Month: August 2008

Masters of Horror, Dario Argento, Jenifer (2005)

To what degree can man become the primary diet of something and in how many ways?, the concerns explored by a director revealed as a master, in this film’s making, of his genre. The monsters we tolerate to live among us, even with whom to sometimes bear children have finally met their match in Jenifer. She is merely the extreme example of what already exists among us, capable of killing their own and of justifying it where common sense and decency no longer prevail. But Jenifer (played by the alarmingly diverse Carrie Anne Fleming,) an obvious sub-species, for all her horror, is ingratiating enough to make a host out of some while making a meal out of others (she prefers entrails) and might be a fine mother to her own…at least she doesn’t bite the hand that feeds her and gives in return. The viewer will not be able to rightly imagine her ever working a provider into a financial grave with the help of an attorney. (No offense, ladies, that swipe is meant to cut at both sexes.) Dario Argento’s mastery is in what he leaves his viewers to add to an already well established horror while they cope with interpretation. The imagination becomes its own instrument of extended flights into utmost horror realms even perhaps beyond any intended. Is this a subspecies or made this way? Does...

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Masters of Horror, John Carpenter: Cigarette Burns (2005)

 To the investigative researcher a quest is a high, prolonged by the expectation to venture into the unknown (but rumored) realm. A point of no return, an even deadly one, can be exceeded by the occasional obsession incurred when dealing with explorations into madness. While many such exploits have been known among mindless pursuits of military conquest, few, beyond those to profile the serial killer, have been devoted to artistry alone…this one, that of film making. Cigarette Burns makes the requirement of its viewer, in order to appreciate its reality potential or credibility, an acknowledgment of this element, so vital to the value of this movie’s interpretation. The madman, Charles Manson once remarked in an interview, “if they ever let me start killing I would get everyone.” Imagine something worse than this, imagine murder and mayhem obsessed to be the only purity. At what point in this dramatic quest for a legendary film of such sinister promise does our professional searcher for the ultimate in movie making memorabilia Kirby (Norman Reedus) begin to show his own dooming fixation for it? Each along his way reveal a realization of the process which his becoming closer marks him more and more ominously. Until nothing comes to stand in his way of obtaining it, as much for himself, at this point, as for the rich aficionado that has hired him. A man already prepared...

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Street Kings

High intensity cop dramas have long been a staple of Hollywood films, most of them set out to show that police officers are here to protect us (which most are); but, lately it seems that these types of films have shifted somewhat in their approach to cops. No longer are all police officers in the movies out to protect and serve the communities, now it seems that most movie cops are out only for themselves and a bigger piece of financial pie which they will take any way they can get it. A few years ago, one highly praised film focused on these morally challenged police officers with such explosiveness and realism that audiences couldn’t help but notice this changing trend in Hollywood’s police dramas. The film I’m referring to would be director Antoine Fuqua’s incredibly intense and suspenseful, critically acclaimed movie “Training Day”. Fast forward a little more to the present day, and we have ourselves yet another glimpse at the darker side of some police officers, in a film that at times feels like a semi-sequel to “Training Day”, the fast-paced, action-packed “Street Kings” starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker. Coincidentally, “Street Kings” is directed by David Ayer (“Harsh Times”), who wrote the screenplay to “Training Day”, which may explain the nagging sense of familiarity that this movie has to his earlier work. “Street Kings” is the...

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My Sassy Girl

My Sassy Girl is an American remake of a Korean film of the same name, which was based off the original novel written by Ho-Sik Kim. Directed by Yann Samuel, and adapted by writer Victor Levin, the film stars Jesse Bradford as Charlie Bellow, a small town guy, from the Midwest, who has moved to New York City to attend business school, and then meets a smart, enduring, and quirky girl (Elisha Cuthbert) who challenges his life path and wins his heart. Charlie Bellow has his whole life planned out for him, wiether he likes it or not, and nothing and noone seems able to distract him from his goals. That is until he meets sweet, quirky, and complicated Jordan on a subway platform in New York City. After rescuing Jordan from her drunken state, Charlie can’t seem to shake Jordan away, as she begins calling him frequently, and the two begin dating. Soon, Jordan has become completely emersed in Charlie’s world, winning his heart, and challenging his preconceptions about life. However, Jordan also carries a deep, personal secret, and once its revealed, it will challenge wiether or not the two young lovers can stay together. An often predictable, often cheesy, often incredibly sappy love story, My Sassy Girl is none the less a great romantic dramedy with tremendous heart, a moving love story, and great characters. Still, even with its share of...

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Sydney White

I’m just going to start off by saying that this is not the kind of movie that I would pick to watch on my own time. It was my wife’s night to pick which movie we were going to watch, and she had several from which to choose from; but when she saw that I had recently purchased “Sydney White” for her from our local video store she opted to watch it over all the other contenders. Personally, I had no opinion either way about this movie; I hadn’t heard whether it was good, bad, etc.; so, I was pretty much open to whatever the movie had to offer, I just hoped it was at least a decent movie watching experience. “Sydney White” is the story of a young woman (Amanda Bynes) who is in her first year of college, and well, things aren’t going as smoothly as she’d planned. After trying to get into an extremely popular sorority, she has found herself ostracized by those she had tried to fit in with and is now living with seven undeniably awkward and socially inept guys in a frat house that resembles more of an old-time, rundown home than your standard college campus fare usually does. As Sydney begins to evaluate her life, which has grown somewhat more complicated due to a burgeoning romance with a modern day prince (in...

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