write great things about THE MARINE 2 because it stars Ted DiBiase Jr. and is a WWE Films production. No, I won't do that because I don't have to. If you are looking a good little action time waster you could do far worse than this one. I'll admit, I was perplexed as to why DiBiase (who got a big win for RAW last night in the draft!) was given a push like this so early, dare I say he seemed just a tad to green for something like this and THE MARINE 2 would have been better if they stuck more to rockem sockem than actually expecting Ted to carry the drama. I mean, it looks like he took his acting lessons from Randy Orton. I'm not joking and fans of the squared circle will definately notice this. On a different note it's good to see Roel Reine directing style as many of us here at INK CASUALTY are anticipating the upcoming DEATH RACE: FRANKENSTEIN LIVES. If the visuals are as nice in that as they are in THE MARINE 2 then it should be a good one! Michael Rooker has a couple of moments and Lara Cox of THE LOST WORLD series provides the love interest all backed up by a Trevor Morris score. Yep, you could certainly do worse.


Producers were banking heavily on Sharon Stone's star power to transform the Ira Levin novel into a box office smash. It didn't do bad but never quite translated the way it should have and no doubt in fifty years this will be looked upon as early '90s camp. Stone, who we just saw in LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT as Stabler's former partner and from the looks of will be back in future episodes, is a special treat in SLIVER and amazingl enough manages to draw some sparks from her work with William Baldwin in one of his better outings but it's simply not enough to make for a good picture. Phillip Noyce is a well versed director and I've said this before and will certainly say this again, it looks like the studio tinkered this flick into mediocracy so we shan't blame Noyce or the players. Speaking of players there is plent of star gazing to be had here with names like CCH Pounder, Martin Landau, Polly Walker, the late Nina Foch as a sorely miscast Tom Beringer. If nothing else SLIVER brought the music of Enigma to the ears of the masses but the bottom line is if you weren't kickin' it in the '90s SLIVER won't give you much of a stiff prick.

Pirate Radio (The Boat that Rocked)

For the sheer amount of acting talent involved and the fact comedic writer Richard Curtis was at the helm, PIRATE RADIO should have been one heck of a funny film. It isn't and I'm not sure if Curtis or the investors/studio are to blame. When introducing the deleted scenes Curtis admits the best bits were in fact NOT included in the final print but he fails to tell us exactly why. In any case, he's right so if you are renting the DVD make sure you watch the extras before you take it back because this is where all of the funny bits are. Now, if you try and forget it's supposed to be a comedy and look at it as a British docudrama (it is all fiction mind you but loosely based on events and charactersof the era) then you'll enjoy PIRATE RADIO and the acting is top notch all around, it's merely the pacing which makes it mediocre. As always, Bill Nighy and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are great and it's fab to see Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in he same film (not at the same time!) again but once again Rhys Ifans steals the show especially a killer scene in the "deletes" I mentioned. As one would expect from a dilm dealing with a 60's radio station the soundtrack is super but sadly I suspect it has a better chance of ending up in your personal collection than the DVD does.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


To my knowledge this flick never even hit the screens in Toronto before it was relegated to DVD which is a shame as this one is a mighty fine sleeper. Like anything based on the late Robert Cormier's work this is not feel good fare and you know a happy ending is far from likely but it won't stop you from watching. Though marketing would have you believe TENDERNESS stars Russell Crowe it is in fact a small but signifigant part. It's a testament to his skill as an actor how effective he is with so little screen time and Laura Dern, with even less, manages to accomplish the same. The lion's share of work falls on on Foster and homegirl Sophie Traub who respond well John Polson's direction. Polson, who recently was involved with HAPPY TOWN, has a natural feel for this sort of material and rather than going for the jugular takes his time to build the tension all of it leading to an ending you probably won't see coming. Would have liked to have seen a bit more of Alexis Dziena but she too makes great use of the time given. Not a late night screener as it is slow in some parts but well worth a peek and certainly one of the better adaptations of Cormier's material.

Married Life

I can't quite put my finger on why MARRIED LIFE doesn't work but it don't! The acting pool is certainly there and Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson are utterly fantastic here but somehow their work is pulled down by a lacklustre showing from Pierce Brosnan who not only looks like he's mailing in his work here but also narrates in a similar fashion. Said narration is so flat is sucks the life out of a rather nice film noire homage. Rachel MacAdams is perfectly cast as the blonde catalyst but she too is wasted as the action continues to focus more on the Brosnan character than it should. All of this aside MARRIED LIFE does wind to a satisfying conclusion and is more than worth a peek on a slow night.

The Squid and the Whale

To say Noah Baumbach is a one depressed and quriky writer/director may be off the mark but THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, his autobiographical take on divorce sure as hell is. Despite some comedic attemtps on the subject divorce is usually a fucking nightmare and this flick sure nails this on the head, especially the elements affecting a child who is trying to deal with the pains of simply growing up as well as this emotional turmoil. While THE SQUID AND THE WHALE works it will not be to the liking of all. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney turn in fine performances but the bulk of the work rest on the shoulders of Owen Kline (Kevin's boy!) and Jesse Eisenberg who are both great here. Anna Paquin has some fine moments and even William Badwin brings his A game for a change. Not the most uplifting piece of work but certainly a poignant and authentic character study.


Those who are fans of John Madden's prior films SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN will be left scratching their head after PROOF. David Auburn took the Pulitzer for his play which he adapts for the screen with rather poor results. It's not that PROOF is a bad film as much as it doens't properly translate from the stage to the screen. Gwyneth Paltrow certainly does her best to carry the project and Anthony Hopkins adds some weight but it never seems to find it's flow. The shades of A BEAUTIFUL MIND tend to distract in the sense one feels they've seen this before and when you throw in Jake Gyllenhaal with a character rather something like Donnie Darko all grown up, alive and in advanced university mathematics and the whole thing goes off the rails. An interesting work for sure but will be tedious for many viewers.

The Young Victoria

You pretty much know what you are in for with the one right from the get go. Unfortunately Emily Blunt is not Cate Blanchett so THE YOUNG VICTORIA never achieves the weight needed for the subject matter. Blunt does her job but never raises the bar and when you are dealing with a person of Victoria's stature more than average is required and this is the overall problem with THE YOUNG VICTORIA, it is merely average. The cast are fair but when Jim Broadbent is the only member to stand out you know you're in trouble. Sure, it snagged an Oscar for the costumes but ONLY because it was a friggin' period piece and this in no way excuses the horrid Sinead O'connor song we are subjected to during the end credits. Odd they would take liberty with the assassination attempt (the first of many) scene showing Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) as being wounded when in fact he wasn't but then again they couldn't even get the date of her notificaton of accession correct. Worth a viewing if these sort of docudramas are your thing otherwise give it a pass.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I still have this problem of thinking of Mark Wahlberg as the underwear model turned poor man's Matt Damon but I'll be the first to admit the guy can act when he's given the right material and a competent director and in SHOOTER we have both. Granted, it's straight forward action with a bit of a puzzle throw in to keep the whole thing interesting but when you boil it down all we want to see is Marky blow some heads off and this his does in spades. Director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY) is great with this type of fare and once again manages to assemble a great cast for a modest dollar including Danny Glover, Elias Koteas, Rade Serbedzija, Ned Beatty and the lovely Rhona Mitra. Speaking of lovely, great to see Kate Mara, who we'll be seeing in IRON MAN 2, getting some proper screen time and Levon Helm has a killer cameo. SHOOTER seems to have slipped through the cracks when released but don't let this discourage you, SHOOTER hits the target bang on.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Charles Dickens would be doing some serious ass break-dancing in his grave if he caught wind of this stinky revision of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Go ahead, figure it out from the title and imagine Matthew McConaughey as Scrooge and you pretty much have all you need to know. Michael Douglas, looking mighty old here and I don't think it was makeup, gets a couple of laughs, Jennifer Garner (who I would still watch in dishsoap ads if need be) reaches an all-time low in a project that simply should have been left on the scrap heap when Disney pulled the plug on it after Ben Affleck (who was supposed to do this with Garner) flopped in GIGLI. Funniest moment in the ENTIRE film? Matthew looking out a snowy window and asking a kid with a shovel "is it Christmas?". "No, it's Saturday you idiot!".....and there you have it.


Well, it's now official, I'm over 5000 films behind on this blog and with the way life is going I strongly doubt I'll manage to catch up......doesn't mean I won't try but damned if the task doesn't seem to be a daunting one. This being said, let's make one point about this Jim Sheridan remake of Susanne Bier's 2004 BRODRE, it is NOT a feel good film and oe should set a special block of time aside for it should they deside to give it a view. I found it odd at first they should use a Danish project to tell an American tale though when stripped bare this story is universal. By now you should know the premise, "good" brother is presumed killed in the war, supposed "bad" brother tries to help surviving family cope and "good" brother returns and the shit flies. The theme is an interesting one and I've not seem the original yet to compare but BROTHERS seems to fall short at times, much like skipping stones on a pound it seems to only touch on the emotional issues without diving in. The cast has much to do with this. Jake Gyllenhaal is our lead here as the "bad" brother and while he has a moment or two never quite brings the character to fruition which makes the work of Sam Shepard and Tobey Maguire pretty much a waste. Maguire seems miscast as well though as the film moves on we are exposed to a wicked transformation which allows him to show off his amazing acting skills and though Natalie Portman is certainly more than eye candy she is not given the chance to fully explore her role her best scene being reduced to a powerful moment involving an answering machine. Worth a peek for those of you who like their films serious but there a far meatier offerings out there for you to chew on.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blue Eyes (Retribution Road)

Granny Sy was always of the mind if one did not have something nice to say keep your mouth shut. I of course never listened to her but I'm having a hard time slamming this Chuck Walker "film" as it provided some work for veteran Michael Gregory so I'll say this........they managed to keep airplanes out of the shots and there is some nice footage of a snake.

The Blind Side

THE BLIND SIDE opens with a Sandra Bullock dialogue over the infamous footage of the Lawrence Taylor/Joe Theisman incident and this alone makes the film worth seeing. Did she deserve to beat Streep for the Oscar this year? It's open for debate but there is no denying this was a powerful role for Bullock. All around feel good docudrama about Michael Oher and how he, wth the help of Tuohy family, overcame all obstacles to succeed in life. He was drafted by my Baltimore Ravens and this is truly one of those feel good stories not to be missed. It doesn't matter if you like football or not, there is enough emotional weight all around to make this worth your while.

Wedding Crashers

Theis eneven offering from director David Dobkin suffers from serious pacing issues pretty much right from the get go. We are forced to suffer (unless you hit the fast forward) a lengthy montage of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn doing just what the title states and at this point you find yourself already heading to the fridge for another beer. Sure, there are some moments, a scene between Vaughn and the late Henry Gibson being the best, but for every bit of momentum Vince manages to build Wilson is right there to drag it back down. Bit of star gazing to be had in Jane Seymour, Rebecca De Mornay and Dwight Yoakam but poor Christopher Walken is pretty much wasted and it's always great to see Ivana Bozilovic who for some reason hasn't had another role since. As stated, a few laughs and will do in a pinch if you have to sub for a chick flick otherwise avoid as you would a wedding.

Friday, April 09, 2010

R.I.P. Malcolm McLaren

The devil had best watch his pockets!