"One more thing we need to do: the hitman needs a ride." That… More"One more thing we need to do: the hitman needs a ride." That line cracks me up every time, one of several brief moments of macabre humor that underscores the incredibly shortsighted and tragically impulsive decisions made by a pack of aimless Florida teens when they murder one of their "friends," an abusive, self-loathing egoist named Bobby Kent in this true story adaptation. I've seen this movie about 4 times now which speaks to director Larry Clark's ability to draw me into the sorry lives and ill-conceived plans of these juvenile delinquents. His camerawork thrusts you among their private conversations, passing of joints, and pressing of naked bodies. On first viewing, the omnipresence of bare teenage flesh (although the actors are markedly older) becomes uncomfortable and feels exploitative - everyone agrees on that point regarding the unnecessary Bijou Phillips crotch shot. A friend held that the rampant nudity helped place you within this circle of carefree, irresponsible adolescence. Whether the film would be less effective with a less intimate portrait is certainly debatable. Upon repeat viewings I found, while still boundary-pushing, it works as an effective tool to involve an audience member as "part of the gang," thereby investing yourself emotionally even if you can't relate to these kids on a personal level. And let's face it, this is a tough crowd to like. The acting is stellar: Phillips, Brad Renfro, and Rachel Miner have never been better, Nick Stahl is one of Hollywood's most gifted (then-)young actors, Leo Fitzpatrick is great as the Hitman, and Michael Pitt gives one of the best & most believable stoner idiot performances I've seen. Gripping, unflinching, gut-wrenching, and scarily realistic, underneath runs a scathing social commentary of the role of neglectful parents. It's a tough pill to swallow but fascinating nonetheless.
"What the hell are you talking about??" "We can work things out,… More"What the hell are you talking about??" "We can work things out, you know that, we can be adults about this." "Mavis, I'm a married man." "I know, and we can get past it, together." Surehanded direction from the younger Reitman follows the unfulfilled ghost author of a successful teen fiction series back to her smalltown roots as she attempts to win back her highschool sweetheart. One stumbling block - he's happily marred with a newborn daughter! Charlize Theron can disappear into a character as well as anyone and deserved her Oscar nomination here. As Mavis Gary she carries an air of aloof surperiority, but is not without self-awareness about her flaws and pitiable.
Decent little gender-swapping Deliverance indie from a… MoreDecent little gender-swapping Deliverance indie from a screenplay by Mark Duplass and both directed & co-starring his The League alum Katie Aselton. There's a little originality as three girlfriends intend to spend a weekend on an island they frequented as children until they run afoul of some dishonorably discharged military men out on a hunting trip, but not enough to give a full-fledged recommendation. Like, the opening half hour in particular is, like, rough sledding as we, like, have to listen to these, like, grown women, like, babble like they're, like, fifteen again. After Kate Bosworth's character lies about having a disease to get her way, it takes a near-fatal encounter to get back on her side again. Most noteworthy moment has Lake Bell giving an extremely convincing teeth-chattering evocation of hypothermia.
Meticulously nuanced, resulting in a nourishing film that means… MoreMeticulously nuanced, resulting in a nourishing film that means different things to different people. Pay close attention to the various sights and sounds and you will be rewarded as the elliptical nature of the screenplay unfolds. The story involves a model who hits a dog with her car and then meets its reclusive despondent owner, a retired judge who taps into his neighbors' telephone conversations for kicks. Eavesdropping, synchronicity, life imitating art, and echoes of the past all play transcendent roles as we follow their growing platonic relationship. Irene Jacob is superb as the model Valentine, while Jean-Louis Trintignant deftly evolves from crusty to sympathetic. Indelible final sequence that folds previous events together like origami.
No Peter Sellers in this sequel to The Mouse That Roared so… MoreNo Peter Sellers in this sequel to The Mouse That Roared so they're already fighting an uphill battle, but still managing to produce a pleasing return to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. This time the 5x3 mile principality enters the space race with foreign aid money from the United States, procured by the crooked Prime Minister wonderfully played by Ron Moody who intends to use the funds to install indoor plumbing in the royal castle! But his starry-eyed son and the head scientist have other plans for the rocket donated by the Soviet Union, who have to appear equal to the Americans in generosity. Playful political humor satirizes the superpowers' preoccupation to conquer space, and this English production enjoys poking fun at it's own country's impotence in the matter. There's a completely useless romantic subplot and the sight gags dry up after an hour, but overall the film achieves successful reentry.