You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2009.

Bookmark and Share

I had heard that Francis Ford Coppola’s first film in a decade, 2007’s Youth Without Youth, skewed more toward the arthouse, experimental spectrum of cinema. After his early masterpieces, including the bloated budget of Apocalypse Now, his career went the way of minor Hollywood-fare, like Jack and The Rainmaker. One might have assumed he’d retired from the director’s chair until the success of his daughter, and son, (come on Roman, stop being assistant to your family members and make that sophomore film), showed what he could do in the field. His new work, Tetro, shows an extremely personal touch and seemingly is more the result of an up-and-comer than a proven auteur. While the film itself may be laboriously slow and somewhat of a chore to sit through its entirety, one cannot deny the craft put in, nor the skillful eye used. Composed of black and white stock—the only color coming in flashbacks or dream sequences—and shot in mostly close-up and skewed angles, Tetro deliberately peels back the layers of secrets making up the Tetrocini family, showing us what really caused our titular character’s meltdown as well as how he may still be saved.

It all begins more or less straightforwardly as we see young Bennie arrive in Buenos Aires upon a cruise ship he has been working on. The craft needs repairs and will be docked for a week, giving him some down time to visit his brother Angelo whom he hasn’t seen in years. The eldest boy, now going by the name Tetro, shortened from his last name, ran away to go on sabbatical in order to write. Never good enough for his famous father, Tetro hid away in South America and severed all ties to his life in America, including his young brother, who he had written a letter saying that he’d be back to take him away. Bennie viewed his sibling as a hero, someone in the arts that was willing to go after his dream. As a result, he left military school and joined the cruise ship to travel and perhaps write something himself. The collision of these two men—two creatures that are linked with love as well as rivalry, much like their father and uncle—shines the light on what really happened to Angelo. With family thrust upon him, Tetro slowly breaks down his barriers to accept Bennie into his life, until he is betrayed. The newcomer decides that his brother needs a success to turn the corner on his past, so he takes it upon himself to find the coded pages long since put away and turn it into a play good enough to compete for a festival prize.

My true feelings about the film are conflicted. The first half of the tale, leading us to Bennie’s planned departure progresses in a linear manner and with a steady pace. It is at the point where the boy decides to save his brother, in effect breaking all trust with him and the elder’s need for isolation from Angelo Tetrocini, a man he used to be but has since died in his mind, that the story gets both very intriguing and very slow. The second half drags on and on, sometimes at an excruciating pace, yet at the same time brings some visual flair that is stunning. The colored dreamlike moments, visual representations of the emotions the brothers feel when thinking about the play based upon their lives, are absolutely beautiful. We see the car crash that kills Tetro’s mother, (Bennie’s is different, a woman now in a coma for nine years), but only when we see the staged version do you feel the sorrow. The line on the road of blood, smearing as the body of the woman is spun around in a ballet-like dance is unforgettable. Scenes like that are followed by massive setpieces drawing you in just as you thought it couldn’t get more trying to stay in your seat. A funeral scene, complete with an orchestra surrounding the coffin, a chorus of boys on a staircase, and a gorgeous sequence walking into traffic with cars veering left and right in more a choreography than a true line of cars stuck with me.

These moments had me mesmerized, much like Tetro is by the glares of lights, whether fluorescent bulbs or reflective mountains, calling to memory the headlights coming toward him the night his mother passed away. Helping keep my interest was also some wonderful performances by the cast. Maribel Verdú is perfect as the nurturing voice of reason to counteract the mercurial tempests her love Tetro stirs up, Miranda; Mike Amigorena is just far enough into campiness to effectively portray the actor/playwright Abelardo, setting the bar for other characters to be just over the edge into the hyperreal; and Alden Ehrenreich handles the second lead of Bennie with success, if not a bit rough as any newcomer would be. His turn reminded me not only of Leonardo DiCaprio’s role of Romeo, but of the actor in every way. Whether his career follows the same path or not remains to be seen, but being “discovered” by Spielberg at a batmitzvah isn’t a bad way to break into the industry.

The welcome surprise of it all, however, is the deserved top billing of Buffalo-born Vincent Gallo as Tetro. His soft-spoken voice does wonders in keeping the audience off balance, contrasting his strong temper and multiple instances of flying off the handle. But he also succeeds in the quiet moments where Coppola lingers on his face as he thinks or becomes engrossed in the lights or his own fears and inhibitions. The ultimate secret hidden beneath the surface may not be the most original, or the most surprising, but it does fit the story to a tee. Tetro is dark, mysterious, and, at the same time, full of life. It is not a film I will be forgetting about anytime soon, but unfortunately the reasons aren’t always good ones. It will take a certain type of person to truly enjoy this offering—equal parts film school exercise of cinema at its basic form and overlong opus serving to unburden the creator more than entertain the audience. Probably worthy of dissection by critics and professors alike, it just doesn’t quite cut it as entertainment, not really making a second viewing necessary or wanted.

Tetro 6/10

Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

Bookmark and Share

I was very confused on where to put my head upon sitting down to watch the new Nora Ephron film Julie & Julia. Here is the consummate chick flick writer/director and yet the previews alluded to the work being more than that; even if “more than that” meant it still looked like a made-for-television type Lifetime tale. The trailers all said, “based on two true stories”, but I still didn’t take that statement as literally as one should. Thinking that the whole story revolved around Julie Powell and her life-changing blog running through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, to be interspersed with Child herself in France at the same time, (goes to show you how much I know about the late chef), I ended up being completely wrong. Although it is adapted from Powell’s account of the year between 2002 and 2003, the Child moments end up being based upon her own posthumously published memoirs My Life in France, telling of her life in the 1950s while making the cookbook that Powell utilizes.

Surprisingly, even with the span of five decades between the two plots, it all runs together smoothly. Ephron has captured two lives that become intertwined in a post-9/11 world, (at least in Powell’s mind since we do find out what Child thinks of her towards the end of the film), that also uncannily mirror each other. Child and her husband Paul have just moved to Paris because of his new post, both having met while working for the CIA, and Powell and her beau Eric have uprooted their Manhattan life to Queens, living above a pizza parlor to be closer to his office. These women are strong-willed, but also willing to take a backseat to their husbands’ careers. However, they can’t stand still for too long. A love for food is shared and while one embarks on being a culinary master, something everyone told her was impossible, the other uses that woman’s education to do something with her life, while also helping to become the writer she always wanted to, and knew she would, become.

The film is basically told with the four main characters, only rarely being seen with friends or colleagues. I can envision this script being reworked for the stage, watching the lights go down on the 1950s kitchen and up on the 2002, cramped apartment, switching back and forth as the story progresses. The length also lends the comparison to a theatre performance, complete with two hour-long acts, the first showing their quests for meaning and the second the spoils of their long and sometimes trying journeys. But, while the runtime is long, I cannot remember ever thinking to myself that the action was too slow. There are no dead spots wherein I’d tell myself how I wished they’d just skip over it all, instead I truly think the attention to detail helped make the film more intriguing. I enjoyed watching Powell’s little blog become an overnight sensation and seeing her jubilation as people commented and sent her supplies to finish her experiment. Some of that may stem from hopes of my own movie blog seeing that kind of success, but whatever. What really worked for me, though, was the exposure to Julia Child and the unorthodox way her cooking career began. I never would have thought a film on her life would be anything but a Food Channel special, and boy was I wrong.

I don’t want to demean anything Julie Powell has done, I mean here is a film based on a book she wrote, based on a blog she created, but there really isn’t as much weight to her half of the story. Yes, there are the marital meltdowns as well as the coping with becoming 30, but these are all problems each of us will face and overcome. Amy Adams is great as Powell, showing the innocence and yearning for more in her life, but she is overshadowed by Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Child. Once you get past her Muppet-like voice, (is there any accent/inflection that she can’t do to perfection?), you feel at ease with this giant of a woman. She truly is the kind of person that you just can’t hate. Her zest for life is apparent at all times and her laugh is infectious, especially when by the side of her husband, played by the wonderful Stanley Tucci. These two are in wedded bliss, willing to do anything for the other. Streep is definitely having fun and her quips are always followed by more laughter, adding a charm that would have been missing if she didn’t know to laugh at her own jokes.

It is interesting, however, that while it works for Child, it doesn’t necessarily work for Powell. Child knows she is good and she shows it genially and to her close friends, wanting to overcome the oppression from those telling her she will fail. As for Powell, she is living in a different age. Her work is being sent to the world with the press of one button and her vanity is more selfish and harsh as a result. She begins to believe what she is doing is important for all her readers and begins to take it out on her husband, a nice turn from Chris Messina, trying his best to break into bigger roles after a nice run in “Six Feet Under”. Child’s ego becomes cute and endearing, while Powell’s just makes people call her a bitch. I think, in this regard, that it is an effective commentary on the changes in lifestyle the past half-century has taken. We are so much more connected in the 21st century that even the smallest thing in the world may be reaching millions, shooting our stars too far too fast, making so many little Icarus clones to get burned before they can settle in and stay humble.

In the end, Julie & Julia is a very cute film that can effectively fill a night out on the town. Definitely a date movie and more fluff than substance, the story’s inventive melding of two autobiographies makes it more interesting than one may assume. The acting is superb and the interactions a lot of fun. Besides Streep and Tucci’s shared screentime, I couldn’t stop laughing when she and Jane Lynch’s portrayal of her sister were together. Here are two giant ladies walking around Paris, (the filmmakers must have hired the shortest extras in the city), and they are overflowing with sheer joy. I guess that joy needed to be tempered with the more serious nature of the Powell side, but I will admit that I could have dealt with Streep’s Child for the entire runtime if given the chance.

Julie & Julia 7/10

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] Amy Adams as “Julie Powell” in Columbia Pictures’ Julie & Julia. 2008 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

Bookmark and Share

Judd Apatow is an enigma. He is the idol of all freaks and geeks out there, calling the beautiful and talented Leslie Mann his wife and having a career any comedian would sell his soul for. He has created, in my opinion, a major hit with 40 Year-Old Virgin and a minor disappointment in Knocked Up, while having the time to also produce some gems that may supercede his own work on the side. So, the release of Funny People, (does the poster actually say “the third film from”? Wow, even Tarantino waited until his fourth for that kind of deserved ego), held my attention more for the direction Judd would go—up to his roots or down further into more sentimentality at the detriment of the jokes. Everything from the promotional machine got my hopes up and when it began—commencing with old, grainy, real-life home video of Adam Sandler as a young twenty-something—I started to think, “yes, he is back to the funny”. I’d be lying to say the jokes go a mile a minute and the runtime flies by, but I’d also be leading you astray if I didn’t say how funny these people really are.

Do not take the trailers as law. In fact, many of the bits in the teases are recut, taken out of context, or deleted scenes. Even when a moment started in which I thought I knew how it would go, I was usually surprised in the end result. Yes, the main plot point concerning our lead as a successful, vulgar comedian turned castrated kid’s film star, (sound a little like Sandler himself? How about a dead ringer for Eddie Murphy?), who learns of his impending mortality at the hands of a rare form of leukemia stays intact. And, yes, his experimental treatment does overtake the infected cells running through his blood, as the advertisements so nicely ruin for us. But, for the most part, that storyline is actually the worst part of the movie as a whole. Despite the premise allowing for the situations that bring the big laughs—most dealing with the brilliant stand-up and improv routines, because a man facing death of course goes back to his roots, to a time where he felt truly happy and fulfilled—it is the love lost aspect that derails all momentum and drags the second half into soap opera-y schmaltz. I credit Apatow for ending the personal affairs realistically when he could have taken the road most traveled and given us the super duper happy ending, but for an almost two and a half hour film, that portion could have been cut extensively because, frankly, we don’t need to see, nor are we interested in, his redemption.

It is the first hour, pertaining to the illness and his coping mechanisms to get through it, along with the creative evolution of young Ira Wright, (Seth Rogen), that goes so quickly you will literally ask out loud why it all went away when Leslie Mann’s Laura, the love of Sandler’s George’s life, re-enters the fray. The second half has some merit, especially in its creed of, “if you love something, don’t let it get away”, however, it pales in comparison to the laugh riot that was the start. In this regard, Funny People becomes somewhat bi-polar, not quite sure of itself on whether to continue being a straight comedy or needing to be a dramatic hybrid. This confusion goes on until the end, a conclusion that works with the first ending, becomes contrived in its second finish, and inevitably stops as we all knew it would with the third and last finale, a slow zoom out from our stars.

But let’s get back to the jokes, and the personalities, and the flat-out hilarious sprinkling of characters—both fictional and real. There is a great moment with Eminem and Ray Romano, a hilarious bit from Paul Reiser, and even a one-liner that kills from Andy Dick; there’s Leo Koenig and Mark Taylor Jackson, two personalities breaking into the big-time while their roommate and friend Ira struggles, played by Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman; and of course the deadpan mousey beauty of comic Daisy, (Aubrey Plaza), and the riotously absurd antics of Raaaaaaaandy, (Aziz Ansari). I’ll bet that watching the deleted scenes and all the unscripted jokes told on camera could in fact be funnier than the final result. Despite the plot tying everything together, the film is truly an ensemble piece of clashing personas that riff of each other ever step of the way. Not even Torsten Voges’ Dr. Lars can escape the comedic jabs at his Scandinavian accent and large physique.

The reason so much works, and would work whether the underlying tale of one comedian righting wrongs and another learning his way, is because of the second layer present. This is a send-up to the industry itself, for better or worse. There is the ridicule and hatred of commercial success with both George/Sandler’s parade of movies with goofy premises and horrid screen-writing and Schwartzman’s “Head of the Class” wannabe sitcom “Yo, Teach” and the money it rakes in even though it could be the worst show in the world. These roles aren’t just poking fun at the job, but at the actors themselves. Heck, one of the longest running gags comes at the expense of Rogen and his real life weight loss for The Green Hornet. What makes that joke even funnier, though, is that he does look weird as a skinny guy, especially when next to Hill, who appears to have put on all that his buddy lost.

So, my advice to you is that if you choose to see Funny People do it exactly for the title itself. The actors are hilarious and bring gold with every retort. Even the jokes that fall flat actually fall flat, that’s the beauty of a majority being set in comedy clubs. You hear the guffaws as well as the crickets; you see the mentor teach as well as leech; you see the karmic ways in which success happens so easily for the jerks but so hard for the good guys. Even Eric Bana does his best to keep the levity alive while Sandler attempts to steal his wife. Amping up his Aussie accent, keeping a huge smile on his face, and talking Eastern remedies make you love the guy despite what we hear about his infidelities. It may be a tale of reconnecting with your life to some, a cautionary tale about fame and money to those looking to break into Hollywood, but for me, it is a well-constructed, if not overlong, vehicle to keep me laughing, long and hard.

Funny People 8/10

Oh yeah, and you have to LOVE the t-shirts in this thing. Between the indie music tees worn by Hill, (great Beirut shirt that reminded me of limited concert posters like those at www.patentpendingindustries.com, and the other fun stuff, including an “Upright Citizens Brigade” tee on Rogen, I had a blast spotting the artwork throughout.

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] (L to R) LESLIE MANN, ADAM SANDLER, SETH ROGEN and ERIC BANA star in writer/director Judd Apatow’s third film behind the camera, Funny People, the story of a famous comedian who has a near-death experience. Credit: Tracy Bennett
[2] Jonah Hill as Leo, Seth Rogen as Ira Wright and Jason Schwartzman as Mark Taylor in Universal Pictures’ Funny People.

Bookmark and Share

Do you want to know the ugly truth about The Ugly Truth? Well, besides being obvious and banal cinematically, it made me laugh … a lot actually. Romantic comedies usually have one thing going for them and that is predictability. While this one has it in spades, what surprised me was how crude and crass the humor ended up being. And that’s a very good thing because those instances brought on the biggest laughs of them all. One could guess there would be a few moments, especially after watching the trailer and seeing Gerard Butler’s character being the epitome of alpha male, however, one would never anticipate a dinner party scene involving vibrating panties and a young child that loves objects resembling remote controls. But I’ll tell you, set-ups like that were what kept me invested in the mediocre story, it definitely wasn’t the manufactured chemistry between the leads.

Everything revolves around our heroine Abby, played by Katherine Heigl. It is definitely a role that she has proven herself willing to portray, the strong-willed, professional beauty left by the wayside in regards to the other sex. She produces a successful morning show that just can’t win in the ratings. Her cohorts are as conservative as she, willing to do a piece about the mayor to try and drive viewership back their way, shaking their heads when risqué ideas are batted around. Her boss, however, decides to hire “shock-jock” of sorts Mike who has been cultivating a following on cable access with his insight into the truth about relationships. His callous nature and unwavering ability to say exactly what is on his mind breaths life back into Abby’s show despite the trepidation of lowering herself to the kind of television she has always abhorred. She can be swayed, however, once Butler’s Mike agrees to play Cyrano to her Christian in wooing her dating checklist approved neighbor Colin. Like that French film, though, and all its many copies, we all know who is really falling in love in the end.

Legally Blonde’s Robert Luketic is behind the camera for this one and I’ll admit that he tries his best to use the script in order to keep the audience on their toes. With subtle silent tricks, (introducing Mike’s nephew and sister in a way to make us completely believe they are his son and wife), as well as a fearless use of language and sexual innuendo, (bravo to the studio for letting them take the R-rating and run with it), definitely got this guy—as in me—to stay alert while awaiting the next comedic gag. And while I didn’t quite believe the romantic chemistry between Butler and Heigl, their relationship as buddies worked swimmingly. The beginning of their pact—to get her Colin and he respect on the set—where Mike coaches her on how to recover from the desperate call for a date is paced perfectly and acted just right. His over-zealous confidence and her naivety to it all becomes a great one-two punch. One that works just as well when she turns the table by proving she can flirt after a very funny shopping sequence where Mike is the one approving her wardrobe.

And it’s that aspect that worked for me too, seeing the guy be the relationship guru for the girl. Sure you want to think that he is wrong, you want to take offense to things he is saying as a guy—willing yourself to believe that he isn’t speaking about you—but the sad truth is, it’s all probably not that far off. He is so right when he says he doesn’t understand romance or love, but that he is a master at lust and manipulation. His methods work and they are foolproof, but as we realize towards the end, along with Abby, the bond they acquire is never lasting. If you have to be a generic type to win someone’s heart, well, you will never be happy. The ugly truth, therefore, is that dating is hard and relationships take work, but if you aren’t honest with yourself or your significant other, it is all a lie that will only end in heartbreak.

I’d like to give some credit to the supporting cast, but, frankly, they aren’t onscreen very much. This is the Katherine and Gerard show through and through. John Michael Higgins and Cheryl Hines do their best to steal some thunder, yet, thinking back, their most successful moments are a result of reactions to what Butler and/or Heigl did. If there was one guy that I really enjoyed in the background, and he is very quietly effective here, it would be Jesse D. Goins. His brief seconds of screentime, with either a facial expression or quick quip, are gold. The rest of the movie does rely on the stars and I applaud them for doing an admirable job. Why Butler needed to fake an American accent is beyond me, (his face just looked weird as he tried so hard to hide the Scottish), and Heigl’s smugness rubs me the wrong way every time, but I was able to look past those crutches. If I could give The Ugly Truth any words of encouragement, it would be that my girlfriend loved it. So, if it fires on all cylinders for the demographic it’s marketed to, and kept me laughing enough to forget how mediocre the actual story was, I guess, when all is said and done, it does do a pretty darn good job.

The Ugly Truth 5/10

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl star in Columbia Pictures’ comedy THE UGLY TRUTH. © 2009 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.
[2] Cheryl Hines and John Michael Higgins in Columbia Pictures’ comedy THE UGLY TRUTH. © 2009 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Thank you Alex Proyas for not making Rose Byrne into Nicolas Cage’s love interest for your newest film Knowing. I’ll admit, from the trailers, I thought that was exactly what would happen—pretty young woman somehow falling for the crazy-haired one. It is Hollywood, so it wasn’t too far-fetched to believe. But that wasn’t the only surprise in this sci-fi thriller. No, the biggest one has to be the fact that it was pretty good. For some reason, despite the pretty great early track record for Proyas, I keep getting worried with each new film before being won over by the final result. Sure, this and I, Robot aren’t great films, but for genre fare, such as they are, you can do a lot worse. While I’d love to see another Dark City-caliber work come in the future, I can deal with the solid, if not obvious, scripts he’s been choosing to bring to life.

I remember seeing the trailer and thinking Knowing would be your run-of-the-mill prophecy-based plot, proving disaster after disaster until our hero can save the day. Then the second teaser came out showing some creepy, dark-clothed men in the woods—perhaps foreshadowing an intriguing alien aspect to it all. But it is with the poster that truly sets the stage for what is about to happen. Yes, the future predicting is there as the whole basis of the story is upon a two-sided piece of paper with dates, deaths, and coordinates, written by a young girl in 1959 and sealed in a time capsule for fifty years; and yes, don’t be surprised to witness a spaceship or alien or two either. However, it is the seemingly misplaced image of the Earth at the center of the one-sheet, appearing to be starting on fire at the bottom that alludes to the apocalyptic theme running rampant throughout. There are just too many mentions of the sun or burning to just push them to the side as coincidence. Especially with a script so heavy in Determinism … Professor John Koestler would be so proud.

Speaking of Koestler, at the center of it all is Nic Cage’s performance as this MIT astrophysicist. Recently widowed, he is now raising his son alone, allowing his scientific predilections take over his strong religious background. With a pastor as a father and a devote mother and sister, it is Koestler’s wife’s death that shows him how random and meaningless life is. There is no grand plan; everything is just a sequence of chance chemical reactions, leading more to chaos than any methodical progression. That all changes with the discovery of young Lucinda’s cryptic message in the capsule, the lone page devoid of an image of what the future will hold like the rest of the class drew. Her artifact ends up being a literal translation of the future, showing the exact dates and death counts for major disasters around the world. It cannot be a coincidence then that the page found its way into the hands of his son, who subsequently begins to hear whispers like those heard fifty years previous. What is first thought to be a malfunction of his hearing aid, you will soon begin to wonder if those whispers—the jumbled sounds reaching his mind—are the reason he has the aid to begin with.

By no means is this thing a masterpiece. Besides the usual hammy performance we have learned to embrace from Cage, (and he was so good in Leaving Las Vegas, I guess they all become caricatures of themselves at some point), we have the very convenient story progressions needed to allow the tale to play out in a reasonable amount of time. The fact that a piece of paper has dates for five decades, yet the final three all happen within a week is a massive coincidence. But, rather than dismiss it as lazy writing, you could chalk it up to one more example of how everything happening is doing so for a reason. Everything, all the good, (marriage, a son), and the bad, (wife’s death, a pretty impressive plane crash sequence), put Cage’s Koestler on a collision course with his destiny, or at least onto a path in which he can help lead his boy to his. I actually enjoyed his role, for the most part, and for every cringe-worthy instance, there was a genuine showing of emotion. Chandler Canterbury does well as his son, expressing the rebellious nature of a boy his age, questioning his father’s motivations and parenting skills, while also lending a mechanical aspect to instill some creepiness. If you want real oddity, though, look no further than Lara Robinson’s blank stares as the young Lucinda and later on as her granddaughter Abby. Why have two actresses when you can have one play both in order to keep the familial resemblance in tact? Heck Rose Byrne does the same as Diana, the woman who believes Cage and helps him discover the true meaning of the numbers, as well as Lucinda’s adult form in photos.

Knowing is a fun ride that ends in a very effective manner: giving me the sad ending that I wanted and hoped the filmmakers didn’t copout from doing as well as the happy one giving a sense of hope for the future. As a result, the story itself becomes quite strong with it’s lecturing on the subject of fate as well as the allusions to God and creation itself. With some pretty good effects—besides the plane crash carnage, also enjoy the subway derailment, something about people being crushed against high-speed moving glass worked for me—you shouldn’t be disappointed if you set out to be entertained by a decent action thriller. If, instead, you wanted an intelligent script that would blow you away in its originality … well, you’ve come to the wrong movie. Sit back, allow your brain to be stimulated ever so slightly, and just have a good time. I just hope those kids don’t eat any apples, because we all know how that ended up the first time.

Knowing 6/10

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] ROSE BYRNE (left) and NICOLAS CAGE (right) star in KNOWING, a Summit Entertainment release. Photo Credit: Vince Valitutti
[2] CHANDLER CANTERBURY (left) and LARA ROBINSON (right) star in KNOWING, a Summit Entertainment release. Photo Credit: Vince Valitutti

Bookmark and Share

I don’t usually get disgusted or squeamish when it comes to horror and gore, but after viewing The Last House on the Left remake, one of the many old Wes Craven films getting reworked, I have to admit, it was pretty harrowing. Does making me tense up and await some scenes’ conclusions make it an effective suspense/thriller? I’m not so sure. The plotline is thin, the result obvious, so as far as what will happen, there is very little question or anticipation. That being said, however, the death scenes and brutality are very much shrouded in the unknown. What one would expect to be the usual horror flick kills become methodical, realistic, and unbearable. Fists are thrown, knives are stabbed, and characters are slowed and tired. No one is supernatural, no one is above his own mortality, and, frankly, while that fact may not make it scary per se, it does make you question your motivations to keep sitting there watching it all.

The gist of the story is as follows: a family, (mother, father, and daughter), goes to the lake for a vacation from clients and patients. It is a year since Ben, the older child, passed away, and they are all just looking to enjoy themselves and relax despite his absence and the work that has distracted them and gotten them through the rough time. Daughter Mari is seventeen and looking to have more fun than just hanging with her parents and working on her swim speed. So, on the first night of their arrival, she asks to borrow the car and visit an old friend, Paige. The two find themselves meeting a boy their age that tells them he has some primo weed at his motel. His father and the woman he’s sleeping with, as well as his uncle aren’t supposed to be back, but of course, that assumption is wrong, ushering in the start of the chaos and carnage. Why you ask? Oh, because, as the opening scene shows, the boy’s father is an escaped, murdering psychopath excised from the cop car transporting him by his girl and brother. Let’s just say that their arrival to the motel turns the kiddies’ party up a few notches.

It is not all about this motley crew’s doings with the two young girls who have seen their faces and most likely will tell the police, no, most of the film’s action comes afterwards. You see, Mari escapes and slowly makes her way back home to her parents. The catch, however, is that the Manson family has already arrived there, thinking Mari has been killed, and playing house to earn a peaceful night indoors from the lovely and accommodating Collingwoods. So, what starts out as a brutal look into the activities of miscreants and how they treat those in their captivity becomes a revenge flick of epic proportions as the mister and missus decide to achieve retribution themselves for the state their daughter has been left in. Phones dead, power being supplied by a generator, and the sky opened up pouring rain on top of them, the Collingwoods play judge, jury, and executioner with deft skill and precision, or at least as much as can be expected from two suburbanites out to protect themselves and the child they have left.

It must be said that this thing is shot very nicely. Straight from the brief opening credit sequence, (no names listed until the end), as we dodge through trees, illuminated one at a time in the stark darkness as we move past, to some gorgeous underwater frames, to some inventive blocking and use of focus changing, the camerawork is intriguing in its own rite. As for the acting, it’s pretty darn good for a genre film of this kind. Martha MacIsaac, as Paige, annoyed me a bit, but no complaints otherwise. I really liked Sara Paxton as Mari, especially her cool, collected self as she attempts to escape her captors; Monica Potter is a loving, yet strong mother figure that is willing to do what’s necessary for her family; and Tony Goldwyn is pretty badass once he realizes the foursome staying under his roof are the ones who raped and left his daughter for dead. He will always be the bad guy in Ghost for me, but it’s nice to see him back on the big screen as he rarely gets to play in a high profile release. And then there is Spencer Treat Clark as Justin, the boy who unknowingly brought the young girls into the path of his violent dad. His vulnerability and inability to do anything to help is hard to watch.

What is really trying to watch, however, besides some gruesome moments during the revenge portion of the story, (claw hammer and garbage disposal anyone?), is the graphically realistic rape sequence. This scene is definitely not for the faint of heart because, as I read in an interview by Garret Dillahunt, he of psychopath patriarch Krug fame here, Paxton told him to go for it and make the moment as brutal as possible. And, trust me, it is. In the mud, clothes ripped, abstract close-ups of body parts unable to move under his strength, and everyone else watching, it becomes even more disturbing when finished as the camera lingers, in slow motion, on Paxton as she gets up—dirty and defiled—the comment by Dillahunt to his son, “you don’t know what you missed”, the only noise. Aaron Paul as the uncle and Riki Lindhome as the female companion are good and creepy in a horror film kind of way, but it’s Dillahunt that adds just the right mix of real life malice. A formidable force, able to smile and bring people in close before pouncing, he is one scary monster making all that follows his opening moment of choking a cop to death while holding a photo of his kids in front of his eyes possible, reviling, and effective horror.

The Last House on the Left 7/10

PS: (**Spoiler**), I think the ending should have been handled much better. Yes, I know the microwave was broken, as shown in the beginning, but I would have been even more affected if our villain’s demise came from bleeding out while paralyzed. Much better than an exploding head for sure—the one instance that broke the stark realism portrayed before it.

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] Martha MacIsaac as Paige, Garret Dillahunt as Krug and Aaron Paul as Francis in Universal Pictures and Rogue Pictures’ The Last House on the Left
[2] Dr. John (TONY GOLDWYN) and Emma Collingwood (MONICA POTTER) in the suspense thriller ‘The Last House on the Left’

Bookmark and Share

I don’t know why, but when sitting down to view Sacha Baron Cohen’s new faux documentary featuring one of his cast of doppelgangers Brüno, I started thinking how there was no way it could be more offensive than his last effort, Borat. Oh, was I wrong. I highly underestimated America’s hatred and fear of the homosexual population, forgetting that while many are intolerant to foreigners, that prejudice is just against one aspect, the gay community has many hurdles to overcome. Not only are they viewed as outsiders to supposed “true blood Americans”, but also treated unequally by religious factions, sports industry, and more. While I lauded praise on Cohen’s first attempt at uncovering the true underbelly of our country, it is tough to do the same here because the shock value of what he’s doing is no longer fresh. The social commentary is there if you can get past the offensiveness and the laughs are huge, but I can’t help thinking that I saw it all before.

Much like its predecessor, Brüno, (don’t forget that umlaut … even Universal got in on the game), begins in his native country to showcase the reasons behind his journey to the USA. After being shunned from the fashion community in Austria he decides to do what is the next logical step—live in LA and become a celebrity. It isn’t as easy as he expected, so after a failed try at acting and a missed opportunity to be a talk show host, he heads to the Middle East to weigh in on peacekeeping attempts. A Kenyan child later, Brüno finds himself back in America, now realizing that to be famous he must be straight. Oh the irony that John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Kevin Spacey are the actors he looks upon to reach this epiphany—like they haven’t been accused of being gay themselves many times.

You will once again be surprised at some of the people he dupes into believing he is a real person, (poor Ron Paul), as well as not so shocked, (Paula Abdul anyone? How great is it watching her talk about humanitarianism while sitting on a Mexican acting like a chair?). Uncomfortable is an understatement when it comes to describing a viewing session of this film because you’d be comatose not to be even the slightest bit squeamish. Cohen is fearless in his activities and unfaltering in his accent—equal parts effeminate and German, (is there a difference?). To go into the Middle East and recruit former leaders of both Israel and Palestine to sing to and have hold hands is one thing, but to go to a current terrorist group leader and call Osama Bin Laden a “dirty wizard/homeless Santa Claus” and not expect to get backlash is a completely different thing. As for going hunting with three burly Southerners and entering their tents naked … well that’s just suicide.

I liked the jokes for the most part even if they were horribly insensitive. Calling Autism funny, Africa a country, etc. does elicit knee-jerk laughs, which turn into feelings of remorse before ultimately realizing that, yes, it was funny. Cohen goes way too far in many instances: a bike-powered dildo; talking penis; and asking a swinger, in the act of sex with someone else, to look into his eyes are just a few. For this reason, I cannot recommend the film to anyone … seriously, anyone. You never truly know how much someone can take and a film like Brüno not only tests that boundary but also surpasses it over and over again. How Larry Charles and Cohen convinced the ratings board not to slap an NC-17 on this thing is unfathomable.

What is by far the most incomprehensible thing, however, is the candid view on America that has been captured. It is not wrong to call Cohen a genius in his methods to manipulate people into thinking they are safe and among kindred spirits in moral ambiguity. Watching parents virtually sell their souls and children’s bodies for a quick cash grab is unbelievable. Not only do these adults willingly say yes to any question Brüno asks them, “Is your child okay with being photographed on a crucifix? How is your child with dead animals? Does your child like lit phosphorus?” but they oftentimes pause, think about what has been posed, and still agree. I hope that if these people’s neighbors watch the movie and see their faces, they will never let their child go over to play again. And then there are the priests who do “Jesus’ work” by converting gays into heterosexuals. The first pastor preaches what to do and not, but it is the second that astonishes with what he says. Speaking as “we” he basically admits to how he is gay himself, but has been living the lie by tolerating women, even though they are so uninspiring and annoying to him. The worst part of it all is that the people Cohen lambastes are real.

Much like Borat, I have no interest in ever watching this film again. However, that is not to the detriment of the work as social commentary … I just never want to have to sit through the darkness that is likely hiding beneath the surface of some of the people I know and love. The shock value dissipates as the film goes on and unfortunately wasn’t necessarily high to begin with. Television being inundated with reality garbage and exposing us to the morons out there we have generally been shielded from has desensitized us. Even watching Borat has desensitized us because the freshness is gone. But, while the film may not hold up as an entity unto itself; the questions it raises, the truth we want to so desperately believe doesn’t exist, come through with crystal clear clarity. Sacha Baron Cohen knows our secrets and exposes them. His vehicle for such truths may not be as conventional or enjoyable as some may want, but the message is there nonetheless. I think his Austrian may get the point across best, but it was his Kazakh who entertained more consistently.

Brüno 6/10

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share

It’s a real shame that I could never give a film featuring Harry Potter the status of a perfect film. Each tale relies so heavily on those that came before or after, so one can never be a truly all-encompassing work. Sure, the three-act structure can be utilized, but without the background info, or the knowledge that more will be coming, watching a middle installment alone will leave you confused and disorientated. The reason I bring this up is the fact that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is good enough to warrant the praise and to put the idea in my head about whether to call it a masterpiece. The tone is perfect, the laughs are many, the darkness is charcoal black—how could this be the same director as the abysmal—in comparison to the rest of the series—Order of the Phoenix, David Yates? Two words … Bruno Delbonnel.

Who is Delbonnel you may ask? Well, he is the brilliant cinematographer behind the camera. I may have blamed the failures of the fifth film on its screenplay as Steve Kloves was glaringly absent, (he being the writer of each other film, including this new one), but a film is a team effort. Therefore I guess maybe I shouldn’t put all the accolades on one man now; I just feel absolutely compelled to do so because so many moments linger in my mind due to the beauty of their composition and use of their environments to stay interesting and exciting at all times. Visually, you cannot be bored. It just goes to show that it is never the director alone, but also the team he or she brings along. I like Yates and was surprised at how much I disliked his first foray in the Potter universe, granted, I felt the book itself was sub-par at best. Thankfully, he did not disappoint with his second of three, (make that four as book seven goes to a two-part finale), because, as it was with the novels, Half-Blood Prince is by far the best of the series—until Deathly Hallows of course. And adding the pedigree of a guy like Delbonnel, with films such as Across the Universe, A Very Long Engagement, and Amélie in his back pocket—all stunning works of art—only makes his job easier.

I can’t get over the use of close-ups throughout, or the multiple instances of framing used to hide something onscreen. Oftentimes, the camera pans or cuts to reveal something in the fringes, to highlight the focal point when it’s not centrally located, or literally move our eyes to exactly where the filmmakers want them to be. The blocking is superb with some scenes blurring the edges and keeping only our main object of interest in focus, timing and positioning executed with aplomb. And did I mention the close-ups? (Yes, I know I did.) One sequence, with Harry and Ginny running through a field of tall grass after intruding Death Eaters, is shot with a high speed pan to keep the characters crisp as the foliage darts and blurs in their wake. I’d be remiss not to mention the special effects as well, especially when dealing with the black smoke trails from Voldemort’s flying goons as well as the wispy pensieve. Whether completely computer generated or practical dye clouds in water, the effect is pitch perfect, even dissolving each memory in sections, leaving important pieces, like young Tom Riddle, to be lingered on just a second longer than the rest.

But wait—there is actually a story and actors involved too. J.K. Rowling truly stunned me with this book being as good as it was after such a poor effort with Phoenix that, in my opinion, added nothing to the saga and could even be skipped without missing a beat. She reinvigorated my love for the story. Half-Blood Prince is where we find out exactly who has the stomach to fight and who does not. Many say they are ready for the dark times ahead, but not all realize those times have arrived and they need to have the fortitude to do what’s necessary right now. Introductions to those fighting with the Dark Lord—who is absent this go around—are made, (nice to see Dave Legeno’s Fenrir Greyback looking as menacing as I imagined). The roles Malfoy, (I really liked Tom Felton here, showing some nice range and rough emotional turmoil), and Snape, (who doesn’t like Alan Rickman?), play in the tale come closer to fruition as well, if not completely solved. War is upon the magical world, sides have been chosen, and it all reaches its apex a year from now.

As for the leads, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson are solid as usual, (Radcliffe showing some solid comedic chops after taking luck elixir), and Rupert Grint’s Ron Weasley gets some room to break free. But it is the supporting roles that deserve notice. Helena Bonham Carter will scare children, so kudos to her, and Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore will win even more hearts as his leader finally allows Potter into the inner circle of the plan to rid the world of Voldemort, it now being a circle of two. It is newcomer Jim Broadbent, however, as Professor Slughorn who steals the show. Broadbent is known for his many comical expressions and his rubber face is utilized to great effect here. A blowhard and man with many “friends”, his jubilant smile and need to collect powerful and famous wizards for his Slug Club are ever-present, bringing some levity as well as effectively hiding the dark secret that lies beneath.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince succeeds in the details. It is an exercise in minimalism and showing only what is necessary to the plot. Condensing the novel better than ever done before, Kloves has given Yates the tools to make a film and not just a visual representation of the words. What had previously been done best by Azkaban’s Alfonso Cuarón, this one works better at retaining more subplots and not stripping it quite so bare. With subtle moments such as Death Eaters being bounced off the force field around Hogwarts, to Malfoy’s footsteps disappearing on the Marauder’s Map left visible in the corner of the frame, to the hourglass’s sand standing still when the subject of Voldemort is brought up to Slughorn, to the photograph of a black cliff amidst water in young Tom Riddle’s orphanage room, the tools are planted in your psyche to be activated later. No longwinded exposition is needed to make us, as an audience, feel stupid and lectured to. Instead Yates and crew allow us to show our intelligence and ability to use our eyes and memories to piece things together, making the experience more enjoyable as we believe we are solving the mysteries and not the director who is skillfully guiding us through. I’d say it couldn’t get better than this, but my confidence in Yates has been renewed and my hopes that Deathly Hallows is treated with respect is at one hundred percent, so who knows what the future has to offer?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 9/10

As comparison:
HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone 7/10; HP and the Chamber of Secrets 7/10; HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban 8/10; HP and the Goblet of Fire 8/10; HP and the Order of the Phoenix 6/10

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] (L-R) ALAN RICKMAN as Professor Severus Snape, EMMA WATSON as Hermione Granger, RUPERT GRINT as Ron Weasley, DANIEL RADCLIFFE as Harry Potter and MAGGIE SMITH as Professor Minerva McGonagall in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Photo by Jaap Buitendijk
[2] JIM BROADBENT as Professor Horace Slughorn and MICHAEL GAMBON as Professor Albus Dumbledore in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
[3] Dark clouds swirl over Hogwarts in a scene from Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Bookmark and Share

Ah, The Fast and the Furious, the film that launched the careers of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and, for all intents and purposes, Michelle Rodriguez, (yes she starred in Girlfight previously). This foursome was so hot after this movie that some of them couldn’t demean themselves by starring in the sequel. Poor them as, just a short eight years later, they all jumped at the opportunity to reunite with fast cars in the fourth installment. Oh how the mighty fall, especially when they weren’t too mighty in the first place. I had my own preconceptions about this popcorn flick, virtually making me never want to take a chance on it at all. I thought the acting would be amateurish and campy, the story ludicrously absurd, and the cheese factor too high to overcome. Well, after finally sitting down to check it out I realized that I was clairvoyant. I wanted to at least have fun, and for a couple moments I did, but overall this Rob Cohen disaster is a throwaway that only shows how influential teenage boys are in the Hollywood spectrum. How else could we have three theatrically released sequels to what could be a made-for-tv movie at best?

I see the similarities to Point Break, as my friend told me existed. It even goes to the point where if I closed my eyes I could have believed Paul Walker was Keanu Reeves. Where this film goes wrong, though, is by having Brewster’s character involved, taking Walker’s love away from Diesel. What works so well in the before-mentioned Kathryn Bigelow film is that there is more than just allusions to a man-crush between Reeves and Patrick Swayze. That dynamic doesn’t quite exist here. Walker’s Spilner/O’Connor may respect Diesel’s Toretto, but he never idolizes the man. He sees a misguided soul that watched as his father burned to death on the racetrack, he sees a man who is nothing without his sister and racing team—his own makeshift family. Whether it is Toretto who is behind the truck-jacking or not, Walker is only staying close to find out, and get with Brewster’s Mia of course.

Speaking of the truck-jacking, is it just me or is that opening scene completely out-of-place? The film begins with four Hondas harassing a trucker, taking the driver out and, I guess, stealing the shipment. The cut is so abrupt that you never do find out what they do with the cargo, if anything. In fact, having the next scene in daylight with Walker, I thought maybe he was involved already, waiting for the criminals to meet up with him. Instead, he just floors his car, swears, and is all of a sudden at Mia’s diner. It is so discombobulating that I seriously wanted to just turn it off. Only when Walker goes back to work at Harry’s do we find out why he swore driving, and it’s even longer until we find out where the trucks come into play. But this isn’t trying to win awards for storytelling, it’s just doing its best to entertain and titillate. Unfortunately, it did very little of either.

The acting is pretty horrid across the board with Rodriguez probably the best of the four in a limited role. I didn’t mind Diesel too much, the guy has charisma, but Walker’s Keanu-speak was distracting because I don’t remember him ever talking like that in other films. And when the cast is rounded off by stilted delivery from Rick Yune, Ja Rule, and Matt Schulze—the moment when Brewster asks Walker out and Schulze elbows the wall in anger made me laugh—you know you shouldn’t be expecting very much else. Although, Chad Lindberg, as the whiz-kid engine technician, showed a lot of promise. I guess even the most asinine of films has a diamond in the rough somewhere.

If anyone reading this has wanted to see it, don’t let me stop you. I’m the first to admit that I have never seen the appeal of cars, either in their speed or in their look. The Fast and the Furious is all about the cars, so it had a pretty large strike against it from the beginning. I also don’t particularly care for action films devoid of a strong story. That said, however, I had a fun time with the trucker’s revenge sequence at the end watching Diesel attempt to save Schulze. It all kind of gets ruined with Vin’s “anger” afterwards and his blind rage for payback against Yune’s Johnny Tran, but at least one high-octane moment kept my interest. It’s a good thing too because the ending is as abrupt as the start, answering all questions about where our two leads’ relationship will go with wordless looks and nods. These two understand each other; they are kindred spirits who have opened their souls. One is a hardened criminal and the other an undercover cop, both with the streets to unite them. No loose ends are sealed and the fate of many is left unanswered. I’d love to see how Walker explains who was stealing the electronic equipment to his superiors. The filmmakers probably never thought a sequel would be imagined and felt pretending it didn’t matter would be enough.

The Fast and the Furious 4/10

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in Universal’s The Fast and The Furious – 2001
[2] Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster in Universal’s The Fast and The Furious – 2001

Bookmark and Share

After an early career playing “thugs,” (see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Basquiat), Sam Rockwell began performing in supporting roles for many high profile indies in the early 2000s. It wasn’t until George Clooney, of all people, decided to step behind the camera for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind that he got his first real lead role, and did he ever take advantage. Well, he did as far as acting goes, maybe not job-wise because, besides a second lead in Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men, it was mostly indie-fare again. Only this time Rockwell was a focal point, allowed to stretch his legs and add something to each film. No work solidifies the fact that he will be in the pictures for many years to come then the new Moon, another debut from an unlikely source. This one is not an actor turned director, however, but instead music legend David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones. I think it is safe to say that this newcomer has quite the career ahead of him too.

Moon is ostensibly a one-man show featuring Rockwell as an astronaut sent to the moon on a three-year contract to maintain a mining station that harvests the sun’s fusion energy from moonrocks. We are thrown into the mix with only two weeks left in his tenure, the desire to return to his wife and daughter, whom he has never seen in real life yet, strong and his psyche all but ready to break from the lack of human interaction. Sam Bell has been keeping busy by utilizing a treadmill, watching old Nick at Nite type sitcoms, whittling away at a wooden model of his hometown with an X-acto knife, and conversing with the station’s artificial intelligence GERTY. The live feed to Earth has been disengaged for a while now, leaving this monotonous voice and bright yellow smiley face—complete with changing expressions—of Kevin Spacey his only friend. Sure he gets to record video packages for his wife and bosses at Lunar Industries, and they reply back to him, but the distance needed to travel is great and the time between too long.

Cabin fever has definitely set in as Sam begins to zone out and manifest a woman, first sitting down in his chair and then out on the moon’s surface while he is out for a routine check. Both instances cause him to forget what he was doing, causing great personal harm and injury. When the real trouble occurs, however, is the moment—as seen in the trailer—he brings back a body from the surface that appears, for all intents and purposes, to be him. This is the point where talking about Moon gets a little difficult so as to not ruin the mystery that should be unsolved when you sit down to watch the film. The trailer portrays a story that seems to beg the question of whether the second Sam is truly there or only in his imagination as he slowly goes insane. I won’t divulge the answer, but instead say that it gets solved fairly quickly. So, instead of the film becoming a psychological thriller with a big reveal at its conclusion, Duncan Jones’ story becomes complete science fiction, bringing in moral questions about technological advances we in 2009 are just beginning to wrestle with.

This aspect, while at first threatening to ruin my experience as I entered thinking the question of whether Sam number two was real or not would be the backbone to the tale, became so important to my enjoyment. Rather than a look inside the psyche of this man, isolated for so long, we are given a tense race against time as Sam must discover what is happening and think of a way to get out from under it all before the ELIZA rescue team arrives from Earth, an event that could have very dire consequences. I don’t want to ruin too much, but let me just say that the clock is counting down to his death, an ending that could be caused by many different factors, (failing health, execution by those coming, etc.), that also begs the question of whether he is in fact alive in the first place. I have to say that Jones and screenwriter Nathan Parker put together a taut thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The pacing is deliberate and rapid all at the same time, the art direction pristine, and the camera tricks very impressive.

Sam Rockwell is a major part of this as it is definitely the best work of his career. Not only is he onscreen for the entire run time, about 80% of it is playing opposite a computer or himself. The pressures being put upon his shoulders, the fear of what may be happening, about his very own existence, weigh down his emotional strength and it shows. The outbursts, the sarcasm, the joking around to anger his doppelganger, and the heartbreaking realization of what is going on show through with perfection. This is his shining moment, proving his craft and ability to act above and beyond the “funny guy” he is often relegated to play. Especially when pitted against such a stark background of clinical white futuristic rooms or the vacuum of space, the angst, joy, disbelief, and fortitude of his humanity are all that we are able to see, his performance is paramount to the film’s success.

I know that, as far as storyline goes, this review remains somewhat vague besides expressing the visceral tension and underlying mystery waiting to be solved, but I believe that is for your own viewing pleasure. While the trailer is not necessarily misleading, it posits a question that is answered early on as being the main crux of the entire film. That possibility of more than one Sam Bell or of a man who’s hold of reality has been broken may be what you went into the film expecting to see. Well you will just see it sooner than expected and as a lead into the real story of survival, identity, and the idea of home. In that respect, having the trailer’s mystery solved only means more time for unexpected storylines; it may have gotten you into the seats, but it is only the beginning of what this science fiction classic-in-waiting has to offer.

Moon 10/10

Bookmark and Share

photography:
[1] Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell. Photo taken by Mark Tille, © Lunar Industries Ltd., Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
[2] Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell. Photo taken by Mark Tille, © Lunar Industries Ltd., Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Categories

Bookmark and Share

jared’s tweets