Around the Fire is the deeply resonant story of a boy named Simon, who despite being raised in an upper-class Manhattan household with all its privileges--and restrictions--is haunted by ... See full summary »
Four hip women get ready for Friday night in LA: they dress, talk about sex, and hit a bar before meeting four men at a rave. The men prepare by talking about sex and drinking. Rick and Jean, two attorneys, have set up the evening, connect at the club, and have a good time. The pairings of Shawn, Trent, Whitney and Emma are more serendipitous. But it's Mike and Sara's night that has serious repercussions: he's an NFL player, loud, swaggering; she's a party animal who drinks a lot early that evening. At 4 AM, she appears at Jean's, disheveled and bruised, saying Mike raped her. Arrested, he says he's innocent, and in flashbacks we see both sides of the story. Written by
Intense sex, intense feelings, intense Ron Livingstone
Since it's so far apart between seeing good acting, you really get surprised when it just kinda' sneaks up upon you and shows you what difference it makes.
Hollywood has spent years of making movies with bad dialog and acting whilst trying to cover it up with special FX, one-liners and retouched images of whatever actor/actress is the flava of the month. In `Body Shots' you get an incredibly knit-together group of Americas finest, all young actors that has yet to become too big for their own good. That is to say, they can still take on riskier projects that perhaps a bigger actor would be forced to turn down by their management because it would not `go with the audience'.
My personal thanks here to Sean Patrick Flanery and Amanda Peet, whom on earlier occasions showed me that they dared (or did not get any other offers, who knows :) commit to smaller and often much more rewarding ventures.
Tara Reid hasn't really impressed up till now with movies like American Pie and Urban Legends, but here she really gets a chance to act out. Usually, dramatic scenes are edited into smithereens, but all over `Body Shots' you get long, really intense sequences, with all of the cast-members showing their thespian caliber. I was also pleasantly surprised to be taken in by Chris O'Donnell's portrayal of the horny party-jock, since the last time I saw him was in the abysmal movie `Dungeons & Dragons' which kinda' put him on my black-list.
Ron Livingstone is just plain weird, and therefore, marvelous. (That Alka-Seltzer-bit is going to haunt me for a while :)
The editing is first class. In basically all movies, when you see a club-scene, you're not convinced at all. YOU know what it feels like to be in a steamy, crowded club, surrounded by (and being) people in various stages of intoxication. It's seldom portrayed with as much realism as it was here, much thanks to the clever editing. The layout of the story as a whole is also refreshing - not saying that messing up the timeline hasn't been done before - but the cut-scenes between the girls gang and the boys gang, the constant meta-perspective of the actors relaying their personal views of the meat market, and the flashbacks helps to make this movie what it is.
But what struck me most of all was the sex. I can't think about when I last saw a movie with such convincing sex-scenes. It was all the small things YOU do, but they never seem to be able to put into a movie. The sucking of fingers, the difference of intensity in kissing, the touching, the grabbing of genitalia. Now, I'm not saying that showing more always is the best way to portray sex. But when it's called for by the script and the context, then hell yes! And if you're going to attempt to make an honest movie about eight hormonally hyped twenty-something's, then most definitively so.
All in all, I was very impressed. The story has been done before, but not with such pathos. Movies like these make me hopeful of the future. Perhaps we're going away from only producing predictable storylines, uninspiring actors that deliver lines like they have a nail through their kneecap and dialog that you'd never hear outside of the screenwriters head.
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