cinema on the mind…

Posted by on Sep 15, 2007 | 0 comments

The indie film Darkon, which I saw about a year ago at a screening prior to the Tornoto Film Festival, is now being released here in NYC. A doc that examines the lives of fantasy game players, it’s a fascinating study of how peoples role playing – both imaginary and reality – can overlap and become confused when one becomes so involved in the minutiae rather than the larger picture. Go see it, and bring someone to talk about it later.

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Film Review: The Brave One

Posted by on Sep 13, 2007 | 0 comments

Expectations are high when you’re the writer and director behind two classic crime films of the 80’s – Angel and Mona Lisa – so, it’s not surprising that Neil Jordan’s latest, The Brave One, starring Jodie Foster and Terence Howard, makes every effort to evoke the glory of the past but doesn’t quite seem to ever really find the moral and plot focus that made those early films so great. His latest is hamstrung by a series of unbelievable coincidences and a moral perspective that is naive at best and offensive at worst.

Jodie Foster plays Erica Bain, a radio host with an amazingly idyllic life. She’s engaged to David (Naveen Andrews), and they love each other so deeply that walking the dog in Central Park at night doesn’t seem to strike either of them as dangerous, nor does allowing their German Shepherd to roam around off leash seem to be anything but normal. This sense of heightened idealistic and romantic living is required in order to insure that when it is stripped away, the pain and shock will be greater.

Unsurprisingly, they are confronted by a group of tattooed, drunk thugs who beat Erica close to death, kill her fiancé and take her dog. Erica awakens from her injuries weeks later to find that the person she once was is gone, replaced by a different person. One who is paranoid, and wants revenge, but conveniently, isn’t consciously seeking it. It just sort of happens. She decides to buy a gun on a whim, but those nasty gun laws are in the way, so she pays a cool grand for a black market pistola, which is conveniently provided by a man who happens to overhear her being turned away from the gun shop for not having a permit.

The next thing we know, Erica is in a sleazy bodega at the exact moment a pissed off husband decides to pop four bullets into his ex-wife who’s the clerk at the bodega. The guy goes after Erica who is hiding in the back, but she blows him away with her brand new 9mm. Killing people gets good to her, so when she finds herself on a deserted train and two thugs decide to come at her with a knife, she blows them away too. It’s a lot of coincidental crime to happen to one individual in so short a time frame. And, it’s just the beginning. Erica pops off two more murders before finally going after the bad guys who killed her beloved fiancé.

The script needs this great leap of coincidence and her admission that her old self is gone, replaced by a new persona, to shield Erica from the brutal reality that she is essentially a serial killer stalking the streets of NYC. Conveniently, all the people she happens to kill are guilty, and no stray bullets kill any innocent bystanders, so what’s the big deal?

Although a drug addicted abducted street walker Erica tries to rescue is nearly killed by her actions, there is nothing in the movie that even hints at any real world ramifications for murdering a total of eight people before the movie is over. Even Son of Sam killed only six people, and the city experienced a media frenzy and police dragnet of the highest magnitude. The world of The Brave One though is devoid of any such problematic realities, Terence Howard being the sole detective on the case apparently. The final moral premise that is driven home is that the justice system is broken, so killing people is a morally correct action to take. As long as the people you kill are really guilty, and they really deserve it, and you can get away with it. More fantasy than reality.

The lensing by Philippe Rousselot is top notch, and there are moments of cinematic brilliance within the uneven and unremarkable whole that will engage those seeking a little thrill. If you like fantasy movies where the law of the land is flouted, the bad guy gets blown away, (the audience claps blood lustily at this point) the hero gets away with with it, and gets the dog back, then you’ll dig The Brave One.

Rating from 1 to 10: 2

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past is prolugue… fail safe and the classic neo-con

Posted by on May 22, 2007 | 0 comments

Via Media Channel, a scene from the seminal film “Fail Safe” that has eerily come to fruition:

Consider that the idea of “first strike” was considered the evil perspective during the Cold War.

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Iraq for Sale Banned Excerpts

Posted by on May 16, 2007 | 0 comments

If you haven’t seen Iraq for Sale yet, you should. Here are some banned excerpts to get you going…

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Portrait of Saori

Posted by on Apr 21, 2007 | 0 comments

What I see in NYC. Saori, star of The Gnldberg Variations (Portrait of Saori) directed by John Moran.

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The Goldberg Variations

Posted by on Apr 14, 2007 | 0 comments

Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been producing a trailer for a feature film entitled “The Goldberg Variations (Portrait of Saori)”. It’s being directed by John Moran. The trailer will be used to complete the fund raising process for the full film. It’s a pretty amazing project. A dramatic, tragic love story set to original music, but done in a way we haven’t really seen. I’ll blog more about it very soon.

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what to watch, what to think

Posted by on Feb 10, 2007 | 0 comments

  • Who’s going to take home the Oscar for Best Picture this year? Tough choice. All good films. My guess is it will be The Departed, although Babel seems to be building steam. I really liked The Queen though, Haven’t seen Letters from Iwo Jima yet, but plan to soon. Little Miss Sunshine was a nice film, but I thought as far as the “dysfunctional” family genre goes, it wasn’t as good as The Squid and the Whale or TransAmerica. Put your money on The Departed.
  • Got millions of dollars? Launch a media empire. While I like the idea that Richard Branson feels compelled to go head to head with Rupert Murdoch, I’m ever cognisant of the idea, as addressed by Douglas Rushkoff, that…

    …we’re fast moving towards a mediaspace with little or no human intervention. And while that might be seen as a good thing on a certain level, the problem is that the mediaspace itself is still biased towards the corporations it serves.

    The Internet offers a bit of an antedate to humanless media, but the effort to control information and limit the role of humans in the equation is well underway. It’s important to watch our government and our corporations. It’s our duty as citizens.

  • Speaking of watching the government… Is the effort by AG Gonzalez to stuff the US attorney rolls with party loyalists a “coup d’ etat”? Joe Conason thinks so. I have to concur. Read More