Month: June 2009

The Conversation

                 The Conversation leaves you lost for words, but when I say that, I mean you sit back and think, what was that about? The Conversation stars Gene Hackman ( The Firm) as a detective of sorts that specializes in recording conversations. Gene Hackman is the only known actor other than a young Harrison Ford. This thriller may thrill you if you don’t get out much.    Gene Hackman plays Harry Caul, a troubled man, afraid to open up, and feeling awkward and uncomfortable if he does. He is paid to tape a conversation of a gentleman and a young lady; little does he know that this conversation will change the trajectory of his life for good.  As he reruns the conversation he starts to piece together the puzzle and learns that the people in question are lovers and the client paying for the taping of the conversation is the lover of the female on the tape. Concerned and afraid for the safety of the people on the tape Harry shadows the couple and follows them to their rendezvous, only to find a truth more shocking then his presumptions…    But I’m not telling, watch it and see for yourself, or don’t watch it and wonder for the rest of your natural life.  I will say that Gene Hackman plays his most destitute character in this film, a pejorative...

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Red Eye

  I will have to begin by saying that if your humor is as cynical as mine, you will find the film Red Eye a sort of deadpan comedy. This action thriller stars Rachel McAdams who you may have seen in the hilarious comedy Mean Girls, as well as Cillian Murphy from the film’s Batman the Beginning and The Girl with the Pearl Earrings.  Lisa Reisert is the manager of an exclusive hotel that is frequently visited by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Charles Keefe (Jack Scalia).   Lisa has taken a brief sojourn from work to attend her grandmother’s funeral and in the airport meets a kind stranger named Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy). The two have a leisurely conversation in which Lisa remarks on Jack’s name resembling Jack the Ripper, and he jokingly says, “I killed my parents”, or is he joking… The two end up sitting next to each other were Jack reveals the truth of his niceties  – he needs Charles Keefe moved to a specific strategic room in the hotel she manages so that he can be assassinated. If she refuses her father is dead. The rest of the flight features cat and mouse attempts by Lisa to evade Jackson’s accostment. The pinnacle of the harassment comes to a head when Jackson stuns Lisa by knocking her head into the fold out table on the...

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Across The universe

  “Words areflowing out like endless rains into a paper cup”, aptly describes thissurreal kaleidoscope of a film. Directed by Julie Taymor,this musical film invites you to get lost and free in the 70’s as you areserenaded by songs of the biggest band in history- The Beatles. The filmfollows a group of people that seemingly, “Come Together”starring Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson and T.V. Carpio.Also in this film are Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther McCoy.     “Isn’tanybody going to listen to my story, all about the girl who came to stay,”sings Jim Strugess. Jude (Jim Strugess) opens up the film on the cool briskovercast beach of Liverpool reminiscing of the days past, and the friends ofthe past. Waves on the beach crash and fall tumbling within them a collage ofevents from the past that is in a way overlapped over the crashing sea. Thefilm covers Jude’s initial plan to go to America to meet his dad and tosee the USA. His father works at Princeton and so Jude ultimately believes thathis father is a college professor. So Jude picks up his life, leaving hismother in Liverpool to meet his estranged father.  On arrival he collideswith a student named Max (Joe Anderson) and he asks about his father theprofessor. He soon learns from Max that his father works in physical plant andis no professor at all. Upon meeting his father he learns...

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Year One

Harold Ramis has contributed, either as an actor, writer, director or producer, to some of the most popular comedies put out over the last 30 years. His credits include Animal House, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Analyze This & That plus many others. Even though the promos didn’t looking promising, with his impressive track record, I hoped Ramis’s new Stone Age comedy Year One, would surprise me and be funny. Well, the result was a giggle here and a smirk there, but Year One is one to forget. Jack Black plays Zed, an inept hunter living during the Stone Age. Zed would like to “lay” with Maya (June Diane Raphael, Bride Wars), but even though he makes her laugh, she has her doubts that he would make a good mate.  Zed’s competition for Maya’s affection is the best hunter in the village, whose body looks like he just came from a photo shoot for a muscle magazine, Marlak (Matthew Willig, The Benchwarmers) Zed’s best friend Oh (Michael Cera, Superbad), a gather, is having his own woman problems. He likes Eema (Juno Temple, The Other Boleyn Girl), but because of Oh’s bashful personality, she doesn’t notice him. When Zed is upset about the lack of respect he gets in his village, he decides to eat a piece of forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in hopes that his new intelligence will...

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The Virgin Spring (1960)

Ingmar Bergman’s 1960, black-and-white retelling of a medieval Swedish tale packs an emotional punch rarely realized with such powerful success. Max Von Sydow, a frequent actor in Bergman’s films, turns in a tortured performance as Tore, a father pushed beyond the limits of his Christian beliefs. Other members of the primary cast, including Brigitta Valberg as Mareta, Gunnel Lindblom as Ingeri, and Brigitta Pettersson as Karin also frequent many Bergman films.   Many modern movies, even those which are contemplative character studies as opposed to action-based films, do not trust silence. Spaces which would otherwise be saturated by nothingness, by the absence of soundtrack and dialogue, instead are filled with noise. Even music can provide distraction in an otherwise quiet moment. In Ang Lee’s eloquent introduction to the Criterion Collection’s edition of The Virgin Spring, the director speaks to the issue of silence. He believes that many modern day film makers do not trust these silent spaces to convey story and emotion and I believe that he is absolutely correct. Ingmar Bergman, master film maker and director of The Virgin Spring, understood the profound power of silence. The Virgin Spring contains multiple sequences of either utter silence, or with only the natural sounds of the landscape – a stream, a raven – in the background. And this film is all the more profound and powerful for it.   The story is at once simple and devastating, and Bergman delivers it in just under 90 minutes. Karin, the blond...

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