Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Movies of 2011 in Short Review

Drive -- This Action Film is set on the West Coast in L.A. Or is it? Here we have a film where the director has made a Fairy Tale world much like the one around us now. The first half of the film has this hazy feeling that makes much of the action better. Ryan Gosling plays a lone wolf that makes money as a Stunt Driver. He Drives for the movies and also is a mechanic by day, but by night he is a calm no nonsense getaway Driver for hire. He moves in next to a young mother (Carey Mulligan) who is married to a man in Prison. When this man gets out he brings trouble with him. This strange family needs the Drivers help and he helps them because they are his only connection to the real world. Is this Driver a bad guy with a heart of gold, or a good guy in a rough spot? The other bad guys are real mobster types played by Ron Perlman (born right here in Washington Heights, NYC) and Albert Brooks. This is a great part for Brooks. He should be cast in more roles like this one. So why Does this story not end as good as it begin? Well in the end the Fairy Tale seems too much and some of the plot points that could have been easily fixed where just glazed over. Making this a good film that could have been great!

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel -- This documentary on the infamous Roger Corman is so much fun! Just like the man himself. If you don't know Roger Corman is a Film Director and Producer who's career spans many decades. He is the grandfather of gore! The ploitation behind Exploitation!! He put the amp in camp!! In the 60's he did an Edgar Allan Poe Series with Vincent Price that gave the world The House of Usher(1960), and The Pit and the Pendulum(1961). He is the man behind movies like the original "The Little Shop of Horrors" (1960), Death Race 2000 (1975), Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979), Children of the Corn (1983), and the first biker flick ever The Wild Angels (1966). Without him and his New World Pictures, America might not of had a wide distribution of foreign Films. We might not know names like Ingmar Bergman, François Truffaut, Federico Fellini, or Akira Kurosawa without him showing the films at Cinemas and Drive-Ins around the country. There are too many famous Actors, Directors, and Writers that got their start with Roger to put here, but many of them made it into "Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel." This documentary has been a long time coming and now that's its here everyone should see it.

Shame, Directed by Steve McQueen -- This is a stylized and powerful film about a successful business man (Michael Fassbender) who also is a sex addict. Having everything going for him he has an endless amount of sex coming to him, but he still wants more. He seems to have it all together but it is really all falling apart. Then his sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to stay with him. She has issues of her own and this becomes the heart of the story. Can he be unselfish and be there for his sister? Or has his sexual desire and fulfillment taken over his will. Here in New York, where six degree's of separation mean a whole different thing, almost anyone can live on the edge of anything. How close are you?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Movies of 2011 in Short Review

Midnight in Paris -- This funny little film that is written and directed by Woody Allen starts off much like "Manhattan." This time we get Paris with its beautiful buildings and canals, and its streets sparkling with rain. Our protagonist is not Allen but Owen Wilson playing the part of Gil a screenwriter who longs to be a novelist. This dream is criticized by his fiancée who needs to be kept in a certain lifestyle that dreamers can't afford. One night a magical thing happens at midnight and Gil is taken to the 1920's. A time he has always fantasized about. Night after night he meets all the Lost Generations stars Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Even Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. As Gil spends his days with upper class Americans his nights are filled with the who's who of the Jazz Age. Will he decide to stay in the 1920's or go back to the present and make his life in the "here and now" all that he longs for.

Melancholia -- This strange story written and directed by Lars Von Trier, is typical of most of his films. It is dark and disturbing, it builds slowly in many directions and ends with a bang. This is how he brings the general public, who spend their lives in the real world, into his mind fulled with the twist and turns of this awkward genius. In this film Kirsten Dunst is a depressive bride that has everything and still seems to be a discontent. Bring into play that a planet from the far riches of space is coming to swing passed earth and you get a story line that is all Von Trier. Charlotte Gainsbourg plays another stellar part for the director as the sister that worries that this might be the end.

A Dangerous Method -- In most Cronenberg films there is an underlining characteristic of sexual Deviance. So its about time he made a film that comes right out and says "'aren't we all sexual deviants?" How does one make a film about sex and the human condection? Well, just go back into history. like the "Kinsey" film about the life of Alfred Kinsey, Cronenberg has chosen science to portray how we all think about sex. This film goes back to examine Dr.Sigmund Freud's "Talking Cure." Young Psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) uses Freud's (Viggo Mortensen) method on a young Jewish women who has history of sexual abuse, played by Keira Knightley. Knightley seems to shine in any period piece and this is no exception. Fassbender is not in her shadow in this film, but is right there next to her showing intelligence and poise. When this women is sent to the asylum she becomes the heart of the Jung/Freud relationship. This film makes one feel like dusting off some old books to study Freud and the human condection in depth.