Month: February 2012

Limitless (2011)

After Limitless ended, I was unsure what it was trying to say, if it was trying to say anything. It involves the use of a drug that allows a person to utilize 100% of their brain power at all times, as long as the drug is in their system. Consequences occur, but when it’s no longer convenient, that plot point is dropped. In the end, I’m not sure if the film is anti-drug, pro-drug, indifferent toward their usage or somewhere in between. The film stars Bradley Cooper as Eddie Morra, a terrible writer. I have no idea how his writing is, as we never get to read it, but he sits in his computer room for months with nothing to show for that time. To me, that’s one of the marks of a bad writer. His relationship with his girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish) ends right when the film begins. He’s behind on his rent, addicted to cigarettes, and basically embodies a man whose life has gone completely in the wrong direction. I like to think this is what Cooper’s Hangover character acts like when he’s not engaged in random trips to Las Vegas. He runs into a drug dealer on the street. Apparently this man was the brother of his ex-wife, or something like that. This dealer claims that he has a pill that allows you to become completely...

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Haunted Summer: Artistic, insightful, deep, and tastefully done… despite what the box advertises

Haunted Summer is a masterpiece.  It is delicate and unassuming considering the historical context.  Unfortunately, this movie has been marketed too lowly for the considerable talent spotlighted in making it.   The director, actors, actresses, set designer, makeup artist, and costume designer come together seamlessly.  While the music department leaves much to be desired, the featured art compensates.  Set in the fabled summer of 1816, Haunted Summer (1988) is a historical drama.  It chronicles the exploits of two established poets who lead controversial lives: Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley.  Feminist and budding literary talent Mary Godwin (later Shelley) is featured rightfully.  Claire Clairmont—Mary’s step sister and lover to both Shelley and Bryon—would have it no other way than to be there.  Dr. John William Polidori sidekicks; he is Byron’s physician and lover, an aspiring author himself. Ivan Passer directs.  Haunted Summer is Lewis John Carlino’s adaptation of a novel by Anne Edwards.  It is filmed in Lake Como, Lambardia, Italy. Haunted Summer is the second out of three movies made about the foursome’s creative processes, philosophies, and sexuality.  All three movies—Gothic, Haunted Summer, and Rowing with the Wind—have been released within four years of each other.  The process of creativity; the radical ideas about politics, philosophy, and feminism; and the spark of light that makes the historical characters memorable two hundred years postmortem are not lost in a sea...

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Mosnter’s Ball (2001)

Unfortunately for Monster’s Ball, only about a third of the film really works as well as director Marc Forster wants it to. That’s also the third that’s supposed to be the least important and is there only to set up the main plot of the film. It’s sad to say, but once the real love story — or lack thereof — starts to play out, I occasionally lost interest in what was going on. Not complete interest, and it was still a good film on the whole, but nothing quite gels as well as it should. The first portion of Monster’s Ball focuses on building things up for us. We meet correction officers Hank (Billy Bob Thorton) and Sonny Grotowski (Heath Ledger). They’re currently getting ready to assist in the execution of a man named Lawrence (Sean Combs), who is married to Leticia (Halle). They have a son named Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun), who is obese and gets yelled at for it. Not by daddy, who has been in prison for over a decade, but by mommy, a constantly stressed out woman who is behind on all of her bills, has a car that’s about to break, and a husband who is about to get the electric chair. Moving back to our correction officers, they have their own problems. Sonny has never been loved by his dad, and is treated...

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Movie Review of ‘Fright Night’ (2011)

In 1985’s Fright Night, Peter Vincent pointed out that ’80s movie-goers aren’t interested in seeing vampires (or vampire killers) anymore; “All they want to see is slashers running around in ski masks, hacking up young virgins.” In 2011, these words ring ever truer. The Twilight series has expunged any interest and menace that vampires once had, and not a lot of imagination or thought goes into today’s successful horror movies. To reinvigorate cinematic bloodsuckers back in 1985, the original Fright Night employed a meta, postmodern approach to vampires, and it succeeded marvellously. While 2011’s Fright Night failed to do the same thing for the noughties, it’s better than expected; a rare type of remake which takes off in new directions as opposed to slavishly sticking to the original template. Retaining the same basic premise, spirit, characters and comedy-horror tone of the 1985 film while updating the background details, era and setting, director Craig Gillespie and writer Marti Noxon have produced a worthy tribute to its forefather that’s unafraid to have its own voice. A high school senior living in a desert community on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Charley Brewster (Yelchin) is plagued by typical adolescent dilemmas, maintaining a relationship with girlfriend Amy (Poots) while enjoying newfound acceptance with the “in crowd” and distancing himself from childhood best friend Ed (Mintz-Plasse). When locals start going missing under mysterious circumstances, Ed alerts Charley that his charismatic new...

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Elf (2003)

Generally, I’m not a fan of the man-child character. The reason for this is that they’re both (1) annoying and (2) have little reason for existing in the first place. It’s usually passed off as just an immature person, but it’s also frequently done over-the-top for comedic effect. Will Ferrell plays these types of roles with great frequency. The only reason Elf works is because there’s a real (real?) reason for him to act this way. As it turns out, Buddy the elf (Ferrell) isn’t an elf at all. At an orphanage, he climbed into Santa’s sack and was carried off to the North Pole. Instead of, you know, the omnipotent elf putting him back (it’s mentioned that he must have come from the orphanage, so returning him shouldn’t be that difficult), Buddy is adopted by “Papa Elf” (Bob Newhart). He spends his years making toys, although he’s not very good at it. Oh, and he’s also three times bigger than the other elves because, you know, he’s not actually an elf; he’s a human! After being told this, Buddy decides that taking a trip to America, New York City to be specific, would be a good idea. So he does this. He’s going to reconnect with his father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan), because after thirty-odd years of not knowing him, that seems like the sensible thing to do....

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