Thursday, August 30, 2007

Screw it

I haven't slept, its hot in my room, and I have to do something later on which requires me to be fully awake.

So, the write ups can wait a couple of hours.

Not Cool

It seems like I got a wierd glitch in the last post. It's all there and if you want to read it just highlight it.

EDIT: I guess I kind of fixed it by making the text gray.

3 Extremes (2004, Various)

"An Asian cross-cultural trilogy of horror films from accomplished indie directors."

I honestly don't know how to rate or critique an anthology film. Do I rate it as a whole or by segments? I guess I will just do both

First by segments:

Dumplings (Fruit Chan) - This is easily the best of the 3 short films that make up this film. This opening segment deals with a woman who makes dumplings that are able to somehow give beauty and youth to whoever eats them, but what exactly is in the dumplings? The pace is never slow, the style is always colorful while never being distracting, and the horror that it presents is so wrong and creepy that it is sure to stay with you for a long time. The film is worth renting just for this one alone. A

(Chan-wook Park) - I will admit that this is the short film that inspired me to seek this film out. I am a huge fan of Chan-wook Park and I was really anticipating to see what he would be able to do with a short film dealing with horror. I expected the film to have tons of style and a great little storyline to it. I was only right about the first part, sadly. Somewhere in this 40 minute film about an extra holding his director hostage things just get really messy and ends in such an abrupt way that you are never really shocked,scared, or really even amused. The style though is incredible, but even as great as it is, it can not save the film. B

Box (Takashi Miike) - I would be lying if I were to say that I understood this one fully. I don't even know if I even understood half of it really, but isn't that the point with Miike? Well, for me it has been the point that I have seen in the works that I have seen from him so far. Once again Miike delivers a creepy, shocking, surrealistic film that really , once again, challenges its viewers to draw up their own conclusions. As much as I admired this ambitious short film, as I have admired the other films of Miike I have seen, I once again did not find myself enjoying it or even being entertained by it, just like how I have found myself with the other films of Miike. Still though, its an odd little film that some people will love while others will just feel cold and distant from it. B-

Now the film as a whole:

3 Extremes is an interesting approach to a horror anthology film. Its refreshing to see what each director thought to be the definition of "horror" and how each chose to present and execute their idea. However, it just all doesn't match up quite well. I think the main problem being Dumplings being presented as the first film of the 3. It really sets the bar up high and none of the other two even come close to touching it.

It's an interesting watch, but it's just an uneven one, despite how interesting each director can be.

- B

Some more write ups on the way

In 3 days I saw 6 movies.

I should get like an award or something for being so tight.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Putney Swope (1969, Robert Downey Sr.)

"Dark satire in which the token black man on the executive board of an advertising firm is accidentally put in charge"

I wish this little write up that I am going to write right now would be me praising this little cult film and calling it a hidden gem. I wish I could have discovered something brilliant that I could go on to recommend people. I wish I basically could have liked this film.

Putney Swope is a blaxploitation film before there was even a genre named blaxploitation. I have read about it before and seen it mentioned in a lot of lists as one of the first of its genre. I was curious to see it ever since I first heard about it a couple of months ago and finally after a long wait I have done so.

The film has all the indications that it would be great. The plot is simple but it is a great set up for what could be some hilarious and dark satire. In the film Putney Swope, who is the only black man working for an all white advertising agency, is accidentally elected the new chairman of the company one day. The first thing he does is fire every single white man and hire black people who have "truth and soul". Now with his new co workers he aims to turn advertising on its head by creating controversial and honest advertisements for its products that become a phenomenal success of their own.

Sounds like it would be great, right? It isn't.

The film starts off like it will be a sharp and dark satire on advertising but this disappears very shortly once the credits are done. Once you have seen the first 20 minutes of the film, you have probably seen everything the film has to offer.

It all starts going downhill when characters start randomly shouting lines of dialogue over and over again to each other, midget presidents are introduced who like having threesomes with "normal people", and the satire becomes so absurd that instead of being smart and cleaver it becomes stupid and pointless.

However, the ads that the film shows are true little gems of comedy. They just sadly don't come that often and mot of the time you are just sitting there watching midget presidents and black people dressed up as cowboys shouting to themselves and you sort of just wish another advertisement would come up already.

It's pretty great that a film so rebellious and "underground" like Putney Swope existed in its time.Maybe it's because times have changed or maybe its because it was all along the same, but the magic the film once had is now lost and now seems just like an odd artifact of its rebellious times. It's nice to admire but not easy to enjoy.

- C-

Disturbia (2007, D.J. Caruso)

"A teen living under house arrest becomes convinced his neighbor is a serial killer."

I guess anyone who even knows a little bit about movies, or at least knows about Rear Window, is quick to hate this movie before even watching it.

I believe it's just because if you know about Rear Window you go into this film already knowing that its a ripoff that fails to even mention its inspiration and tries to play it as something original and new. It isn't and it doesn't even come off as trying to differentiate itself from the original too much. I guess the title of "Rear Window with technology" is the best way to sum up the movie.

However, once the comparisons of Rear Window wear off you are left with a pretty fun and entertaining movie. Its cliched, its predictable, it tries too hard to please its teenager crowds with moments of comedy that are supposed to be hilarious, but when the film finally settles down and the plot goes underway it is a fun movie for sure.

Its initial flaw are the Rear Window comparisons which are inevitable and rightly deserved.

- C+

Mutual Appreciation (2005, Andrew Bujalski)

"Alan is a musician who leaves a busted-up band for New York, and a new musical voyage. He tries to stay focused and fends off all manner of distractions, including the attraction to his good friend's girlfriend."

Shot on a very low budget, grimy black and white, and with inexperienced actors. Just based on that sentence anyone who has seen Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise will be quick to compare the two films together. However, I liked this one a lot more

The charm of Mutual Appreciation is that nothing happens at all. Its one of those rare films where the charm is found if the viewer can somehow lose themselves in the blandness of the characters lives. In this film the characters talk about throwaway subjects, play guitar, smoke pot, and talk some more about random subjects.

The charm is that all these moments feel very real. So real that the film is constantly awkward because of how realistic the conversations and movements of the actors feel. Even when there is an awkward silent pause between switching topics of discussion we too feel awkward because of the characters and also because we too have been in that uncomfortable moment many times before.

The moments that film truly does shine though are when we are able to see the lead characters concert. Maybe its because of the films very personal style but this whole section of film bursts with a lot of energy and enthusiasm that we once again feel as if we are there too along with the characters. I wish that there was a youtube clip out there but there sadly isn't one just yet.

Mutual Appreciation is a great little find of a film for people who are looking for something different. Especially for people who are really looking for a true independent films that wears its low budget and inexperience on its sleeve with pride. Although it might prove to be a tough watch at times its a very rewarding watch.

- B+

Vacancy (2007, Nimrod Antal)

"A young married couple becomes stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They realize that unless they escape, they'll be the next victims of a snuff film"

I am a big fan of this directors previous film, Kontroll, if you haven't checked that film out then you are missing out on a great hidden gem of a film. So, when I heard that he was going to be directing an American horror film I was a bit curious. As soon as the cast was lined up and the plot synopsis popped up I knew that this would be pretty bad. I don't know why, you could just tell. I am sad to say that I was 100 percent right when I wish I could hare been proven wrong.

The problem with Vacancy is that it is nothing new at all. It introduces nothing new to the horror/thriller genre and on top of that relies on cliched premises to tell what is supposed to be a tense story. Of course since this story is moved along by cliched character with cliched dialogue the story loses whatever intensity that it had going for it at first.

The couple at first fight in the most cliched matter ever. She hates him because he wont take directions meanwhile he hates her because she is always being bitchy with him. On top of this dialogue which sounds so wooden we get some even more wooden performances out of the two leads. Luke Wilson especially sounds silly saying what is supposed to be serious dialogue.

I thought the forced dialogue would be done with as soon as the exposition was over and the thrills started coming but no. These characters just go from one cliche to another. They go from a fighting couple that we have seen before to the all of a sudden heroic duo that runs around and get scared a lot but yet manage to escape just in time.

There is not much more to talk about Vacancy because there is not much there. There is no great atmosphere, no great camera work, no great performances, and no great thrills. The film at least manages to be short and entertaining enough to the point where you are not wanting to turn it off. So, for that reason alone I give it some credit. Still, it is very sad seeing such a by the numbers horror film from a man who directed one of the most unqiue films that I have seen.

Vacancy is just a bad follow up film to a great debut from what I hope can still be a great director.

- C

Superbad (2007, Greg Mottola)

I don't think there is much left to say about Superbad. Its hilarious, vulgar, and yet manages to have a sweet, honest, and charming vibe to it.

So, in simple words: its great.

- A-


Lets Get This Party Started

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I fucked up again.

I let things slip once again this week just because I have been busy doing other stuff and the time that I would spend writing stuff here I would watch a movie instead.

Perhaps an update I'll seek.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

And there you have it...

A fully updated blog with 16 new write ups.

It took awhile but everything is caught up and I will remember not to slip up again. Since I know you 4 people that read this thing are soooo mad that I didn't update these past days.

The Late Shift (1996, Betty Thomas)

"A behind the scenes look at the battle that was fought between Jay Leno and David Letterman over who would get The Tonight Show spot"

In a film like this that deals with 2 very famous people that we all know about, the whole film rests on the shoulders of the two actors performances. This is the main reason why I watched the film and I am sure that this is the only reason people will seek it out.

Also, it has John Michael Higgins from the Christopher Guest troop as David Letterman. It is also a hilarious and awkward performance and this is what I was hoping to expect.

Becomes this..


As fun as Higgins performance as Letterman might be and as solid as the other actors performance as Leno might be, the film isn't that great. Its rather bland and uninspired and really features nothing to write or talk about. The performances as great as they are also sometimes off and just feel like a forced impersonation.

You can also lose track of how many times Higgins "Letterman voice" will come and go

It a fun film that goes by quick but it is nothing special at all.

- B

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970, Dario Argento)

"A writer is stalked by a serial killer after witnessing a murder attempt on one woman's life."

This was a very interesting emotional ride for me.

Let met explain...

I started loving the film for the first 15 minutes, then started hating the film for the next 30, then it got kind of better in the following minutes, then the final 10 minutes were excellent and made me forget about what came before it and in the end made me love the film.

The main problem that I had for the film until the final couple of minutes is that its wacky. Yes, wacky. There are an odd number of scenes that try for comedy and then on top of that there are wacky characters which could have been played straight but were for some reason made wacky by Argento. For example you get the pimp with the stutter, the over the top gay art dealer, or the crazy artist who eats cats. It really serves no purpose to the film but to only distract and annoy the viewer. Maybe at one time in Italy this was considered funny but now it just feels out of place. Especially since you are supposed to be watching a horror film.

However when the film finally decides to leave its wacky characters and get serious the film delivers the goods. The only thing that sucks is that it takes awhile to finally begin to deliver but when it starts it doesn't stop. A lot of innovate camera placement and some nice color schemes also do not hurt.

The other main thing worth noting is the final couple of minutes to the film. There is this long drawn out segment in the film that seems to serve no purpose what so ever in the film. It jsut goes away never to be mentioned again and through out the final couple of minutes of the film you begin to wonder why that segment was in the film in thee first place. Then in the final minute a plot twist is revealed that makes you go "ohhhhhh" and really makes the film as food as it is. I loved this small bit of the film and I really loved the original plot twist that it contains

A very fun and stylish thriller for sure.

= A-

The Passenger (1975, Michelangelo Antonioni)

"A journalist decides to swap places with a dead man but begins to suffer the consequences shortly after"

i have been wanting to watch this one for a long time now and when the news came out that Antonioni had passed away I decided that this was the best to do so.

The film is much like the other 2 films I have seen from Antonioni. Its a quiet and subtle character driven drama that focuses more in the quiet actions of the character than the actual dialogue. It also showcases some bleak but always great cinematography from Antonioni once again.

The film itself is a pretty good one. Nicholson is in top form and gives what might be his most subdued performance of all time. We see everything through his character most of the time and what we see is as confusing, simple, and slow as what he sees. This whole approach the films plot is an interesting one but I am sure most people will hate it. We never really find out what exactly is going on but we guess through most of it, as Nicholson does. Its once again a unique approach but one that also fails to leave much of an impact and makes the film feel slow at times.

I cant say that I was blown away by the film, like a lot of people have been before. I can say though that I admired the film a lot. The overall approach, the cinematography, the performances, and especially the final tracking shot are all things that you can not help but admire. However, its not the kind of film that I can see myself watching again anytime soon.

The only film that I can compare it to is Walkabout. Both amazing films in their own way but both films that left me not wanting more for a long time.

- B+

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bathing Beauty (1944, George Sidney)

"Songwriter Steve Elliott is about to marry Caroline Brooks. A strange woman who's been paid by Steve's agent to say she's his wife interrupts the ceremony. An angry Caroline gets her old job back teaching at a girl's college. Determined to win her back, Steve enrolls in the school to become its only male student."

If you are even a casual movie fan and do not know the name or films of Esther Williams, you should. Her MGM musicals are some of the funnest and most original musicals you will ever along with Busby Berkley's work. Both share an over the top sense of style to their musical numbers that have yet to be matched by anyone else. The only difference between the two is that all of Williams musical numbers were set in giant pools and consist of water numbers. It really is a great sight given the glorious technicolor of the time that only seems to get better with age.

i grew up watching them along with a lot of musicals and I have always had a sweet spot for Esther Williams. However, Bathing Beauty is a bad example of her films.

The main problem is that the film is a Red Skelton vehicle more than hers and it really does a long time until the musical numbers begin to kick off. On top of all this the main water musical number doesn't come until the end and given that this is Esther Williams first film her talents do not shine all that much as it would later on.

Its a fun colorful musical though. Just not a great example of Esther Williams talents.

- B+

Zodiac (2007, David Fincher)

"Based on the Robert Graysmith books about the real life notorious Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco with a string of seemingly random murders during the 1960s and 1970s."

I havent enjoyed a film so much in a long time. By this I mean that I have sat on the edge of my seat and truly gotten lost in .

Zodiac is an amazing achievement in film that as much love and recognition that it is getting from film buffs will still take awhile before it truly reaches the status that it should.

Everything about this film is perfectly done and it truly shows a master of the craft behind the camera. The sound design, the editing, the script, the cinematography, everything. It just all adds up to tell a story that is sure to have you interested and entertained for its long running time which will feel all too short when it is over. Some of the scenes that this film contains are the kind of stuff film buffs are always on the lookout for and this one delivers them one after another. It is also the kind of film that film buffs will pick up new things from when they watch it again, which always shows the quality of the film. It really is some great stuff that makes you want to applaud the film when the final credits come up.

This is David Fincher's masterpiece and I really hope the academy doesn't fuck this one over come award season. This is so far the best film of the year and it will be hard to top it.

I also can not wait to see the full directors cut version of the film.

- A+

The Lookout (2007, Scott Frank)

"Chris is a once promising high school athlete whose life is turned upside down following a tragic accident. As he tries to maintain a normal life, he takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist."

I wish I could have loved the film a lot more but I still enjoyed it a lot.

Gordon Levitt once again proves to be an amazing actor and he is a lot of fun to watch in this one. However tight and solid the film may be I just couldn't let some things pass. There are some scenes that don't really connect and seem like more like something you would find in a deleted scenes special features. Meanwhile, there is a love interest sub plot that begins as a cliche, tries to turn into something original, and then just disappears to never be heard from again in the middle of the film.

Its a solid and very entertaining film, despite whatever flaws it may have.

- B+

Fuck it.

I'm tired and its hot in my room.

All the write ups that are left, 6 more, will all be a paragraph now.

Leolo (1992, Jean-Claude Lauzon)

"Young Leo Lauzon is torn between two worlds - the squalid Montreal tenement that he inhabits with his severely dysfunctional, and largely insane family, and the imaginative world that he constructs for himself through his writings"

This film plays out more like a film by Caro/Jeunet than anything else and I mean that in a very good way.

Lerolo takes the classic "my family members are crazy except me" plot but makes it all feel fresh and delightful due to the directors slighty surreal direction and the overall strength of the creenplay and voice over that runs through out the film.

Its a funny,odd,surreal,heartbreaking film and its even more heartbreaking that the talented director died in a tragic death before he could make a follow up feature. I have a feeling that he would have gone on to do more great films like this one. One can only wish.

- A-

The Last Waltz (1978, Martin Scorsese)

" A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band"

The plot outline perfectly sums up the movie the only difference being that the concert is intercut with interviews with The Bands members and we slowly find out about The Bands history as well as their reason for wanting to retire so soon.

It might all sound cliche but Scorsese is able to get some really dramatic effects through the choice of interviews before the next song comes on which then adds on a layer of depth to the performance.

Also, since this is Scorsese the concert looks like no other concert put on film with maybe the exception of Stop making Sense/Talking Heads. The main difference being that Demme shot Stop Making Sense over the course of a couple of days while Scorsese shot everything in one night and no redos. The amount of planning that went into this is incredible and thanks tp the special feature on the dvd you really get a sense of how hard it was for Scorsese to pull all this off meanwhile getting certain shots and dramatic effects in one take.

It really is an incredible film that only shows once again how great of a director Scorsese really is.

- A

Tommy (1975, Ken Russel)

" A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and the object of a religious cult because of that"

One of the trippiest films of all time is also one great rock opera that really surprised me. I was excepting a film that took itself way too seriously and because of it would become campy and funny but instead it takes itself so seriously that it becomes epic.

Tommy comes from the warped mind from the man who did Altered States. Anyone who has even bumped into that movie on cable knows about its many odd surreal scenes. Now imagine those surreal scenes for an hour and half, add non stop music by The Who, singing, pinball, crazy sets, and some crazy cinematography and you have Tommy. You will either buy into and think its amazing or you will just feel confused by the whole thing. Either way it is a one of a kind unique film.

Its also another one of those movies that you sort of have to see to believe. I had a fun time watching it and I can see myself watching it again sometime soon. It's just too epic and odd that its hard not to like.

- A-

Blades of Glory (2007, Josh Gordon & Will Speck)

"In 2002, two rival Olympic ice skaters were stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men's single competition. Presently, however, they've found a loophole that will allow them to qualify as a pairs team."

Not much to write about this one as well. Its a one joke premise of homophobia jokes extended for an hour of a half. Jon Heder does his "gosh you are so nasty!" bit meanwhile Will Ferrel does his shtick once again of being an obnoxious fool. It still hasn't gotten old but it does lack that certain charm that Anchorman or Talladega Nights had.

What are supposed to be the main gags, their routines, also fall flat and are only funny if you think a man holding another man by the balls is hilarious every couple of minutes.

However, Will Arnett and Amy Phoeler steal the show, which is not a surprise, but they make the film worth watching.

- C+

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007,Matt Maiellaro & Dave Willis)

"An action epic that explores the origins of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force (better known as Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad,) who somehow become pitted in a battle over an immortal piece of exercise equipment."

I don't even know what to say about this film. It's like an extended version of a normal episode only 10 times more random. For the same reason alone it also gets very old very quick.

Still though, with the help of some substances this film is hilarious.

- B-

Dark Passage (1947, Delmer Daves)

"Bogart plays a man convicted of murdering his wife who escapes from prison in order to prove his innocence."

A film noir starring Bogart/Bacall that is mostly told in first person perspective. Awesome.

Whats not awesome is that the twist is told you too much in advance and you just wait for the film to catch up.

Everything else though is too stylish not to like.

- B+

All the Real Girls (2003, David Gordon Green)

"Small-town love story of a young man with a reputation for womanizing and his best friend's sister"

David Gordon Green is the real deal. He is hands down one of the best young filmmakers out there and with only 3 films he has already left me in awe that such a young director is making films of this quality and All the Real Girls is his masterpiece so far, but I am sure there will be many more for hi in the following years.

All the Real Girls tells a simple story of a Casanova of a small southern town falling in love with his best friends sister. Even David Gordon Green says that this is far from an original concept in the special features but even he says that its the overall execution and performances which make the film stand out. He is 100 percent right on this.

Every character in the film feels real. We feel as if we just happen to be watching these real life characters as they live their lives and talk about random things. Green seems to be an expert at this and also an expert of subtle improv between the actors because most scenes just seem too natural to not be.if they are not, then this is an amazing script.

The other Green trademark that shines here, and in his other films, is that he knows how to use his landscapes to create such a beautiful and quiet atmosphere that only makes the film feel more rich, real, and above all beautiful.

The one thing though that really makes All the Real Girls stand out and in my opinion makes it his masterpiece is the subtle energy and beauty he is able to capture in the film. Most of the key moments in the film that will stick with you don't have anything to do with the plot at all and seem like odd throwaway scenes that at first leave you thinking that the scene feels out of place but really in the end just adds on to the overall mood of the film.

The best example of this being clowns dancing in a children's hospital. The scene feels random at first but it doesn't take long to leave you smiling and make you feel what Gordon Green is trying to do, which is the simple "everything can be beautiful" Same applies to little kids playing on swingsets or a daughter telling her dad about the nightmare she had the night before.

However all these scenes center around the main love story that drives the film and it is easily one of my favorite love stories told on film. It feels real and it really an emotional ride to see how it develops through out the film. Saying anything more would spoil the film and a lot of the best scenes in the film.

After watching this film I really cant wait to see what else David Gordon Green will do in the next years. This man will go down in film history if he keeps on going like this. Mark my words.

- A+

The Number 23 (2007, Joel Schumaker)

"Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise."

I don't know what is wrong with this movie. It really makes you wonder if anyone actually thought about what they were filming while making this.

Although Carrey is always entertaining in the film and the direction is somewhat entertaining the film is just ridiculous because of the script. I don't blame the execution, or the actors, or the director. I blame the script.

Characters pop in out of nowhere only when they are needed and the leaps this film takes with logic is just impressive. This is really just a ridiculous film and pretty bad but it is at least an entertaining trainwreck of a film and i hope that Carrey manages to bounce back from it.

- C-

They All Laughed (1981, Peter Bogdanovich)

"A mad cap private-eye caper about a team of detectives who are following, and are being followed by, a group of beautiful women."

I have always been a great admirer of Peter Bogdanovich. The life he has lived has always fascinated me and would make for a great film or book one day. His sudden rise to fame at a young age and his subsequent sudden downfall seems like something out of a film that he himself would admire when he was young.

Anyways I still have lots to see in Bogdanovich's filmlography but from what I have seen there are a lot of underloved works of pure brilliance that seem to get no mentions at all from anyone.

So because of this I was finally able to see one of the most infamous films of all time, They All Laughed. This is the film which was supposed to give Bogdanovich his huge comeback but instead fell into a very odd controversy when it was about to get released because of one of the stars, and Bogdanovichs girlfriend at the time, tragic murder. People were so shocked and depressed by this news that they refused to go watch the film and it instead ruined Bogdanovichs career at the time.


In Easy Rider and Raging Bulls there is a chapter which mentions Bogdanovichs amazing early sauces in the 70s. In this small mention in the book one director (cant remember his name) says that he hated Bogdanovich because he just kept making other peoples pictures. By this he means that Bogdanovich would do his "John Ford film" and then his "Howard Hawks film" etc... but would never really do something of his own. Although it kind of hurts me to say it, the man is somewhat right. Bogdanovich always seemed to be capturing someone elses style of directing and writing with every film he would do and this once again shows in They All Laughed.

They All Laughed has Bogdanovich in "Howard Hawks mode" but is really more centered in a "30s screwball comedy mode" than anything else.

The film which tells the screwball antics of 2 private detectives falling in love with the woman that they are supposed to be investigating is far from original but it still contains enough sweet charm and delightful characters that it becomes a very fun film.

The only main flaw the film has is that it all feels slightly unreal. It feels like something out of a screwball comedy from the 30s, of course, but it feels odd seeing all these characters in a modern New York setting. The plot also becomes very loose and a little bit messy in the final couple of minutes but is still a very fun little film that is another addition to the underrated list of films from Bogdanovich.

- B+

Sidenote: I was surprised to see Wes Anderson pop up on the special features and talk about the film as well as Peter Bogdanovich's films. It nice to see someone pay their respects to someone that they admire as well as trying to get more people to watch his stuff. Great job on this one Wes Anderson.

The Crossing Guard (1995, Sean Penn)

"Freddie Gale is a seedy jeweler who has sworn to kill the drunk driver who killed his little girl"

I rented this one thinking that it would some intense and crazy stuff. Sean Penn directing a revenge tale with Jack Nicholson in the main role? This must be awesome! Right?


Another thing that made me believe that this one might be worth my time was that I am a big fan of Penns other film starring Jack Nicholson, The Pledge, which touched on the same aspect of revenge and told a unique and brutal tale which I loved and feel that is an underrated gem of a film.

Now this one is just bad. No, its horrible. The film could have told a great revenge tale and it could have showcased some powerhouse performances but it doesn't. I find this to be so odd because while watching the film I kept asking myself "It cant be that hard to tell a revenge tale, can it?" I dont think it is.

You have a man. Man loses someone close to him. Man has to kill the man responsible. That simple. Yet in The Crossing Guard everything collapses in a matter of minutes. The direction is extremely bad. We get a slow motion or shutter effect every other minute meanwhile some blues plays in the background. I take it that this sis supposed to be setting a dark mood but it doesn't,

On top of the lazy and cliched direction we also just get some really bad scenes that don't make much sense at all and seem ridiculous. For example the revenge is put into motion in the first 30 minutes (....) but it doesn't pay off because Jack Nicholson's character forgets to put bullets in his gun. Yes, a man who has been plotting his revenge for years forgets to put bullets in his gun. If this wasn't enough when he fails to shoot the man he wants to kill they sit down and have a talk about the nature of revenge. Once again I take it that this is supposed to be poetic but it feels fake, pretentious, and as deep as a puddle.

I wish I could go on and on about how bad this movie and how it is the worst Nicholson film I have ever seen but I am not.

This is just a bad film.

- D

Massive Update

I guess it is time for a massive update.

In the past couple of days I have seen 16 movies and on top of that have been surprisingly busy living the Hollywood lifestyle (I'm pretty cool like that) so I haven't had much energy to write out some reviews. Instead, I have spent the time watching movies and reading up on some books instead of writing here.

However since starting yesterday I have a lot of work coming up for me and I have decided to finally write out all 16 reviews in order to clear my mind on some movies and also to help me get back into the mood of writing out what I thought about a film in order to make my job a lot easier.

Most of these reviews might be shorter than others but this is only so that I don't spend too much time here writing.