Showing posts from 2011

Review Young Adult

Grow up. Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) left her (fictional) hick town of Mercury, MN to move to the big city. In this case, that city is Minneapolis. Her job is a ghost writer for a once popular young adult series. When she gets an email letting her know that her old high school flame, Buddy (Patrick Wilson) has just welcomed a child. Mavis, recently divorced, decides that she's going to go "save" buddy from what she thinks is an unhappy marriage that traps him in the small down. She runs into fellow classmate, Matt, (Patton Oswald) whom she never gave the time of day before, and drunkenly tells him her master plan. He attempts to knock some sense into her. Young Adult is Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody's 2nd collaboration, and you have to give them credit for being gutsy enough to center their film around a completely unlikable character. Diablo Cody's signature dialogue is thankfully toned down and Theron and Oswald thrive off of their off beat chemistry. What I d

Indie Gems: Ghost World

Back in the day when Thora Birch was more famous than Scarlett Johansson Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are two recent high school graduates who are total outsiders. They spend most of their days pestering creeps, when they decide to play a mean prank on Seymour ,(Steve Buscemi) a pathetic looking man they find in the classifieds. Enid actually finds herself feeling bad for him and forms a relationship that will test her friendship with Rebecca, and possibly reshape her future forever. I'm a big fan of Birch's work and I think this is one of her best movies. She plays the outsider so well, yet she's so likable and relatable. Johansson doesn't have a lot to do here, which is fine because she's certainly the weaker of the two. Buscemi is perfect as Seymour. He's creepy and heartwarming at the same time. Ghost World was the first film based off of a graphic novel to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. That alone is pretty

DVD Review: Jane Eyre

Everyone has secrets. Some are just a little more drastic than others. Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) has had a tough life. Her parents died when she was young, she was forced to live with an aunt (Sally Hawkins, not her usual lovely self) that hates her. She goes to work for a man, Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender) and eventually falls in love. But it's not that simple. I've never read Jane Eyre and had never seen any of the previous adaptations. This one interested me at first because Ellen Page was supposed to play the lead. I cannot imagine her in the role, I thought Mia did well. Both she and Fassbender were interesting leads, and it was nice to see small roles by Judi Dench and Jamie Bell thrown in there too. Since I had not read the book the ending genuinely surprised me. I have to admit I was expecting Jane and St John to start furiously making out there for a second. The film sets a dark and dreary town, but doesn't come off as overly depressing. I can't compare

Indie Gems: Terri

We've all been there. Terri (Jacob Wysocki) is an overweight teen who is teased at school and is tasked with taking care of his sick uncle at home. He forms a bond with his off beat vice principal, Mr. Fitzgerald. (John C. Reilly) Mr F takes notice of the outcasts and meets with them weekly. He pretends to ream them to amuse his secretary, but he generally cares about where they go in life. When Terri sticks up for another classmate, Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) his life starts to go in a different direction. There's lots of dry humor in Terri, and Reilly and Wysocki carry the show. They have wonderful chemistry. You generally feel bad for Terri, and root for him even though he makes some questionable choices. For me, it was a little weird seeing Crocicchia, who played little Katy Gavin on Rescue Me in a more grown up and promiscuous role. In the end, it is a loving and cute little film. While not the best, nor the worst, it deserves to be seen if you are a fan of Reilly. Re

DVD Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Love hurts. Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) are getting a divorce. Their young son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo) has a thing for his babysitter Jessica. (Analeigh Tipton) Jessica has a thing for Cal. Cal goes to a swanky bar to drink his depression away when he meets Jacob, (Ryan Gosling) a ladies man that shows him how to pick up chicks. Jacob eventually finds himself settling down when he meets Hannah. (Emma Stone) Did you catch all that? Everyone is connected in Crazy, Stupid, Love; a comedy that tells you how love really is. The movie was filled with cliches, but still managed to stay aware of them. It also contained one of the most interesting "family show down" moments I've seen in awhile. Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei have small roles, but they feel wasted after being so heavily focused on in the movie's many trailers. I didn't find the movie particularly funny, there weren't any scenes that made me laugh out loud. I can appreciate the little thin

Review: The Descendants

Now what? Matt King (George Clooney) is a lawyer and the trustee of a large chunk of land on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. While he's making the difficult decision on who to sell it too, he suffers a personal blow much greater: His wife has been in a boating accident, and will never come out of the coma it has put her in. This leaves Matt to raise his two daughters, the bad girl Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) and the middle finger loving Scottie. (Amara Miller) on his own. Matt knows that Alexandra and her mother fought about something before her accident, and he encourages her to let it go. But she can't. You see, his wife had been cheating on him. Matt had no idea, now he's trying to find the man that his wife was in love with. The Descendants at first felt a lot like Up In The Air, which I loved, so I didn't mind. It eventually morphed into it's own movie. I've never been on the Clooney bandwagon, but after Up In The Air I started to take more notice, and aft

Indie Gems: Beautiful Boy

Do you blame the parents? W hile I've been waiting patiently for We Need To Talk About Kevin to come my way, I started looking around for movies like it just for kicks. This is how I came across Beautiful Boy. Kate (Maria Bello) and Bill (Michael Sheen) are a couple that's possibly on the edge of getting a divorce. They're growing apart, and with their only son away at college what's holding them back? That is until their son, Sam (Kyle Gallner) opens fire on campus and kills 17 other people before killing himself. They are now not only faced with the difficult decision of what to do in wake of this tragedy, but now their feelings towards each other will get the ultimate test. What this movie did very well was show us the raw emotions that Kate and Bill are going through. They don't know why Sammy did what he did, and neither do  we. A video Sammy made for the world to see is only shown in part, so we don't get an answer. It shows us how miserable that must b

2010 Golden Globe Nominees:

My thoughts, as always are in green . Best Drama The Descendants The Help Hugo The Ides of March Moneyball War Horse The biggest surprise here for me is The Ides of March. That movie had a tremendous cast, but was very mediocre. I thought Deathly Hallows 2 might have slipped in here since it's the Globes, but I guess not. I would've had Drive and Martha Marcy May Marlene in here instead of Ides and Hugo. Best Comedy/Musical 50/50 The Artist Bridesmaids Carnage Midnight in Paris My Week with Marilyn SO Happy that 50/50 deservingly got in here! I would definitely say it's between this and the Artist. I haven't seen My Week with Marilyn yet, but I thought it looked like a drama. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope Bridesmaids doesn't win. Best Animated Film Arthur Christmas Cars 2 Rango Puss in Boots The Adventures of Tintin There wasn't a single animated film that interested me this year. The closest to it was probably Rango. Best Foreign L

2012 SAG Award Nominations

My 2 cents are in green as always. Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role DEMIÁN BICHIR / A BETTER LIFE GEORGE CLOONEY / THE DESCENDANTS LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / J. EDGAR JEAN DUJARDIN /THE ARTIST BRAD PITT /MONEYBALL I'm surprised Michael Fassebender isn't in here for Shame. Or Ryan Gosling for Drive. I'm a bit disappointed Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn't get in there for 50/50. I think he'll have a better chance of a nom at the Globes. I find Pitt's nomination sort of amusing, he was great in Moneyball, but this was hardly his most difficult role. Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role GLENN CLOSE /ALBERT NOBBS VIOLA DAVIS /THE HELP MERYL STREEP /THE IRON LADY TILDA SWINTON /WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN MICHELLE WILLIAMS /MY WEEK WITH MARILYN Does it seem like Meryl Streep gets nominated just for being herself? I think Elizabeth Olsen deserved to be here for Martha Marcy May Marlene. She should have Streep's

DVD Review: 30 Minutes or Less

Life is hard when you're a pizza delivery guy. Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) learns this the hard way. He's in a dead end job delivering pizzas, he hates his boss, oh, and two lazy lunatics (played by Danny McBride, in full Kenny Powers mode and Nick Swardson) strap a bomb to his chest and force him to rob a bank so that they can get $100,000 to kill Dwayne's (McBride) father. Nick pulls his reluctant friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari) along for the ride. 30 Minutes or Less is filled with laughs and some great one liners. The banter between Swardson and McBride is strong, they are clearly very talented comedic actors, but it's Eisenberg who carries the film. He's witty and amusing, yet convincing when he needs to be scared or stressed out. Michael Pena also has a hilarious part as the hit man that is hired to kill of Dwayne's father. At this point I'm not sure if Ansari has a lot to offer. He delivers every line exactly the same way. Thankfully he had some good material

Indie Gems: This Is Spinal Tap

Very loud. Ahh Rob Reiner's cult classic. Most people love it, some think it's overrated. Even though I'm with the former, I can see the latter's point as well. Marty DiBergi (Reiner) is filming a come back tour for an aging British band known as Spinal Tap. (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer) He follows them around and gets up close and personal with their love lives, their friendship, and their determination to get people to their shows..even if they are confusing most of their fans. The film felt very real and the soundtrack is top notch. At only 82 mins, it's a short film, but some scenes drag and make it feel longer. All of the actors fit their parts well (hell they've even performed as Spinal Tap live and made albums together), but it's really Reiner who stands out here. His directing intends to make Spinal Tap into a parody, but he adds on layers. There's plenty of laughs, and great dialogue. Recommended: Yes

DVD Review: Bad Teacher

Missed opportunities. Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is a selfish gold digger, who after being dumped by her rich fiance finds herself going back to her day job of teaching. Her life now consists of raising money to get breast implants, finding a man to look after her, (possibly handsome new sub, Mr. Delacourte (Justin Timberlake) and dodging the come on's of gym teacher Mr. Gettis. (Jason Segal) There's also that feud with super peppy fellow teacher, Amy Squirrel. (Lucy Puch) Bad Teacher had the raunch factor going, but failed to capitalize on almost every level. The comedic talent of Jason Segal is horribly wasted, Cameron Diaz seemed out of place and Lucy Punch's over dramatic schtick is getting a little old. The main problem exists in the script. Elizabeth is our main character. Therefore, she has to have something the audience can relate to right? Nope. There's nothing likable about Elizabeth. Her priorities are a mess, she's completely inappropriate, when

DVD Review: The Tree of Life

Did I miss something? The movie I just watched is nothing like I thought it would be. Was Malick doing his best impression of Lars Von Trier? Jack as an adult is played by Sean Penn. He's questioning the meaning of life and faith as an adult. His brother R.L died when he was 19 (we don't know how, we can just assume.) Jack reminisces about his childhood in Texas. His father, played by Brad Pitt is strict, his mother, played by Jessica Chastain is ethereal and meek. He thinks of the time spent with his two brothers. The lessons they learned, the things they did, both good and bad. All of this is littered with shots of oceans, stars, dinosaurs, (yep) and other things that are supposed to represent how God created the world we live in. It reminded me of something I might find on Malick never shoots his actors straight on. The camera is always looking up, looking to the side, or behind them. The cast talk as if they are in a dream, they walk, and walk, and walk

Indie Gems: SLC Punk

Anarchy. Stevo (Matthew Lillard) and Heroin Bob, (Michael A. Goorjian) who doesn't actually do heroin, or any other drug for that matter are two punks living in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are obviously out of place, Stevo's father wants him to go to Harvard like he did, but Stevo is more interested in anarchy than the law. The film follows the two men as they encounter various things in the punk rock scene. SLC Punk is shot like a jerky documentary, which works tremendously with the theme of the film. Stevo narrates, and occasionally breaks the fourth wall to tell us about his daily routine, how he hates rednecks and neo-nazis, what a good concert is like, and ultimately the important life lesson he learns at the end. This role is perfect for Lillard who's usually accustomed to playing obnoxious characters, but he digs a little deeper into Stevo, and that's what makes this his best performance to date. Recommended Yes Grade: B Memorable Quote: "I wasn't re

Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene.

This is the only Olsen you need to care about. I wanted to be the Olsen Twins when I was a child/tween. They had it all. As an adult I can look back and note that they did have it all...except acting talent. Luckily for us, little sister Elizabeth got all those acting chops and is getting off to a good start. Martha, Marcy May, and Marlene are all the same person. Martha, (Elizabeth Olsen) is the real thing. A young woman that has spent the last two years of her life as part of a cult and has recently run away. Marcy May is what they called her there, and Marlene was the fake name her and the other women used when answering the phone. Martha has taken refuge with her older sister, Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Ted. (Hugh Dancy) She lies to them about where she's been, but that doesn't stop her from having disturbing flashbacks and dreams about her life with the cult and it's cunning leader, Patrick. (John Hawkes) She begins a downward spiral, and Lucy and Ted just

The Independent Spirit Award Nominees

As always, my 2 cents are in green . Great variety of films, many of them are on my list to see. BEST FEATURE 50/50 Beginners Drive Take Shelter The Artist Producer: The Descendants Glad to see 50/50 and Drive in there. Both two of my favorite movies of the year so far. Take Shelter is playing here, hopefully I can catch that soon. BEST DIRECTOR Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist Mike Mills - Beginners Jeff Nichols - Take Shelter Alexander Payne - The Descendants Nicolas Winding - Refn Drive BEST SCREENPLAY Joseph Cedar - Footnote Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist Tom McCarthy - Win Win Mike Mills - Beginners Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash - The Descendants For some reason I thought Win Win would've qualified last year, It feels like that movie came out a long time ago. Haven't seen any of these films, but would like to. BEST FIRST FEATURE Another Earth  In The Family Margin Call Martha Marcy May Marlene Natural Selection Seeing Martha Ma

DVD Review: Last Night

To cheat or not to cheat. That is the question pondered in Last Night. A posh, NYC married couple Joanna (Keira Knightley) and Michael (Sam Worthington) are apart for one night. The night before, Joanna accuses Michael of having an affair with a beautiful co-worker, Laura. (Eva Mendes) Now they are away together at a conference. Meanwhile, Joanna encounters a past fling, Alex (Gulliaume Canet) and has dinner with him while her husband is away. I liked how the film was shot from a character's point of view, drinking in the others. Other than the nifty camera work and upscale New York settings, not much else happens in Last Night. We know what our character's are about to do, yet we don't get to see the results of their actions. I will say that it was nice to see Knightley in something other than a period piece, and Canet was was completely charming. I'll be looking for more films staring this Frenchman. Recommended: No Grade: C Memorable Quote: "You can be happ

RE Post: Indie Gems: The Vicious Kind

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends, happy Thursday to my international ones! Due to the fact that I'm out of town for work, I didn't get the time to post a new Indie Gem this week. (Or much else for that matter) so instead, I am re-posting my favorite Thanksgiving themed Indie. I reviewed The Vicious Kind back in March of 2010, Loved it. Hope you do it.

DVD Review: Wasted

Pretend like nothing is wrong. I had to watch this movie for my Addiction Studies class in college, I never got to see the ending. So when it randomly came on TV the other day, I had to see where the story went. This made for TV movie was loosely based off of the huge heroin bust in Plato, TX. Sam, (Summer Phoenix) Owen, (Aaron Paul) and Chris (Nick Stahl) are inseparable best friends who get caught up in the drug scene. Owen's a full blown addict, Sam has low self esteem, and Chris is the track star that no one suspects to be addicted. The production value is incredibly low, but in a way it works for the tone of the film. The movie is a great example of people who are battling addiction. The subject matter (i.e swearing, sex) is kept light, unless it's talking about the drugs. Then they go all out. That's why I think it's a good film for younger teens to watch. It's a great learning tool. A film lover's opinion? Besides the lesson it teaches I found Summer

Review: Melancholia

The final straw for me.  The final straw for what, you may ask? For Lars Von Trier films. Kirsten Dunst has been one of my favorite actresses since I was a kid. She always had all the cool roles in my eyes. Even though a lot of her films were geared towards teens, she still had acting chops to go with them. See: Interview with a Vampire, The Devil's Arithmetic. So When She won the Best Actress prize at Cannes, I decided to put my dislike for Von Trier aside and check out her performance. Justine (Kirsten Dunst) has just gotten married to passive Michael (Alexander Skarsgard, a far cry from the brooding Eric Northman on True Blood that I'm used to.) Her sister Claire (Charolette Gainsbourgh) and her husband John (Keifer Sutherland) have thrown them a massive reception at their home. Justin and Claire's relationship is strained to say the least. Justine is battling severe depression, and Claire is trying to help her through it. Meanwhile, a planet named Melancholia has bee

Indie Gems: Red State

"Stop being so middle class." The usually comedic Kevin Smith brings us Red State, his indie thriller that got a lot of attention at this year's Sundance film festival. Both good, (the film itself) bad, (Some people thought he was selling out/full of himself.) and hilarious. (the westboro baptist church tried to picket it) Oh, I didn't capitalize the name of that church cult because it doesn't deserve it...moving on... Travis, (Michael Angarano) Jared, (Kyle Gallner )and Billy Ray (Nicholas Braun) are high school boys that answer an online ad for group sex. The woman behind that ad: Sarah Cooper. (Melissa Leo) Sarah drugs them and brings them to her religious cult led by Abin Cooper. (Michael Parks) When the police follow up with an unrelated weapons charge, all hell breaks loose. It's pretty obvious that the Five Points church is a direct jab at the westboro church, they even name drop them at one point.  The film is brutally honest when making it's p

DVD Review: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Can someone explain the hype around Woody Allen films? I mostly stick to my own tastes in movies, but at the same time, I like to have a film recommended to me by a good friend or a blogger I read. This is where Woody Allen comes in. I've never liked a single Woody Allen film, there are a few that I would label "ok" at best. Yet, everyone I know is in love with the guy. So I've been trying to give his films a go, and I seem to come up disappointed every time. Maybe next year's film starring two of my favorites: Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg will do the trick? This film is a study of couples, betrayal, (is there always cheating in an Allen film?) and life in general. Helena (Gemma Jones) is recently separated from her husband of 40 years, Alfie. (Anthony Hopkins) Alife now has a new squeeze, Charmaine, who he hopes to have a son with. (Lucy Punch) This doesn't really set well for his only child, Sally (Naomi Watts) who finds herself attracted to

DVD Review: Bridesmaids

Lady Hangover. When Bridesmaids first came out, I avoided it. It didn't look like my type of film at all. Then to my surprise, tons of positive reviews came in. So when it became available on Netflix, I figured I'd give it a shot. Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married. Her best friend, Annie (Kristen Wiig) is her maid of honor, and this causes some friction between her and Lillian's new friend/bridesmaid Helen. (Rose Byrne) As they plan a bachelorette party, Annie and Helen must learn to play nice. I should've stuck with my initial instinct, because I didn't think Bridesmaids was funny at all. There were some great one-liners, but it mostly wasted the talent of Wiig, Rudoph, Byrne, and Melissa McCarthy. I enjoyed the raunchiness of the movie, but the rest of it fell flat on it's face. Recommended: No Grade: C Memorable Quote: I'm sure she welcomes him home, beaver first. - Annie's Mom (Jill Clayburgh) 

Indie Gems: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

How would it feel to be trapped in your own body? This is just one of the questions you ask yourself after viewing the French film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Jean-Dominique Bauby ( Mathieu Amalric) is the editor of Elle magazine. He suffers a stroke and ends up with "Locked-in Syndrome." The only part of his body that he has control over is his left eye. He developes a code with his therapist as a way to communicate, and while he struggles with being completely aware and trapped in his own body, he eventually accepts it. I know when you read the summary of this movie, you're probably thinking: "No way, that's too depressing." I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. The film is sad, it will make you cry, and it will make you feel so sorry for people that this sort of thing actually happens to. But it's the way this story is told that makes it special. Director Julian Schnbal chose to shoot a good portion of the fim from Jean-Do's point of

Review: In Time

When you know you'll be running, it's best to wear a dress and five inch heels. In Time doesn't have the time to tell you how people ended up engineered with green clocks on their arms, how they stop aging at 25, or how time is now the currency. But it does have the time to tell you about Will Salas, (Justin Timberlake) a man from the ghetto who's given extra time by the mysterious Henry Hamilton. Will dares to cross time zones and fraternize with "rich" people like Sylvia. (Amanda Seyfriend, in a bad wig) Soon time keeper Leon (Cillian Murphy) is accusing Will of theft, and he and Sylvia are now on the run, and only have minutes to live. In Time has an interesting concept, but it's littered with horrible dialogue, bad special effects, obvious stunt doubles, and bland acting. Timberlake and Seyfried have zero chemistry and their performances were completely emotionless. You can't put all the blame on the actors, the screen play doesn't give them

DVD Review: What We Do Is Secret

It all started with a germ. Shot almost documentary style, What We Do Is Secret is a biopic about The Germ's front man, Darby Crash. (Shane West) We start off with Darby and band mates Pat Smear, (Rick Gonzalez) Lorna Doom (Bijou Phillips) and their countless drummers in high school. They don't know how to play their instruments, they just decide to form a band and play a show first. The film follows them through their underground success in the Punk scene, and ends with Crash's overdose. The first thing I noticed about this film was the horrible back drops. Parts of this film were obviously shot on a stage and the backgrounds looked horribly fake at times. The acting was hard to watch, when you read or watch interviews and footage of the Germs, you see that the characters in this film act nothing like them. You can tell a lot of effort was put into this film, some of the lines in the film were deep, then were muddled by the rest of the crappy screenplay. Shane West even

Indie Gems: Bobby

He was going to change everything. I know I'm probably in the minority over this film. When it first came out many critics hated it because it didn't focus enough on Robert F. Kennedy. After reading all those reviews, by the time I actually got around to seeing it I knew what not to expect.     Bobby is an ensemble drama about roughly 20 people who's lives are somewhat connected to the Ambassador Hotel. Some are staying there, others work there, we meet a slew of people and see what their lives are like on that fateful day in June.     The cast ranges from William H. Macy, Shia LaBeouf, Elijah Wood, Sharon Stone, Demi Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ashton Kutcher, Freddy Rodriguiz and Christian Slater. Not all are great actors, nor are all the story lines interesting, but they come together nicely. You could really feel the faith some of them at put into Kennedy, and how devastated everything was when he was murdered.     Recommended: Yes     Gra de: B-  

Indie Gems: Halloween

Don't fear the reaper. Michael Myers (Tony Moran) stabbed his older sister to death when he was just a child. After being in a mental hospital for all of his youth, he escapes and returns to his home town of Haddonfeild, IL. His psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) has an idea of what Michael might do. He's returned to target young Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. Halloween continues to be one of the most frightening movies of all time. There have been many sequels, even a few remakes, but none can compare to John Carpenter's original masterpiece.  Besides his creepy mask (and the wonderfully ominous score that follows him) we didn't know a whole lot about Michael Myers. That's what made him so scary. He was just plain crazy, no intentions, just the need to kill. In Jamie Lee Curtis' first role, she cemented herself in the screen queen scene. You have to have a lot of respect for this Indie Gem. It was the highest grossing independent

Indie Gems: 28 Days Later

Not zombies. Just rage. Anyone who reads my blog knows about the Danny Boyle lovefest that goes on here constantly. So 28 Days Later is a perfect fit for my horror Indie Gems. Animal Activists attempt to set some caged monkeys free only to find out the hard way they are infected with the rage virus. 28 Days Later we see Jim (Cillian Murphy) waking up stark naked in an empty London hospital. He soon encounters fellow survivors, Selena, (Naomie Harris) Frank (Brenden Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns) they attempt to find refuge in this deserted land while trying to avoid the raging humans infected with the virus. 28 Days Later often gets categorized as a Zombie movie when it really isn't. These aren't the walking dead. They are alive, just infected. Boyle's signature way or shooting things is front and center with quick cuts and spots of rich color amongst the gloomy London backdrop. Then there's the fact that the film is down right creepy and has plenty of suspenseful mo

Indie Gems: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Meet Leatherface. You know, that creepy dude with the mask made out of people's skin, who wielded a chainsaw and had the balls to saw a dude in a wheelchair in half. He's the focus of the scary Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I point this out because the remakes and prequels like to show us more of Leatherface's dysfunctional family as if it's an excuse for this monster. Yes they were a family of cannibals, but they made the father out to be more of the monster than the son, and that's where I think the film lost focus. That and that God-awful scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning where baby Leatherface literally CRAWLS out of his mother during child birth. Terrible film making. Now that's out of my system, lets talk about the original TCM. Shot so wonderfully it felt like it really happened. (what a convincing narrator) They even marketed it that way. (It didn't by the way, it's loosely based off of Ed Gein.) All those classic deaths, the meat hook

DVD Review: The Extra Man

Gentleman. Louis (Paul Dano) is a young teacher who loses his job after being caught curiously trying on a bra in the teacher's lounge. He goes to Manhattan in an effort to find himself and ends up bunking with strange man that escorts older women, Henry. (Kevin Kline) Henry dances strangely, sneaks into Operas, and thinks women shouldn't get an education. He's a playwright, but his ex room mate who he refers to as a "Swedish Hunchback" stole his one great piece of work. Louis goes along on his escapades, all while trying to find a way to balance his new job, his new crush, and his secret enjoyment of cross dressing. Then there's neighbor Gershon (John C. Reilly) with a huge head of hair, long beard, and Mickey Mouse voice that shows up for a few laughs. I thought the movie felt smart and fresh, but jumbled and disjointed. They tried to cram too many subplots into one film. The characters are interesting and different, but the film loses it's focus on t

Indie Gems: Cabin Fever

Nothing bad ever happens when you spend your vacation in a remote cabin in the woods. Right? Never happens! Cabin Fever has a simple formula. Five college friends spend their vacation in the mountains. On their first night they encounter a strange drifter who appears to be sick. Soon, one of them contracts a scary, flesh-eating virus. Of course they can't just drive away and get help. As the virus spreads the survival instinct kicks in and perhaps these friends aren't as close as they seem. Cabin Fever introduced me to a true horror fan in director Eli Roth. He took a cliche horror movie plot and turned it into something enjoyable. Who can forget that infamous scene of Marcy shaving her legs? Or Paul making the tough decision of ending the one he love's misery. And he managed to be clever and funny on top of that. It's always a good thing when a horror movie can bring on equal amounts of creep, gore, and laughter in my opinion. Plus you have to love Eli Roth's ta