There have been a number of food and "food production" documentaries out within the last two years with the most popular one being Food Inc.. Last night I saw another good one called, A river of waste. Read more »
Thirst is the latest film from Chan-wook Park of Vengeance Trilogy fame (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance). It tells the story of a priest whose life is changed when he becomes a vampire. In the strictest sense, it is a vampire love story. However, it is a Chan-wook Park vampire love story, which means it's delightfully twisted, darkly humorous, fantastically violent, and bizarrely erotic. Yes, I do love my adverbs. If you can't overstate something, why even state it. That's what I always say. Read more »
Brick (2006) is a film that no matter how well you describe it, it still kind of sounds like a tacky idea and it easily could have been. A hard-boiled noir style detective film set in a modern-day high school? Hmm. But let me assure you that great care was taken with the specifics of the film that make this setup work surprisingly well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, 500 Days of Summer) stars as Brendan, a quiet loner who acts as the gumshoe in this movie. He's lost contact with an ex-girlfriend at school who was straying into the world of drug trafficking and wants to make sure she's okay. When she turns up dead, he begins a quest for answers through the underground world of popular kids, the drama vamps and the super-smart geeks.
See? Still sounds a little tacky doesn't it? What saves the film from collapsing under the ridiculous setup is the script and the performances. The characters play the roles like they're actually in a 1940's detective film complete with rapid-fire speech and archaic slang that takes a little effort to follow. All the film noir tropes are here: the smart detective who knows how to take a punch, the bombshell who can't be trusted, the menacing kingpin and his muscle-bound henchman. This is a film that doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence and succeeds by playing the whole thing straight with nary a wink to suggest that the situations are taking place in an out-of-context environment. The plot becomes convoluted as double-crossing and lies start to twist the narrative.
This is certainly no "Disney's High School Detective" sort of film. The violence and drug content makes it clearly intended for an adult audience. It's a smart, classy and surprisingly emotional film that succeeds despite its inability to be described in a satisfying way. Definitely recommended.
After receiving recommendations from a number of friends for the TV show The Big Bang Theory, I decided it was finally time to check it out. I sat down to watch a couple of episodes of the first season and ended up watching six back to back. The show, a half hour comedy, features physicists, roommates, and super geniuses Sheldon and Leonard. Settled comfortably into nerddom, their lives are interrupted with the arrival of a new neighbor, a blond waitress named Penny. Leonard, the more social of the two, is immediately interested, but Sheldon is taken aback and does not welcome Penny's intrusion into his ordered existence. Also featuring engineer friends Howard (ultimate nerd and wannabe ladies' man) and Raj (unable to even talk to women), The Big Bang Theory is hilarious. For its over-the-top but still believable characters and laugh out loud situations (such as when all four guys end up dressing as The Flash for Halloween), I highly recommend this show.
A while back I posted an article on this blog called "In Praise of Black and White." In it I mentioned that the invention of color film brought about a number of films that focused on color shock effects and explosions rather than focusing on the story. I believe that many of the films made today would not seem as good to us if we were forced to watch them in black and white. Today we have a rise in another new gimmick format called 3D. Read more »
Life is hard enough without the added pressures of the truly horrific and ugly things that people can do to one another. Without straying into the politics of race and class in Zimbabwe Africa, this documentary follows a white farmer from Zimbabwe as he continues his court battle to keep is land after Robert Mugabe, the president, changes the Zimbabwe constitution and starts a new land redistribution program. The Blacks from Zimbabwe don't want the Whites to be there and the Whites don't want to leave nor do they have anywhere else they can go since they are "legal" citizens of the country. The White farmers were eventually forced from their land when their property was burned down. The police and the military would not protect them. Some of the farmers are dead, some have disappeared and others have moved to Harare. Warning: The extreme acts of violence contained in this documentary may be triggering to some.
If you still would like to see this documentary, it can be found by clicking here.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first put Scott Pilgrim vs. the Worldin my DVD player. It was not even close to what I got. For those who are not familiar with the plot Scott Pilgrim [Michael Cera], the bass player in a small band, has fallen for the new "cool girl" in town, Ramona Flowers [Mary Elizabeth Winstead]. In order to date her he must first defeat her seven "evil exes". Read more »
Last Friday I decided to scan the shelves in the library and pick up something random but interesting. I came across a DVD called, "The Sweethearts of Prison Rodeo." The title alone is interesting. This documentary film is about inmates housed in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Once a year, every since 1940, the male inmates have been allowed to participate in a rodeo that serves as a short reprieve for them and entertainment for non-inmates. Anyone is welcome to attend. In 2007, a decision was made to give women the opportunity to participate in the rodeo. A group of women decided to put together a rodeo team and compete head-to-head with the men. This documentary shows both the men and women's competitions but it is mainly about the lives of women in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and their rodeo team. Please be advised that some of the scenes in the rodeo portion contain severe injuries, blood, broken bones and others have compared this to a "Gladiator-Like" atmosphere.
Sometimes there is nothing better than a good shoot 'em up movie. I love to watch what I know are impossible stunts and a lone man or woman going up against impossible odds and coming out ahead. Die Hard was the first movie I remember seeing of this type, though I'm sure there were earlier ones. My new favorite in this genre has the honest title of Shoot 'em Up. This 2007 movie stars Clive Owen as a man named Smith who accidentally finds himself in the middle of everything after he comes to the aid of a pregnant women in labor Read more »
Hoarders is an A&E reality television show that focuses on people that engage in compulsive hoarding. I watched the first four episodes and could not believe my eyes. There are people that collect things, store things and buy knick-knacks, and then there are hoarders. Hoarders are the extreme versions of those that like to collect and store things in their homes. Read more »