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Charlie Theron won the best actress Oscar portraying Aileen Wuornos in this true life crime drama. Christina Ricci is Selby, her lesbian soul mate. The movie is more of a love story than the usual serial killer thriller we are used to seeing. Theron is so good that I felt as if I was watching a documentary. Ricci is also quite good as the clueless love interest Selby. The violence is there, but not overwhelming, and in the end, we have no one and nothing to root for, but Theron and the underrated Ricci make Monster well worth watching. The makeup artist makes Theron look almost exactly like the tough looking Wuornos and I rate the film an 8/10.
A young woman forced into a prostitution ring in Estonia escapes and seeks refuge with an old lady whose horrific past is revealed through a series of flashbacks, and although I am not fan of a non linear style of filmmaking, it works well for this particular movie.The two main actresses are terrific and the World War Two history lesson regarding Estonia and Stalin's communist Russia is quite compelling. Both the current theme of white slavery and the past one of atrocities committed in the name of patriotism and honor are portrayed in a brutal and honest way. Purge runs a bit too long at two hours and five minutes, but even with that small criticism, I would rank it as one of my favorite foreign language films.
[REC] 4: Apocalipsis (2014)
The first Rec movie was a pretty good idea with hand held cameras used throughout. A reporter from a tabloid TV show in Spain ventures into a building and finds a very bad virus which turning the tenants into flesh eating zombies. Somehow, it worked for me. Number four takes place on a ship on the ocean for no apparent reason at all. There is a high tech within the ship and Angela, the original reporter, is a passenger, along with numerous army men and scientists seeking a cure for the original virus. A terrible script, along with bad acting, combine to make this a painful ninety five minute experience. Avoid this like the plague.
Wolf Creek (2005)
Standard Crime Movie
Two young guys and two young women decide to drive to a remote area of the Australian outback for some adventure. Well, of course, while parked at a remote park, the car breaks down. A man shows up offering help by towing them to an even more remote place. After some campfire chit chat, they go to sleep. Upon awakening, one of the girls is tied with plastic ties. She manages to escape only to see her friend being menaced by their guardian angel. Lots of running and screaming follow, with bad decisions making which does not lead to a happy ending. I love crime movies in general, but this one is silly and beyond belief. It is supposed to based on a true story, so maybe a documentary would be more appropriate.
Relatos salvajes (2014)
Revenge is Sweet
Wild Tales is just that, a six story anthology dealing with revenge. The first and shortest is my personal favorite, is fairly simple. A passenger on an airliner engages in a casual conversation with a man who turns out to be a classical movie critic. They discover that her ex boyfriend was a struggling musician who was ridiculed for his lack of talent by the critic. As the flight continues, as others overhear the first two talking, they all share a link to the failed musician. The ending is great; funny and sick at the same time. Story number two concerns a waitress at a diner who serves a customer who in the past has caused her much misery. He is a nasty politician and, oh boy, does she serve justice. Number three is universal to anyone who has driven a car, as I have, and suffered road rage. An arrogant jerk in a new Audi is driving down a road when he gets stuck behind an old car weaving back and forth. As he is finally able to pass, he curses out the other guy while giving him the finger. A flat tire puts him in a bad situation, as the other man catches up and does things that can't be described in a nice way. Again, a good ending. Short number four is another common theme, a man fighting city hall, in this case a tow truck which costs him both time and money. He fights a losing battle until he uses his expertise from his job to get even. Number five is different in that revenge is not the theme here. A young man comes home distraught at the fact that he has run over a pregnant woman and left the scene. The wealthy dad schemes to hide the accident by using his money and bribing several people. A lesson in greed is the moral. The final segment is a huge wedding party where the newlywed bride discovers that her husband has cheated on her with a guest at the reception. All hell breaks loose, and my least favorite ending. Overall, a good way to be amused for two hours and a 8/10.
Brazilian Kids vs. Evil
Two fourteen year old boys find a wallet at a garbage dump with money and pictures with numbers on the back. Through a series of silly and highly unlikely events, the pair are chased by nasty police who are involved with corrupt politicians. Martin Sheen; who was the reason I watched this movie in the first place shows up as a priest with a small church near the dump. Rooney Mara is his assistant, and seems to be teaching English to the children while having difficulty with Portugese. This is a badly written story with competent acting. The kids are likable enough but even without a spoiler alert, you can figure out the ending without much effort. At least the scenery of Rio is interesting, but that is not enough to recommend this film.
Typical Rape Revenge
This has been done before, and better, as with I Spit on Your Grave. Julia(Ashley Williams) seen earlier in the even more bloody Human Centipede, gives a decent performance in the otherwise tedious, dark, and poorly written Juila. It begins with our heroine wearing ugly, oversized glasses walking up the stairs to an apartment for a date with a fellow intern from a nearby New York City hospital. He gives her a drink, which of course is spiked with something to knock out the young lady. Through a series of flashbacks, we are shown her assault by five very angry young men. She overhears a conversation at a seedy bar by women recovering from rape. Of course she pursues them and eventually gets her revenge on her culprits. The movie drags on for ninety five minutes and is a waste of time.
John Wick (2014)
Good Action Movie
Put your brain on hold and just sit back and relax for an hour and forty five minutes while Keanu Reaves finds a multitude of ways to kill many nasty people. The story is silly, but the action is continuous as Wick is pursued throughout by men and women with bad intentions. He is a karate expert and is also skilled with a variety of knives and firearms which are quite useful to our hero. His background is sketchy and never really explained but one must just suspend belief and just take the ride as if on a roller coaster. Willem Defoe shows up to fill out a decent cast with Reaves carrying most of the load, as he is in almost every scene. It looks good and the New York locations are a good choice. A final 7.5/10.
The only reason for the 3/10 rating is for Salma Hayek's body; otherwise it would be a zero. I guess that Selma needed a quick payday and wished to visit Belgrade. Here she is Everly, evidently some mob boss's slave girlfriend. She is trapped in an opulent apartment and a series of men and women enter and attempt to kill her. Somehow even a SWAT team with laser sights are unable to do so. A Japanese man appears along the way and proceeds to torture Every just for his amusement. Her mom and little girl show up and the killings and general mayhem continue. This is bad comic book material; a sort of low grade "Kill Bill" without Tarantino's brilliant dialogue. Do not waste your time on this garbage.
A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)
O.k. this is typical retired cop becomes private eye and is hired to find the bad guys. The saving grace is Liam Neeson in the lead role. It opens with Liam at a bar in New York City drinking his morning coffee with a couple of shots when the real action begins; lots of gunfire ensues with deadly results. We flash ahead to the detective taking a grisly case of women being abducted, tortured and killed. The script and story are very formula, with a street kid added for some lighter, almost father-son moments between Neeson and a young homeless boy. There is no explanation as to why the NYPD is not in pursuit of the evil doers, but even with this gaping plot hole, Liam Neeson is able to make A Walk Among the Tombstones worth watching.