Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

“21”

April 6, 2008

21

Within five minutes you 21 is going to fizzle and it does. Based upon the true story and subsequent book about some MIT students that get involved in a blackjack card counting scheme in Vegas should be involving enough, but the only thing you actually buy in this movie is that people count cards. The character’s relationships, the step-by-step progression through the story, you don’t buy any of it, and the biggest fault of the film is – it’s boring!

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10,000 B.C, Vantage Point, Semi-Pro: Getting My Toes Wet

March 31, 2008

10,000 BC Chase

For the last few months I’ve been involved in two things that have been destroying any chance to break free and blog: getting a new theatre company up off the ground called Theatre Unleashed – they actually made the mistake of voting me in as Artistic Director. I’m a democratic leader.

I’m certain as I continue to forage the paths of creative ways to present theatre to Los Angeles I will be blogging here. I will also put a link up to the President’s Blog and our own Theatre Unleashed blog shortly. It’s keeping me extremely busy, but it’s also giving me the opportunity to not only expand my own opportunities as an artist (i.e. actor, writer – in fact I’ve written my first stage play that will be performed for our first group of one acts in June) but to nurture other people’s art, which is almost just as exciting.

If my thoughts don’t always seem as precise as they have in the past it’s because I’ve had a stress induced headache for about two weeks now.

Oh! The second thing is a business I’m starting up, which I’m one third of the ownership and staff video editor. Unfortunately our Panasonic camera continues to fail us and we have to take it in for a third repair. Things are happening to this camera that have never happened to any camera of it’s kind. I am cursed when it comes to making money.

Stress.

So here I am finally blogging again, I’ve gotten the chance to see a film that has inspired me to write, but I won’t be writing about that in this blog. I feel it’s only fair to quickly take note of the rubbish I’ve managed to see since The Spiderwick Chronicles, which was quite good, and there’s a blog in the wings to finish about that. (more…)

“Away From Her”, Finds Room to Breathe

January 24, 2008

away from her

The first thing I can firmly say after seeing the film Away from Her is that I’m in love with Sarah Polley, the writer and director. In a year filled with big movies by big directors and actors to see a tender and intoxicating film like this slide into the saddle of awards season is a breath of fresh air.

Tender because of the two warm and quiet performances at the middle of this sobering story and intoxicating because you cling to every word that’s spoken and hang onto every moment shown because each of those moments and words are that important to the characters.

The ravishing Julie Christie plays Fiona, a woman to young to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And the opinion that I walked away from this film with is that any age is too young for this debilitating disease. Gordon Pinsent plays the husband Grant Anderson whose been left behind, if not in presence then in memory and thought. The moment he realizes that memory is no longer a part of the equation is heartbreaking.

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“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (And jokingly, Seville)

December 23, 2007

Sweeney Todd

Tim Burton’s visual stylings are sometimes almost too handsome for the movies he directs. He doesn’t like a dirty visual look, though the settings and the worlds the characters inhabit are many times surrounded by filth. There’s an edgy graphic novel quality he lends to the stories he tells as every shot is placed neatly into a box on a page. His sets are like doll houses and his actors sometimes look like mischievous dolls. This aesthetic brand has created a following of indulgent misfits. People so drawn to the misfits in Burton’s films that they yearn to have scissors for hands themselves (not realizing that it’s a metaphor.) A lot of reviewers have thrown the word goth around, but it’s not quite goth – it’s not as one note as goth. It’s more fanciful, a world of twisted child like imaginings. Many times though Burton has relied on this visual quality to tell his story when what he may have needed was a stronger story in the first place. I’m a fan of many of his films ranging all the way back to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, but for me the quality of his movies in recent years has become flimsy. Mars Attacks, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Corpse Bride were miscalculations I felt, some worse than others. Usually with perhaps strong beginnings that didn’t know where to go once the second act kicked into gear, or didn’t know what they wanted to be. I’m pleased to say that Burton has found the proper dose of inspiration and cohesiveness with his new film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and he’s created something on par with his Sleepy Hallows and Ed Woods of the past. Since the movie is pretty much lifted straight from the musical I don’t think I’ll need to worry about misinterpreting the story. It’s a story of revenge. A young barber with a wife and child is sent to prison under false charges by a morally hideous judge only to return and find out his wife is dead and the judge has his now 16 year old daughter held captive. It’s that revenge that drives him to the edge of insanity and beyond the realm of proper reason. Of course the nice little side story of human meat pies remains intact.

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“I Am Legend”: Sacrifices Nothing

December 20, 2007

I Am Legend

Most often than not the big budget films of the year will pander to their audiences; too much handed to us, too much force fed. Excitement is equated with explosion. Ideas are sacrificed for marketability. Character development is exchanged for a big climax. I Am Legend does none of this. Except for maybe the big climax – but it’s well deserved.

Quickly, a virus breaks out, kills everyone except for the scientist hard at work at ground zero, also known as New York City. The island is cut off. The rest that survived can’t be explained. I will only say that it’s a world full of tension, the silence of a naked city is almost worse than what’s waiting around the corner. Though what’s waiting around the corner is deadly too. Robert Neville, our scientist, our hero, is left to live in this world alone. His only connection with life is his German Shepherd. He lives out a routine, perhaps so he doesn’t go mad. The dog has become more than a companion, he’s the last shred of reality that Neville clings to, and Will Smith lets you know this. And not by saying it, but by giving a surprisingly strong and sympathetic performance. There’s a reason why Will Smith is the biggest international superstar we have, and it’s not only based on box office receipts, its because he cares about the roles he takes on. He could have easily been Will Smith, strolling through this movie, letting us fall prey to the pandering, but he doesn’t…

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