Rated R by the MPAA – contains language, some sexual content, one of the single most brutal moments in cinema history
Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) story is fascinating on its own. Much like Conviction [review here], it might be easy for a filmmaker to coast through the story, but 127 Hours manages to become something much more than just the story of a man forced to undergo extreme hardship to save his life. It becomes one of the most life-affirming films of the year.
That’s not to say it’s a feel-good movie, or an easy watch. On the contrary, the joy of life is so profound because of the pain and intense suffering that it takes to get there. This is the same principle many horror fans cite in defense of the genre. And 127 Hours, while not a standard horror flick, contains one of the single most graphic, brutal sequences in cinema history. Worse than the curb stomp in American History X, more painful than the eye slice in Un Chien Andalou, more realistic and visceral than most anything in Cannibal Holocaust. The only scene I can think of that might come close is a spine tingling stabbing in the Australian horror film Wolf Creek.
Not rated by the MPAA – contains violence, sex, nudity, general weirdness, language
Note: As I will be out of the country for a period of time, I have decided to inflict upon anyone who reads these reviews a sampling of my earlier work. These will be shorter, less formal, poorly written, and generally crappy. They will lack stills and links, and I will apologize in advance for their poor quality. They have received minor edits to (very slightly) improve readability. Some might not be appropriate for all audiences. Enjoy.
(review originally published 1/2/09)
And now for something totally different. This is the first film by the guy who did Bikini Med School and Body Parts. I’ve never heard of him either. (And yes, it looks like most stuff he’s done is soft core porn.) But whatever.
Unfortunately, the film is not as good as its title. But, you have to admit that the title is one of the greatest ever. It looks like someone filmed it wherever and whenever he could, with money stolen from homeless people. The quality is dreadful, the script is abominable, the acting pathetic, the special effects barely even laughable.
However, it’s a film of a lot of firsts. And for this reason it’s almost worth watching.
Rated PG-13 by the MPAA – contains bad language and some suggestive material
Throughout the years the Coen brothers have managed to carve out their unique niche in cinema. They’ve tried their hand at a variety of genres, ranging from their debut thriller Blood Simple. to black crime comedies like Fargo and neo-westerns like No Country For Old Men. They’ve also tried their hand at lighter fare, like Raising Arizona. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? falls into this last category.
Based on the story of “The Odyssey,” the film takes the tale through a few strange twists. Everett (George Clooney) has just engineered an escape from his chain gang alongside the dim and diminutive Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) and the gangly Pete (John Turturro). The unlikely trio embarks on a crazy journey to recover a lost treasure before its hiding place is covered by a brand new dam.
Rated G by the MPAA – contains dogs getting electrocuted
Oliver & Company opens with a long shot of New York City, gorgeously drawn in an almost impressionist manner. The camera flies into the city where we find some hand-drawn characters, mostly kittens. They’re in a box, waiting for people to take them away. All the kittens get picked as the day wears on; everyone except Oliver (voice of Joey Lawrence).
He soon finds himself alone in the big streets of New York, trying to find some food and a friendly face. He runs into a couple mean dogs and a mean hot dog vendor. Finally he meets Dodger (voice of Billy Joel), a shifty con artist dog. Pretty soon they’re ripping off the hot dog vendor and running off with a link of sausages. However, since Dodger is so shifty he stiffs Oliver out of his share. That’s life on the streets of New York City.
Rated PG by the MPAA – contains some bad language, thematic elements, and making out
I quite like this movie; it takes me back to my days growing up in Pakistan, buying fireworks and rigging them into a homemade rocket launcher. It’s about kids who were the same age I was, doing things similar to what I did, though in a different country. It’s a fairly good movie, too, which never hurt anything.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Homer Hickam, a kid in high school in a small coal mining town in West Virginia. The problem is, he doesn’t really want to follow in his fathers footsteps as a coal miner. Chris Cooper, playing his dad, is a rough guy who much prefers Homer’s older brother because he plays football. Playing football is more manly and makes a better coal miner out of a boy. Homer also has a sympathetic mom (Natalie Canerday) and an inspiring teacher, Miss Riley (Laura Dern.)