Let's be quite honest, everybody doesn't like the same movies, due to genre, cast, category whatever. And I believe that's quite all right. I hated Avatar many people loved it and that's okay by me...but here is a list of my own personal favorites. Many off the beaten path for whatever reason. So in no particular order, here goes: Please note...since first posting this list I have started putting them into order...more or less, that probably applies more for the first 20 movies as of April 2nd, 2013, than the rest of the list. I plan on adding to and reordering the list as time permits, plus I'll add my own reviews/opinions were I feel they are appropriate or needed. My only hope is, if nothing else, that it gives you, the real movie fans, some ideas for your future viewing.
Wild at Heart
Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor. (125 mins.)
“ . VCard. VOf all master filmmaker John Lynch's movie's, WILD AT HEART, I consider to be his finest work. I'm also a big fan of ERASERHEAD, but that movie almost belongs in a category of it's own. And I have seen INLAND EMPIRE only once, very late at night so I reserve the right to move that ahead of WILD AT HEART if that seems appropriate after a more aware viewing.
WILD AT HEART is the abundantly bizarre story of Sailor Ripley (Nicholas Cage) and Lulu Fortune (Laura Dern) too young lovers who can't stand to be apart from each other. As the movie opens Marietta, Lulu's mother, (played brilliantly by Dern's real mother, Diane ladd) is holding a fancy soiriee at her affluent home and she first tries to seduce Sailor in a mens room stall and then sends one of her goons to kill Sailor. Sailor is street tough and quick on his feet and beats his would be assailant to death right there in Marietta and Lulu's home, Lulu's mother admonishes Lulu to stay away "from that no good" Sailor Ripley. But Lulu's love for Sailor is just too much to keep them apart. Marietta is insane with envy and is hell-bent on keeping the too apart if it means killing Ripley. Of course, as we all know, don't we, that true love can not be denied. When Sailor is finely up for parole, Lulu, against his mother admonishments steals Marietta's car and goes to pick up sailor at the PeeDee correctional institute. And from that moment on they are on the run heading first south to New Orleans and then westward to California...both excited to finally be 'free.' Their first night on the run there is a key scene that get's the entire movie rolling. While hoping up ang overnighting it at a seedy motel. Sailor asks Peanut - his pet name for Lulu - if she is ready to go out dancing. Lulu is more than ready and she dresses somewhat provacitivley, which doesn't bother Sailor as he enjoys showing off his woman. They go to a rather seedy road house tavern and Sailor wears his "Elvis" sports coat. He pretty much takes over the joint and serenades Lulu with "Love Me Tender" - and Cage, to my amazement, did do his own singing and is extremely believable. Cage's dancing is equally entertaining (a frenetic amalgamation of Elvis meets Flea of THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS). Following the bar visit it is back to the road.
Laura Dern is so memorable in this role, I would be tempted with most other actresses to always identify her with this particular role. However...my opinion, Dern is so multifaceted that I have seen her in many other equally compelling, but totally different roles and she seems to be able to pull off the matronly school teacher just as well. Meanwhile, a hysterical and insane Marietta is employing everyone she can think of to track down her daughter and Sailor. She brings in her hesitant boyfriend - played by Dan Heyeda(one of our great character actors along with Harry Dean Stanton) to go after the couple and save her precious Lulu, but Heyeda has his own demons and finds it hard to follow though on Marietta's wishes. Marietta being a resourceful women, recruits a gangster and part time lover Marcellas Santos who assures Marietta that it will be no problem. As they move around the country they stay one step ahead of Marietta's henchman. Part of Santo's deal is that if he kills Sailor he also gets Marietta's permission to kill his perceived competition for Marietta's love, Dan Heyeda. Marietta filled with guilt, rage and hatred finally flies down to new Orleans to warn Johny(Heyeda) that Marcellas plans on kiling him but she's too late to prevent his assassination. Sailor and Lulu flee New Orleans but things are about to really get strange.
As they flee New Orleans, late at night, they come across a terribke car accident and find a bloodied women along the side of the road who dies in their presence. Before perishing it becomes apparent that the women is very badly unbalanced and Lulu takes this as a very bad omen. Running short on money they stop in the Little Town of Big Tuna in West Texas where they meet a real pack of top notch weirdos - think BLUE VELVET. They spend a very uncomfortable evening in their presence, particularly weird is William Defoe's character - Bobby Peru. Lulu tells sailor she is pregnant in light of all the sex they've been having and Bobby Peru deduces this tidbit when he tries to seduce Lulu when Sailor goes to get some grub. Booby Peru tries to convince Sailor to help him with his planned bank robbery as a way to relieve their financial situation. Next day they break into a bank where things go wrong and the cruel Bobby Peru informs Cage that he is one of the people hired by Marietta. Sailor goes to shoot Bobby but Bobby surreptitiously has removed the bullets from Sailor's gun. And as he gets ready to finish Sailor off the police show up and arrest Sailor, letting the silver tongued Bobby Peru off. Finally Sailor get's beat up by a gang that was sent by Marietta. As Sailor passes out he is visited by Glenda, the good witch of the north. Sailor is sent back to prison, this time for five and one half years. And he tells Lulu that maybe this time it is just too long to wait for him to get out. But of course true love can't be denied and when Sailor is finally released Lulu's again waiting for him this time with Sailor's son in tow. After Sailor has a chance to look at his son he starts walking off in the opposite direction but then turns and runs back to Lulu and their progeny and they drive off into the sunset.
This movie is something really special and you can sense that as you are watching the movie and great performances abound. Nick Cage - not one of my favorites - actually plays the role of his lifetime. And the lovely and uber talented Laura Dern is so convincing that you may be tempted to think of her in the future as that character. But the terrific performances don't stop there. Of particular note is Diane Ladd's performance as Lulu insanely, envious mother, Marietta. And Willaim DeFoe is so creepy and slimy as the nightmarish Booby Peru. If you have been avoiding John Lynch movies because they are often considered so obtuse give WILD AT HEART a shot. It has all the craziness, bizarreness and symbolism as Lynch's other movies but the plot is a bit more conventional and the movie is a bit more accessible for the average movie goer. One thing I really admire about John Lynch movies is that he accepts that the audience is intelligent and will understand his movies. This seems to be the exact opposite to the way main stream Hollywood likes to spoon feed the story to it's audiences, often dummying down their movies to the lowest common denominator. WILD AT HEART is definitely well worth a 9 out of 10 rating!!! Please treat yourself and watch this with the one you love.
PS: sorry about the length of the review. I wrote it very late at night and was struggling to stay awake. ” - gary-hill57
A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth. (105 mins.)
“ MYSTERIOUS SKIN is one of the best written and well acted movies I've come across in many years. But like many truly memorable films it is rather depressing - definitely not a feel good movie.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of our very finest young actors (BRICK, INCEPTION) plays Neil, an arrogant, narcissistic teenager who has a gift for playing baseball, but only plays as a way to get what he wants from a studly coach who takes him back to his pad to indulge in video games, beer and soon enough physical intimacy. Shy and socially backward, good boy Brian is removed from the team by a smothering mother, which just reaffirms his neglectful father's opinion of his son as a failure and a "sissy." Neil and his platonic friend Wendy befriend Brian and Neil encourages 'coach' to invite Brian back to his house for fun and games. Following several abusive encounters with "coach" Brian begins to suffer form recurring nightmares and nose-bleeds and to escape his emotional torment he starts to believe that he is being abducted by aliens. Meanwhile Neil turns his gay talents into a profit making business eventually heading off to New York where the easy money and good times turn into bad times and much worse. Brian becomes a model student in college and searches for answers to his nightmares in alien abduction theories. Through a college friend, Eric, a gay boy who admires Neil, he finally discovers the answers that have remained hidden to him for all these years.
This is not an easy movie to watch and I squirmed through many of the scenes. The director tackles so many difficult issues it's amazing that he squeezed it so well into 105 minutes. But it is a compelling story that is worth telling and very much worth seeing. Gordon-LeVitt is masterful as the sadly twisted Neil and Brady Corbett(FUNNY GAMES) is equally convincing as the shy and searching Brian. This movie deserves to be a top ten film of the decade, but, once again be forewarned; it exposes ugly issues to the light of day. If you are a real fan of film making as an art form then MYSTERIOUS SKIN is a must see.
9 out of 10 stars. ” - gary-hill57
An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley. (188 mins.)
“ MAGNOLIA is another skillfully engineered movie from superstar director Paul Thomas Anderson (THERE WILL BE BLOOD, BOOGIE NIGHTS). MAGNOLIA is a sweeping epic that involves several interrelated plot lines covering 24 hours in Los Angeles . The main plot line revolves around two elderly men who are about to die, both have long been estranged from an adult child who they desperately want to make contact with and find some sort of peace before its too late. Earl Patridge - played brilliantly by Jason Robards - has a grown son who is a charismatic misogynist who gives talks to men on how to take every advantage of women Tom Cruise - not one of my favorite actors - gives, what I believe to be, his finest performance up to that point in his career (I thought he was terrific in COLLATERAL as well) as the nasty T.J. Mackey. His belief system can be summed up in this quote from the movie: "In this life, it's not what you hope for, it's not what you deserve - it's what you take!" One of his other rather disgusting catch phrases is: "Respect the cock! And tame the *beep* Tame it!" Jimmy Gator (played by Philip Baker Hall) plays the other elderly gentlemen and he yearns for a reunion with his coked out daughter, Linda Partridge (Julianne Moore) whose addiction has removed her emotionally from her father's life.
These are big universal, themes that have been dealt with in the movies since they first started putting actors on celluloid, but never quit like this. There are numerous subplots involving other family members, nurses, children, wives etc. and the story is woven together in a similar fashion to a Robert Altman film. Coincidence and choice also are major themes that are threaded throughout the movie. Sometimes one is cleverly disguised as the other. The weather also plays a major character in the film. Besides the previously mentioned cast members there are several other really outstanding performances - Phillip Seymour Hoffman is outstanding as the one truly kind soul in this epic film. John C. Rielly, who seems to have been reduced to playing awkward buffoons over the past several years reminds us of how good an actor he really is and I would welcome seeing him again in more serious roles. William H. Macy, Alfred Molina and Melora Walters performances all add weight to the movie. This is a movie where the characters are well presented allowing the audience to really become invested in them and their eventual outcome. The script is all but flawless and again the direction of Paul Thomas Anderson, who also wrote the screenplay is spot on. The movie runs for a little over three hours but it seems to go by much faster and after viewing the movie I think you will agree that every minute was vital to the total finished product. Please don't let the length of the movie scare you off. I, personally, try to never know the running length beforehand because it seems that when you know a movie is over 150 minutes your expectations are different (I seem to generally expect boredom).
This movie is truly close to being a perfect film possibly deserving a ten out of ten, but I thought the ending could have been handled a bit better so I'll go with 9.5 out of ten(plus I think you have to reserve a rating of ten for the once in a decade movie that truly knocks your socks off.). ” - gary-hill57
As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. (96 mins.)
“ For me the fountain was one of the best movie of 2006. I know a lot of people would be quick to debate that - including a lot of critics - but i thought the movie was beautifully shot, well written and intellectually challenging. In many ways the movie is the same story told in three different time periods by the same actors. In the present or maybe I should say in our times is Tommy a cancer researcher desperately looking for a cure for his wife Izzi's terminal cancer. The story moves back and forth about 1000 years in both directions. In the past tommy is Tomas a conquistador during the period of Queen Isabel and the inquisitions. In the past Izzi is Queen Isabel and as the inquisition is sweeping across Spain. Queen Isabel summons Tomas to her chambers with a plan to save her country she wants Tomas to go to America (Mayan country to be more specific) and find The Tree of Life, so she can free his captive Queen. And in the future - approximately 1000 years Tom is a type of astronaut who ascends to the Heavens in a type of space bubble that includes the Tree of Life - and as he continues towards a famous Mayan dying star, referred by the Mayans as Xibalbá, wrapped in a nebula. During his trip he experiences hallucinations of his now dead wife Izzi an through his trip he hopes to meet her in eternity. This is just a brief thumbnail sketch of what the movie is about, a full explanation would take much longer than the time I'm willing to give to it. Suffice it to say there is a lot of symbolism, along with Mayan war chiefs, scenes from the inquisitions additional subplots and on and on. It is not an easy movie to tie a bow around with a simple explanation. An example is while Izzi is slowly dying she is also writing a book about the inquisition period in Spain and it just so happens there is a Conquistador by the name of Tomas in her book who is searching for the fountain of youth among the Mayans. Tommy also thinks he may have found a cure for his lovely wife when an execration from a piece of tree bark from Central America proves very successful in arresting the brain cancer in a monkey - coincidently the same type of cancer his wife is suffering from.
Many people had problems with this Darren Aronofsky movie ranging from not understanding the movie or trying to over interpret the movie. Aronofsky, as usual, shoots this movie absolutely beautifully, using color, tone, symbolism and sharp dialog throughout. For me it was another masterpiece and a real work of love. The movie had been in the works for many years. Back in 2002 they were ready to start shooting with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett as the leads and a budget of 75 million dollars. However during pre-production Pitt and Aronofsky had creative differences and the project fell through. It was resurrected in 2005 with a much smaller budget of 35 million and Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz (Aronofsy's current wife) took over the leads. One last interesting fact pertains to the very end of the movie...watch it through the credits as it also tells a story. I have to give The Fountain 8 out of 10. Again that's just my opinion. ” - gary-hill57
The Sweet Hereafter
A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems. (112 mins.)
“ This is becoming an ongoing theme in a lot of my top movies and maybe there is something to be said for that! Once again the story is far from a feel good story. In many ways it is a sad, even tragic story of loss in a small town and the unfortunate way it effects everyone differently. If memory serves me correctly this is a Canadian made film but it is equally powerful in any location.
It's basically the story of a small rural quiet town that is torn apart when a horrible bus accident kills a majority of the community's children. A horrible premise, but it does make for dramatic and moving film making. A lawyer from outside the area visits the community and tries to stir up the parent's of the deceased children's anger so he can launch a class action lawsuit for his own profits as well as theirs, or so he claims. Problem is the town folks are so paralyzed by the tragedy that no one can seem to agree on what their next course of action should be, except for one young survivor who is now bond to a wheelchair and through her amazing courage will lead them to the sweet hereafter. There are fragmented stories and subplot's that actually add to the movie in their own way from the lawyers own demons involving his daughter and their estrangement to the way the different sets of parents attempts to deal with their grief.
I don't really want to give away anymore than that except to say this is an exceptional movie that will haunt you but also give you an idea of what hope really means even years after seeing the movie.
This movie is probably deserving of 10 out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
The Music of Chance
Two men face the consequences of gambling after playing with men beyond their league. (98 mins.)
“ THE MUSIC OF CHANCE was one of my favorite books in my younger days. The author, Paul Auster, is probably one of the four or five best writers of contemporary fiction and this was a great novella. When I heard it was going to be made into a movie I was excited and at the same time ready to be disappointed.
This is not your typical movie, with predictable plot lines and aimed at the largest audience. Instead it is a piece of art that appears to start out moving in one direction and, without a hiccup, is suddenly headed for much deeper, darker waters. Mandy Patinkin plays Nashe, a recently retired fireman who after inheriting a considerable amount of money sets off for a cross country trip hoping to find out who he really is. As his trip is nearing it's end without supplying the hoped for answers he picks up a smooth talking hitch-hiker, Pozzi, played by James Spader. Pozzi turns out to be a real card shark, always looking for one big score. Pozzi talks Nasche into bank rolling him in a high stakes poker game against two elderly old millionaires - by way of the lottery - Flower and Stone. Nasche is at first skeptical, but this seems to be a no brain-er and a way to keep himself on the road indefinitely. When Pozzi can't seem to win a hand Nashe, not a gambler in the least, gets pulled into the game. Eventually Pozzi and Nashe loss everything and the final bet is for their freedom if they win, and if they lose? Well I don't want to spoil it for those who decide to check it out, but it is nothing nearly as simple and as straight forward as you might guess.
Like in his books, an Auster movie, under the right director, will take you for an unexpected ride in which you are never quite sure what is around the next corner. Please check out this movie if indie films with some brains appeal to you! ” - gary-hill57
A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun. (100 mins.)
“ II admit it. I'm a sucker for really iphigh brow Sci-fi, especially when it's along the lines of DARK CITY. For anyone who has yet to see it prepare yourself foe a unique experience. Rufus Sewell plays Robert Murdoch, a young man who wakes up in his (or maybe not his) bathtub with a dead body in the other room and a live goldfish flipping around on the floor. When he realizes that he doesn't know quite where he is or for that matter just who he is he grabs his clothes and heads out the door. Soon he realizes he can't remember his wife or just what she looks like. As a matter he can't remember much of anything. As if this isn't strange eonough there is no sunshine in Dark City but no one seems the least bit concerned. Everybody falls to sleep at midnight (they don't even realize it) and these ghaslty gray complected men and boys in long black leather trenchcoats seem to just glide across the floor as they go about their midnight 'tunning'. You see they are after souls for energy because their home planet is running out of an energy source and it would seem harvested souls is the best solution. With one twist after another and a very creepy overall feel, DARK CITY is surreal sci-fi film making at it's very best. This is one of those movies that words just don't do justice. Also stars William Hurt, Jennifer Connelley and Kiefer Sutherland in a memorable role. This is definitley in my top fifty all-time. And is deserving of a 9 out of 10 ” - gary-hill57
Léon: The Professional
Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade. (110 mins.)
“ The PROFESSIONAL (Also known as LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL) ranks right up there as one of my all-time favotite films. Algerian born Jean Reno, the great Gary Oldman and a 12 year old Natalie Portman give top-notch performances in this delicious movie about revenge, kindness, evil and retribution. Reno is fantastic and Oldman was made for this the role of a crooked DEA cop. But the young Natalie Portman all but steals the movie. When a quiet Italian hitman rescues a foul mouthed 12 year from Oldman's crooked task force he finds out about parts of himself long forgotten. With loads of over-the-top action, a great time is in store for you when you pick up a copy of THE PROFESIONAL. This movie has a high 'stand up and cheer factor' and grades out at 9-10 in my book. ” - gary-hill57
In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world. (118 mins.)
“ If this isn't Guillermo del Toro master work than I don't know what is. The movie is in Spanish with sub-tittles but don't let that deter you from watching this amazing film. You could probably watch it without the sub-tittles and still understand the gist of it.
The story takes place in 1944 Fascist Spain, a young girl with a very fertile imagination and a love of fairy-tales is sent with her pregnant mother to live with a sadistic captain who desires a son and will serve as her new stepfather. She ventures off at night to meet with a "fawn-fairy" who tells the little girl that she is actually a princess, but to prove her royalty she must complete three gruesome tasks. If she fails she will never meet her true father, the king and will not fulfill her destiny as Princess of the Forest.
I won't give anything away as it would spoil the ending for the viewer. Suffice it to say the fantasy scenes are beautifully shot and equally frightening - it's really not for kids, but for adults who still are kids at heart. The entire movie is beautifully shot and the parallel story lines between fantasy and reality blend so perfectly. Del Torro seemingly did not use much if any CGI but used good old fashion costuming and puppetry for the most part. And the story itself is wonderful and full of meaning. This is a movie well worth purchasing as you will want to watch it again and again - each time noticing something that you missed in previous viewings. Compared to the Narnia movies and others of that ilk this blows them out of the water. Well deserving of 9 stars out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child. (89 mins.)
“ David Lynch's cult classic ERASERHEAD is a movie that in many ways is hard to defend as great film making. But great film making it really is if given a chance. The plot - and yes there is one - is really secondary in this case to what you see and interpreted on the screen. Is it a nightmare of some not too distant future, a fantasy of images and thoughts or is it something more? I'll leave that up to you to decide. The story is that of one Henry Spencer who lives in a dark industrialized place where he is just trying to survive his life and the harrowing experiences and things that haunt it including a girlfriend who Henry gets pregnant and she delivers a frighteningly bizarre mutant baby. To really say much more is unfair to the viewer. To truly appreciate ERASERHEAD you have to have an open mind and a fertile imagination. If you prefer movies where all plot lines lead to one final tidy conclusion you won't like this movie. I even find it hard to say that I enjoyed it. Enjoy and this movie have very little in common. But I appreciated the movie a great deal for what it was more than what it wasn't. And just what it was I'll leave that up to you. In an unexplainable way this movie is very gratifying in a unique and artistic way and is totally deserving of it's almost cult following. You can watch this movie 25 times and when you watch it for the 26th you will still come across something that you missed out on in all the previous viewings. ERASERHEAD isn't so much a punch in the face as it is a kick to the solar-plexus. Grading it on a scale of 1 to 10 seems like folly so just see it! ” - gary-hill57
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years by a young female hacker. (152 mins.)
“ THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was first a bestselling novel by Swedish author Stieg Larson. He followed this up with two more novels with the same characters and called it The Millennium Trilogy. Sadly, )he had a fourth book in the series three quarters of the way finished with extensive notes and outlines for a fifth and sixth book.) he died of a massive heart attack at the young age of fifty. The books quickly became an international sensation and all three novels have been number one best sellers. In 2009, Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev, to the delight of the books many fans, brought THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO to the big screen. I am usually disappointed when I read a really great book that gets made into a feature length movie and I imagine that many of you have experienced the same. Not to worry. Not only did Oplev make a film that is true to the book, but he made a truly outstanding movie that stands on it's own. Even though I read the book and knew going in all the twists and turns, I was - never the less - totally caught up in the movie almost as if I had never even read the book. I'm sure that there are some 'purists' out there who would want to disagree. But see the movie for yourself and I think you will find a movie that is not only a well told story of mystery and suspense but a movie that also captures the dark undertones and themes that were such an important part of the book.
Forty years ago, a young Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. The body was never found, but her uncle, the family patriarch, Henrik Vanger remains convinced that his lovely niece was not only murdered; but murdered by a member of the Vanger clan, a truly dysfunctional lot. Harriet use to give her uncle a pressed and framed flower every year on her birthday. And when her next birthday roled around, to Henrick's great surprise and distress, he received a pressed flower, framed, via the mail and that has continued right up to the present day. There was never a note or anything to give him any indication who was sending him these 'presents. Not even the postmarks on the parcel revealed anything as to the origination of the parcels. Since they were mailed from different locals from around the world. As Henrick feels he is getting too old to continue to pursue what has become his own personal obsession. he decides to hire disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, the publisher and writer for an esteemed Swedish economic magazine, Millennium, in which he had recently published a scathing indictment on a powerful Swedish business tycoon. He was sued and lost in court a slander case initiated by the Swedish power broker and in doing so had stepped down from his positions with the magazine. He was looking at an eventual three months in jail and decided it was in the best interest of the magazine that he stepped down until he served his sentence an things had a chance to blow over. Henrick, having had Blomkvist investigated, decided that this was precisely the right man for the job. He invites Mikael up to his island mansion where he proposes that Blomkvist is the ideal candidate to write a history of the Vanger family and as a secondary endeavor to look into the disappearance of his niece - of course Henrick used the idea of a family history to lure in the bright Blomkvist. His real interest was for the journalist to discover his nieces murderer. Blomkvist is at first not interested but as Vanger tells his story Blomkvist finds himself being drawn in by the opportunity to research the famous Vanger financial empire and finally agrees to do the job when Vanger offers him an enormous sum of money and free reign to follow up with unfettered access to all of the Vangner family papers. Blomkvist is set up in a small cottage right on the grounds of the Vanger estate and gets to work immediately. It's not long before he realizes Vanger's number one interest is the strange circumstances surrounding Harriets disappearance. And Mikael finds the story equally as fascinating.
As he starts researching his subject he soon enough realizes that his computer has been hacked into and the culprit is one Lisbeth Salander - played brilliantly by the Swedish actress Noomi Rapace. Salander knows a lot about Blomkvist as she was the one who had done the "background check" on Mikeal prior to his being hired. Salander is the real star of the movie. A twenty something troubled young women - we only receive bits and pieces of why she is so troubled - Salander has numerous piercings and a large dragon tattoo that covers her entire back. She generally dresses all in black and has a very goth look about her from the hairstyle to the piercings to the all black wardrobe right down to the Doc Marten black boots. While Blomkvist isn't too pleased that Salander gained acess to all his computer files he is fascinated by this young troubled women and her hacking skills would come in handy if he could convince her to work for him on the Vanger project. Which she hesitantly agrees to.
This pretty well sets up the entire movie. As salander and Blomkvist - played by Michael Nyqvist - dig into the investigation they link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. They also develop a complex and sometimes baffling relationship as their work brings them together. But the Vanger's are a very private and secretive clan with more than their share of very dark skeletons in their own closets and as Mikael and Lisbeth start to close in on this old family secret they must decide just how far they are willing to go to both discover the answer to Henrick's obsession and eventually to protect themselves.
The story is this and so much more. Lisbeth it turns out suffered something very traumatic as a child (at this point we are only given bits and pieces of her history0 which has shaped her entire life and personality and her story is as central to the movie as is the mystery of the long lost niece Harriet Vanger. We see the ways Lisbeth's life has been effected by these dark memories in some brutally frank scenes. As a troubled young women she is in a program instituted by the Swedish government that requires her to have a guardian to "help her with her affairs." Her newest guardian turns out to be a perverted creep who Lisbeth handles in her own unique way. I tell you this to just give you some idea about the intensity and depth of her character. She makes sure he get's what he has coming, but be forewarned: This is not an American made movie where sex is often simply thrown in for titillation. No, in this movie there are some very frank scenes involving sexuality that are brutal and in your face and they do belong in the picture. But if you are easily offended be forewarned. I really can not say enough good things about this movie. While the current version is over dubbed in English it is so skillfully done that it is not even minutely distracting. One last pont that I find rather curious. David Fincher - of FIGHT CLUB and SE7EN fame - has recently completed a big budget Hollywood version of the same name that will come out at Christmas time this year. My question is why? It's not like the material is so nebulas that it's open to several interperetaions. And strangely enough Finchner has used big name actors who look very similar to their Swedish counterparts. The only way I can understand his making such a remake so close to the original is if he is assuming that the only people that saw the Swedish version were lovers of the book and there is still a large enough group of people who have never seen the Swedish version. I'll be curious to view Finchner's effort, which I'm sure will be well done. But is it really necessary? The following stories to DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS NEST are also Swedish films and both have now been overdubbed and are available for viewing. DRAGON TATTOO is available on Netflix for immediate download and again I can't recommend enough. It is first and foremost a suspense/mystery/thriller but for what it is, it's truly a wonderful experience. I give it 9 out of 10 and apologize for the length of this review. Do yourself a big favor and see this movie ASAP!!! ” - gary-hill57
A bank manager with: (a) a gambling problem and (b) access to a multimillion dollar account gets into a messy situation. Based on the story of the largest one-man bank fraud in Canadian history. (104 mins.)
“ OWNING MAHOWNY is one of those little indeprndant "art-house" movies that turns out to be so good you almost want to keep it for yourself, but you can't help but reccommend it to your co-workers, friends and fellow movie buffs. OWNING MAHOWNY is the true story of Dan Mahowny, an unassuming 24 year-old rising star in Canada's financial machine. To his co-workers he was a quiet, somewhat sloppily dressed, shooting star in the banking indusrty. To his client's he was a brilliant, astute, decisive and helpful young man. And to his girl friend (Minnie Driver)he was a reserved, pudgy, responsible sweetheart of a guy...at least he was at one time. But none of them knew the Dan Mahowny that the Casino's liked. The unassuming gentleman who managed to go through 18 million dollars in about that same number of months.
Okay, I might even be saying the same thing at this point: "How does that story make for a top of the line movie?" I'm not sure how myself, but in the case of Dan Mahowny it rises right up there to near the top. I'd have to give 8 and 1/2 carpet brownies out of 10! ” - gary-hill57
Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention. (77 mins.)
“ Made on a shoestring budget of 10,000 dollars PRIMER was shot in Shane Caruth's spare time as money became available. He wrote the movie, directed it, was the co-star (with a close friend), edited it, did the musical score...well you get the idea. This was truly a small indie film if ever there was one. The storyline is a bit more complicated. Four geekified buddies run a little cottage industry out of one of the friends garage making error-checking devices that aren't exactly bringing in big dollars. As they continue to try to come up with something that will bring in larger profits, two of the friends happen across something that is potentially so valuable that they are afraid to share it with anybody. I don't want to spoil the plot for any future viewers (though the plot gets rather complicated and it may take several viewings to "get it" anyhow) so I'll proceed cautiously. Suffice it to say that what the two main characters discover has been a dream of man for a long time. The discovery they make carries with it not only a lot of excitement for the buddies but a lot of responsibility. In addition to the intriguing technological plot there is an even more compelling moral plot - when you always want what you can't have, what do you want when you can seemingly have anything you want?
Primer can be a real mind-bender, so pay close attention - I think I'll watch it again after writing this little blurb - and it still may take multiple viewings to put all the puzzle pieces together. But it is well worth the effort. While the movie does have that "indie" feel, it is still so well made that it is hard to imagine it was completed on such an amazingly small budget. Now all fans of PRIMER are anxiously anticipating Caruth's next project. Don't miss this one if you like really sophisticated sci-fi. I'd rate PRIMER a 7.5 out of 10! ” - gary-hill57
Boys Don't Cry
Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska. (118 mins.)
“ This movie, based on actual events, was the film that put Hillary Swank's name on the map. In BOYS DON'T CRY Brandon Teena (played so marvelously by Hillary Swank) is the popular new kid in town, a big deal when the town is a one-red-light town in the middle of nowhere, Nebraska. He 'hangs' with the guys doing those small town guy things like getting drunk, racing cars, cussing and shooting pool. And he charms the pants off the young women of the town (pun intended) who can't recall ever meeting a kinder, gentler more compassionate young man. Life is good for Brandon. No one seemingly knows the baggage he/she carries with him/her every day. He finally feels accepted as one of the guys and he's dating hometown beauty, Lana. However Brandon has chosen to not mention- rightly or wrongly - certain facets of himself. It's not that he's wanted in a neighboring county for passing bad checks, or driving without a license. No, Brandon Teena was actually born a women, Teena Brandon, and she had been living her whole life hiding behind this secret. Things are going so well for Brandon/Teena that he/she feels he has truly been accepted and for a brief period leaves her guard down. When his new friends find out about the truth, what results is what is to be expected: insults, name calling, humiliation and ostracization. Brandon life is all but torn apart. But she didn't survive this long by not being courageous and she falls in love with a girl(played with absolute brilliance, who in her own way, has a lot of courage and is willing to stand on her own beliefs.
This movie is well deserving, of any lover of quality movies, to be viewed. After watching it once I have little doubt that you, like myself, will be anxious to view it again. This is great moviemaking and deserves to be seen repeatedly. Thank goodness for 52" LED televisions, surround sound systems and PS3's - for streaming Netfix, Vudu and the like. BOY'S DON'T CRY is deserving of a much wider audience and is easily an 8.5 out of 10. Please don't hesitate in seeing this modern day classic. ” - gary-hill57
In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances. (117 mins.)
“ THE FALL is one of those rare movies that you may never have heard of, but given he chance it will knock your socks off. If you like surrealism (a touch of Dali) a sophisticated story line and hard to forget characters than this movie will probably be one you would come away from feeling fully satiated. The movie takes place sometime in the 1920's in a rehabilitation hospital facility where an injured stunt man, who seems to be in a spiraling downward, state of depression, begins to tell a fellow patient - a five or six year old precocious little girl with a broken arm (played superbly by the adorable Catinca Untaru) - a fantastical story about five mythical heroes that starts to come to life in the little girls fertile imagination Thanks to his deteriorating mental situation and her fertile young mind the line between reality and fantasy becomes more and more blurred. The stunt man is so depressed that at one point he tries to get the little girl to swipe some morphine from a nurses cart so she can end it all but she will have none of it because she wants to know how the story ends, and gradually the fantasy turns more and more real as it progresses until that fine line between fantasy and reality becomes indistinguishable. To tell much more would be to give away a very satisfying ending, so I won't do that. But the film is truly remarkable on so many levels. Let me just say that in the fantasy world the stunt man and the little girl unite to take on a common enemy that personifies evil for both characters.
THE FALL is one of those very few movies that after seeing it you will realize it is unlike anything else you have ever seen. It is surely one of the wildest indulgences a director has ever given himself and the best part of all it works. To try to describe it is really most unjust because words just can not do fair judgement to images and in THE FALL the images are lush, colorful, extravagant and delight fall. You will want more, but this is a once and done deal. My understanding is that the director - Tarsem - shot the movie over four years and in 28 different countries. Also when I heard there was no CGI used I was floored. There are scenes where you would think were impossible without the use of CGI. Another note...Tarsem, is also responsible for the movie THE CELL which co-starred Jennifer Lopez. Don't let the fact that J-Lo played the lead, the movie is a delight. But there is some similarity in his use of images in both movies, although THE CELL is much more conventional. I also would just guess that Tarsem has a fixation on the artist M.C. Escher. See the movie and I think you will understand. I give THE FALLl an 8.5 out of 10, and it may even deserve to be a notch higher. If you like surrealism please see THE FALL, if you don't like surrealism, see the movie anyhow...it is truly mesmerizing. ” - gary-hill57
V for Vendetta
In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman. (132 mins.)
“ One of my absolute favorite movies of all-time. Maybe not the best (well, no it's not the best, probably not even all that close to my top 10 best movies ever). But for sheer entertainment value as well as replay value, V FOR VENDETTA, is one of small handful of all-time favorites. It's one of no more than 2 or 3 movies that I have watched ten or more times...I've probably seen it a good 20 times if not more. The story is adapted from the Alan Moore Graphic Novel of the same name and I felt, despite it's many critics it was very true to the book while being current as well. For those who thought it should be just like the book...not practical. Unless you want to watch an 11 hour movie. Hugo Weaving, despite wearing a Guy Fawkes mask through out the entire film was fantastic in being able to convey the essence of the character. Natalie Portman was superb as usual and John Hurt excelled as the evil dictator. But Stephen Rea, as the seemingly slow-footed slueth and Stephen Fry, as the British Johnny Carson really stole the movie from an acting standpoint. For an apocyliptic, totalatarian, sci-fi action drama, V FOR VENDETTA is very hard to beat. And to be honest probably doesn't belong on this list because it is fairly well known. But as one of my favorite 25 movies of all-time I could not help but put it on my list. If you haven't seen it prepare yourself to be blown away!!! And that's a good thing! Some will really challenge this, but I give V FOR VENDETTA a 10 out of 10. The movie, to me, didn't have a weak spot from start to finish. ” - gary-hill57
Textile company heir Wayland is accused of murder of a prostitute named Elizabeth, whose body was found cut in two in the park... (106 mins.)
“ Bb/DECEIVER is one of those movies that after watching it causes you to wander how in the world it never made it as a first run movie. Tim Roth, superb as always, plays Wayland, a textile heir with a brilliant, mind is accused of the murder of a prostitute, Elizabeth(Renee Zelwegger) whose body was found cut in two in the park. The two detectives who bring him in for questioning - the experienced Kennesaw(Michael Rooker) and the less experienced Phillip Braxton(Chris Penn) who both have skeletons in their own closets - are convinced they have the right man. Wayland is a heavy drinker and compulsive liar who suffers from seizures when under stress as well as memory loss and outbreaks of violence. During questioning he seemingly is able to outwit the detectives and ends up being let go after the first round of questioning. Wayland is very resourceful and is able to discover the detectives darkest secrets prior to his next run in with the detectives. It turns out Braxton is a compulsive gambler who is $20,000 in debt to Mook(Ellen Burstyn) and Kennesaw has trouble with his wife(Rosanna Arquete) and has a history with the dead prostitute, Elizabeth.
In his second go round with the detectives Wayland agrees to a polygraph exam but continues to toy with the cops. When Wayland seems close to admitting his guilt he suddenly goes into a seizure, where he often acts bizarrely. The detectives have been forewarned by Wayland's doctor to never touch him during a seizure. Kennesaw, thinking Wayland is faking it, grabs him and Wayland almost kills Kennesaw. This state of affairs has Kennesaw really anxious to pin the murder on Wayland.
As the movie moves to it's conclusion Braxton, in fear for his and his family's well being asks Kennesaw for a loan to get "The Mook" off his back. Kennesaw can loan him half of the twenty grand so Braxton sees as the only way out the idea of borrowing the additional 10 grand from Wayland. At about the same time we find out that Kennesaw was with the prostitute Elizabeth the night of her horrific murder. The ending will knock your socks off as everything you thought you knew is turned upside down. While the final twist is a big part of what makes the movie it is also the movies one weakness in my opinion. The acting is superb throughout with the possible exception of Chris Penn, but the movie is very much worth seeing. I'd give it a solid 7.5 seizures out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple. (99 mins.)
“ Blood Simple is a great example of the Coen Brothers at their very best. When a tavern owner in Texas is convinced his wife is cheating on him he hires a shady private dick to get to the bottom of things. M. Emmit Walsh gives an Oscar worthy performance as the P.I. who above all else is looking out for his own interests and if this means playing both sides of the fence - so be it. Don Hedaya and Frances McDormand also give top notch, if a bit subdued, performances in this twisting, turning tale of envy, greed, murder and revenge. The surprise twists come seemingly fast and furious at the first viewing. But if you watch it a second time, or really pay attention the first time you will find that the Coen's left just enough little clues that the story is not as complex as it first appears. Blood Simple has a delightful 'rawness' about it that later Coen brother's efforts seem to lack. I think it's time for me to watch it again...7.5 out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
The United States of Leland
A young man's experience in a juvenile detention center that touches on the tumultuous changes that befall his family and the community in which he lives. (108 mins.)
“ If you, like me, find yourself drawn to psychological, suspenseful, dark, yet intellectual movies i.e. MYSTERIOUS SKIN, THE SWEET HEREAFTER, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, WILD AT HEART and the like. Then you are most definitely a candidate for membership in THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND fan club. While I can't call THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND a perfect film devoid of any shortcomings, I will say that compared to most current fare being churned out by the big studios, THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND stands head and shoulders above the senseless lather that most movies seem to be about now days. This was also Ryan Gosling's first big role and you can see the talent all ready there that has made him into an up and coming leading man. The movie also has many other excellent performances which help to make the movie work. Dan Cheadle plays a teacher/counselor in the juvenile detention center that Leland has been assigned. At first Cheadle's motives for wanting to help the boy seem translucent enough - he hopes to write a book about the evil that permeates todays youth and use Leland as example A. But as he gets to know Leland he feels real empathy for the troubled young man and genuinely hopes that he can make a difference. The story itself is about a young, quiet, rather intellectual young man, Leland P. Fitgerald who is very troubled with depression, sadness and a sense of doom and gloom. One day the troubled teen, with no apparent motive or reasoning, stabs and kills an autistic youth. This throws the two families involved plus the entire, small town into a state of shock and turmoil. There is a great need among the townsfolk, the police and numerous individuals on why such a nice16 year old young man would do such a heinous thing. But Leland's motives just aren't satisfiable to most. Why would a kid commit such a blatantly cruel act of violence. As Pearl (Cheadle) get's closer and closer to Leland his book idea goes by the wayside and he takes a genuine interest in helping the troubled youth discover what motives lie behind his horrendously brutal act. And though this may sound bizarre you may very well start empathizing with the troubled Leland as he struggles to discover what could make him become such a monster. Amazingly enough, to me at least is the weakness of Kevin Spacey's character. Spacey plays Leland's dad a world renowned author who never had much time for any members of his family, particularly Leland, because Leland was simply too much work for the narcissistic author. That whole part of the storyline just sounds so clichéd, and if it was going to have any real meaning to the story, it should have been fleshed out much better. It just comes off as too convenient. Leland's problems go much deeper than a part-time father.
The real story finally comes down to the time Pearl (Cheadle was very good per usual) spends trying to understand what makes Leland tick. And when Pearl finally realizes there will be no "Leland Book," but he wants to help Leland anyway, some real humanity finally starts to shine through all the previous confusion. You do get some idea about why Leland may have done what he did, but the story is equally about Pearl's inner demons and how he goes from his selfish interest's in Leland's story to putting Leland's cries for help ahead of his own interests as the more important issue. All in all it's a very provocative movie that will really make you think about life and living it in ways that aren't always pleasant. It is not a perfect movie, but there is enough meat on the bone to make it a movie worthy of your consideration. I'd give it 7.5 Milli-grams of Thorazine out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child. (120 mins.)
“ I would guess BLUE VELVET is the one movie if you had to pick one that really put David Lynch of the film making map. I've seen all his movies with the exception of LOST HIGHWAY, which try as I might I could not set still long enough to discover neither the rhyme nor reason for even having made that movie. Let's face it, any movie that starts out with a young, tender, adolescent boy just happening across a severed ear in a near by park, is probably a good reson to expect something a bit unusual. And unusual BLUE VELVET IS. Just like in many Lynchonian epics one wierd circumstance leads yo another. Always play close attention, never assume anything and you should be in for quite some ride if you don't wear your saftey suit to the screenmg before entering. For young Jeffrey Beaumont he is about to discover the tarnsihed underbelly of his once iddlylic suburban existence. Not at all satisfied with the investigation teams progress, the police chiefs daughter (plated by the absolutely lovely and uber talented Laura Dern) decide to carry out their own investigation. The prime character of their investigation turn out to be a quite but beautiful and amazingly, mysterious and sensuous young women who is involved with an evil and very pretentious man neither of which Jeffrey can keep his eyes off of. Jeffrey, more out of his own curiosity than civic duty, continues to ply the olice Chief for information, but the Chief tells Jeffrey this is an ongoing police investigation just added to Jeffrey's curiosity. Leaving the Chief's house he runs into none other than the Chiefs daughter, Sandy Williams, She tells him details she's overheard about the case plus the name of a women that is supposedly under intense scrutiny, Dorothy Valens, who also lives in the neighbrood. Somehow Kyle MacLachlan's character Jeffrey Beaumont comes up with the bright idea of slipping into the room of the mysterious lounge singer Dorothy Vallens in hopes of finding some clues about what might be going on between Vallens and the strange and sickly fascinating Frank Booth. Jeffry quickly finds himself mixed up much deeper than he had ever hoped to be. Often lending a sympathetic ear to Dorthy Vallnes he frequently finds himself "hiding out in her closet with Frank being the perverse and very sinister person that he really is. The ending comes at you in a whirlwind of bizarre and unexpected happenings that will leave you sitting there watching the credits scroll down the screen as you are try to come to some sort of mental conclusion as to exactly what it is you just experienced, and it 'is' an experience. After all it's BLUE VELVET and deserves to be contemplated and discussed. BLUE VELVET is a mind bender and will linger with you for years after you see it just once. It is truly a power house of a movie...please make sure to put this on your must see list and don't delay in seeing it. A very solid 9 out of 10 ears for BLUE VELVET. ” - gary-hill57
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident. (113 mins.)
“ ::DONNIE DARKO has taken on the tittle of "Cult Classic" after the past ten years deservedly or not. The first time I saw Darko I must admit to really enjoying the movie. It was fresh, different and yet oddly entertaining and extremely well shot. Over these past ten years the movie has become such a "Cult Favorite" that I think a lot of people are starting to dismiss it for just how brilliant this movie really is.. Jake Gylenhaal is terrific as the very mixed up and mildly disturbed high school student. Who often finds himself wondering around in a sort of dream state. He has a friend "Frank" a giant rabbit who continues to tell Donnie the world is coming to an end very soon and compels Donnie to do mischievous deeds that one has to suppose are out of kilter with his normal behavior. Donnie also appears incapable at times of balancing these hallucinations with the reality around him. He struggles to get along with his parents, his siblings and his peers but he does find a kindred soul, in Gretchen Ross (played by Jena Malone) a girl who just moved into the school district after her parents could no longer get along. Donnie asks Gretchen if she "wants to go with him" and Gretchen asks, "Go where?" and Donnie feels an immediate kinship with her. As previously mentioned, Donnie has a fiend named Frank, a giant bunny rabbit with an eerily, frightening rabbit head mask, whom only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off an air plane which crashes through Donnie's bedroom in the middle of the night, Donnie's not there. Both the inexplicable "missing engine" which the FAA can not clear up, and Donnie's just happening to not be there seem to have been precipitated by some sort of supernatural powers. Donnie's apparent mental illness, which is explored by his psychotherapist - there are some very funny scenes involving Donnie's therapist and Donnie, which at the least will make you snicker - doesn't really seem to be going anywhere.
Included in the movie are several small but relevant side plots involving various minor characters. Patrick Swayze plays a self help guru who the school's ulta-conservative chearleader instructor has a crush on whether for the right or the wrong reason. Who knows. Than there is the little old lady in town who all the kids pick on except for Donnie, whose genuinely kind heart goes out of his way to be kind to (She happens to be Roberta Sparrow - an author who years early wrote a book on the potential of time travel) and she religiously checks her mail several times a day even though she never gets any mail. there continue to be lot's of strange goings on when it comes to Donnie. Frank continues to show up more and more always with an accurate countdown until the end of the world. And Donnie continues to follow through on Frank's orders...burning down Patrick Swayzes house, Jamming the school toilets with toilet paper, Planting an Axe right in the center of the high school mascot - an over sized bulldog sitting on it's haunches. To try to retell the story in this limited space is really futile. In closing let me just say that the entire movie, as crazy as it sounds, pulls everything together so cunningly and yet doesn't insult the audience. DONNIE DARKO deserves to be called a Cult Classic as much as any movie does. As I statedat the beginning of this review, The movie has become so well known in some circles that now you have critics for the sake of wanting to be different. The attitude that "I'm so highbrow, DONNIE DARKO is just too mundane for my tastes. It's just so much high school angst that it's rather droll. To anyone who wants to take that stand the more power to you, but who are you really trying to impress. Maybe movies like EL TOPO, HOLY MOUNTAIN and ANTICHRIST may be more to your tastes. Give DARKO his due, an 8.5 out of 10 make sense to me!!! PS...Don't bother spending the time investment watching S. DARKO, it is sure to disappoint . ” - gary-hill57
The Door in the Floor
A writer's young assistant becomes both pawn and catalyst in his boss's disintegrating household. (111 mins.)
“ THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR is one of those movies that really catches you off guard - in a good way. I had never heard of the movie and rented it based on the front and rear covers. I got far more than my monies worth. This movie is in many ways truly tragic but still has a weird comedic element that shines through at times. Jeff Bridges (absolutely superb as usual) plays Ted Cole one half of a fractured and irreparable relationship with the lovely and talented Kim Bassinger who plays his wife Marion Cole. The story is based on about one third of John Irving's best seller Widow For One Year. I admit to not reading the book so I can't make any comparisons - but honestly, when a movie is this good, who cares. The movie covers one summer of the lives of the Cole's in the ritzy East Hampton's. Ted is a very successful - and extremely eccentric - children's book author and his wife Marion is merely a shell of her former self. It just so happens that the Cole's lost twin boys about 14 years ago in a horrific car accident when both were in their teenage years. To try to save the marriage they have a little girl (about 5 in the movie) played marvelously by Elle Fannong, but instead of bringing them closer together the child has just widened the chasm between the two. That summer Ted hires on an assistant, mainly a driver, as Ted has lost his licence due to too many DUI's. The strange thing is the kid looks remarkably like one of their deceased sons, and you are never quite sure what Ted's motives are. He obviously knew that it might help fill a void in Marion's heart that he no longer could or he may have purposely hired the young man because he knew Marion would fall for him and thus give him ammo in a custody hearing that looked to be inevitable. The once great marriage is now doomed due to Bassinger's inability to deal with the deaths, her despondency and her inability to be intimate, meanwhile Ted doodles as an artist also and has affairs with most of the women he gets to pose for him. Minnie Driver is the subject during this particular summer of their life and brings a unique comedic elements to the movie. As the summer wears on Eddie(the young teen who is Ted's assistant) falls in love with Marion and Marion connects with him on some level and makes love to him frequently...amazingly this doesn't come across as gratuitous but is actually tender and fills a void in her heart. Eddie turns out to be a pawn in both their lives as they are trying to find a way out and he is the catalyst for their eventual breakup. This review does not do the movie justice and I apologize for that. It is equally for men and women alike...please don't mistake this as a date movie. This is deep drama at it's very best with a few hilarious scenes thrown in that work very well. I won't give away the ending because the movie is that good and is one of my favorites of that genre. With Bridges recent success I now consider him one of the finest actors plying his craft. Do yourself a favor and please make it a point to see this movie. It's a 9.5 out of 10 in my book. ” - gary-hill57
The Lost Room
A detective investigates a mysterious motel room, which acts as a portal to an alternate universe. (270 mins.)
“ As stated previously, I believe in the review of PRIMER or DARK CITY, I am a real fan of Sci-Fi that takes place in the present and is reality based for the most part. THE LOST ROOM was actually a six part SciFi channel mini-series(six hours in total) mini series that actually looked good in the previews. Normally the Sci-Fi channels original programming leaves me disappointed. In the case of THE LOST ROOM the opposite was true...I wanted more. Another mini-series a weekly series, whatever. I just knew after watching it for the first time I knew I wanted more. Once I watched it again on DVD my attitude only intensified. This is great Sci-Fi. Be it the big screen or cable TV, THE LOST ROOM deserved all the accolades it has received. To give a thumbnail of this terrific story will not be easy so bear with me. Peter Krause plays a Pittsburgh detective who is given an unexplainable case to try to crack. When he realizes that a youngster who he looks out for my have witnesses what happened he brings him in for questioning. When Krause steps out of the interrogation room for 30 seconds and returns the young man is inexplicably gone. Running away the boy gets hit by a car and Krause finds a motel key in his pocket with the number 10 he doesn't know what to make of it. That is until he accidentally uses the 'key' and realizes after he opens the door the key takes you to whatever place you were thinking of. Close the door again and open it and the room resets back into a plain motel room. One evening he catches his daughter playing with the key and she goes into the room and the door gets closed on her. When Krause opens the door in a panic the room has rest and his daughter is gone. Of course Krause will stop at nothing to get his daughter back. As he searches for answers he discovers that there are a number of seemingly mundane items that have very weird effects. A comb that stops time for 5 seconds, a glass eye that can heal or destroy human flesh, a bus ticket that sends the person who is touched by it to somewhere out in the western desert states. He finds out that all these items were in a motel room 10 out in the west when something unearthly happened almost 50 years before and since that time there have been various cabels trying to collect the items. Some think if you get all the items you can know the mind of God. Other groups think the items are too dangerous and need to be gathered and destroyed. Krause only interest is getting his daughter back.
Over the final three episodes Krause is able to unearth more and more information, but as long as he has such a powerful "object" his life is in danger as well. He realizes that he has to find that room and find out what happened in that room some 50 years ago. Was it a tear in the fabric of time? A bumping together of two parallel universes? He finally finds the motel now empty and decrepit except there is no room 10, the last room is numbered 9. Krause wants only one thing, his daughter. With further snooping he finally discovers there is one "prime object" and to get her back he needs that "prime object." The "prime object" turns out to be a person. All the "objects" were in that room and belonged to the "prime object" when the event happened. There are several sub plots woven through the story and each has it's merit. The story is very tight and logical or as logical as it can be. The acting is top notch, in addition to Krause, Elle Fanning plays his daughter, Kevin Pollak plays an entrepreneur who has his own reasons for wanting the objects. Julianna Margolis, Dennis Christopher (Batman's commissioner Gordon and Ann Cusack all add to the quality of the movie/mini-series.
I found myself thinking about the story for months and months and still watch the entire mini-series every so often. Almost 10,000 votes on IMDB have given it an average of 8.3. That's close enough for me as I gave it 8 out of 10 motel keys! If you like great Sci-fi (or non-alien sci-fi please do yourself a favor and get a copy (pretty cheap on Amazon.com...though the DVD has almost no bonus material! ” - gary-hill57
“ WE DON"T LIVE HERE ANYMORE is a movie I picked for one very simple reason. I'm a big fan of Laura Dern who plays the wife of Peter Krause and Mark Ruffalo who plays the husband of Naomi Watts. (At least as best as my memory serves me they are the pairings, after all these years I could well be wrong) WE DON"T LIVE HERE ANYMORE is based on two short stories by Andre Dubus. If his names sounds familiar, it is probably because the fantastic film IN THE BEDROOM is based on another of his stories. This is not a touchy, feely good movie nor is it meant to be. At it's core it's the story of two married couples who by all outward appearances have it all: the nice suburban house on a wooded lot, a great neighborhood, two new cars in the garage..blah, blah, blah. The couples have formed a very close bound over the years and they all bring something different to the group dynamic. But despite how great their lives look on the outside, on the inside life is not all red roses and chocolates. It is very much like real life. Marrige takes constant hard work and maintenance and neither couple has been doing a great job at putting in the required work to make their marriages what they once were. ” - gary-hill57
Three friends plan to pull off a simple robbery and go on the run. (91 mins.)
“ BOTTLE ROCKET was talented writer/director Wes Anderson's(THE ROYAL TANNENBAUM'S, THE DARJEELING LIMITED & THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU) first movie and still ranks right up there with his very best. It is one of my all-time favorite comedies - others include KISS KISS BANG BANG, RUNNING WITH SICCORS & Anderson's other movies) - and I'm not a big fan of comedies in the movies because most of the time they fall far short of the mark. In BOTTLE ROCKET 3 odd-ball friends - played by Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson and Robert Musgrave - come up with an elaborate plan for a small robbery and then to go on the lam. James Cain is great as Mr. Henry who has a small lawn upkeep business but impresses the three young men with his stories of a life of crime. Along the way anything and everything goes wrong for the "gangsters" and the movie is one laugh after another. There is such an innocence about all three "bad guys" which makes them so like-able, but pathetic as stick up men. This movie belongs in everyone's collection as it was the real birth of a whole new genera of comedies. But the now 15 year old BOTTLE ROCKET beats all its imitators hands down. It deserves 8 out of 10 bottle rockets. ” - gary-hill57
After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant. (99 mins.)
“ RESERVOIR DOGS was Quentin Tarantino break out movie and many, myself included, still think it is one of his best. At it's essence it's really a fairly simple gangster/heist movie about a jewelry heist gone terribly wrong. The story comes down to six criminals, all unknown to each other, are hired by a crime boss, to carry out a big - easy - diamond heist. No one knows anyone else's name as they are given false names by color...Mr. White, Mr. Brown, Mr. Pink (who is none too happy with his moniker), Mr. Green and so on. This way anonymity is maintained, trust becomes much less an issue and on the off chance something goes south no one can rat anyone else out. Sounds simple and straight forward enough, but as we all know life is never quite as simple and straight forward as we would like. And neither is the case in this terrific crime caper. To everyone's surprise, the police just happen to show up at just the time the caper is taking place. Panic and paranoia quickly spread. One criminal and several policeman as well as a bystander or two take hits in a violently bloody shootout. When the crew starts to arrive at their predetermined rendezvous point suspicion runs rampant and every smells a rat. The question quickly becomes who is smelling the right rat and who is slick enough to keep the others off his tail. Tarentino did a master fall job of casting this movie using the likes of the often brilliant Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink), Harvey Keitel (to me the poor mans Robert DeNiro - as Mr. White), Tim Roth master-fall as always as Mr. Orange, Michael Madsen as the sadistic Mr. Blonde, along with Chris Penn as the boss's son and Joe Cabot as the "Boss." As the movie moves along at breakneck speed we get hints and tips to who may be the snitch, only to find out in the next scene the mistake of presumption as Tarentino weaves together a brilliant but bloody masterstroke of a story. This is Tarantino doing what he does best, mixes violence with dark humor and jumping forward and backward in time to keep you guessing but also to keep the story tight. I saw DOGS before PULP FICTION (most people saw them the other way around) and you have to not expect another PULP FICTION if you have all ready seen that movie. Because RESERVOIR DOGS is a totally different movie. There is one especially gritty scene involving Madsen and his switchblade and a human ear that you may want to watch through splayed fingers, but the amazing thing is you never actually see the violence, it's the possibility of violence rather than the violence itself that makes for such an alluring scene and film.
Ultimately, the movie is like a really good breakfast, totally satisfying and leaving you feeling plenty full. This may someday be considered the first of a new breed of crime movies, only time will tell if that will happen. But I would give RESERVOIR DOGS a 9 out of 10 or perhaps an 8.5 out of 10. Pretty much depends on the mood when I'm watching it. If you like movies like WAY OF THE GUN, PULP FICTION or THE USUAL SUSPECTS don't let this movie pass you by. It belongs in your personal movie library should you have one, because it deserves numerous watchings. It is also unlike any of Tarantino's other films. This movie is like a well polished Jack Boot to the groin. ” - gary-hill57
Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them. (89 mins.)
“ SEXY BEAST is one of those movies I picked up at Blockbuster when it seemed like I couldn't find anything that really looked good that I had not all ready seen. In that way it was a real flier...all I knew going into this movie was that it featured two of my favorite British actors Sir Ben Kingsley and the ever intimidating Roy Winstone. Obviously I'm really glad I just pulled it off the rack...what a treat. Ben Kingsley plays the wickedly evil Don Logan who goes to Spain to recruit his one time, now retired partner, safe cracking, Gal Dove(Winstone), for one more big job. Gal Dove wants nothing to do with "one more job" but you just don't say no to the ruthlessly brutal Don Logan. The back and forth between Kingsley and Winstone is so raw and powerful it actually made me half nervous. And Logan is a persistent bugger, not hesitating to terrify Gal's new cheeky friends or his lovely new wife. Gal finely gets persuaded by Logan's persistent intrusions and of course no good comes of it. But what makes the movie is not the plot but the incredible characters, especially Kingsley and Winstone. In many ways this movie is more a very dark comedy than a caper yarn as I said before, the plot is almost secondary. The movie is really all about the relationship between good and evil. These lads from across the pond can act, don't miss it. 7.5 out of 10 black eyes.
A Brief Note: If you are a fan of Kingsley's, and aren't we all, also check out the very funny YOU KILL ME. ” - gary-hill57
A futuristic Brief Encounter
, this is a love story in which the romance is doomed by genetic incompatibility. (93 mins.)
“ CODE 46 is proof, once again, that you don't need a giant budget to produce a very viewable and interesting movie. CODE 46 falls under the Science Fiction category, but the science fiction elements while both interesting and integral to the movie, it is the story of the two main characters and their fine performances that make this movie really work. At it's core CODE 46 is a love story that takes place in a not so distant future dystopian type setting, where mega-cities are highly guarded and outside of these mega-cities life continues to be scratched out in bleak, brown desert type Shanty Towns. How the world got like this we are not told nor is it of any real relavance to the story - a guess would be that there was some type of worldwide health crisis/global crisis that bought about a global super government. The totalitarian government - The Sphinx - strictly monitors travel and no one can enter the mega-cities without a "papella,' a kind of Brave New World passport. The peak that the film gives you into the future is rather interesting, language seems to have become somewhat globalized as a lot of people speak a sort of mish-mash of English mixed with other languages. The people who are banned from the 'cities' while having to scratch out a poor living do enjoy a freedom that city dwellers are denied. Tim Robbins plays William Geld, a family man who seems very detached as he goes about his daily job as a government investigator. Geld is sent to the Mega-City of Shanghai to investigate a possible forged papelles ring. On his trip he meets a spry young women named Maria (played wonderfully by Samantha Morton). Although he quickly surmises that Maria is an integral part of the forgery ring, he finds himself quickly falling in love with the some what shy and tender Maria, for she fills a void in his own home life and for once seems to feel very much alive when in her presence. They experience a brief (his papella is good for only 24 hours) but torrid affair, and he feels pulled strongly in two directions. On the one hand Maria gives him something he knows he will never have in his current relationship but he also knows to pursue the affair is foolishness as 'big-brother' is everywhere.
He does decide to return home but hides her involvement in the forgery ring. Once home he spends seemingly every waking hour thinking of what it would be like to have a life with Maria but sees it as an impossibility. Then a week later he is sent back to Shanghai as the investigation is reopened. What happens next would give away the conclusion of the story. So let me just say this: He reconnects with Maria and finds himself in some real hot water with very limited options. The ending dovetails really well with the rest of the story and leaves you if not overly happy at least satisfied, which can't be said for a lot of movies today when, very often, the ending to a movie is determined by showing the movie to 'sample' audiences and determining the ending based on a questionnaire that the sample audience are asked to complete. A method which I find rather pathetic. But a method Hollywood big wigs seem to like especially when some of these mega blockbusters are working with near 100 million dollar budgets. The nice thing about most low budget movies is that the director and producers aren't beholden to anyone.
CODE 46 was truly a pleasant surprise and the acting was so appropriate to the mood of the movie. Tim Robbins seems to have been born to play roles exactly like this - intellectually curious people whose outward behavior is often subdued as they try to deal with an oppressive government, workplace, society etc. I highly recommend you see CODE 46 and decide on your own whether it is your cup of tea. I'd give it 8 papellas out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
The Big Lebowski
"The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. (117 mins.)
“ Icek you have never heard of THE BIG LEBOWSKI which is now going on 13 years old, than you have either been living in a cave or you never see a movie. I still see people sporting "the Dude" tee shirts - I am one of them. And you can still find plenty of "Dude" apparel still available on-line. I can see rock-band tee shirts out lasting the bands, but how many movie tee shirts do you see at all? Of course, just because a movie has it's own tee shirt does not it a great movie make. But it's probably a fair indicator. For you folk not in the know, "The Dude" is a character Jeff Bridges made famous in one of those semi-psychodrama dark comedies they so excel out. And like all great Coen Brothers movies THE BIG LEBOWSKI is unlike any other. Oh you'll se some of the Coen Brothers regulars like Jeff Bridges, John Goldman, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro (I often wonder what actor/actress has appeared in the most Coen Brother's movies - my guess would be either Francis McDormand, John Goodman or John Turturro - but that's a question for a different time and place, unless someone wants to leave a comment, of course.). This time around the movie is pretty much a straight, if dark comedy, and it works on every level. Great character's who you can take an interest in. Great dialog, no body can deliver lines like Buscemi, Goldman and Bridges and here you have all three as best buddies - bowling buddies at that. And great dramatic shoots.
The movie itself can be summed up pretty simply, like any good Coen brothers movie, but there is really nothing simple about it. In respect to brevity I will attempt to just give you the quickie thumbnail version: When "The Dude" Lebowski, in a serious case of mistaken identity, is mistakingly identified for a millionaire Lebowski, two toughs urinate on his rug in hopes of coercing into paying a debt "The Dude" knows nothing about. While attempting to collect fair compensation for his ruined rug, he accepts a one time cash offer to help out the wealthy Lebowski. The Dude recruits his two best buds, Walter (Goodman), a gun-toting, jewish convert, with serious anger issues and Donnie (Buscemi) a quiet, pathetic guy who is actually the voice of reason, if such a word can be used when referring to this three-some. One thing leads to another and deception leads to mayhem and before you know it the Dude and his crew are up to thier backsides in violent nil-hists, porn empire tycoons and sort of ex-wives. As everything unravels for the three, everything also comes together and by the end of the movie they somehow save their own bacon - don't sat bacon around Walter. one performance that deserves special attention is John Tuturro's depiction of bowling guru Jesus Quintana. His key scene alone makes the movie worth the price of admission.
This movie is insanely funny, smart, satirical and just a flat out good time. It get's an 8 out of 10 in my book, seven days a week; all night long. Just remember Always "respect the Dude." ” - gary-hill57
A Home at the End of the World
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Hours" comes a story that chronicles a dozen years in... (97 mins.)
“ A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD is a story by pulitzer prize winning author Michael Cunningham (also responsible for the novel THE HOURS as well as the screenplay by the movie of the same name) about the 12 year close friendship of two teen boys - who couldn't be more different - who over the course of the movie become men. If you are a fan of Colin Farrell, and I am not ashamed to say I am especially after seeing him in some of his more brilliant movies like IN BRUGES and THE WAY BACK, and I still think his performance in PHONE BOOTH was superb regardless of what one may think of the movie - then this is a must see movie. And if you are not a fan of Farrell, this movie may change your mind.
Sissy Spacek is perfectly cast in the roles of Alice Glover, the mother of Jonathan Glover (Dallas Roberts gives a very convincing performance). But the real star of the picture and the character everybody in the movie revolves around is Bobby Morrow (Colin Farrell makes this movie as he plays the role of Bobby Morrow). The two boys have a very unique, if unusual relationship. And unlike many movie's these days everything about the dynamic of their relationship is not spelled out for you - yes you need to pay attention. Are both boys straight? I soneone 'acting' gay hoping to impress the other? Are they both straight but curious about the others sexuality? One thing we do know, they share an uncommon bond that helps them get through lifes up and downs. The story starts off with the two younger boys - early on played by different actors -galavanting around their home area the suburbs of Cleveland Ohio. As they mature and experiment with the things adolescents often finds themselves doing. They meet a third partner to add to their very exclusive little group. The run into Clare (played by Robin Wright Penn) a bohemian type who dyes her hair all sorts of colors and is totally enamored with the two young men taking them to New York with her to see how much they are in tune with her own lifestyle. As much as Clare thinks that she is the 'lead' dog in their little entourage it is the ever kind and sweet Bobby, who, whether he realizes it or not is the real puppet master of this quirky threesome. The film chronicles lives of loves, hates, trials and loses as the two young boys turn into men. The real question id what will happen to this three legged tripod of a friendship if one leg is removed. Well if you want to know you will have to see the move. And the ending is not only unexpected, but unlike so many movies it's not simply contrived but will have you thinking about it long after you leave the theater. It sounds so cliche-d when I write this review. But believe me, it is not. The movie is abound with touching moments but don't bother trying to figure out how it will end...it will just be a wasted effort, Quo-dos to the people who were brave enough to make such a courageous movie. It is easily deserving of more acclaim, but then it might not have made it onto my list. This movie easily garners 8 points out of a possible 10. ” - gary-hill57
After being released from prison, Billy is set to visit his parents with his wife, who he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl and forces her to act as his wife for the visit. (110 mins.)
“ BUFFALO 66 is a quirky, well acted tightly made little gem of a movie, starring Vincent Gallo and Christinna Ricci with a great supporting cast including Ben Gazarra (as Gallo's/Billy's dad), Anjelica Huston (as Billy's mother), as well as Rosanna Arquette, Alex Karras, Jan-Michael Vincent and Mickey Rourke. Billy Brown is just out of jail and doesn't have two nickel's to rub together, but he is full of BS which he puts to good use. He wants to return to his hometown of Buffalo, NY to see his parents and show them what a success he has become(evidently they never even cared enough to know that he was in jail for he past several years...for the Brown family has but one passion The NFL's Buffalo Bills). Billy kidnaps Ricci at her dance class and talks her into pretending to be his wife for his visit home. She agrees and Mom and Pop love her. Ben Gazzara (Billy's dad) at one point takes her into an extra room and seranades her and tries to grab a feel, meanwhile Billy's mom is ignoring him as the Bill's game is on the tube. Ricci informs the family that Billy is quite the businessman and they are expecting their first baby. Things go from bad to worse as Billy's true motives for returning to Buffalo are revealed - he wants to kill ex-Bill's kicker Scott Norwood who many blame for at least 2 of their 4 consecutive Super Bowl loses. Norwood now owns a strip-club in a seedy section of Buffalo and Billy has designs on evening some bizarre personal score. This movie is indeed art house film making at it's best, and Gallo's dialouge is both dead serious and darkly comical. It's only problem was the enormous ego of Gallo. He plays the lead, directed the movie, produced the movie and wrote and performed the music in the movie. Made on a measly (when compared to other movies) 1.5 million dollar budget it only ever opened on two screens. But thanks to VHS and later DVD's it began to garner a cult fooling that's well deserved. I'm really not sure where I would rank this movie, somedays it seems like it deserves to be a top 10 of all time and yet at other times it seems to just barely sneak into the top 100. Regardless, it is most definitely worth seeing. If you enjoy this film make sure to skip THE BROWN BUNNY, a disgusting piece of pornographic narcissism that should be destroyed in a firey pit! ” - gary-hill57
Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond. (104 mins.)
“ In my opinion SNATCH is Guy Ritchie's finest "British caper movie to date. I know a lot of people will argue that LOCK, STOCK and TWO SMOKING BARRELS is the best of his trio of 'caper' films (ROCKnROLLA being the other and I think it runs a close second to SNATCH. Snatch get's an 8.3 on IMDB and LOCK, STOCK and TWO SMOKING BARRELS gets a nearly identical 8.2, ROCKnROLLA gets an unfair, my opinion, 7.3.), but I must beg to differ. LOCK, STOCK was so well received because, I think, it was something totally different for most American audiences. Snatch has a lot of the same elements as LOCK but is a more refined movie while still being very edgy and Brad Pitt really acts his butt off in Snatch, pretty much stealing every scene that he appears in.
Turkish (played wonderfully by Jason Statham) and his best mate Tommy Boy somehow get snookered into match fixing by the not so scrupulous but ever so Notorious Brick Top. Things start getting complicated when the boxer they had lined up gets the snot knocked out of him by Pitt, a Pikey (slang for an Irish gypsy) who comes into the picture when Turkish wants to buy a caravan - we Americans refer to the said vehicle as an RV - from the Irish Gypsies. They not only decided to buy a caravan form the gypsies but attempt to get Mickey (Pitt) to fight for them and purposefully lose, Bad idea asking a "Pikey" to lose intentionally. (again Pitt is brilliant with an accent that is at once hard to understand but when the jokes come through they are real gut busters). In the meantime, a huge diamond lift tales place and a fistful of unsavory characters add to the mix, including: Cousin Avi, Boris the blade, Franky four Fingers and Bullet Tooth Tony. Things go from bad to worse with humor never taking a back seat, as it all comes down to the money, the guns, and the damned dogs. This movie is so exceptionally well crafted you can watch it over and over again, know the lines by rote and still laugh at then each time as they are so well delivered. Ritchie has truly found a nitch of film making of which he is the unabashed king. Snatch deserves an 8.5 out of 10 and I have a feeling most who give it a fair shot will agree.
Added note: There are some truly great individual performances in this movie. Bradd Pitt is fantastic as the "pikey" Mickey, a character you will in all likelihood never forget. Beninci Del Toro also plays a great part as a diamond thief. And "Boris the Blade" played by Rade Serbedzija will not soon be forgotten. In addition keep your eyees open for Vinnie Jones who plays "Bullet Tooth Tony" and Robbie Gee as "Vinny." Also outstanding is Mike Reid as "Vinny the Head," and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Sthatham's sidekick "Tommy" played by Stephen Graham. There are just so many funny lines...a few personal favorites: Avi: Tony.
Bullet Tooth Tony: What?
Avi: Look in the dog.
Bullet Tooth Tony: What do you mean "look in the dog?"
Avi: I mean open him up.
Bullet Tooth Tony: It's not as if it's a tin of baked beans! What do you mean "open him up"?
Another is when Statham and his sidekick Tommy are discussing the purchase of a new "caravan. There is some older guy cooking up some sausages for Statham and the conversation goes something like this:
Sthatham: Charlie, how long till them sausages are done?
Sausage Charlie: Two minutes Turkish!
Sthatham: What's happening with them sausages, Charlie?
Sausage Charlie: Five minutes, Turkish.
Turkish: It was two minutes five minutes ago.
And the crazy dialog goes on and on but it's never trite or out of place. What a genuinely fun, but very dark, comedy. Please don't skip over this one. When you did finally see it you'll be scratching your head over why you never saw it before. Ritchie's other two Crime Caper's are every bit as strong!!! ” - gary-hill57
A twisted take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker traveling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer/pedophile. (102 mins.)
“ A twisted take on the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood, FREEWAY is LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD meets PULP FICTION and then some. Vanessa Lutz - played by Reese Witherspoon in one of her first starring roles - a 15 year old troubled student comes home from school one day as her mom is being arrested for prostitution and drug purchasing and her step father is being taken to the psych-ward (A combination of really good weed and too much speed). Her social worker is there to intercept poor Vanessa and help her pack for her next foster home. However Vanessa has been down this road before so she handcuffs her Social Worker to the radiator and heads out the door. A friend loans her a handgun and Vanessa heads out to go to her grany's house. Soon enough the car overheats and Vanessa is thumbing it. Little does she know that there is a serial killer on the loose who has been picking up young ladies on the same highway Vanessa is traveling. Soon enough Bob Wolverton, a counselor at a school for troubled adolescent boys gives her a lift, buys her a meal and gains her trust. Before long he has Vanessa talking about her sexual abuse at the hands of her step father. When she realizes that Bob seems to be enjoying the stories she realizes that he is the "I-5 Killer" and makes a plan to escape. To tell you anymore would give away the meatiest part of the story, but suffice it to say Vanessa can take care of herself and Bob is the one in for a rough time. With a great supporting cast including Brooke Shields as Bob's naive wife, Amanda Plummer as Mother Lutz, Michael T. Weiss as her step-dad and Dan Hedaya as the detective, this is one gem of a dark comedy that keeps you guessing one moment and laughing out loud the next.
This is a genuinely unique movie that actually pulls off what it is trying to accomplish and one I have enjoyed several times over the years. It's one of those movies that if you lend it out you may wait a long time to get it back. Worthy of 7.5 red hoods out of 10. Do yourself a favor and buy this one for your collection or by two if you plan on loaning one out! ” - gary-hill57
An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret. (106 mins.)
“ Young, white Dan Dunne, is the coach of the girl's basketball team and a history teacher at an inner city Brooklyn public school where the majority of students are black and Hispanic youths. To his superiors vexation, Dan goes against the grain of the stated curriculum. In place of simply teaching historical events accurtelly, he instead focuses on the philosophical reasoning behind such events. He wants desperately to engage the minds of his young students and not for them to simply memorize dates, people and times. Using his unconventional methods and his ability to relate to younger people he ends up capturing both their hearts and minds and gains their trust. In school everything is going swingingly for Dan and even his co workers are beginning to notice - and in some instances - respect him for his devotion to his students. But outside of school Dan'is life is in shambles. While he has a cordial relationship with his family it's very distant and he continues to struggle with illegal drug use. Something that started with a former girlfriend who had gone to rehab and was now clean, but Dan just didn't see rehab working for him. So here we have a young man who seems on top of the world to the outside but is internally in constant combat with inner demons. He even has trouble treating women with any dignity or respect.
Drey is a thirteen year old young lady who is both in Dan's history class and plays basketball for the team Dan coaches. Drey's home life isn't exactly a dream life itself, she comes from a split up household where her father is never around and totally irresponsible, her one brother Mike took the fall for a drug dealer Mike who tries to look out for Drey. Meanwhile Drey's mother works seemingly all the time to keep food on the table and to give Drey a better life. One day Drey quite by accident catches Dan in a bathroom stall high as a kite on crack and that's when the story really takes off. Dan is gyilt ridden and wants to protect Drey. Drey would like to save Dan but feels, once again, betrayed. And the essence of the story comes down to two people from different places culturally, financially and ethnically trying to save the other when maybe they should be more concerned with saving themselves. I though the acting of Ryan Gosling and the very underrated Anthony Mackie along with Sarreka Epps made the movie work. The story sounds like old, rehashed material but it is anything but in the hands of this trio of superb actors. For my money Anthony Mackie deserves to start getting Denzel Washington type roles and Ryan Gosling is quickly becoming a superstar in his own right. This may sound like a simple, hum drum movie...it's not. I repeat, it's not. I'd give it 8 out of 10, easy and will be watching it again and again over the next few years ” - gary-hill57
“ THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS is a movie unlike anything I've seen in quite some time. It's part Guillermo del Toro meets Wes Anderson supervised by Terry Gilliam. I went into the experience not expecting much. You would think I would know better having seen all of Gilliam's previous efforts. For me THE IMAGINARUM is equal to or even better than some of his biggest hits like BRAZIL, TIME BANDITS and 12 MONKEYS. It's very watchable and yet has the usual high octane surrealism and symbolism that Gilliam is known for. The film is nothing short of pure fun and fanciful entertainment.
In London, the traveling sideshow troupe - which consists of his daughter Valentina, her admirer the impish young lad Anton, their dwarf driver of the dilapidated, horse drawn sideshow wagon and jack of all trades, Anton. And of course the Amazing Dr. Parnassus - the leader of this group of vagabonds - who claims to have lived for over 1000 tortured years. For a pound or two Dr. Parnassus will promise the audience a journey to the "Imaginarium", an imaginary world commanded by the mind of Doctor Parnassus, where dreams come true. One problem with the performances are half the time the good Doctor is a bit in the drink and at others times the crowds are awfully meager. Over the years Dr. Parnassus has told his lifetime story - his one thousand year long lifetime story to his precious daughter Valentina, along with Anton and Percy the midget. It would seem that after these many long years the Doctor fell in love with a mortal woman; however to enjoy his new love he made a deal with the Devil (Mr. Nick) in which he traded his immortality for youth. As part of the deal he promised Mr. Nick - who was shooting blanks - his first born son or daughter on their sixteenth birthday. Valentina is now almost to the doomed age and Doctor Parnassus makes a new bet with Mr. Nick, whoever seduces five souls in the Imaginarium will have Valentina as a prize.
In the meantime the troupe rescues Tony, a young man that was hanged on a bridge by the Russians. Tony was chased until he finds and joins the group. He turns out to be a real charmer and has eyes for Valentina much to Anton's displeasure (Originally Heath Ledger was signed to play Tony and completed about half the picture. Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell finished the scenes that required Heath Ledger). The ending I will leave for you to watch for yourself. I will say it is quite satisfactory and fits right in with the rest of the movie. If you are a fan of Terry Gilliam, or a fan of adult fantasy flicks or just a kid at heart who wants to be entertained without yawning. Than this is the movie you can't afford to miss. Just as PAN"S LABYRTINTH was a very special movie in 2008 so is THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS for 2009. It is well worth receiving 8 stars out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense. (106 mins.)
“ I just watched IP MAN last night (4-21-2011) and wasn't really sure what to expect having seen very few Chinese imports. One thing I know I'll be doing after seeing this movie - I'll definitely be watching out for more tittles from the far east - China, Japan ans South Korea in particular. Yip Man was the name of a real Kung Fu master who was the first martial arts instructor to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun. He also happened to be the teacher and mentor of the iconic legend Bruce Lee. IP MAN is about his years in China during the Chinese-Sino war. The movie revolves around the benevolent, reserved and under spoken Yip Man shortly after the Japanese invasion of Japan, but before they have reached his small hometown which is known for it's many highly advanced Chinese martial arts schools. The earliest scenes in the movie simply give you an inkling of who and what Yip Man is. He rarely displays anger and only occasionally duels with close associates behind closed doors as not to embarrass his adversaries. Fairly early on we see Yip Man at his best when a group of tough hooligans who think they have the best Kung Fu in China arrive in town challenging, and beating all the Masters (instucters - this area is evidently a hotbed for martial arts schools). Despite his lack of consistent 'fighting', when he needs to be, he is still at the very top of his craft. When the hooligans hear about Yip Man they go to his house for a challenge. After repeatedly telling the hooligans that he doesn't want to fight, his wife gives him the green light and Yip Man takes on the bad boys top fighter and destroys him with incredible speed and some truly amazing moves. After dispatching of the hooligans Yip Man goes back to his tranquil life until the Japanese Army shows up. Quickly food becomes scarce and Yip Man is forced to take on a hard labor job that pays little and is physically exhausting. As the situation with the occupation unfolds the Japanese army offers a 'sack of rice' to anyone who can beat the Japanese general and his impressive "Japanese Kung Fu" Yip Man tries to avoid fighting bu the situation he finds himself in all but forces him to eventually fight. He challenges the Japanese Army to a fight and wants to take on ten men at a time. Of course, as in all these type of movies, Yip Man defeats the gang of ten pretty handily and then goes into hiding with plans to get his wife and son out of China to go to Hong Kong. The General of the Japanese army wants Yip Man found and he offers Yip Man a deal. If Yip Man will teach the Japanese Army his brand of Chines Kung Fu, the general will let Yip Man go free. But Yip Man's pride won't allow it so he challenges the General to a duel. The general, a bigger man who oozes confidence and cruelty feels obligated to accept Yip Man's offer and when a subordinate suggests he shot Yip Man if the general loses the General glares back and tells the man he (the general) can not lose - though you get the feeling that even the General does not have total confidence. And to ensure fairness the duel will be held in the town square in front of a multitude of Chinese peasants and Japanese soldiers. Yip Man shows up in his usual calm demeanor and stands with great dignity across from The General bowing graciously but there is a glimmer in his eyes which is an indication of his tremendous focus and a foreshadowing of what is about to take place. The fight is beautifully choreographed and superbly acted and as imposing a figure as the general makes Yip Man, in his dignified but perfect form, not only defeats the General but for once goes a step further and humiliates him as I way to defend the honor of the Chinese people.
IP MAN is a great martial arts movie (and I don't consider myself a connoisseur of martial art films by any stretch of the imagination), buts it is really quite a bit more than that. It is a movie about humility, decency and knowing when the moment is appropriate to stand up for your beliefs irregardless of the potential consequences. IP MAN is a movie that deserved to be viewed. It is in Cantonese with English sub-tittles and included with the DVD is a version dubbed in English. The dubbed version is not really all that bad, in that it is very hard to dub far eastern films into English due to the difference in the mouth movements, but with that being said it's not a terrible effort, though I much prefer the subtitled version as the dubbed version can give the wrong mood to some scenes. If you have avoided movies of this ilk, it's time to stop such nonsense. IP MAN has made me anxious to view more Chinese, Japanese and Korean films. U.S. film makers have nothing on their Chinese counterparts. I'd give IP MAN 8 bows out of 10 and I'm sorely tempted to make that 8.5. ” - gary-hill57
Road to Perdition
Bonds of loyalty are put to the test when a hitman's son witnesses what his father does for a living. (117 mins.)
“ Road to Perditiontion is probably the last great movie Paul Newman ever made and a true winner it is. It's a criminal, gangster Optus that is packed with high tension and surprises around every corner, circa the late 1950's. Back when slick, well dressed gangsters were being, wrongly, looked up to like mythological heroes. But the humanity in this film despite it's being about criminal thugs there is enough humanity mixed in with this cruel and often bloody film that it still has some surprising tender moments. To start watching this picture means, I guarantee you now, you'll stay up till the final credits are rolling. Then you'll want to watch it again. ” - gary-hill57
The Royal Tenenbaums
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. (110 mins.)
“ The Royal Tene+baum$ is a real movie for movie lovers if you enjoy off beat humour. Gene Hackman is supeb and Wes Anderson has crafted a brilliant move,, perhaps his finest effort. After watching a Wes Anderson film you come away with a sense of joy. You realize you just observed something of exceptional talent. Besides Hackman there is Gwyneth Paltro, Angelica Huston, the underrated Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, the incredible Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Alex Baldwin and many other recognizable faces. Gene Hackman is the man of the house and quite the man he is, an irresponsible fun loving husband of Agelica Huston and a gang of kids all slightly neurotic to say the least.
The Tenebaum's are the very definition of dysfunctional to the extreme and Royal (Hackman) is the spoon that stirs the dysfunctional soup and boy does he stir it. Anderson's movies take a very twisted look at everyday life and while a bit over the top much of it rings true. The children are all prodigious still livivg at home with mom all with neuroses that make life quite interesting, and Royal has left and been gone for years. But he returns to the home to make things right. Chaos insues with his return and it's a laugh a minute as Royal is all about having fun. To fairly explain the plot would make this a very long review.
Suffice it to say if you enjoy the off beat this movie will be a joy. Give it a try. I think you'll find it most entertaining.
I give a very solid 8 out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns. (107 mins.)
“ LOCK, STOCK and TWO SMOKING BARRELS was Guy Ritchie's - of Sherlock Holmes fame - first film and I'll be darn if it wasn't a very good one. SMOKING BARRELS is distinguishy English and a great mixture of intense drama and very dark comedy. It's this movie that really put Jason Stathman's name out there in movieland. The story revolves around 4 English gents, who find thenselves in deep to "Brick Top" for a large amount of cash. The darkness of this movie shows itself early when "Bricktop" takes the lads for a tour of his pig farm all the while explaining how good pigs are for eating human tissue and flesh. He gives the four lads something like two weeks to come up with his money.
From this part forward it is non stop action as well as a large dolop of black humor. Bead Pitt has a great role in this movie as well playing a gypsy who lives with a bunch of other gypsies. Just seeeing Brad Pitt play the role so well is enough to make you laugh.
Makes sure you get to the movie on time because there is a great scene right at the vey beginning. Statham, whose name is Turkish, in the movie is playing a little three card monte set up on a card bord box and his banter is spot right on. He's holding up 'gold necklases" and offering them at a great price, his banter of " buy one for your wife and stash one for your girl friend," or "Step right up, have no fear, the man with the gold is standing right here." Suddenlly you hear the sound of police cars and the cardboard box is kicked into the air as Staham and his partner "Tomty Boy" are fone in a flash. I could go on and on but it would take far too much time to tell you more. This is surely a must see for anybody who likes action/mysterious. Don't miss this one. ” - gary-hill57
After his happy life spins out of control, a preacher from Texas changes his name, goes to Louisiana and starts preaching on the radio. (134 mins.)
A man confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons." (100 mins.)
“ FRAILTY is an intelligent horror film, something I can't say about too many movies as most horror movies to me are retreads of previously overdone material and are quite simply boring.
The movie open when a young man, Fenton Meiks (played by a very young Matthew McConaughey), is sitting in FBI agents Wesley Doyle's office telling him about the horrific story about how his father's delusions to have a divine mission as an avenging angel required him and his brother Adam to become his 'demon-slaying' murder accomplices. And how hard and dangerously revolting the possibilities are for Special Agent Doyle to even comprehend. When Meiks agrees to show Agent Doyle the proof they go for a ride and the movie flashes back to the beginning when Meiks father first told his son'e about their God Chosen Mission. How he told the boy's he could see demons among them and God would provide the tools and the way to rid these dangerous demons from the world. As Doyle is finally taken back to the actual burial sites there are some unexpected twist and turns that you really don't anticipate comming. Bil Paxton as both first time director is dead on never overplaying the gore but always keeping you on the edge of your seat for what just might come next and he is equally as frightening as the seemingly kind hearted but deadly serious father (Dad Meiks) of the two boys who he takes down this horrifying path. McConaughey hits the perfect mood to play the young and deeply disturbed Fenton Meils. And the ending is a surprise in a good way. If you like horror pics that aren't your run of the mill slice and dice, poorly acted junk. Then make sure the next time FRAILITY is on TV watch it, or better yet rent it for yourself. You will not be disappointed. I rate it 1 solid 7 to 7.5 out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature. (84 mins.)
A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. (106 mins.)
“ OIf you are a Sc-Fi fan or even if you are not GATTACA is a must see film and one of the Science Fiction classics of the last 25 years. I don't belive a particular year was ever given, but when GATTACA came out I would guess it took place some fifty or so years in the future. It's a future where parents can choose the genetic traits they want their children to have. From eye color to hair color, from IQ to height and body type and of course all the bad traits or genetic medical issues are easily eliminated. No high blood pressure. No heart murmurs. No diabetics no cerebral palsy. Most parents in this not so distant future choose the child's traits well before conception, but some future parents still want to leave all those things to chance. In Gattaca these children are often cruely labeled as "degens." The degens turn out to be the people who collect the garbage and clean office buildings and such other menial jobs. At the moment of childbirth the parents know how long the child will live, what diseases the child will have, the child's IQ, need for glasses or not, and so on. The Freeman's decide to have their first child au-naturel and when they find out he has a heart defect, will require glasses and will be undersized the father decides instead of giving him his name, Victor, his son will be named Vincent Victor Freeman, this is noteworthy because when they decide to have another child they go the 'pre-planned' method choosing only the best qualities and a disease free baby boy he inherits dad's name of Victor. Vincent has one dream as a youngster and that is to travel to space, but he will never be accepted into the program, though he is very intelligent, there are just too many 'more desirable candidates to choose from. After graduating from high school Vincent, goes from menial job to menial job eventually working at the Space Center, not as a future astronaut but rather part of the overnight cleaning crew. This is not what Vincent ever wants and can no longer live with so he hires a "deception" specialist and takes on the role of a genetically perfect specimen, now a paraplegic Jerome Morrow, a former world class swimmer who suffered a horrific automobile accident. Through Jerome's and the Deceiver's tutu-ledge, Vincent learns methods to fool the advanced blood testing and DNA testing that the Space Agency employs . As Vincent, now as Jerome Morrow, nears completion of his training and his launch date the Program Manager is found murdered and the ensuing investigation threatens all of Vincent's well made plans and years of hard work. His new found girl friend also is involved in a side sub plot (played by a very young Uma Thurman). Jude Law - a very young Jude Law - is quite impressive as the real Jerome Morrow and Ethan Hawke does an equally splendid job playing Vincent. The movie also stars Alan Arkin, Gore Vidal, Ernest Bordginine, Elias Koteas and Alan Arkin.
As I said before, this movie is destined to become a Sci-Fi classic as it deals with many issues that we are just starting to deal with now. It really was very much ahead of its time and deserves to be seen be you a sci-fi fan or not. I've enjoyed GATTACA many times and never really tire of the movie. It is very deserving of 8 out of 10 stars. ” - gary-hill57
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems. (97 mins.)
A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit. (119 mins.)
A teenage girl raids a man's home in order to expose him under suspicion that he is a sex offender with pedophilia. (104 mins.)
“ HARD CANDY cab be a rather difficult movie to watch. The movie at it's core is about revenge and in this case the toll revenge takes is a rather disturbing one. Ellen Page (of JUNO, INCEPTION and SUPER) plays the roll of a mature beyond her years, fourteen year old, who at first seems as clean and sweet as freshly fallen snow. She put's a rest to this notion real fast. As Hayley Stark she purposefully starts to chat over the internet with a thirty-two year old photographer Jeff Kohlver (played quite convincingly by Jack Stewart). After three weeks of flirtatious chatting they agree to meet each other at the seemingly safe Nighthawk Coffee Shop.
While at the Nighthawk Coffee shop Hayley uses all her guile and flirtatiousness to reel in the photographer, Jeff Klover. When he invites her back to his home she is only too happy to oblige him. Once back at the home of the photagrapher, Candy suggests she prepares them a couple of screwdrivers to help ease into the evening. What Jeff doesn't realize is that his screwdriver has more in it than vodka and orange juice (Ellen Page is shown putting the powder from a capsule, probably Rohypnol - the 'date rape drug' - into his drink. With the passing of time Jeff passes out only to wake up tied to a chair that is sitting atop his kitchen island. For the briefest of moments he thinks he's in for fun and games but when Page starts asking about pedophilia her nefarious plans of action become all too apparent to Jeff. She toys with him little by little, allowing him to get a glimpse of her "little bag of tools," asking him what he thought castration would feel like. At one point she even says to him (with scapel in hand), "...don't fret so much Jeff. It will only hurt a little bit, I studied this technique after all, my father is a doctor. Ellen Page plays this role to absolute perfection. Bringing Jeff to the point of screaming one minute and soothing him with the possibility she is only doing this to scare him. At one point when Jeff again comes too, all tied up, after he was naughty the following little back and forth takes place: Jeff Kohlver: [Jeff shakes his head weakly as he awakes from a drug induced stupor] Why, uhh, why do I get, tied up first if, if this is how we're gonna play?
Hayley Stark: Jeff, play time is over... Now its time to wake up.
The ending seems telegraphed early on but there are enough moments thrown in to start doubting your own guesses. And the ending is quite effective. There is also a bit of a Little Red Ridinghood metaphor that permeates the movie. I wouldn't call it a great movie but it deserves it's reputation of a darn good one. With almost all the scenes taking place in Jeff's kitchen you may think that it's bound to get tedious or be too much like a stage play, but neither is the case. HARD CANDY is not for the squeamish. There is if I recall correctly no blood and guts, and there doesn't need to be, the movie probably builds to a better crescendo without it. I wish more directors understood this simple fact but it seems now days any movie of this ilk takes the easy way out by graphically displaying every possible scenario and leaving nothing to the viewers imagination. HARD Candy goes in the opposite direction and it is often what you don't see that makes you wince. A clever script and superb acting are expertly mixed together to make a delicious little movie well worth your time. A 7 out of 10 doesn't quite seen fair, but it's a very solid 7 out of 10. Enjoy!!! ” - gary-hill57
A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse. (108 mins.)
“ I just recently watched the movie ANTICHRIST and have included it on this list because I thought it a movie very much worth your viewing. Is it a great movie? I don't believe so. However it is a very striking and compelling movie, so much so that I am plaining on watching it again after I finish writing this quick review. If my opinion changes I will make note of it at the end of this review.
The movie is told in four parts plus an epilogue and prologue and is beautifully shot in a minimalistic fashion. Directed by Lars von Trier from Denmark who is probably best known for his critically acclaimed DOGVILLE and DANCER IN THE DARK and starring William DeFoe as He and Charlotte Gainsbourg - of THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP and 21GRAMS fame - as She. Both DeFoe and Gainsbourg won several international awards for their roles in ANTICHRIST as did the director. The premise of the story is fairly simple and straight forward. While the couple is making love in a nearby bedroom their small toddler son crawls out a third floor window and falls to his death. The mothers overwhelming grief and guilt (she claims she knew her son had just started getting around on his own) lands her in the hospital, but her therapist husband breaks his own rules about treating family members and brings her home with the intent of treating her himself. To help her confront her grief and fear (what that fear might be is held back from the audience for some time) the couple retreats to their cabin in the woods - interstingly enough they refer to it as Eden - where we know only that something possibly horrific happened the previous summer. As the movie moves into part three and part four (then the epilogue) the couples deepest and darkest(and she has some very dark secrets) secrets are revealed to us. The director's amazing use of light and dark, the set pieces and the sometimes minimal dialog - during key moments - really helps to make the movie so compelling and watchable. The frank sexuality also adds an amount of tension that would otherwise be hard to depict. Be FOREWARNED: if you are easily offended skip this movie as some of the sex scenes border on the pornographic and in any other movie would probably be seen as exactly that. A great example is Vincent Gallo's piece of garbage THE BROWN BUNNY that includes what is nothing more than a shock piece of pornography that seems to be more an expression of Gallo's narcissism than anything else. In the ANTICHRIST while the lovemaking is shown without holding anything back it is still done in such a way that it doesn't come across as pornography, but real art. There are other scenes of sexuality, one or two that are literally hard to watch. I am one who usually believes that sex is overused in movies simply for sex's sake. But in the ANTICHRIST it just feels like it belongs. I wouldn't dare give away the ending except to say that for the most part it is satisfying. This movie is also very much about symbolism, metaphors, similes and other mature themes that are not always easily understood. If you are an adult - this movie is not for children or immature adults for that matter - who enjoys minimalistic artistic films this is worth renting and deciding for yourself whether the movie holds up it's early promise to the viewers. Dare I forget the musical score is also impressive. Right now I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10. I will add a note after the second viewing to see how the movie compares to my first watching.
After watching the ANTICHRIST a second time I am even more impressed than the first watching - which was very late at night when I was quite tired and may have even dozed off and missed a few key points. After watching it a second time I can only call it a brilliant movie, where every scene, every lingering shot, every nuance is there for a reason. There is enough symbolism in this movie for ten other movies and to be frank I doubt that there is an American director who would have the guts to make this picture. To be honest it is brutally dark and sexual and nothing is really held back from the viewer. William DeFoe is one of the few actors who has the dedication to his art to appear in a movie that would without a doubt receive an NC-17 rating. The same can be said for Gainsbourg. The movie is about the devil, genocide and fear and plays very much with the viewers own emotions. At times watching ANTICHRIST is like watching your worst nightmare and at other times it's sad almost beyond comprehension. It is not an easy movie to write about and I suspect some of the images will haunt me and pop up in my own dreams for quite some time. I again warn the viewer that this is strictly a movie made for adults where everything and every scene has meaning. After my second go round with the movie I would move it up to an 8.5 out of 10. It may not be your cup of tea but it sure was mine...an incredible, complex yet simple movie!!! ” - gary-hill57
A dealer in "outsider" art travels from Chicago to North Carolina to meet her new in-laws, challenging the equilibrium of this middle class Southern home. (106 mins.)
“ JUNEBUG is a great little movie involving families, culture clash, people who think their crap doesn't stink, resolution and ultimately what does it mean to simply be able to say that you lead a happy life. At least that is what the movie meant to me.
This is a breakout movie for Amy Adams, (who is one of the two central figures in Junebug), who portrays Ashley the highly pregnant good-old-southern girl who's bubbly southern charm really helps make the movie. Successful Carolinian George meets Chicago Art Gallery Owner Madeline at an political benefit art auction and - presto - it's love at first sight. When Madeline arranges to meet an original Southern artist George sees an opportunity to introduce his somewhat haughty wife to his own family. They take off for South Carolina (to Madeline it must have been like going to Papua New Guinea), where they will meet George's parent's Peg and Eugene, George's drop out brother Johnny and Johnny's new, and very pregnant wife, the effervescent Ashley. At first there is plenty of culture shock to go around. Madeline feels, or seems to feel like she is in some type of time warp machine, she doesn't even seem too confidant that she is any longer in the same country. George, who is so excited to introduce his beautiful and successful wife to his clan, and is trying so hard to make everybody feel at home that he misses some of the half-snide remarks made toward his new found love. George's mother, Peg, immediately seems to pass judgement on Madeline. She obviously feels this northern girl is full of her self and certainly not good enough for George. George's dad seems to have become flat worn out from a life spent living with the over-judgmental Peg and has little to say. Johnny, George's drop out brother is even worse. He is no talker, that's for sure, but when he does talk it is either a snide remark about George or even meaner cracks off rude remarks aimed squarely at Madeline. Ashley is the exception (she married Johnny right out of high school and they are living with George's parent's until the baby comes - just the latest of a long line of excuses), she is immediately impressed by Madeline's "big city" ways and how she fixes her hair and her make-up and just about anything that Madeline does or says. What starts off as Madeline seeming to be somewhat of the haughty, I'm above you, type turns out to be far from the truth. Before long Madeline begins to enjoy Ashley's naiveté southern belle charm and begins to appreciate her for the genuine kindness and decency she has in her. But Madeline is quickly coming to realize she really doesn't know her husband of six months very well at all. When Ashley's water breaks everyone heads off to the hospital except Madeline who is trying to sign this Southern Artist to show in her gallery and this day may well be her last chance. While Madeline is off, elsewhere, Ashley has a stillborn baby which throws an all ready screwed up family into further chaos. Before George and Madeline leave back for Chicago, Ashley, in a very poignant moment, tells Madeline that if the baby had lived she was going to name her Junebug.
This picture is much more about the characters in it, than the storyline, and the acting performances are impressive. But what really makes the movie both funny as well as painful is how fast Ashley and Madeline become genuinely close to one another and how much the two young women learn to cherish not only the similarities they share but also all the ways that they are so different. JUNEBUG was a real nice surprise and for the those who haved missed it please give it a shot. Junebug deserves 7.5 starts out of 10, no question it could have garnered a wider audience with better support from it's studio. ” - gary-hill57
Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. (94 mins.)
A group of skinheads become alarmed at the way their neighbourhood is changing. (94 mins.)
A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999. (145 mins.)
Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties. (115 mins.)
The extracurricular king of Rushmore preparatory school is put on academic probation. (93 mins.)
A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station. (87 mins.)
“ VIDEODROME is somewhat of a cult classic - whatever that means. It's one of the few movies on this list I actually experienced for the very first time in the movie theater and, at that time, it simply blew me away. I believe that was 1983 and I'm sure my tastes have both matured and changed since then. But I have seen the movie quite a few times over the years and it still holds the same fascination for me that it did then. And unlike some movies it has aged fairly well. The special effects are substandard when compared to today's offerings, but that really doesn't lessen the impact and brilliance of the movie.
A very young James Woods is featured in the starring role as the rather sleazy pirate cable TV programmer Max Renn. While searching for new and unique material for his station Renn discovers Videdrome. The signal seems to originate in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and is very hard to pick up clearly, but it would seem to feature "snuff' films which seem so real as to be truly frightening. Renn introduces his girlfriend/assistant - Nicki Brand (played by Debbie Harry formerly of the late 70's pseudo punk band Blondie), a somewhat mysterious masochistic blonde, to Videodrome, which really seems to float Nicki's boat. As Nicki gets more and more into Videodrome strange things start happening to Max. And when Nicki tells Max she wants to audition for Videodrome Max is totally against it. Nicki dissapears and Max feels responsible to get her back as he finds himself getting closer and closer to the truth about Videodrome. The movie begins fairly on to take some bizarre twists and turns. Before long Max is able to discover that there is a conspiracy afoot with Videofrome at the center of it. Brian O'Blivian (played by Jack Creley) is the driving force behind Videodrome, whose hope is world domination through TV signals that will allow him to control peoples minds. O'Blivian, so appropriately, only communicates through videotape - or is it Beta max - and the front person for the company is his daughter the peculiar Bianca O'Blivian. David Cronenberg (The director) uses a liberal amount of surrealism to propel the story forward as Renn tries to figure out just what is reality and what is some sort of Cathode Ray mind control. To his horror, Renn at one point, sees Nicki in a snuff film and as he approaches the television the TV itself seems to be alive it's outer casing pulsating with an almost skin like surface. The ending really works well and is a good fit to wrap up this bizarre story.
I really was entertained by VIDEDROME and after watching it several times I really thought the plot line was both well thought out and well executed. And the young James Woods gave, perhaps, his best performance in a career filled with juicy roles.
If you liked movies like "eXistenZ" (which uses some similar conceptual ideas), SCANNERS or THX1138 theres a good chance that you will also find VIDEODROME to your liking. After all these years I think the movie still holds up well and is in some ways even prophetic. I'd rate it a very solid 7 Beta Max tapes out of 10. ” - gary-hill57
In the police investigation of a brutal crime scene, one man was at the center of it all: legendary porn star John Holmes. (104 mins.)
A team of international astronauts are sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb in 2057. (107 mins.)
“ SUNSHINE was a real surprise for me. Being a SciFi fan (not the Star Wars type) I was amazed that I hadnt even heard of a Sc-Fi flick by esteemed director, movie maker Danny Boyle (TRAINSPOTTING, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and 127 HOURS). Whle I wouldn't call it ground breaking Science Fiction or even cutting edge. The story is fairly original, the characters are well sketched out, and the story line is intriguing and keeps you interested. If you are looking for another 2012, ARMAGEDDON or DISTRICT 9 - which I thought was a joke - this movie is not for you. If you like sc-fi that is intellectually stimulating, asks big questions and throws in some nice suprises along with good chromatography, then by all means get your hands on a copy of SUNSHINE. It's a movie that will hold up to numerous viewings. (Maybe I'll do a list of my favorite Sc-Fi pics next).
The movie takes place fifty years into the future when science realizes that the earth is starting to die and the reason is straight forward enough. The sun has begun to die and while science is not yet sure why they think it can be re-ignited with the properly placed Thermo-nuclear explosion. A team of astronauts is sent to try to kick start the sun but for still undetermined reason the mission failed and has not been heard from since. The logical explanation is they got cooked before they could ignite their payload. It is now seven years later and a signal has been picked up from the original space craft, Icarus I. It would seem that the super bomb is still intact and a new of team of eight is sent out to try to do what the initial crew failed to do on the previous attempt. The new mission is dubious at best. But with earth quickly falling into a glacial period it is hoped that the new crew can locate Icarus I and piggyback the thermonuclear device to the Icarus II and slingshot it into the sun causing a supernova and restarting the runaway hydrogen reaction that is our sun. Cillian Murphy, the very impressive British actor who is a favorite of director Danny Boyle is Capra, the commander of the mission with an impossible job (Murphy was Boyle's first choice for the lead in 127 HOURS) on his hands. Besides having to make all the proper decisions, he is dealing with a crew who is almost assuredly not going to return. A fact that becomes more and more real as their loneliness intensifies. The beacon from the first ship is finally picked up with some strange anomaly coming from it. For a bit the crew is uplifted after what seems a long time in a state of accepted depression. But something is very wrong with the original spacecraft and Murphy's character has to make some very hard decisions. At this point in the movie the psychological stresses start taking more than their toll and the philosophical questions also come into play. Giving away the ending would be flat unfair because it is interesting and thought provoking. While the ending is not perfect, I'm not so sure that there would be one that would be. I was satisfied with the ending, but like any truly well made movie, when the screen goes black your immediate reaction is that you wanted a little more. Good luck to any director who puts together a great story where the ending leaves people feeling full filled. After I had time to think it over it was as good an ending as one could reasonably expect. I suspect that to be a problem with all great movies - the neding, often seen by the audience apart from the rest of the movie seem to always want more, but if you were to ask them what that more is very few patrons could tell you. Trust Danny Boyle, he got it right. I gave SUNSHINE first an 8.5 out of 10, then dropped it to a 7.5 out of 10. This is a first for me on this list but I'll give SUNSHINE a 7.8 out of 10. That in itself should say something. ” - gary-hill57
The lives of two families change forever after a fatal tragedy takes place on Reservation Road. (102 mins.)
A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a 'speed freak', to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues. (101 mins.)
Running with Scissors
Young Augusten Burroughs absorbs experiences that could make for a shocking memoir: the son of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he's handed off to his mother's therapist, Dr. Finch, and spends his adolescent years as a member of Finch's bizarre extended family. (116 mins.)
In an old school Las Vegas casino, its top gambling jinx breaks his curse when he falls in love, much to his boss' consternation. (101 mins.)
We Were Soldiers
The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it. (138 mins.)
“ If you haven't seen WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE.AND PROUD drop everything and watch this movie, it's really that good. I know a gentleman who was in the battle depicted in the movie.and he says it's the most accurate Vietnam movie he's ever seen, better than PLATOON. Mel Gibson was fantastic, he can.really act. I have to say Sam Elliot gave one of the finest performances I've seen in a long time he was the Master Sargent, basically Mell Gibsons right hand man. He deserved at least an Academy Award nomination. As bloody and chaotic as the battle was the movie managed to retain it's humanity. If I happen to come across it while flipping through channels, I almost always watch it even though. I've probably seem kit twenty times if not more. The movie is just that good. On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd give it an 8.2. If you haven't seen this move do yourself a favor and rent it. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. ” - gary-hill57
Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. (122 mins.)
A Midnight Clear
This WW2 psychological drama plays out at Christmas. US GIs hold an isolated cabin in the Ardennes against a handful of Germans cut off from their main force. Combat-weary and short of rations, both sides are determined to survive. (108 mins.)
“ A MIDNIGHT CLEAR has had many critics call it one of the finest World War II movies ever made. It was a low budget movie made by actor and director Kieth Gordon. The movie takes place when the war is basically over. A group of young American soldiers is who led up in a barn and they discover than about 150 yards away is a group of German soldiers and the first day they realize this. Is when the. German soldiers build a snowman about halfway between them. And then one day they start a snowball battle. As days pass the Americans soon realize that the Germans don't want to fight any more than the Americans. After a couple of weeks of snowball battles a German actually approaches one of the Americans and invites them to come to their.compound for a large feast. After thinking it over they accept the invitation but decide to still take their firearms. For several hours they have a.great. But the one American has been struggling with some mental issues. And after about three hours his paranoia takes hold of him and he believes one of the German soldiers is going to start shooting, so he decides,in his mental condition, to shoot first. I won't give the ending away except to say the situation deteriorates quikly and things turn ugly. The movie starts. With the American soldiers in the U.S. preparing to go to Germany to the aftermath of the incident. Critics loved the movie, but it was poorly promoted so it didn't get seen by many people. There are several actors in it who were nobody's back then but are recognizable today. It's definitely worth seeing if you can find a copy (it's on DVD). I would rate this film a 7.7 out of 10. Happy viewing. ” - gary-hill57
After two friends return home from the Vietnam War one becomes mentally unstable and obsesses with becoming a bird. (120 mins.)
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality. (147 mins.)
The Darjeeling Limited
A year after their father's funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other. (91 mins.)
As an actress starts to adopt the persona of her character in a film, her world starts to become nightmarish and surreal. (180 mins.)
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
In order to support her ten children, Evelyn Ryan (Moore) enters a commercial jingle-writing contest. Based on a true story. (99 mins.)
A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape. (151 mins.)
Smilla's Sense of Snow
Based on Peter Hoeg's bestseller, this film is set in snowy Copenhagen where a small boy is found dead after he fell off a roof... (121 mins.)
A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. (110 mins.)
In Detroit, loner Clarence marries a call girl named Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the mob, track them down and try to reclaim it. (120 mins.)
In the Loop
A political satire about a group of skeptical American and British operatives attempting to prevent a war between two countries. (106 mins.)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor. (103 mins.)
An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity. (101 mins.)
A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one. (104 mins.)
Breakfast on Pluto
In the 1970s, a young trans woman, Patrick "Kitten" Braden, comes of age by leaving her Irish town for London, in part to look for her mother and in part because her gender identity is beyond the town's understanding. (128 mins.)
A young writer who follows strangers for material meets a thief who takes him under his wing. (69 mins.)
A trashy teen murders her sexually abusive step-father, then helps get her reformed prison pen-pal released on good behavior so that she can re-corrupt him. (97 mins.)
“ GUNCRAZY is a little movie I came across quite by accident. - you know one of those 'old'days' when you'd go out to blockbuster and of the thousands of movies available you can't seem to find anything that really tickles your fancy. I literally picked up GUNCRAZY because I liked the box that it came in and have always been a fan of the underrated actors James Legros and Billy Drago.
Anita (Drew Barrymore) is a trailer-trash high school brat who is barely doing enough to stay in high school. She is always putting out for other teenagers and older men, much of this probably has to do with all the psychological scarring visited upon her by her absentee mother's drunk boyfriend who seemingly rapes Anita at his will. As part of a high school project that involves getting a pen-pal, the troubled Anita starts to correspond with a prison inmate, whose letters stir up a latent desire in her for violence and gun play. After acquiring a handgun she get's her deadbeat step father to show her how to use it and she quickly falls in love with the power of just handling that revolver. After her step dad rapes her for the umpteenth time Anita kills the 'prick' and goes about burying him. She now focuses all her energizes on getting the newly found love of her live, Howard, the prisoner, out of jail. Getting the local church minister ( a charismatic snake handler played so well by Billy Drago) to support her efforts in getting Howard his release, even promising him a job for the asking. Howard gets his parole and seems intent on taking the straight and narrow, but he is in no condition to realize the manipulative nature of his new wife to be. Anita slowly manipulates Howard into an ever growing life of guns, murder and mayhem that quickly starts to spiral out of control. In truth the story is a bit thin but I thought the roles were pretty well fleshed out and Barrymore does an exceptional job with the somewhat shallow Anita. She more and more puts him to the test in the name of his love for her, which to him is very very real. The movie is not one of Matthew Bright's best efforts, but if you liked FREEWAY and some of Bright's other projects then I'd think you would like GUNCRAZY. While it's not a 7 or 8 out of ten, It does belong on your list of movies to see. Especially if you are a fan of Barrymore who I think is often not given her due credit!! ” - gary-hill57
The Man Who Wasn't There
A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong. (116 mins.)
The Fisher King
A former radio DJ, suicidally despondent because of a terrible mistake he made, finds redemption in helping a deranged homeless man who was an unwitting victim of that mistake. (137 mins.)
A darkly satiric story about life crumbling in the midst of a seemingly idyllic suburbia. (108 mins.)
An enigmatic tale of four incredibly lucky people whose lives are intertwined by destiny are subject to the laws of fate... (108 mins.)
“ INTACTO(The original name of the Spanish film) is a intriguing film that tells the story of four intermingled lives who live believing that luck and fate is a commodity rather than a completely random happenstance. Sam (played by Max Von Sydow) is a casino owner whose great fortune, or good luck was that he survived the Holocaust. He's shown as the ring leader of this unusual group of very high-stakes wagerers. Frederico, as the movie opens is the only survivor in his small hometown of a deadly earthquake and his touch supposidly drains someones luck right out of them. He works for Sam in his casino and when someone is on a hot streak Sam has Frederico "accidentally" touch any big winners. (NOTE: The movie COOLER is somewhat similar in that William Macy's character has the same ability but the plot lines are totally different. Cooler is listed elsewhere on this list). Early on Frederico, Sam's appointed heir, tells Sam he is leaving him and Sam tells him he can't leave or Sam will suck Frederico's "luck-force" right out of him. Tomas is a petty thief on the run and is the only survivor of a horrific plane crash that took 237 leaving Tomas as the only survivor. Lastly is Sara who walked away from a car crash that claimed her husband and child. She is determined to get to the bottom of this secret group of wagerers. They wager big stakes like homes, expensive paintings and people and it's one bet all or nothing. In the beginning of the movie there are many other wagerers who serve the purpose of showing how this secret wagering works. I saw the movie for the first time back in 2002 when it was in Spanish with English subtitles and was totally captivated by the uniqueness of the story and the excellent and eerie camera work. There is one scene in the movie that really catches the essence of the movie. During each wager whether it will be decided by a single roll of the dice or whose head a bug lands on it is always one wager and each person puts on a black blindfold before the actual activity starts. In the scene that is so memorable each person is blind folded than their hands are tied behind their backs and then they run through a heavily wooded area with a person leading them always yelling "run, run....faster, faster" and they run through this forest at breakneck speed until only one is left standing. At the end of the year whoever was most successful gets to go up against Sam in a backwards game of Russian roulette in which the opponent gets a .38 pistol with all five chambers full except for one and then he, or she, aims at Sam and pulls the trigger. No one has ever shot Sam. It is then his turn so he takes the gun the other person blindfolds themselves, Sam spins the cylinder and takes his shot. Over 20 years Sam has won 20 times. He's seemingly invincible, but this year something is different and will luck win out? And who will get to leave 'Intacto(intact).' It's a really dark but intriguing film. The mood and the music are key figures in the film just like the actors are.
For whatever reason a lot of people claim the film is hard to follow...I don't think it's hard to follow at all as long as you pay attention. So I could write a fair review/synopsis I just watched the movie again and it still holds up as a fine piece of film making. The one problem I had with the DVD version is that it is dubbed in English and the voice-acting is horrible. Most video games have better voice acting and it really takes away from the mood of the movie which is so central to what makes this movie tick. Do yourself a favor, listen to it in its native Spanish and read the subtitles. If watched that way it is easily a 7 out of 10. It reminds me a bit of the Graham Greene short story whose name currently escapes me. ” - gary-hill57
The Hurt Locker
During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work. (131 mins.)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son. (119 mins.)
Supernatural detective John Constantine helps a detective prove her sisters death was not a suicide, but something more. (121 mins.)
In the Bedroom
A New England couple's college-aged son dates an older woman who has two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband. (130 mins.)
A quiet man's peaceful suburban lifestyle is threatened by the new, obnoxious couple that moves in next door. (94 mins.)
A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement. (105 mins.)
A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair. (83 mins.)
Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse's book tour. (80 mins.)
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them. (107 mins.)
The Cake Eaters
Two families are brought together by the return of one family's son -- a reunion that conjures up old ghosts and issues that must be addressed. (86 mins.)
A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and effected by it. (128 mins.)
A Single Shot
The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood. (116 mins.)
“ A 'Single Shot' is a thinking man's movie, with subtle but deep running themes and a great performance by Sam Rockwell. ” - gary-hill57
Notes on a Scandal
A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship. (92 mins.)
House of Sand and Fog
An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her home's new owners. (126 mins.)
The Hudsucker Proxy
A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam. (111 mins.)
A pre-operative male-to-female transsexual takes an unexpected journey when she learns that she fathered a son, now a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York. (103 mins.)
“ TRANSAMERICA isn't for the close minded (it deals with transgendered people and their decision whether or not to go through with the final surgery), but that doesn't disqualify it from being a great movie...which it is. Felicity Huffman deserved an Academy Award for her portrayal of Bree(formerly Stanley Chupak), a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual. The story is fairly simple and sounds almost too silly, but silly it is not. Shortly after Bree finds out she has been approved for trans-gender reassignment surgery after years of living as a women, taking hormone shots and having extensive therapy. She receives a call from one Toby Wilkins, A NY city street hustler and small time criminal who is trying to find his biological father, believing his mother to be dead from an apparent suicide years before. Before Bree's therapist will sign off on the operation she insists that Bree comes to some sort of resolution over the new knowledge that she has fathered a child. Bree goes to meet Toby disguised as a social worker looking to help him get off the streets never mentioning her soon to be trans gendered status. When they finally meet all feelings imaginable come rushing to the forefront and one day quite by accident Toby discovers the women is really a man and her father. To tell anymore would be unfair to ant potential viewers, but you can imagine the emotional turmoil that could follow.
This is a very touching movie and if it doesn't change your feeling towards trans gendered people than you're simply a block of ice. It's a great love story as well as a story about personal human growth, compassion, forgiveness and ultimately acceptance. What makes the movie shine is the injection of humor at just the right times and the incredible acting by Huffman and Kevin Zegers. I personally never thought a movie of this type would hit me right between the eyes like this film did. A sure 8.5 out of 10 stars! ” - gary-hill57