|Me, Myself and Irene||C+||Jim Carrey's latest comedy is from the Farrelly brothers, creators of Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary. Carrey plays a Rhode Island state policeman named Charlie who's wife has an affair with a genius black midget, giving birth to black triplets. She leaves him for the midget, leaving him to raise the children alone for the next 18 years. He is in a complete state of denial of the situation, leading the townsfolks to have no respect for him. He eventually has a psychotic breakdown, releasing another personality called Hank. Where Charlie is nice and polite, Hank is an obnoxious asshole. He then must transport a prisoner to New York and suddenly finds himself wanted corrupt policemen.
This film does possess some great comic moments that will make you laugh hysterically, however, they are few and far between. It just doesn't live up to the reputation of the Farrelly brother's other hilarious films. It contains jokes of the lowest order, including having a chicken stuffed up a policeman's ass, and for some reason, his children speak as if they were raised in the hood rather than by a Rhode Island policman. The joke doesn't last far past the first take, however, they go on and on and are not that funny. It is best to see this one on tape rather than go to the expense of going to the theater.
This is one of the First Rite independent films available at Hollywood Video, who, are at least trying to give the average movie renter a selection of something other than the standard Hollywood crap. Unfortunately, this in one of the films they choose.
The film tells the story of Sin, the son of a Korean convenience store owner, the night of his high school graduation. Unfortunately for Sin, his father makes him close. Deciding to close early, he is robbed of $1,800 dollars. He is so afraid of his father that he is doesn't dare tell him of the loss. He believes his father will force him to work at the store to pay the money back, trapping him there forever just when he was about to go off to college and have a life away from the old man.
He is lucky enough to have a group of close friends who decide that they will raise the money before daybreak. The story then begins a series of misadventures to raise the money, everything from girls asking their parents for money, to two of them robbing a pharmacy.
This is the first film from director Chris Chan Lee and probably one of the first Korean-American films. It probably about time as I have already seen two asian Indian-American films so far this year and everyone else better start catching up. The film is apparently autobiographical, as the director states on their website that the scene where Sin's father viciously goes after a mouse was taken from real life, just as the convenience store scenes were shot in the director's own father's store. Unfortunately, I believe that the film needed some stronger editing. Some of dialog scenes were just too long and became boring while some of the emotional scenes just failed to produce the intended emotional response of the patron. The formatting, sound editing and timing were professional, which is something I've come to expect since I began going to film festivals and seeing more and more first films.
By far the best thing in the film was the performance of Soon-Tek Oh as Sin's domineering father, portraying him as a savvy businessman who offers to sell his customer the small paper bags for their individual beers when they also want the plastic bag for the six pack (it merely pisses them off), and a fanatic about providing for his family and about ridding his store and home of vermin. "I can't talk now, I'm killing spiders," he proclaims to an unexpected phone call. Although you won't recognize the name you will recognize the face as Mr. Oh has been a character actor in movies and TV for decades.
In Japanese and English. This is also a First Rite film available at Hollywood Video by a Japanese-American film maker. The film begins with the main character just arrived in New York from Japan to be a rock musician. He is quickly befriended and stays with two other Japanese immigrants, a would-be kendo instructor and another rock musician. The kendo guy makes the mistake of helping one of his neighbors by beating two Asian gangsters with his bokken when they attempt to keep her from running back to Japan. Meanwhile, the other rocker apparently dies in the bathroom of an overdose of "sleepy heads". Now the two have a dilemma. Both are here illegally and if they call the cops, they'll be deported. They decide that they will throw him off the Brooklyn Bridge as he had once said he would want his ashes scattered there.
The film then follows their misadventures as they desperately try to get rid of him without being discovered or arrested. First they have to transport him so they get a friend to help them with his pickup. I was truly astonished to find that New Yorkers have pickups. They lose him off get him there. They stuff him into big boxer's punching bag and load him into the back of a the back of the truck. They lose the truck and then try to take him on the subway. They decide to stuff him in a garbage can and carry that around all they while they are tracked and attacked by the Asian gangsters they pissed off earlier.
This was a very humorous film and a fairly well written screenplay. It did take some unseen plot twists as the guy ends up delivering Japanese takeout to the girl who he had a crush on in high school and is now dating his high school nemesis. This film was about three quarters in Japanese but the subtitles where legible. I really don't have any complaints and thought it was of professional quality and generally a good little film. Worth watching.
|Ravenous||B||After being awarded a commendation for bravery after a blatant act of cowardice in the Mexican-American War. Captain Boyd (Guy Pearce - LA Confidential) is reassigned to Fort Spencer to get him out of the way. A very small garrison set in the remote mountains of the Sierra Nevadas. The garrison is so small it is only manned by eight people during the winter. Suddenly, a stranger named Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle - The Full Monty) appears out of the night freezing and starved. They revive him only to hear his tale of horror. It seems that he was a part of a small party crossing the mountains when they became stranded by the snow and take refuge in a cave. As they ate their horses, oxen and dogs, they finally ran out of food and began eating each other, murdering them for food. The stranger states that there are still two survivors at the cave. Boyd and the men of the garrison take off to rescue them.
Now the fun begins as it turns out there are no survivors and the stranger ends up killing the party. Trapped with a broken leg and the dead body of a comrade soldier after falling down a cliff, Boyd succumbs to starvation and begins to feed on the corpse. So he is well enough to make his escape and travel back to the fort. After arriving and telling his tale, the garrison is joined by its new commander Ives. Boyd states that Ives is Colquhoun and a cannibal. It turns out that eating human flesh is a great healing food.
This is truly one twisted and bizarre movie. The movie is a bit slow paced at times, but there is suspense and tension at several key points. Ultimately it is superior to most of the horror genre vomited forth from Hollywood these days. At least it isn't about teenagers getting killed one by one by a mysterious evil individual. The Ives/Colquhoun character is extraordinarily well played as a balance between what maybe an outwardly normal appearance and the demons within.
|Bringing Out the Dead||C-||
This film stars Nicolas Cage portraying a burnt-out paramedic and covering two night shifts. He
is plagued by the images and ghosts of the people he failed to save during the course of his
career. Naturally, this causes him alcoholism, insomnia and all the other myriad psychosamatic
illness that plague brooding characters in this type of film.
At the beginning of the film, he and his partner John Goodman respond to a heart attack victim. Although the old man appears dead, Cage is unwilling to let him go and gets him to respond by having the manís daughter play his favorite music. Throughout the remainder of the film, the old man hangs between life and death and must be constantly shocked to maintain a heartbeat. In the meanwhile, Cage develops a relationship with the daughter.
Directed by Martin Scorsese and is probably one of his most boring. For one thing, it has absolutely no plot whatsoever. It unfolds as a series of incidents which also include a cast of off beat street characters. Although well directed, what it suffers from is no forward momentum, uninteresting characters, and dismal dialog, all of which leave you wondering just when something is going to happen already.
One of the problems I have is with the sudden disappearance of John Goodman. One minute heís in every scene with Cage, the next, weíre told that he called in sick and is replaced by a character named Walls who is a borderline psychotic lunatic who terrorizes would-be patients with a baseball bat. Goodman never actually shows up again, and he was the only interesting character in the whole flick.
|American Psycho||A-||This is the film based on the controversial novel about Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a young successful Wall Street yuppie who is rich, handsome but who also happens to be a psychopathic serial killer in his spare time. It is also one of the most surprisingly unexpected plot and character development films I have seen in a while. You begin the film expecting it to revolve around the main character's acts of violence, however, the film actually revolves around the character itself rather than the murders. In other words, it is the exact opposite of the teenage slasher movie genre (Scream, Urban Legends, I Know What You Did Last Summer and other such drek) and thus is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Set during the year 1987, the film is narrated by Bateman and through the course of the movie you learn about his philosophy of life and his urge to kill. He doesn't have much of a philosophy. He is a yuppie and thus a shallow asshole. He is solely concerned with apparences and constantly drops designer names. One of the things that make this film great are the some times hillarious scenes as Bateman interacts with his yuppie friends. One of the most memorable is where they sit around a board room table comparing business cards, noting the texture of the paper and fonts. This leads to the first murder of the film, brought about by Bateman's jealousy of another yuppie having a much better business card (and apartment, car, girlfriend, etc.).
This is a unexpected well written and delivered film that was very intelligent, funny and entertaining. It even has a suprise ending.
|Erin Brockovich||A-||This is the true story
of a white-trash mother of three (Julia Roberts) who takes a job at a law office after she losses
her automobile accident lawsuit handled by the firmís chief partner Ed Masry (Albert Finney).
Erin is loud, brash and obnoxious. She speaks her mind with foul language and is not the least
concerned with other peopleís feelings. She also dresses like a whore with miniskirts and her
boobs hopping out of her low-cut blouse. Not exactly acceptable law firm attire. Needless to say,
this does not exactly endear her to the other female staff members of the firm. Or the male
members either. The women despise her. However, she is not that stupid. When given real estate
case files to organize she notices that there is an odd coincidence of the occurrence of cancers in
one small town. She investigates and discovers that the cancers are caused by the release of
chromium by a Pacific Electric plant. This leads to her becoming an investigative researcher for
the firm and bringing in a massive class action suit of the town residents to the firm.
I have never really been a fan of Julia Roberts. I never understood the acclaim that she has received or why sheís the highest paid woman in Hollywood. I really didnít think Pretty Woman was very good. However, this is nonetheless a very good law and lawyer movie with a detective flair that revolves around the Erin Brockovich interesting character. Julia Roberts even shows that she can act. What! Julie Roberts can act?? Blasphemy!!!! you say. No really, she actually does. I am as amazed as anyone. Albert Finny, the noted British actor does another great job playing an American as the long suffering attorney Ed Masry who has to put up with her antics.
The DVD is the method to use to view this film. It contains lots of extras including as series of outtakes with a running commentary of the director as to why they were cut, including the one where Erin calls the women of the firm cunts and an interview with the real Erin Brockovich. Cool.