Month: September 2008

Right at Your Door (2006)

Writer/director Chris Gorak introduces his viewers to the stark world of a society in which decision-making is relegated purely to agenda, even in the throes of disaster. This is not a tale of fiction for it is related to a history of events already wrought upon our society by those empowered to make life and death decisions, no matter how capriciously. Information is dispensed selectively, without regard to accountability and based on “facts not in evidence”. Following instruction is by no means meant remedial to victims, but to “contain” them as object problems, problems to be dispensed with on terms unaccountable to explanation. Yes, Mr. Gorak has stepped out into a world of pseudo-science and police state mentality to expose just how arbitrary and inhuman the outcomes of practicing such policies as those that can be implemented under secret executive order, The Patriot Act, and Wartimes Emergency Acts can be. And he has the courage and skill to bring his viewer headlong into it. Of course, we have had panic made over radon gas, black mold and various strains of disease suspiciously brought back into play after having been lain to rest by sound medical practice. Whole industries have come and gone to take advantage of them. In the end to find out, usually, little or no substance could be attached to the hype or its concerns. In the...

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Malice

Starring Nicole Kidman, Alec Baldwin and Bill Pullman, ‘Malice’ is an old school thriller that delivers suspense and twists throughout. Set in the present day (although this is from the early 90’s, I think) it follows the story of Tracy (Kidman) and Andy (Pullman), newlyweds who have just bought their dream house – but it needs a little work! Andy is the assistant dean at the local university, whilst Tracy does volunteer work for a nursery and both are struggling to make ends meet as they have poured all their money into their new home. Whilst they try to balance the books and do some DIY on their place, Andy also hopes that Tracy will soon fall pregnant and complete his life ideal. However, in their ‘safe’ little haven, a rapist is on the loose, attacking students not outside, but lies in wait for them at their house. The campus cop believes it’s an inside job as the perpetrator seems to know when these young girls will be returning to their apartments so he can pounce. Things escalate when a student Andy has an appointment with, doesn’t show up and he decides to go to her house to see if she’s overslept. When he gets there, he finds evidence of foul play and discovers the body of the girl. He becomes a suspect in the case, which is viewed...

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88 Minutes

I feel fairly confident in stating that veteran actor Al Pacino (“The Godfather” trilogy, “Any Given Sunday”, “Serpico”) is easily one of the greatest actors ever to appear on the silver screen. With that being said, is it just me or is anyone else scratching their head over one of Al’s recent releases, the supposed thriller “88 Minutes”, which has become the worst reviewed movie of Pacino’s illustrious career. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, once you do I’m sure you’ll join me and many others in wondering, “Why does a man as successful as Al Pacino debase himself by starring in this piece of cinematic garbage?” “88 Minutes” follows one extremely stressful day in the life of forensic psychologist Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) as he receives a threatening phone call claiming that he only has 88 minutes to live (hence the name). To make things worse, a killer is leaving a trail of bodies that just so happen to be friends/colleagues or students of Gramm’s. Now, suspicions are on the rise that Jack may have snapped; all the while time is ticking away for Jack to discover who is committing these murders, which of his colleagues and/or students may be killed next, and most important of all, how he can survive the following 88 minutes of his day. So, after viewing this less than thrilling thriller, which...

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Snow Angels

Written and Directed by David Gordon Green, and Based on the novel by Stewart O’Tan, Snow Angels is a brutally tragic drama which intertwines the lives in a small town. Focused on a high school teen (Michael Angarano), his former baby-sitter (Kate Beckinsale) and her emotionally unstable husband (Sam Rockwell) and there young daughter (Gracie Hudson). Heartbreaking, intelligent, tragic and very powerful, the film packs a subtle punch and will leave you thinking about it for days after watching it. In the opening frames, Director Green geniusly paints the picture of anywhere U.S.A. in a small Pennsylvania town in the mid 1970s. We see images that depict everyday life and we realize the film could take place where we live. During a high school band practice, we hear two distant gun-shots, as everyone looks around wondering where it came from. From this moment on, we know the film doesn’t have a happy ending, as it cuts back weeks earlier, and introduces us to the main characters. Effectively, and surprisingly, the film focuses on young Arthur (Angarano), and puts him in the middle of everything going on in the movie. The film focuses on his friendship- turned blossoming romance- with geeky new girl Lyla (Olivia Thirlby), and each time they are on screen together, we are allowed to forget about the horrible things going on in this small town. There...

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Eagle Eye

After Disturbia became a surprise hit last year, Hollywood wasted no time in reuniting director D.J. Caruso and Shia Labeouf for another sure to be hit. They had the director, and they had the main lead, all that was left was the female, the action, and the story.  To solve the first problem Michelle Monaghan was cast, an action which I applauded. The second problem was solved by deciding to turn the whole film into a chase movie with a side of government phone tapping just for kicks. Once they had their money making template set up Eagle Eye needed a story and for that they began to pick their favorite scenes from similar plotted films and just changed the characters and location. Eagle Eye starts off with a confusing attack on a middle eastern could be terrorist that doesn’t make much sense. A flying jet, or camera on a jet, sees a man and deduces that it has a 51% of being the man that they are looking for. The soldiers watching debate as to whether or not fire upon this person and in the end the president deems the chance to big to pass up and they fire. I don’t recall this ever being important in the movie ever again.  Then we cut to Shia Labeouf’s character Jerry who works at a copy story. One day he...

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