Monthly Archives: July 2010

Chloe (2010)

This business transaction, which is what this was, is over!

— Catherine Stewart

I have heard of Atom Egoyan’s latest movie, Chloe earlier this year when I saw the trailer for it. I wanted to see the movie, but it never came around my area. When it finally came out on DVD, I had to end my Julianne Moore bender with one of her latest movies. I knew that the basic premise of the movie was taken from a 2003 French film called Nathalie… This movie tried to be Fatal Attraction, but failed miserably.

A marriage that seems to be in disrepair when the wife, Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) is suspecting that her college professor husband, David (Liam Neeson) is cheating. She comes up with this because he misses his flight to come home from a guest lecture on his birthday. The next morning when he finally does come home, he tells her that he would be working late.

Her suspect ions grows when David accidentally leaves his phone behind and it rings. Curious, Catherine checks the phone to see a suspicious email from a woman thanking her husband for the good time last night. She is devastated and tries to put on a brave face to keep up the charade. Catherine meets up with a young beautiful call girl named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) who she has seen coming out of the hotel across the street from her OB-GYN office. She hires Chloe to try to seduce her husband and see what he would respond.

After the first meeting with David, Chloe reports back to Catherine about going to David’s favorite lunch spot. Chloe pretends to be David’s type, a student that is studying language. She tried her feminine wiles on David, but he was just friendly, nothing more.

Catherine is not convinced that David was not incapable of going further. She asks Chloe to go a little further with her husband and she would pay her. After the next meeting, Chloe say that David and her went on lunch date where he asked her to kiss him. Catherine’s suspicions are confirmed and doesn’t want to involve Chloe in their lives anymore. Chloe has another motives to involve herself in both of their lives.

I understand that Egoyan wanted to make a movie about longing and desire, but then it descends into another woman scorned movie that we have seen a billion times. The movie felt vapid. Devoid of any kind of depth of the subject. The biggest selling point of the movie is the pivotal sex scene. It certainly was titillating, but I thought it was tacked on. I understand that Catherine was having a thrill on the lurid details Chloe told about the trysts with David, but it was like a romance novel nightmare.

Judgment: It’s a movie with cheap twists and turns and leaves you unsatisfied.

Rating: **

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Children of Men (2006)

I can’t really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can’t remember when anyone else did either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what’s left to hope for?

— Theodore Faron

I have meant to watch Alfonso Cuarón’s adaptation of P.D. James’s novel, Children of Men. I have heard nothing but good things about this movie. It is now the 189th Film on the IMDb Top 250 Films list. It was nominated for three Oscars including Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. I wondered at the end of the movie, why the hell didn’t I see this movie sooner?

The movie’s setting takes place in the dystopian world of 2027 London where the world’s population is descending into chaos after the world became infertile. The reason for the phenomenon has not been known until certain events could shed light on the plight of humanity’s survival. There is a countrywide crackdown on illegal immigrants that are brought to refugee camps.

The main person that we fellow is a former activist, Theo Faron (Clive Owen) who is working soul-sucking 9-to-5 job where he was almost killed in a bomb blast getting coffee. The world is in mourning over the death of the youngest person in world who was a little over 18. He skips out on work to visit another former activist friend of his, Jasper (Michael Caine) is a hermit living in the middle of woods growing marijuana in his house.

Jasper tells Theo about “The Human Project” which is a secret government project that could help cure the infertility in women. Theo doesn’t believe a place existed. When Theo world is rocked when he is abducted by Luke (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Patric (Charlie Hunnam) and Ian (Paul Sharma) who are members of the Fishes, which is an underground guerrilla group that is fighting for the rights of the immigrants.

The leader of the group is actually Theo’s ex, Julian (Julianne Moore) who wants Theo to do a big favor for her. She wants Theo to get transit papers for a “fugee girl” that is trying to get out of the chaos of London. Theo is resistant to do it when Julian offers him $5,000 pounds, he reconsiders it. He goes to his cousin, Nigel (Danny Huston) to ask for the papers. All Theo could get is joint transit papers, which means that he has to go with the girl.

Julian brings Theo to the place where the girl, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) is hidden away at with her guardian, Miriam (Pam Ferris). The group, including Luke ride out to a checkpoint to get her on a boat away from the place when the car is attacked by rioters and Julian is shot. Things go from bad to worse when Theo realizes that Kee is pregnant. Now, he knows that stakes and lengths that people would go to get close to Kee and her unborn child.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of this movie because the beginning of movie was fine, but nothing exciting was happening. Then when the revelation of Kee’s pregnancy happened, I was hooked right in. It was a tense=filled ride for that time forward. I wanted characters to be all right. I was afraid when danger would come knocking on their door. I have never been so moved by an ending like I did this one.

The movie felt a lot like The Road is some respects, but this movie had hope and heart it in it. The allegories of the concentration camps, Abu Ghraib, September 11th, the war in Iraq were not lost on me. It reminded me of another movie, Blindness that I didn’t care for that much. This world felt like modern times that it eerily gave us a glimpse into a possible future. After you read this review, go and buy this movie. Watch it, experience it. You will not regret it.

Judgment: I didn’t know how could I recommend this movie highly enough?

Rating: ****1/2

The Hours (2002)

Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. It’s contrast.

— Virginia Woolf

The adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s book, The Hours garnered nine Oscar nominations in 2002 and it was won for Nicole Kidman as Best Actress for playing Virginia Woolf I haven’t seen this movie in years. I turned to it when it was on cable and watched it. I didn’t much care for it, because it was so dreary and depressing that I wanted to kill myself after watching it.  I shouldn’t have been as harsh as I been, but it is not an enjoyable film to sit through.

Three seemingly separate stories from three different twenty-four hour periods that are woven together in this movie. It tells the day in 1923 of English writer, Virginia Woolf (Kidman) who is inspired to write the manuscript for her début novel, Mrs. Dalloway. It tells the story about a woman named Clarissa who is hosting a party, but she feels constrained by society’s rules that she is unhappy.

Virginia is subjected to live in countryside because of her history of mental illness and her attempts to kill herself. This worries Virginia’s husband, Leonard (Stephen Dillane) to no end that he has to change his life for her. When a visit from her sister, Vanessa (Miranda Richardson) shows her what she should do to her heroine in the end of her novel.

A depressed pregnant housewife in 1951 Los Angles reads Mrs. Dalloway, Sarah Brown (Julianne Moore) as her only mission is bake a cake for her husband, Dan (John C. Reilly) for his birthday. She feels that she living someone else’s life and not her own. She tries to hide it from her son, Richie (Jack Rovello) who wants to help his mommy out with the cake. The only break in her mundane day was when her neighbor, Kitty (Toni Collette) comes by the hospital to her some upsetting news. Sarah’s only escape is the book as a key to a better life.

Lastly, in 2001 is a modern of “Mrs. Dalloway”, Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep) who is helping plan the party of her longtime friend who is stricken with full-blown AIDS, Richard (Ed Harris) who is receiving the Carruther’s prize for his poetry. Clarissa is running around trying to make Richard comfortable when he is slowing losing his mind as his body deteriorates. Clarissa’s girlfriend, Sally (Alison Janney) tried to lend a hand for the preparation, but Clarissa wants to do everything herself. Trying to please Richard could drive a wedge between Sally, Clarissa’s daughter, Julia (Claire Danes) or Richard’s ex-boyfriend, Louis (Jeff Daniels).

As I said before, this movie is dark and dreary about living an authentic life when you are given the role that you have to play. I understand that the movie tried to have that “ah-ha moment”, but I feel like it wasn’t earned in that respect. Almost everybody dwells on death, depression, mental illness, heartbreak, regret that when they have a change of heart seems cheap.

Seeing this movie again, I understand that it was Oscar baity when the serious drama, having a real person in the movie, setting it in different time periods. The characters were not that interesting to me. They seemed flat. The dialogue that they were saying was beautiful, but it felt out of place for me.

I cannot understand why Nicole Kidman won the Oscar for this. I cannot be because of the fake nose, matronly clothes and floppy hats. I cannot be just that scene in the train station alone. It has to be all encompassing. I think Julianne got shafted because they seemed like similar roles. They are polar opposites. Cathy wanted to be a part of the American dream, while Sarah wants to escape it. Meryl was doing her thing. She was solid in the movie. I didn’t like Clarissa.

Judgment: The movie is like looking at a beautiful. Think about it.

Rating: ***

Far From Heaven (2002)

Oh, Raymond, Mrs. Whitaker sounds so formal! Won’t you please… ask me to dance?

— Cathy Whitaker

Writer/director, Todd Haynes wanted to make an homage of the Douglas Dirk bedroom melodramas of the 1950s. He created Far From Heaven, which garnered Julianne Moore another Oscar nomination for Best Actress. It was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score. This was my favorite film of 2002 and I still stand by it.

This story is about a typical American family on the surface. There is the breadwinner of this Connecticut family, Frank Whitaker (Dennis Quaid) who is one of the sales executives at a company called Magnatech. His wife, Cathy (Moore) is the perfect homemaker that reminds you of Donna Reed. She juggles her wifely duties as mother to David (Ryan Ward) and Janice (Lindsay Andretta). Cathy is assisted by her trusty housekeeper, Sybil (Viola Davis) who watches the kids when has an errand to run or plans a cocktail party with her friend, Eleanor (Patricia Clarkson).

During the night of one of Cathy’s planned soirees, she is pulled from attending when she receives a call to pick up her husband from the police station for an incident earlier in the evening. On the drive home, the audience realizes that there are cracks in the foundation of the Whitaker marriage. Cathy tries her best to be close to her husband, who brushes her off. She concludes that it is just stress from work.

A reporter from the Weekly Gazette, Mrs. Leacock (Bette Henritze) comes by the house to interview Cathy for the couple being named Mr. and Mrs. Magnatech 1957. Cathy’s attention is distracted when a strange man is lurking in her backyard. She goes to see Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert), the son of their old gardener who recently passed away. He is their new gardener and they introduce each other.

Frank pulls himself away from his family by diving head first into a big project that he has to do for work, going to the movies or hanging out in back alley bars. Cathy is jealous that her girlfriends could be intimate with their husbands and hers barely shows her any affection.

During another late night working for Frank, Cathy decides to take his dinner over to his office. When she arrives, she is in for the shock of her life when she sees Frank kissing another man. She is devastated as her seemingly perfect life is crumbling down around her.

Can I say that I love this movie? I love this movie. I’m not familiar with the bedroom melodramas of Sirk’s, but this movie makes me want to visit those movies that inspired this one. Todd Hayes created a fantastic movie with the classic title sequence and end credit, the luscious cinematography, the marvelous score by Elmer Bernstein, Sandy Powell’s costumes, the vibrant colors and the type of film Hayes used. It feels authentic, like it was a lost movie from that time. The subjects addressed in this film would be too taboo for audiences to see.

I want to highlight Haynes words. His original script was very nuanced. No word felt out of place. Being delivered by these wonderful actors is something to marvel. Moore was radiant. She portrayed Cathy as a typical housewife, but she has progressive feelings for the Negroes or women’s rights. With Cathy’s world was crumbling around her, she put on a brave face covering her inner pain. Moore was subdued in her portrayal of Cathy that I was rooting for her to win the Oscar, but she was denied.

A special mention has to go Dennis Quaid who I thought was robbed for a nomination for Best Supporting Actor and I continue to talk about the egregious error to this day. He was so good playing a tortured husband torn between the way society wants him and how he is feeling on the inside.

Judgment: Bravo, Todd Haynes for creating this very skilful work for us to revel in.

Rating: *****

The End of the Affair (1999)

I’ve only made two promises in my life. One was to marry Henry, the other is to stop seeing you. And I’m too weak to keep either.

— Sarah

The next movie that Julianne Moore was nominated for an Oscar, this time for Best Actress for Neil Jordan’s take on the Graham Greene novel, The End of the Affair. Researching this movie, I didn’t know that this was a remake of a 1955 Edward Dmytryk film that I have never seen. I have heard of the movie. It was in the back of mind to see it, because I never had the chance to do it until now. Having watched the movie, I wished that more of the movie then the longing and unrequited love.

As the title suggests there is an affair that ends. Pretty self-explanatory. Who are the two people that are having the affair? A mild-mannered husband, Henry Miles (Stephen Rea) seeks out the advice of his friend and neighbor, Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) that his wife, Sarah (Moore) might be having an extramarital; affair. Henry holds a card for a private investigator to track his wife’s nightly activities, but he doesn’t want to know the answer. Maurice offers his services to see who Sarah is seeing.

What Henry doesn’t know is that Maurice and Sarah had a torrid affair during the height of the fighting in WWII. They first met in 1939 during a cocktail party in the Miles’ house. They are equally taken with each other. Maurice takes Sarah to the movie-house to see a movie that was based on one of his novellas. During dinner, Sarah confesses that she is unhappy with her decade long marriage to Henry that equates to a platonic relationship than a passionate one. They begin their affair.

Sarah begins to fall in love with Maurice for being boring like Henry. Maurice is a jealous man who is envious that Henry is married to Sarah that he is not. It’s tears himself up inside. He begins to questions her intentions until she cannot take it anymore.

Years later, the old wounds come back when Maurice visits with the private investigator, Parkis (Ian Hart) to see who has Sarah’s affections like he did when they had their rendezvous. Maurice becomes consumed in a way about the way that Sarah is deceiving everyone in her life. Things are not what they seem when Parkis gathers up his evidence about Sarah’s whereabouts.

The movie on the surface is relatively simple. A love story that could never be because of the circumstances of being in a loveless marriage, being in love with a struggling novelist. She would not have the stability and security that she needed. The movie is not a straight up linear narrative. There is a lot of recollections and revelations that breaks up the narrative, which I quite liked.

The strongest part of the movie was the middle, which I can’t say why because it was spoil it. The middle of the movie was fantastic, especially for Sarah’s character. The beginning of the movie felt disjointed with the affair happening right away. There were no wooing or a build up to the affair. Maurice’s character felt so bland and uninteresting. By the end, I didn’t care for him. Speaking of the end, it was the biggest letdown, because I knew what was coming and if Julianne Moore was nominated for Oscar for this then I would know what it was.

Judgment: If the movie focused more on the love between Maurice and Sarah, I would have liked it better.

Rating: ***

Boogie Nights (1997)

You don’t know what I can do! You don’t know what I can do, what I’m gonna do, or what I’m gonna be! I’m good! I have good things and you don’t know about! I’m gonna be something! I am! And don’t fucking tell me I’m not!

— Dirk Diggler

Since Julianne Moore has been wisely picked as the next LAMB Acting School 101, I thought I would revisit some the movies that she has made that made us fall in love with her onscreen. First is the movie that nobody thought would get made because of the subject. Nobody has a made a Hollywood mainstream picture about porn before. Julianne was nominated from an Oscar for her supporting work as well as Burt Reynolds and director Paul Thomas Anderson for his script for Boogie Nights. This movie is still memorable to watch and it is not because of the last shot of the movie. Get your minds out of the gutter.

The movie borrows the life story of legendary porn star John Holmes and his involvement in the Wonderland murders in this movie to a certain point. Recast in the role of John Holmes is 17-year-old high school dropout, Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), a down on his luck young man who is blessed with a tripod in his pants. He works for Maurice TT Rodriguez (Luis Guzmán) at his club, Hot Traxx as a bus boy.

Major porn director Jack Horner (Reynolds) spots Eddie and wants to put him in his upcoming movie that he is shooting soon. He considers the offer. Looking upon the coiled snake in his briefs, Eddie thinks that is his ticket out of his humdrum life in Torrance with his ice queen of a mother, (Johanna Gleason). Jack decides to thrown in a ringer with the willing mouth of Rollergirl (Heather Graham), which prompts him to further audition with Rollergirl in home he shares with motherly Amber Waves (Moore).

Decided to go under the tutelage of Horner, Eddie meets some of his co-workers like the man who tries to be hip, but fails miserably, Buck Swope (Don Cheadle), the black superstar, Becky Barnett (Nicole Ari Parker), the everyman, Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), Little Bill (William H. Macy) who has to keep tabs on his cheating wife (Nina Hartley), the cameraman Kurt Longjohn (Ricky Jay) and the sound guy that develops a crush on Eddie, Scotty J (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

The producer of Jack’s films, The Colonel (Robert Ridgely) asks Eddie to change his name into something that he is comfortable with. He decides on his name from a dream that he had, Dirk Diggler. On his first day on set, he is natural having sex in front of a room full of people with Amber. Dirk quickly becomes the number one male porn star in the business with the fancy clothes, polished cars and the awards. As is customary with stardom, what goes up must come down. This is all about Dirk’s tumultuous journey in the industry.

The movie is playful with the bad porn dialogue the actors have to recite, but there is also some touching moments Rollergirl gets called out in during the exam, Amber trying to talk to her son or Dirk’s downward spiral were devastating to me.

I loved the performances from Mark Wahlberg’s first leading role in a film was beyond what I expected from a former pants-dropping rapper, Burt Reynolds was calm, cool and collected and of course, Julianne Moore looked like she was in 1970s with her fiery red hair, freckles on her porcelain skin and her demeanor as Amber Waves. It was her laid back presence that give her notice during the 1998 award show season.

Judgment: This is the best movie about the porn industry ever created.

Rating: ****1/2

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Here’s a question. Was it morally wrong for me to exploit my knowledge of the future for personal financial gain? Perhaps. Here’s another question. Do I give a fuck?

— Lou

Here is another movie that had the dreaded comparison of being the next Hangover, Hot Tub Time Machine. Now, granted, hearing that title doesn’t give you a lot of confidence about the quality of the movie. It seems very straightforward. It’s not high concept, but damn enjoyable travel back in time.

This is a story about three friends who have been estranged for years. Their lives have not faired too well with Nick (Craig Robinson), a promising musician turn is now working at a dog groomer. Adam (John Cusack) is recovering over a bad break-up with his girlfriend who takes almost all of his shit. He shares the house with his nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke) who only wants to text or play Second Life online. Lou (Rob Corddry) has the short end of the stick around this group. He is sloppy drunk who almost asphixates himself when he pulls into his garage to have his air drummer solo with the gas pedal.

Lou’s downward spiral forces the trio back together at his hospital room after so many years. Nobody in Lou’s life want anything to do with him, because he is such a slush. Nick and Adam have a plan to revisit a place they frequented when they were in college, Kodiak Valley.

When Adam decides to take Jacob along for the job, it does not sit too well with Lou, because he hates Jacob with a passion. The gang arrives at Kodiak Valley to find that it is not Partytown USA like it used to be. It is almost a ghost town with boarded up building. The Silver Peaks ski lodge doesn’t fair too well either. It smells like feline and the staff including Phil (Crispin Glover), the one-armed bellhop.

The guys check into the same room that they did twenty years ago and look around. The old friends reflect on the glory days of their youth. The hot tub suddenly glows a golden hue. They strip and pile in the tub to drink heavily. Things get Caligula flurry drunk dream in the tub when a drink short circuits the machine that transports them to 1986. Things get complicated when random occurences could threaten the future or Jacob’s existence.

I knew that this film was going to be idiotic and I accepted that. There certain instances in the movie that didn’t make sense with the mystical repairman (Chevy Chase) or how people could see Jacob even though he didn’t exist. There were some uncomfortable moments when Nick is yelling at his then-nine-year-old future wife about cheating on him or when the mystery of who Jacob’s father was revealed, I almost had to take a shower about what might have happened if certain situations happened.

The actors knew how ridiculous this movie was going to be at they even poked fun at the title of movie with Craig Robinson’s character. I enjoyed Rob Corddry. He was fucking hysterical in the movie. Anybody playing a foul-mouthed slurring booze hound would be a riot. He was lovable loser.

I thought the ending was huge cop-out. If I had a time machine, I would go back when I fucked my life up royally, but I wouldn’t because I wouldn’t learn the things I know now.

Judgment: What else can you say about a movie about a time traveling hot tub?

Rating: ***1/2

She’s Out of My League (2010)

A 6? Alright you go ahead and pump rainbows into his asshole. I’m just being honest.

— Stainer

She’s Out of My League is one of those movies that I wanted to see, but it didn’t urge me to go actively seeking it out when it came out. All of the comedies this year try to be like the next Hangover or 40 Year Old Virgin, but they cannot live up to the expectation of those comparisons. Is this movie the next big thing? I would say no.

Jay Baruchel plays his typical awkward doormat with his squinty befuddlement as Kirk, a TSA security guard at the Pittsburgh International Airport – not exactly menacing – who is reeling from the break-up with his shrew of a girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane) who is living with his parents with her new boyfriend, Ron (Hayes MacArthur). Kirk’s hodgepodge of friends all work in some capacity in the airport, Stainer (T. J. Miller), Devon (Nate Torrence), and Jack (Mike Vogel).

Kirk’s luck changed when the dream girl, Molly (Alice Eve) comes in the airport. Every man that she encounters turns into howling jackass including the quartet of friends. During the craziness of the security check point, Molly leaves her iPhone in one of the bins. She realizes this when she is on the plane with her friend, Patty (Krysten Ritter) when they have to fly for an event that she planned. Molly uses Patty’s phone to call the phone. Kirk answers and Molly want to thank him for recovering it by returning it to The Andy Warhol Museum the next night.

The next night, when Kirk returns the phone, Molly wants Kirk to stay even though he wasn’t invited. Things don’t go well when Molly’s sister, Katie (Kim Shaw) bumps into him thus spilling his drink on the museum director. It gets him kicked out. Feeling bad about what happened, Molly invites him to a hockey game.

At the game, things are complicated because Kirk thinks that Molly has set him up with Patty, but Patty corrects him that Molly wanted to be with him. This revelation blows him away that how can a goddess go out with a ferret like him. All of his family and friends are wondering the same thing like they are in a parallel universe.

At first, I thought that I was going to hate this movie because I didn’t laugh that much. The only saving grace with this movie was the foul-mouthed Strainer. It was entertaining to watch him giving Kirk half-assed advice.

The movie tried to the raunchy with the body fluids and all that. It was not that funny. I was silent. The other saving grace with the odd charm of Barchel as he wooed Alice Eve’s character.

There was a meaningless subplots like the married Devon (Nate Torrence) getting giddy about Molly’s other friend, Wendy (Jasika Nicole) likes him or Strainer’s strange relationship with the girl from the food court. There was also the part with Molly’s flyboy ex-boyfriend, Cam (Geoff Stults) trying to win her back. He was lazy at his attempt. He was very nonchalant about it and then we never see him again.

Judgment: It was a lazy attempt to try to motivate the average guys could get the hottie of their dreams.

Rating: **1/2

Inception (2010)

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

— Dominic Cobb

Inception is one of my most anticipated films of the summer. I was worried that this movie was hyped up too much for me to enjoy fully enjoy it. It is currently the #3 Movie of All Time on IMDb. That scares me, because the same thing happened with The Dark Knight. I did not see the theatrical trailer, read any reviews or look at the promos for this movie. I wanted to go into this movie fresh with no bias whatsoever. All I thought about when I saw this movie was making it a drinking game, hearing the word “dream” uttered.

This mind-bending movie is about how complex the human mind can truly be when an extractor Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has the ability to go into people minds. He’s sorta like a mental bodyguard that provides security for his clients’ important secrets, but he ultimately steals from them.

He is outsmarted by a shady businessman, Saito (Ken Watanabe) who wants to use Dom and his associates to penetrate the mind of his rival’s son, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). In return for his participation, Saito will reunite Dom with the family that he abandoned when his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) kills herself to make it look like he did it.

Dom puts together his team together with his researcher that creates a dossier on their mark, Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt), his shifter to trick the subject to be any person in the dream, Eames (Tom Hardy) and the chemist who will inject the team with a special sedative that will allow them to sleep, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).

They need an architect which is essentially a person that could create and keep up the façade of delving into a person’s mind. Dom goes to his former professor; Miles (Michael Caine) to enlist a person that could be as good as him sense his memories about Mal easily distract him. Miles suggests Ariadne (Ellen Page), who is quickly tested about discerning what reality is and what is not.

On an international flight after Fischer’s father, Maurice (Pete Postlethwaite) dies, the team drugs Fischer. When the team goes into Fischer’s mind, they didn’t realize that his mind would be heavily fortified with a projected army that could threaten their mission and their only way to wake up.

What can I say about this movie? I understand that Nolan wanted to make a cinematic version of M.C. Escher painting about how the mind play tricks on you. I thought I was tricked. At first, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. When Ellen Page’s character came in, she was like the audience who is trying to understand this world she knows nothing about. The endless exposition doesn’t help matters when random characters try to tell you about the human psyche. It’s like you are sitting in a long boring lecture in college.

My brain broke with this movie. I could not follow it worth a damn. I wanted to follow along, but I got lost somewhere in the first hour of this 2 ½ hour opus. I tried to focus on Dom’s guilt over his wife’s death. That went away. Next, I tried to focus on the action with seemed like it came out of The Matrix with a tinge of a Lionel Ritchie video thrown in there. Lastly, I tried to hold on to the ending which is ambiguous and up to your personal interpretation. If you know that the ending is coming, it’s not fun.

This film is not fun or cool. If it was something like Primer about a dialogue that went over my head, but was still cool, I would understand. I was yawning in this movie. I lowered my expectations with this movie because of the hype that The Prestige got and I hated that movie. I think this movie tried to be too ambitious. I got nothing out of it.

The whole idea of going into people’s minds sounds good on paper, but onscreen you’re like, “Who gives a fuck about the different levels of the mind.” The whole reasoning behind the inception mission was petty and selfish. I believe Christopher Nolan created this movie for himself to enjoy. It seems that he has to dumb it down for the audience with endless amounts of exposition. It seems arrogant and condescending. I’m insulted by the notion. I expected more.

Judgment: This movie is like a Rubik Cube that never gets solved. Don’t bother trying.

Rating: **

Mysterious Skin (2004)

I hate it when they look like Tarzan but sound like Jane.

–Neil

The genesis of me watching writer/director Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin was that I was in a forum and people were talking about Joseph Gordon Levitt’s performance in that movie. It had me intrigued to see it with his career going up with his Golden Globe nominated performance in (500) Days of Summer and being in Inception, which I plan to see. Hearing that this movie was tough to watch is an understatement, it was painfully derivative that I pity the actors in this movie.

The movie revolves around two boys Brian Lackey (George Webster) and Neil McCormick (Chase Ellison) beginning in 1981, when they were nine. Brian is an ordinary dorky kid with Jeffery Dahmer glasses that suffers from nightmares, frequent nosebleeds and constant blackouts. He doesn’t know why they are happening. I wasn’t until one night when he is with his mom (Lisa Long) and sister, Deborah (Rachael Nastassja Kraft) are visited by a UFO on their roof.

Neil is the complete opposite. He comes from a broke home with his mother (Elisabeth Shue) is going out with different guys every night. Neil finds himself attracted to the Marlboro Man types that his mom brings home. When his mom enlists Neil into pee-wee baseball, Neil becomes infatuated with the Coach (Bill Sage). The feeling is mutual when Neil becomes the star player of the team. He is invited to the Coach’s house where he grooms and seduces Neil.

Brian, now Brady Corbet, grows up to be a bright young man, but he is haunted by his experience when he was younger. He wants to find answers to questions that he seeks. Looking at the television one day on a program called “World of Mystery”; Brian watched the story of Avalyn Friesen (Mary Lynn Rajskub) who recounted her experience being abducted. He tries to seek her out to bond over their shared experiences.

Neil, now Joseph Gordon Levitt, grows up to be a hustler for older men which doesn’t sit too well with his childhood friend, Wendy (Michelle Trachtenberg) who is constantly worried about his safety and his health sleeping with random men who pick him up. Neil’s other gay friend, Eric (Jeffrey Licon) has a little crush on him, but he knows nothing with happen between them because Neil is focused on making money. It seems like these two stories are different, but it intersects in the most mundane way possible.

I am baffled about the praise that has been bestowed upon this movie. It’s ranked in the movie seventies on IMDb and Metacritic. Personally, I was pissed off at the movie for perpetuating gay stereotypes. Being a gay man myself, I hate it when a kid is molested or raped, they turn out gay. That is not always the case. For some reason, they have to be a hustler craving for male attention.

I am pissed off at the “mystery” of this movie. There is no mystery. I knew what was going to happen before it did. It was like the director was talking down to the audience. I was not swept up by the narrative to care about the obvious ending. Sure, it was sad and disgusting, but I was not happy with the movie. Neil is not the brightest bulb in the pack, but he should have some common sense about the Johns he brings home. He’s not the greatest hustler ever. I don’t know why guys went for him. Wasn’t it because he looked like a prepubescent kid?

The whole storyline with Brian was completely one side and poorly done. I thought the movie was about Neil’s journey. He is on the poster and everything. I thought Neil was toying with the audience with his voice-overs, but it was suppose to be integral to the ending of the movie.

Judgment: I cannot recommend this movie. If you want to see a movie this subject done better, I would suggest L.I.E.

Rating: *1/2

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