Monday, October 31, 2005

Kalifornia (1993)

"Seriously Brad, that looks like it really hurts..."

Crime Adventure
Drama Thriller

Starring: David Duchovny ("Red Shoe Diaries"; "The X-Files"), Brad Pitt (Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Babel)

Directed By: Dominic Sena (Swordfish; Gone In Sixty Seconds)

Overview: A writer goes on a road trip to California to do research on his book about serial killers. Car pooling with a couple of strangers, he finds himself far too close to the subject he's writing about.

Acting: The role that Brad Pitt plays is truly memorable. The perfect psycho redneck, he isn't stupid, just ignorant. Rather he seems strangely smart in the right places. Good direction in this one I say too. Juliette Lewis, unfortunately is never my favorite, but she picks appropriate roles. In this one she's a waste of space, baseless tit with no brain or spine. Duchovny and his counterpart do a good job of being big city fops, but there was a little something I couldn't shake about his delivery. Still, it's great overall.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The images of the roadtrip, the locations and their run-down, almost post apocalyptic look of it. Especially in the end when they're in the nuclear test range, that stuff is gold. They do the mood of redneck perfectly, and the location scouts really did an amazing job. I was truly impressed.
Rating: 8

Script: "Look at him! Look at his face! He's not your father!"
"I know he ain't my father, ya idjit. This one's a cop and this here's a mercy killin'!"

The story is really well delivered, especially the Early and his girlfriend's lines. The characterization is perfect in the script even though the casting may not have been just right for everyone in the film. In my opinion this is so well written, that's what keeps me coming back for more, even with the narration. Awesome stuff.
Rating: 9

Plot: The story is great. Psycho goes on a road trip with a guy writing a story about psychos. Along the way there's a nice progression of mystery and character development as the climax approaches it's dramatic and exciting end, I say. Real fun and intelligent.
Rating: 8

Mood: Great mood too. The wastelands, the rednecky trailer trash, even little things like the gay dog humping, and the Lucky Lager, the bible and smiley face scene, the little pink camera and the cactus. It's as though every scene was not only meant to forward the plot, but to set the mood of the poor white trash of the worst parts of a dark and murderous America.
Rating: 8

"David, are you still thinking about those balls from that time?"

Overall Rating: 82% (Old Favorite)

Aftertaste: The people I was with watching this were torn between hating Juliette Lewis, who I also hate, and punching holes through the believability of the movie. Fine. I agree when you stab someone repeatedly, while having your knees on the floor, sure you're going to get a little dirty but all that aside its still a contender for the movie I've rented the most times (6 or so) before buying it. And just FYI the other movie is Last Night. I love this movie and always will regardless of the issues others may have with it. You know Brad Pitt was People magazine's sexiest man of the year after this one? Yeah, irony.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

Genre: Samurai Action Crime Drama Thriller

Starring: Uma Thurman (My Super Ex-Girlfriend; Be Cool), David Carradine (Deathrace 2000; "Kung Fu")

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino (Grindhouse; Reservoir Dogs)

Overview: In this second installment of the vengeance of our awoken Bride, she treks onward to destroy her enemies in order to get to her long intended target, The Snake Charmer: Bill.

Acting: The caliber of actors they have is the same fare as the first one. Madsen from Reservoir Dogs, Uma, Carradine, and Darryl Hannah (totally cool, she is), and that old wise Kung-Fu dude. Top quality, no doubt, but Quentin seems to have let his ego be too inflated to let anyone tell him how to direct. It suffers a little.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The look is great. Not as great as the first one mind you, but the trailer fight and the training and the coffin scene were great. The last scene, as much as the house was nice, was not as dynamic as Quentin is capable of.
Rating: 8

Script: Seriously, shut up. I would have edited 12 minutes out of the end of this movie. The whole long conversation tore away so much from the idea of the classic Kung-Fu movie that I wondered what Quentin was thinking. Stop talking and be brief, then kill each other, or whatever. Other than that, Michael Madsen's (Trailer-Trash Budd) lines were gold and Elle Driver too, not to mention the egotistical teacher stuff.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story is too much dialogue in the beginning, too much at the end, and not enough fighting as I expected there to be in the middle. As for the plot, the flashback to the training and the whole Budd / Elle thing, nice. The Bill though, a little long, a little boring, a little too basic.
Rating: 6

Mood: Well, given that I've compared this movie to the original, I guess I'll keep doing it. The mood was good, except way too slow. Not enough ninja, too much humanity. In the first, Bea was a machine, in this one she cries and blubbers. Yeah yeah, fine it's a trying time and she's nearing her goal and Tarantino wanted to illustrate... yadda yadda. Chop stuff already.
Rating: 7

Overall Rating: 76% (Second Time? Not Such a Charm)

Aftertaste: They cut a fight scene out of the original movie that they should have put in instead of that blablabla they had at the end. But it's on the DVD deleted scenes. Seriously incredibly WORTH SEEING. It's classic Kung-Fu Tribute to the Max. Intense and tres cool. All in all though, the first one is much better (at least the guys think so...). The second time I watched this, the end was like torture I wanted to edit the hell out of it.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987)

A cross a day keeps the dead away...

Action Horror Fantasy Comedy

Starring: Bruce Campbell (Bubba Ho-Tep; Maniac Cop), Sarah Berry (C.H.U.D. II - Bud The Chud)

Directed By: Sam Raimi (Spiderman; Army Of Darkness)

Overview: A man in a remote cottage discovers ancient and evil magickal research that summons denizens of the infernal deep. Can they make it till dawn?

Acting: The acting is hammy, cheezy, over-directed and utterly, brilliantly delivered. It was GOOD ham, not bad ham, and everyone loves good ham! Mmmmm!
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The chasing camera is a nice touch, and the odd pictures of a panoramic scene like when the bridge is out. The effects on the other hand are top notch. The possessed freaks and the moosehead and the look of the large cottage, really entertaining to watch.
Rating: 8

Script: The script is funny, witty, tacky, cheesy, all of these. Perfect for the action horror comedy. It's not the comic genius of Army of Darkness, but they weren't going for all laughs, so an appropriate and interesting delivery.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story is pretty standard fare, nothing too brilliant, but what an ending! As for the character arc and the growing resolve at survival our hero faces in the light of death and possession is a nice touch. Just the right amount of excitement, comedy and story to keep you glued for more. Good stuff.
Rating: 7

Mood: This is what it's all about. What a fun good time. The first Evil Dead was more spooky than funny, the last one was more funny than spooky. This one throws gore in with laughs in a perfect good old time. Really enjoyable and immersive.
Rating: 9

"HONEY! Warn next time I go down on you!"

Overall Rating: 78% (Killer Good Time)

Aftertaste: I had no idea how good this would be the second time around. What memorabilia. My best friend presented this to me the first time, back when horror wasn't my thing and I begrudgingly went and liked it. Now? My God, it's awesome. If you haven't seen this stand alone film, do it. Any one of the Evil Dead films (including Army of Darkness) are stand alone movies that can be enjoyed all by their lonesome, so don't feel that need to watch em all in order, though they're all good.

Bad Taste (1987) *Weird And Wacky *

"Nope, Nope I'm totally one of you, look yummmm!"

Action Comedy Horror Sci-Fi (New Zealand)

Starring: Peter Jackson, Doug Wren

Directed By: Peter Jackson (The Frighteners; Heavenly Creatures)

Overview: When a group of aliens invade Earth to harvest the hip new delicacy (human meat) they find their invasion force interrupted by a band of rag-tag ruffians.

Acting: Peter Jackson's first feature film, I believe, before Meet the Feebles (garbage) and Dead Alive (awesome), and certainly before the fame of Lord of The Rings. He even stars in this one it's so low budget (his skinny self that is). The acting is total toilet. Stupid, amateurish, overzealous and what did you expect from a gore flick. However there's enough of the appeal in the bad guys and their ringleader to make this fall into the passable category.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The early Peter Jackson fare is not known for it's smooth editing style, panoramic shots, use of fantastical filters and lens effects, or really, frankly, even for being able to have a camera man hold the frikken thing steady for more than 2 seconds. All that to say that the camerawork is atrocious, but the gore more than makes up for that, and I don't remember any scenes that were too dark or too bright.
Rating: 5

Script: The writing? Come on. Well there a few cheesy lines here and there, and the aliens don't really speak, they grunt like morons (which is part of their appeal I guess), but I did sort of like the delivery of the alien ringleader. He explained his harvesting motivations pretty well, I guess...
Rating: 6

Plot: The plot is plotless. Guy finds alien infiltrators. Guy goes after them for an hour. Aliens reveal their plan, aliens go after guys, who get even. Aliens transform and keep trying to get even. And that's about it. There's a subplot about our hero who's brainpan is split open, and he wigs out when his brain is exposed... It's not about the plot, ok, but at least it's not completely annoying.
Rating: 4

Mood: The whole denim-clad alien disguise thing makes the whole thing seem low-budge, which it is, frankly, but then they transform, tearing out of their pants, with their bum-cheeks hanging out. That, is genius. This film is a mixed bag of utterly atrocious stupid gunfight scenes with endless clips and crappy overdubbing gunshot sounds, and terrific blood effects and exploding heads and things. I guess I'd file it under 'good', but you really gotta be into the gore kitsch.
Rating: 7

A.) Shocked and disturbed by the fact that you've accomplished nothing in life in the face of death.
B.) Hiiiilarious

Overall Rating: 56% (Leaves a Bad Taste, But With a Nice Finish)

Aftertaste: This is a cult classic, and it's not bad if you like gore. If you like gore and splatter cult, then this is repertoire, just like Dead Alive. I got a little kick out of it, but honestly, it's obscure like Liquid Sky for a reason. No one will call this 'Good' at a golf club...

Nightbreed (1990)

Knock, knock... Who's dead?

Fantasy Horror

Starring: Craig Sheffer (Fire In The Sky; "One Tree Hill"), Anne Bobby (Born On The Fourth Of July)

Directed By: Clive Barker (Hellraiser; Lord Of Illusions)

Overview: A man haunted by his dreams follows stories of Midian, a graveyard town in the middle of nowhere, Manitoba where his inherent darkness can be accepted by the denizens living beneath.

Acting: The early 90's eh? The big hair and leather jackets aside, the roles played the lead and his woman are well portrayed. As for Cronenberg and his haunting-voiced doctor, he's awesome. From the comic relief guys to the mutant berzerkers, everyone plays up fear and/or rage pretty damn good.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The look of the world beneath, very cool. The central intelligence God thing on the other hand, a little bit of cheese. As for Babette's flashback vision, good stuff. The gore effects are alright and the costumes are really original, so overall neat. This is impressive, if you can get beyond the huge bangs and tight pants.
Rating: 8

Script: The prophecy, the history, the backstory, the doctor's lines, the crazy face guy's first scene, even the intro of Peloquin, they're actually very immersive. The screenplay was tremendously well written. They merge Redneck with Psycho pretty damn good, let me tell you... No wonder it's so good, written and directed by the author, duh.
Rating: 8

Plot: The story is better in the book, granted, but there's a nice twist that comes along in the middle of the story and the end actually is more surprising in it's originality as to where the storyline goes. This book should have had a sequel, definitely. I really, really like this story. It's cool, it's simple and it's a nice little battle of self-preservation.
Rating: 8

Mood: The theme is "strange and alien". And you know? It's a good one. Taking trigger happy cops and combining them with mutant freaks fighting for their survival? Nice. You'll find yourself looking at the backgrounds and hungrily gazing at the little subtleties of the mix of creatures underground. And a nice little element of madness and terror too.
Rating: 8

"Between your dreads and my spikes I think we got a few pricks between us..."

Overall Rating: 80% (Creepy Critters Keep Me Coming Back For More)

Aftertaste: It's weird this movie. The first time I saw it, totally creeped me out in that good way. The second time, I thought, "What the hell was I thinking?" The third time (this time) it's like I was revisiting an old friend or something. I very much enjoyed this, and recommend this as a modern horror classic. Also, the book, Clive Barker's Cabal, was tremendously good. Read it, it's neat.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Corpse Bride (2005)

"With this candle I thee bled..."

Animation Family Comedy Musical Fantasy Drama Romance (USA, UK)

Starring: Johnny Depp ("21 Jump Street"; Ed Wood), Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club; Conversations With Other Women)

Directed By: Tim Burton (Big Fish; Batman), Mike Johnson

Overview: This is the gothic animated tale of a man getting ready for his arranged marriage. Along the way, he accidentally marries a corpse bride, who brings her new beloved to the underworld.

Acting: The animated expressions were great. Johnny Depp is a favoured Burton cast member an with good reason. Sure he's chosen some not so good movies in his career, but of late, he's pretty bang on with popular roles. The style of animation allowed for some pretty neat exaggerations, a nice display, good range.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The look of this thing! Basically, it's claymation and the stuff is really well done. The attention to detail is astounding and the underworld is something right out of Mexico's Day of the Dead, very reminiscent of the video game Grim Fandango (highly recommended for you gamers out there). Anyways, very good effects, very cool camera angles, and as for stylish 'special' effects, there's even a couple neat twists for the discerning eye.
Rating: 9

Script: The terrible little puns of the family film seem fine when it's death and dismemberment. I guess dark comedic groaners I can handle. I found it rather cute in fact. You know beheaded bartenders asking why they can't get an "body", the chopped in half guy saying he's gotta "split". Might sound like groaners here but when you watch it, you can't help but chuckle. As for the rest of the dialogue, really neat. The songs? Einh.
Rating: 8

Plot: The story is amazing. A great premise, a nice unfolding, a moral lesson, a historical context and a neat little wrapped up ending will appeal to everyone. There were no square peg elements to shove into round holes of continuity. As for the motivations and character development, real adult stuff. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Rating: 8

Mood: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Even the cheesy puns add to the amusing theme of child-like innocence, while still having the serious adult elements of death, murder and vengeance. Hyper-stylized and exaggerated animation has a great way of making a film convey its mood, you know? The songs however, detracted. Of the 6, only two were good, the rest I wished that they had just left out, or shortened. It felt like a commercial break that I had to sit through.
Rating: 9

Overall Rating: 84% (A Perfect Marriage of Goth and Family Fun)

Aftertaste: This is frikken terrific. I have recommended this movie to about 10 people so far, and it makes me want to play that Grim Fandango video game again, but sadly I lent it to someone... who then moved... to Toronto. Jesus!

Monday, October 17, 2005

White Noise (2005)

"Wait... I'm white... and I make noise!"

Horror Mystery Sci-Fi Drama Thriller (USA, UK, Canada)

Starring: Michael Keaton (Gung Ho; Batman), Chandra West ("NYPD Blue")

Directed By: Geoffrey Sax

Overview: When an architect loses his wife to an accident, he is visited by a man who claims to be in communication with her, ands that he has recorded the messages she has left behind, through radio and television waves. The stranger invites him to explore the recordings and communicate with his beloved.

Acting: Oh Michael Keaton, what happened since Batman? It's a good movie on the acting level, but it really seemed as though the direction was so weak that Keaton and his sidekicks suffered for it. There was just something I couldn't shake about the delivery and the direction. I don't blame the actors, they were as stoic as they were told to be, I guess.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The look of the wealth and opportunity and fame of the main characters contrasted with the haunting creatures from the other side was nice. I was genuinely creeped out from time to time, and any movie gets kudos for frightening the likes of me. Nice location scouts too, pretty neat locals, certainly. From Victorian homes to rainy construction sites, the visuals are very good.
Rating: 8

Script: The lines, the delivery, I dunno. Too much explanation and not enough explanation at the same time. Too scientific. It's like hearing Obi-Wan explain The Force scientifically. It's just wrong. Ok, it wasn't THAT bad, but a little too commonly explained, you know. No deep poetry to be expected from this production. What's fun about not getting anything they're saying? It's more creepy when you HEAR a warning, instead of "PSHHHHHHHHH..."
Rating: 6

Plot: Having a machine that records the world of the dead is neat, but added too much of the sterility of the scientific. Only when the images on screen were clear were they really spooky. They should have done that more often, rather than a constant hissing white noise.
Rating: 6

Mood: The mood was great, granted. I got spooked, and that's hard to do. The ghosties themselves were really neat, they even seemed to have backstory and history, would have been nice if they touched on it a little, but the ending and the settings really left a lingering effect. Not for long, but a nice trip.
Rating: 8

"HELLOOO? Look at us! We're porno!"

Overall Rating: 68% (Turn Down The White Noise)

Aftertaste: The enjoyment of the film was there. I did like it. I guess in hindsight, it just wasn't all that good a story. It's one of those movies that had real potential, but kind of lost it along the way, very much like The Frighteners did. Great premise, and decent movie, but easily forgettable.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

*Sigh* "Nope not in this one..."

Action Adventure Horror Thriller

Starring: Stellan Skarsgård (Dogville; Dancer In The Dark), Izabella Scorupco (GoldenEye; Reign Of Fire)

Directed By: Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2; Cliffhanger)

Overview: The prequel to the original Exorcist, we follow a faith-lost priest turned archaeologist as he investigates an old buried church, all while ominous signs of the demon Pazuzu eke their way to the surface.

Acting: Stellan Skarsgard. You haven't heard of him right? Half of you (the good half) even if you don't recognize the name, will remember the man by the photos. He's in such awesome and riveting films and mini-series as Dogville, Timecode, "The Kingdom", and Dancer in The Dark. I'm surprised he chose such a role as this, because it's a step down from the elite Art-House film. Point being: see those movies,(I mean Lars Von Trier, come on) and know that he's the best actor in this whole production. He alone brings the rating up a full notch. The rest were good too, nice direction.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: I was rather impressed with this production. Some neat angles, some good effects, but really what impressed me most was the professional look of it, the expertise of the cropping and the appropriately placed panoramas and slo-mos. On occasion, yes a mite too bold in a Spielsbergian way (cramming symbolism down our throats), but overall, really nice to look at.
Rating: 8

Script: "You just want to put your rotten cock in her slimy ass!" This demon has such a potty mouth *GASP* The lines aren't as daring as the original, and you know what, nothing could be as offensive, given the context of the day and age. That was important. Every line of The Exorcist spoke volumes of a changing generation choosing art, shock and a frightening realism rather than covering it up with such fluff as Christians would have turned it into. Well enough of the social commentary. Pazuzu still can deliver the crass. Though this film is less about the dialogue than the plot, the lines have their moments.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story is great! Not a fantastic and original twist ride, however the character development is pretty damn good, and Pazuzu is pretty good too. I liked it a lot. It's got a touch of Indiana Jones with all the Nazi stuff and the desert archaeology, but with real monsters and hauntings thrown in. There's even a nice little social commentary about British Imperialism. Overall, well rounded.
Rating: 7

Mood: The look is very desolate, very isolationist. It's a good theme that is relatively well maintained throughout and this combines with madness elevates the overall feel. The personal touch of having a broken ex-priest revisiting his own demons (which are realistic like our own, not drama horror stuff). Not a gore-fest like I expected, but something subtler, better, kinda like the first one.
Rating: 8

" Sir, simply because he's in black doesn't mean he's a demon.. actually that was the pastor"

Overall Rating: 76% (Not All That Spooky, But Damn Entertaining)

Aftertaste: The prequel as the fourth sequel. You think this movie's gonna blow chunks like Exorcist II (not in a good way like The Exorcist with the head spinning and the chunk blowing). I was impressed. Everyone I knew said it was garbage or "passable", and no way does it beat such lines as the original, but still I found this to be a nice little stand alone film and a pleasant tribute to the original, while still having our hero's character arc be fully realized. It's nice to have men with demons chase demons. It's cool.

Madhouse (2004)

"OH my God! You're filthy!!!!"

Horror Thriller

Starring: Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project), Jordan Ladd (Grindhouse; Cabin Fever)

Directed By: William Butler

Overview: A fresh out of school mental health student does his first internship in a difficult psychiatric hospital. When it's discovered that the old Asylum has a vivid haunting history, our student ventures into an investigation of horrific proportions.

Acting: This is the sort of movie where you expect the caliber of acting that you get. In the semi-classic nut-house horror, you don't expect much, and that's what you get, with Lance Henrickson (Aliens' Bishop) as a nice surprise. Why he's recently taken on these less than good movies of late, I don't know, but he elevates the caliber. Sadly, in this one, he's no Samson capable of holding up this crumbling Madhouse.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The images? Sometimes spooky, really, and the cutscenes are actually pretty gory and add to the theme of bloody mess (though not really madness). The gore is nice and the look of the hospital, though not as immersive as it could have been, was decent, especially the "old section" of the hospital, which is really just a dungeon for the REAL crazies.
Rating: 7

Script: There were some pretty tragically shitty lines, admittedly. One scene where one of the doctors is making a sandwich alone has him streaming a constant monologue of such things as "Mmm, ham, just what the doctor ordered", then talking to himself about the sandwich he's making in the blatantly obvious kill scene. That sort of cheesy dialogue might cut it for cult classics, but ugh...
Rating: 5

Plot: The unoriginal twists and turns are what make this film truly suffer. No it's not completely predictable, but each scene's beginning made the rest of the moment obvious. I was thinking things like "Oh the crazy go get info from the mysterious patient scene" the whole way through. All in all, the story wasn't that well thought out. At least the end was semi-decent.
Rating: 4

Mood: The mood, not so much. Between the overzealous stereotypical insanities and the predictable stalker fare, I really wasn't drawn into the film all that much. Chalk it up to another free 'On Demand' Halloween Horror. Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting what I pay for...Still better good than bad...semi-decent.
Rating: 4

"OOooOOO! Evil child silhouette! How Terrifying!!!!"

Overall Rating: 52% (I Guess I Was Mad To See This)

Aftertaste: The free movie. Hell, it's free, I can't really complain all that much. It's not like I felt it was a real loss, just not a movie I'd ever recommend, yet another for the "Seen It" pile. Don't bother kids.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

101 Reykjavik (2000)

Hooo yeah it gets cold up there in Reykjavik...

Genre: Comedy Drama (Iceland, Denmark, Norway, France)

Starring: Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Victoria Abril (Kaena: The Prophecy; French Twist)

Directed By: Baltasar Kormakur

Overview: In the frozen city of Reykjavik, we follow the wacky life of our hero, his mother, and her lesbian Spanish Flamenco teacher.

Acting: The acting was fine. I wasn't a fan of the overzealous Lola character, however I think that was the point. Still everyone did fine and nothing stood out as grand or lame.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The images were a touch panoramic, though they could have done more landscapes. The cinematography did more to capture the theme of isolation, rather than look real good, or have a neat style. The location scouting was good, but the delivery wasn't particularly impressive.
Rating: 7

Script: The script wasn't all that memorable either. It's pretty straight forward stuff, getting the point across, then there's a funny scene here and there, but sometimes I felt that there was some humour lost in translation.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story started off well. We explore the life of a self-proclaimed lazy bum in a place where there's really nothing to do. From there it gets a little more complicated and relationships ebb and flow like the tides. As for how interested I was in the story itself? Yeah, didn't much care for it.
Rating: 6

Mood: As stated above, the mood was well captured. The darkness of the wasteland that they live in, the land itself, all that was very well done, but I couldn't really get into the whole story side of things, and I didn't really care all that much more most of the players.
Rating: 7

Wow, they even have heat up there in Reukkidyacivk!!!

Overall Rating: 68% (A Little Too Foreign To Me)

Aftertaste: The foreign film. It's always a gamble you know? Sometimes you find yourself thinking, what the hell kind of sense does this make, and why are plotless films so widely renowned in Europe? Luckily this film poses neither of those questions... all that much. Not something I'd recommend but it was decent enough. Not all that memorable though.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Requiem For a Dream (2000) * The Best Movie I Have Ever Seen *

Hello all. I thought I'd do something a little different for this film. I know when you're reading along, you might skip the
Acting section or just browse through Cinematography. I know the way it works. This film is too important to skip down to the red Overall Rating that I'll be granting. Too important, not just to me but also in regards to the lesson it teaches. Yes, I'll rate it as per usual on my scale, but I'm sure it'll be more of an essay on perfection rather than the normal review.

You see, I want you to walk away with the knowledge that this film moved me immensely, and still hits hard the third time around, because this is the best movie ever made.

First of all though, a warning. I've lent this to others and I've heard such things as, "It's not THAT good", "Why are you so dark?" and "That's too heavy for me." Well to the first comment I say: not everyone can like the same thing, fine, it might not be your bag, but I know no one who actually HATED this film, so watch it.

To the 'dark' comment, I don't know why I love tragedy (well I do but I won't get into it) but it's my favorite genre. It's not a fun film, remember that. It's the best lesson teaching film I've ever seen and I'm of the opinion that part of the drug speech you have with your kids when they hit 14 should include a viewing of this film. Maybe 14 is too early, but better they get shocked from a movie than from mainlining coke and popping speed, so watch it.

To those who watch film like they watch reality TV, never wanting to watch a 'heavy' film, you're missing the point of such a versatile medium, and obviously this website isn't for you. The best stories are the ones that linger and impact. Disney is great for children, and we all return to it now and then, but when an injustice has been done and you want to learn more about it, don't you go and watch Hotel Rwanda? Well you should, and documentaries too, like The Corporation, The Take, and Bowling for Columbine. So on that note, this being the best teacher of the drug lesson ever, WATCH IT.

I guess I'll start by extolling the virtues of the 4 main actors:

Jared Leto, who was in Fight Club, plays the main character, a man with high ambition and some good ideas. Jared is absolutely perfect in this role. There's nothing he could do to be better. It's like he spent all his Oscar chips on this one.

His best friend, played by Marlon Wayans, is the man with the connections and gets in on the drug dealing business. Marlon's is my favorite character. The bits about his mother are heart-wrenching, and Marlon has never been better in anything, ever.

The girlfriend, played by Jennifer Connelly, of House of Sand and Fog fame is the second biggest name in the cast. She's absolutely gorgeous and her portrayal of how the addiction burrows its way into her relationships is the most gripping of all the stories, since it shows the terrible side of human desire.

Finally the biggest name is Ellen Burstyn, academy award winner. You may remember her from such small art house films as The Exorcist. Yeah. This is the caliber of acting that we have. Ellen plays the mother, whose dream of being a contestant on a TV show drives her to lose a few pounds, with the help of a prescription.

Acting gets a perfect 10. To think that there's better roles out there is possible, but from the casting to the secondary and tertiary characters, and the little author cameo, it's all perfection. Highest marks ever, terrific direction.

Cinematography: They have a way of making the sexy look disgusting, pain hurt deep down in your bowels, and the visual effects make you nod in understanding at the mindset and overall mood of the scenes, from peace and happiness to pain and suffering. Throwing in cocaine with coffee in the "using" scenes makes beautiful sense and even the simple shots are beautiful, with interesting angles, lenses, zooms and filters. They didn't hold back here. And neither do they refrain from showing appropriate gore and other icky moments, though never overboard. It's beautiful how perfect the entire look of this is, and what bumps this up to a perfect 10 is the moments when they're high. Yes, it looks like fun, it looks good, it gets the message across, then yes it turns horrible too, and we get it, even if we never touched bennies, dope or snow.

Script: Sadly, this script cannot get a perfect 10 in my books, but it does get a 9. Simplicity in declaration of plans and mad retorts of strung out withdrawal in obvious emotionally charged situations are offset by serene moments of professions of love and remembrance of a sweeter time. It's not poetry in motion, but it's good, clear, precise and honest. Freaky good.

Plot: The presence of imagination, those scenes where you think they're doing something for real then it goes back to them just thinking about it, that's a nice touch of fantasy. You know when you think about it, this is classic 5 act film, with an introduction and 4 seasons of progress. Each character arc is honest and we truly have no questions about the motives of any scene, except the lingering questions at the end that bore into you for days. It is very dark however so be warned. Be ready to either bask in the moment alone, or have your friends ready to shake this off a little. Either way, I found it absolutely exhilarating. The ending and their symbolic 'last-scene' moment is utterly brilliant. This is what storytelling should be about, and for that it gets a 10, never have I seen a tale so rife with the weight of meaning.

And you wonder what I think of the Mood overall? Fear crushes your heart with an iron grip. Loneliness, longing, addiction and the desire for acceptance entwines itself into your soul and pulls at every moment of pain you've ever felt, expanding it and making it present, current, and heavy, though not without respite. The moments of joy, happiness and hope are only elevated to again be dropped from newfound heights. This gets the highest rating possible of 10 because the shattering of dreams crack the characters so deeply and change so perfectly their entire beings, each in a different way, that a future free of suffering is unimagined for years for each and every one of the players.

Requiem For a Dream ... Perfect title.

Oh, you feel this, and it lingers long.

That's why this film gets an Overall Rating of 98%, the highest score I've ever given.

Aftertaste: Man is this ever moving. If I find a 100% movie, I will begrudgingly bump this down to second place, but I really don't see that happening ever in my life. After all this, aren't you interested? Do yourself a favour, expand your artistic and humanist horizons, just for one night. Watch this... Just watch it.

You won't regret it, I promise.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 (2003)

Easiest way to know that a movie sucks... no pictures of it on the internet...

Horror Thriller (Canada)

Starring: Sadie LeBlanc ("Rumours"), Troy Mundle... you know... people you never heard of.

Directed By: Josh Levy

Overview: Inside a Webcam house, we witness the final 45 minutes of the transmission before it's shut down. In that time, we see the murderous rampage of a jealous applicant.

Acting: You know the movie is really really low budge, not only when you can't find any info about it on IMDB, but when you look for screenshots and find absolutely nothing. Sadly, I had to scour the internet for the images that have at least SOMETHING to do with the film, namely these sad actors. You know to give them credit, most of them did really well for a little film like this, and maybe the director even did a decent job. I'll give it a better than bad, specially Daryn (above) and the killer dude.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The effects were low budget. This however is the point. The idea is that we're seeing the images of a webcam in which the shot that it being shown is randomly chosen through sensor movement, therefore where there's movement, there's something worthy of shooting. All this to say that they made it look exactly like that was going on. All those hidden crazy webcam angles, they got 'em, the touch of grainy fish-eye like lenses, they got 'em, and most importantly, the editing. Without the editing simulating the Webcam look, this movie would have suffered. I know it's low budge and you may really hate the actual movie, but this category was actually genius. Throw in the night vision, good stuff.
Rating: 9

Script: The writing wasn't total piss. There's at least some decent motivation in the characters and we get to learn just enough about them before they "get it". From the wasted stoner, to the lonely gay guy to the playah, all these people have real honest short term goals that they're talking about, and it's pretty honest stuff. For that, you get kudos.
Rating: 7

Plot: The endings being what it was, it's unfortunate that it ended so abruptly, yet the plug was literally pulled, so I see the realism that they were trying to pull off. Still, it's a totally crappy last 10 minutes and the whole helpless woman watching thing, I don't care what day and age this is, I don't buy it. You lose points for making the women weak. Will someone please make a low budget horror film where the woman goes and has a knife fight with the guy. Make her lose fine, but at least cut the guy up some instead of friggin SCREAMING her head off and not running, even though she's safe and OUT OF THE HOUSE, CHRIST.
Rating: 4

Mood: Low-budget and touch of fromage makes suffer this category. Still it's not bad and you honestly do feel like you're watching a bad (if not overly dramatic - but isn't that the point?) reality webcast. If you're going to go look at something like this see Series 7: The Contenders. It's awesome, it's basically a real "Survivor", where the contestants kill or be killed.
Rating: 6

Let your back bone slide.. right down the toilet... like my career...

Overall Rating: 64% (I guess I'll Watch, If There's Nothing Else On)

Aftertaste: An obscure little film to say the least. The Internet has very little info and people don't seem to like it. I know why, yes, but I actually liked the film. Never the kind you'd ever recommend out loud, but among friends you may admit to having enjoyed most of it and the premise and all that, though yes, very much not repertoire.