Saturday, December 20, 2008


Directed By: Scott Kalvert
Written By: Bryan Goluboff; 
 Based on The Book By: Jim Carroll
Cinematography By: David Phillips
Editor: Dana Congdon

Cast: Leonardo Dicaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Patrick McGaw, James Madio, Josh Mostel, Bruno Kirby, Lorraine Bracco, Juliette Lewis, Michael Rappaport, Ernie Hudson, Brittany Daniel, Cynthia Daniel, Toby Huss, Jim Carroll, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore

L.I.E. (2001)

Cast: Paul Dano, Billy Kay, Brian Cox, Bruce Altman, James Acosta

Directed By: Michael Cuesta
Written By: Michael Cuesta & Stephen M. Ryder & Gerald Cuesta
Cinematography By: Romeo Tirone
Editor: Eric Carlson & Kane Platt

I was hooked on this film when I saw the trailer in theaters for the first time showing glimpses of scenes and vivid visuals while the song “Hurdy Gurdy man” Played

Going into this film I thought it would be more shocking. I mean there are not too many movies that have a pedophile as a main character who is not a villain but a realistic character. I think the strength of the role comes from Brian cox’s performance as big john who is very charming and doesn’t play him as a simpering whiny wimpy character he is a former armed forces officer.

The story is of Howie who’s best friend Gary is a hustler for pedophiles he is saving up his money to run off to Hollywood he brings Howie to the house of big john for a party and a chance for them to make some cash promising him he doesn’t have to do anything Howie comes form a bad home life him and his father don’t get along. Later his father is arrested and Gary steals the money his father had left for him he has nowhere to go and no one to help or take care of him. What will become of him?

Now this film could have gone for real shocking. I mean there is a incest subplot that is played for laughs but the film comes off lite when it comes to taboo subjects. Go watch a todd solondz film if you want to get down and dirty into taboos and shocks. This film doesn’t manage to shock in some ways but more subtle and less sensationalistic

Here the pedophile is one of the more decent characters he is attracted to the main protagonist and that is why he initially takes a interest in him but as the story goes on he more want s to protect him and take care of him but it doesn’t seem guided by sex and more just trying to look out for him they won’t live happily ever after and they shouldn’t but at least he has someone actually looking out for him.

This film is pretty good it’s the Screen debut of acting wunderkind Paul Dano and in a lead role.

There could be many reasons why Brian Cox took this role I believe partially it is a shocking yet powerful role that is a craftsman dream to pull off a likeable pedophile and he passes with flying colors. It was brave of him to take the role as he went against the advice of his agent and his colleagues in accepting the role which could have ended his career. This film isn’t for everyone but it is worth seeing


Friday, December 19, 2008


Cast: Noah Taylor, Nicole Kidman, Thandie Newton, Naomi Watts, Kym Wilson

Directed & Written By: John Duigan
Cinematography By: Geoff Burton
Editor: Liz Mullinar



CAST: Philip Baker Hall

Directed By: Robert Altman
Written By: Donald Freed & Arnold M.Stone
Cinematography By: Pierre Mignot
Editor: Juliet Weber
Production Design By: Stephen Altman

Really a one man show there is no other cast member then Philip baker hall as disgraced Richard Nixon giving a stream of consciousness reflection of his life and career while getting drunk and drunker. Basically having a breakdown.

This is really a filmed play and astonishing first of all since Robert Altman usually used such huge ensemble casts it is a wonder that shows his talent that he uses only one actor in this film the phenomenal Philip baker hall. This is the film that director Paul Thomas Anderson who was a big fan of Robert Altman anyway discovered Mr. Hall and decided that he was so amazing that since he never got a starring role like this again he was going to make one for him.

This was filmed while Robert Altman was a professor at the University of Michigan and most of the crew are his students. It has the usual Robert Altman touches the clever use of cinematography that uses a lot of close up’s but also seems to drift away to other objects in the room yet never leaving Mr. Hall so that we can see his performance in all of it’s glory. The Scary part is that half the time in his quiet moments Richard Nixon just seems like a haunting specter on a video screen

While I can see why this got a special edition from the criterion company. It is a undiscovered film from the past that needed to be shown. It has dazzling camera work and in a way seems experimental for what is basically a filmed uninterrupted monologue. It is a bit slow especially if you are not interested by the first 15 minutes you are probably not going to like the rest of the film. It is a film I am honored to watch but will probably not ever watch again.

The Acting is top notch and if this had been on Broadway this would have been legendary and mr. hall would have been able to write his own ticket in the acting community. In fact I am shocked after this film it took someone in Hollywood so long to discover him and give him a good lead role. This is a tour de force and he never got nominated for a single award for it. It’s a shame he had to fall through the cracks like that for so long.

The script is clever with it’s constant use of language especially the word cock-sucker which was a Nixon favorite and his non pc use of language, his constant paranoia and at the end of the day why he is alone with no defenders or friends to listen to this just him a tape recorder and a camera. He blames everyone including his friends for everything and really believes he was always right and that there was just a conspiracy against hi by everyone.

Watch only if you are interested in Richard Nixon and seeing minimalism at work.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

PASSENGER 57 (1992)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne, Tom Sizemore, Bruce Greenwood, Elizabeth Hurley

Directed by: Kevin Hooks
Story By: Dan Gordon & Stewart Raffill
Written By: Dan Gordon & David Loughery
Director Of Photography: Mark Irwin
Edited By: Richard Nord

Remember the gold old days when Wesley snipes could still get a movie released in theaters? I do

I remember seeing this in theaters it was one of those days I didn't expect to go on a movie and just decided to go with a friend on a whim with short notice so we ran to see this film and I at least was pleasently surprised because I thought it would be corny. I will be the first to admit I am not the biggest action film fan I don't hate them hey are just not my favorite genre of movie.

This film is sort of like die hard with not so original villians and more hand to hand combat instead of guns and explosives. You still have the terrorists in one location trying to find the one hero who is taking them out one by one. This film is quite enjoyable in it's popcorn way. You have the security consultant hero who is haunted by his wife's death that he couldn't stop. It even has a young Elizabeth hurley in one of her first acting roles before all of a sudden becoming a international supermodel. There truly is not that much to say about this film it moves fast is entertaining. There are no real surprises there are moments of inspired comedy. One person you might suspect is a villain turns out not to be and then after we are off the center of all the action a plane we get more ground action sequences and stunts in a amusement park and on a airport runway there is a little racial humor since our hero is one of the lone minorities against an all white terrorist movement.

It's interesting that this movie was once offered to sylester stallone he was the first choice but by giving the movie to wesley snipes the filmmakers were genius as he adds more flavor and charisma to the film then i feel stallone would hae brung. With him this film would have been a standard forgettable action film, but with snipes it's entertaining and fun. it was also a calling card to show he could do action films which eventually lead to his own franchise character "BLADE"

Hey it was the mid 90's but I recommend it if you haven't seen it by now. it's a great time waster and one of the few somewhat recent films that has an African American action hero who wasn't battling drug dealers or gangs. A perfect companion piece togowith the long kiss goodnight though not as big budget as that film but it is a great example of 90's action films. Little known fact: sylvester stallone was first offered the movie but turned it down this was one of wesley snipes first hit movies. just becasue he turned it down they named one of the characters. one who sees no action inthe whole film after him.


TWISTER (1996)

Starring: Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Jami Gertz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Cary Elwes, Abraham Benrubi, Lois Smith, Todd Field, Jeremy Davies, Joey Slotnick

Directed By: Jan DeBont
Written By: Michael Crichton & Anne-Marie Martin
Director Of Photography: Jack N. Green
Edited By: Michael Kahn

A movie where the script is written around the special effects rather then telling a story. So when in doubt of having compelling story throw in a melodramatic soap opera like love triangle. Will bill Paxton who is going to be a national weatherman choose his soon to be ex-wife adventurous but haunted who is a storm chaser with her band of pirate like co-workers or his establishment prim and proper high class psychiatrist fiancé. Now don't get me wrong this film starts with a jolt with one hell of a opening scene but then it falters with the rest of the film like the movie cliffhanger. it is disappointing where one of the best scenes in the trailer fails to exist in the finished film. The scene from the trailer that doesn't exist here was a trailer flying towards the windshield of a truck that the audience is watching from.

This film is an all star or future star or hey I know that guy extravaganza. At the time i remember I was shocked and happy that bill Paxton finally was playing the lead in a big budget blockbuster a-list movie a chance for him not only to show his potential but some better quality material scripts well this film had a bigger budget but the material was just as bad as his usual at that point. The movies he was in were ones that went straight to video or cable.

This was also supposed to be a comeback for jami gertz as you can tell that didn't exactly happen. In fact at the time Helen hunt was the biggest star in this movie. How long ago was that and trust me while being entertaining there was no sign that future oscar winner Philip seymour hoffman was going to go onto future greatness between this and the film my boyfriend's back. i'm sure he would like to strike these from his resume

Another disappointing aspect to add with the that this was director jan debont's second film after he started off so well with "Speed" an actually good entertaining film. He really hit a low tide sophomore slump with this film. While not only being ridiculous wasn't even entertaining it was slow between the storms with bantering and more embarrassing filler and then when we do see the storms in all there glory or get close to see the on-coming damage. It's not at all awe inspiring it'sok or passable probably should have known with the movie we were going down a bad road when the theme song is done by van halen. Not the van halen with david lee roth or sammy hagar nor the van halen between singers where they had the singer from extreme as there vocalist.

Jan debont still hasn't made a credible or good film since he's the eqivalent of a one hit wonder or falco with the song "Rock me Amadeus." Still living off the notoriety of hisone good piece of work and his years as a editor before he became a director. Now it seems like his style is workman like or ble collar like he shows up for the check no ingenuity, ideas or energy.

Interesting that this was the first film to be released on dvd. I guess to market on superior picture quality and sound. It should have been very telling that the original director of photography and other crew members quit halfway through filming after arguments with director debont.



Starring: Adam Sandler, Henry Winkler, Allen Covert, Larry Gillard Jr., Fairuza Balk, Kathy Bates, Clint Howard, Rob Schneider, Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Reed, Blake Clark, Jackie Titone

Directed By: Frank Coraci
Written By: Tim Herlihy & Adam Sandler
Director Of Photography: Steven Bernstein
Edited By: Tom Lewis

I know. I am going against fellow critics some of of my movie loving friends. Who feel adam sandler is an abomination on the free world of film. Because he has almost the same schtick in all of his films. The funny weird voice the nice guy/violent asshole with the heart of gold, With Anger Management issues which coincidently ended up being the title of one of his worst movies in my opinion.

I actually like Adam Sandler movies his schtick doesn't bother me. At least no more then any other comedian. Most stars have schtick or habits that they use in there acting even the dramatic actors. It's just depends on how much of the schtick you can take. I mean look jerry lewis did the same thing with his "Hey lady" and his yelling and his retarded way of talking and he's a comic god genius in france. Eddie Murphy does it and still earns 20 million a film. So why can't sandler. He started out with what seemed to be comedies based on sports then cast his net a little bigger.

I also admire how he gives his entourage from both Saturday night live and his college days jobs as actors, writers and directors. He keeps it funny and he has the same instincts as Quentin tarantino to take a retro actor or rather a popular actor from the 70's or 80's and give them substantial parts that they excel in. henry winkler, david hasselhoff, Carl Weathers, Woody harrelson he also seem's to be able to get big name stars to appear in his films to play roles you would never think of them in. Actors who are more known for drama. Steve buscemi, Harvey Kietel, Winona Ryder, Peter Gallagher, Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Patricia arquette, Reese Witherspoon And not only do they excelbut they seem to have a good time doing it.

The Waterboy is the first adam sandler movie I saw in a theater. I was a bit of a movie snob back then it had me cracking up from beginning to the end.

The plot is a college waterboy who has alot of pent up anger ends up joining a college football team. Because of his amazing tackling abilities. Even though he is a man child controlled by his overprotective mother.

I loved lawrence taylor's cameo and his speech about staying away from crack. because when this film came out and I saw it a week before he had been busted for smoking crack. This film is appealing and a good ride perfect for teenage boys and the child we all have in ourselves.


Films That I Have Seen The Most

1. Sister Act - i saw it about 7 times in the theater because either a family memeber or friend wanted to see it and there really wasn't anything else out.

2. Get Shorty - i saw it 5 times in the theater

3. Chasing Amy - 5 times in the theater to support it and expose it to as many people as i could at the time. it was only kevin smih's third film and i was lucky enough to meet him and see some of the dailies early at a seminar he was teaching.

4. Pulp Fiction - 4 times. i had already rligiously watched the trailer that was right before another videocasette i had at least 3 times a day i saw it opening night and no matter how many times i saw it i couldn't get enough at the time.

5. Fargo - 4 times i kept going to see it at the discount theater i was fascinated by it.

6. Trainspotting - 3 times the visuals got me

7. Superbad - New to the list 3 times i even gt the bootleg just so i culd keep watching it over and over

These i have seen more or less on video alot or when it plays on tv i jsut keep watching them.

Resevoir dogs (Discovered it on video)

Clerks (I Broke The Videocasette i watched it everyday for a summer trying to remember the script),

Bram Stoker's Dracula (The Gothic beauty and the love story sent my 13 yearold self a flutter)

The Breakfast Club, St Elmo's Fire (Don't Ask), Ferris Bueller's Day off,Sixteen Candles

New Jack City (Used To watch it right before i went to bed)

Honey I Shrunk The Kids (It helped me go to sleep. Annnnnnnnnttttttttteeeeeeee!!!)

A Christmas Story (I remember seeing it in the theater twice)

Goodfellas (My Favorite Movie)

The Professional (Wore out my videocasette)i had the bootleg movie theater copy and when it came out offically i owned the videocasette.

House Party (They showed it all the time on channel 11 my dad took me to see it in the theater)

Now these next ones i have seen too many times becasue when i worked in a videostore the employees who were on register pickd the movies and this one guy put on the same movies all the time hundreds of thousands of movies he picked the same five.

What's The Worst That Could Happen

Black Knight

Blue streak (Which i liked once)