Archive for November, 2007

“Hitman”

November 25, 2007

Hitman

In the trailer for Hitman they never show Timothy Olyphant’s face, only because once you do he looks nothing like his popular video game counterpart. Olyphant, as Agent 47, does what he can with the role, but his face is so smooth and glossed over it’s difficult for me to buy him as one of the baddest hitmen around. He looks more like a boyscout trying to tie a knot, or a puppy dog who gets angry when you take away his food. He’s not bad as Agent 47 by any means, there just isn’t a believable killer in his eyes, only a movie actor intensely holding a gun.

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“Lars and the Real Girl”

November 25, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl

What I thought might be a one trick pony turned out to be a pleasant and involving romance about a young man overcoming his fear of connecting with people.

As Lars in Lars and the Real Girl, Ryan Gosling brings gravity and personality to a character that if tailored to fit a big named comic movie star like Jim Carrey or Will Smith might have lost some of his sincerity. Gosling is grounded though and that’s what makes this story work, that’s what allows the audience to become involved in what is actually a pretty absurd idea. It’s easy for us to believe that the town would go along with it when Lars introduces a blow up doll as his real girl friend whom he met on-line. We There are grumbles for sure, especially from his older brother, but because we care so much for this harmless young man, we want them to go along with it. Because in a sense isn’t that what they’ve sometimes imagined, isn’t that what we sometimes imagine when things are horrible in real life, to live out those romances we see in the movies, where we meet the perfect companion, and experience those dramatic ups and downs as if we were in a three act structure, ending happily or tragically. (more…)

“American Gangster”

November 25, 2007

Denzel in American Gangster

Ridley Scott is a master of tone and atmosphere. Remember Alien and Blade Runner? In each he’s able to capture a future that we somehow relate to, even though I can’t imagine flying state size space ships to other planets, much less cars through a cityscape in my life time. In his newest film American Gangster his skill as a filmmaker brings to life an era that I missed entirely with an eye that no director has used before. Most films glorify certain eras, making them more beautiful perhaps than they actually were. One such film is Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, which I found more rom-comish than a real look at the music scene from the early 70’s. Hollywood distills through the eyes of a frosty lens or soft light, Scott however keeps it dirty, grungy and filthy. So this is what they mean when they say New York City didn’t always used to be as pretty or safe as it is now! I felt a true sense of danger while watching the story of Frank Lucas unfold before me. Denzel Washington is a calm fire as Lucas, the biggest drug runner of Heroine in the era of Vietnam. He’s a man no person should like, but he’s smarter than most everyone else and most of all, he’s patient. We respect him even when he brings his oblivious but decent family members into his drug trade. When one member of his family decides to put aside his potential for a note worthy career to become like Frank, we shake our heads in dismay, because not even Frank can see his potential down fall, and the damage it will cause his family and that is his flaw, pride. While he barks at others for vainly wearing their flashy clothes because that’s who the cops will pick out first, the pride that lingers inside begins to twist into a darker vanity. I could easily draw parallels of Lucas’ downfall to Scorcese and De Niro giving life to Jake La Motta’s downfall. He no longer sees his own family as people he should take care of, he no longer see his own flaws, he can no longer better himself. He doesn’t see himself as a person who needs to better himself, because he’s successful.

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“We Own the Night”: All you need is a cement block and a deep harbor and no one will see this movie ever again

November 25, 2007

We Own the Night

We Own the Night was produced by its two stars Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix. This is a sign that they either wanted to be in a movie together or they want to take their careers firmly into their own hands, or perhaps they believed so strongly in the project that they stood behind James Gray, the writer/director. In any case, after seeing this film, I feel they should no longer be allowed to make choices concerning their careers. While, yes, being belligerently bad, I won’t go so far as saying it’s the worst movie of the year, but it certainly comes off as the most incompetent.

It’s the type of movie in which you can imagine the script italicizing certain actions for dramatic effect…”He walks past, leaving the note untouched…unread, and closes the door as he disappears into the next room.” Oh, the drama! This is an actual scene in the movie and this feels how it was directed, and performed.

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Crunch Time! The Mad Juana Shows her Strings…

November 12, 2007

A Bunraku puppetMy lack of writing again falls upon the fact that I have two and a half weeks until the opening of my next show, and this just after spending the last four months rehearsing and performing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, which while I have to admit isn’t my favorite Shakespeare, became one of my favorite shows performed in awhile; the way in which it was presented tickled my personlaity (the trailer I cut for that can be found on an earlier blog here.)

Now, to say that I play the Marquis of Denia in the newest show at Write Act Repertory Theatre Company presenting the mad Queen of Spain, Juana, as not so mad, but manipulated, is an almost truth. To say that I will present a performance might be more appropriate. I’ve been lucky in the past to work as an actor in many different capacities. I’ve performed as Charlie Chaplin in staged presentations that I’ve written and directed to much laughter, and tinkered with mask performing which is simply put another form of pantomime only you allow the posture of your body and style of movement to accentuate the emotion on the mask, at times allowing the tilt of the still face to bring forth another emotion, called a “swing”. This time though I will be working with life sized puppets. Bunraku is the style with which we will performing. At a site called japanzone.com they describe Baunraku as this: (more…)