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Bukowski: Born into This (2003)
beautiful look into the life of a great writer
I'd never heard Bukowski speak before. I'd seen the pictures and read the words. This hard-nosed writer surprised me as a very soft spoken, very sensitive artist. His intimidating face became friendlier and friendlier to me as the film progressed. With this movie, you get to see a lot of interview footage and a lot of personal commentary from close friends. You get your heart tugged at when his childhood is filled in for you. You laugh at his wit while handling interviewers. And you probably get thirsty looking at all the wine and beer he drinks. The only thing I didn't care for about this was the ever-so-pompous Bono sharing his 2 cents.
Silent Hill (2006)
What does every scary movie fan want? I scary movie. This film isn't a horror film despite some horrific scenes. It's a very fine thriller based on an awesomely dark video game. Negatives first: I didn't care for some of the acting, particularly Rose and her husband. Also, it does get a little confusing. You can never tell who the bad guy is or who prevails in the end. Positives: When the first monsters came about, I was genuinely frightened by their screams and their bodies. And Pyramid Head's first attack is pure terror. The movie climaxes in true form during a final blood bath in a sanctuary. Visually it's pretty magnificent. Silent Hill is an intelligent, complex movie that succeeds in being a good scary movie.
Final Destination 3 (2006)
No great film, but well done deaths
If you're a fan of the first two flicks, then you'll probably dig this one in some way. During the beginning, there is a lot of sex humor which is very awkward due to the fact that the actors are in their twenties playing teenagers. It just feels wrong. Some of the editing is a little too MTV-quick. You miss out on probably really cool effects. Obviously the highlight of the movie is the killer death sequences. I thought they were well executed and very realistic looking. However, like I said before, sometimes they just happen too fast so you can't get a good look. A lot of the characters will irritate you, but it makes it easier to accept and appreciate their untimely deaths.
This is a touching documentary that really screams at you...
I had the pleasure of being in the audience during the East Coast premiere of "Derailroaded." Never having heard of Wild Man Fischer, I didn't know quite what to expect other than a documentary on an outsider musician in the vein of Wesley Willis. This film tells a touching story about a troubled rock and roll singer. There were moments in the film where I almost felt tears swell up, and there were moments when I got shivers watching Wild Man perform. It's a very nice human interest piece. The only real problems with it is the sound editing. The volume is often too high during sections of Wild Man's 2001 performance in Los Angeles. There are also moments where the background music buries the interview dialogue so you can hardly make out what's being said. We were told this was because the audio sources varied, but I still felt like this could've been corrected. Disregarding this, a lot of us in the audience came out humming Wild Man songs. This really sparked an interest for me and I feel it is a fitting tribute to an almost rock legend.
The Ring Two (2005)
Not worth your dime
Assuming that the original Ring film had integrity, this sequel ruined it. The cast, aside from the lead actress, was dull. If you're going to make a horror film, then get rid of these Hollywood looking people and get some that will look authentic. Anyway, what also disturbed me was the overuse of CGI. There are CGI deer. What the crap? Can you not find real deer anymore? Are they extinct? If you're a fan of plot plants that actually don't lead to anything, then this film is for you. The story hardly made sense because of so much useless crap in it. Oh, and the film isn't even remotely scary except for the one or two cheap pop-out-at-you moments that rely on automatic reactions. The Ring was a decently creepy movie, but the Ring Two is nothing more than a poor attempt at raking in more money b/c of its predecessor's success. It almost ruins the credibility of the first film.
Doomed to Failure (2004)
A film that was better than it was intended to be...
As a film student, I can sit and watch this short film and have a laugh at the expense of director DJ Summitt because I'm learning that the complications he and his crew faced can and do happen to everyone. If you teach a class in film production or are studying it, I highly recommend you sit down and watch this. It could very well keep you motivated to slug through the problems that pop up during film shoots. "Doomed to Failure" is a clever piece that follows a crew as their intended project falls apart bit by bit. Fortunately for Summitt, he made lemonade out of his lemons. What he came away with in the end is probably miles better than any envisioned mafia movie could or would be.