Twister: An Okie Separates Fact from Fiction

Olympic Rings

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in my very first blogathon. Screenkicker has launched the first Screenkicker Olympics, showcasing reviews and articles about actors and films from all around this great, wide world. I took the opportunity to represent the great state of Oklahoma and our fascinating (albeit, sometimes terrifying) weather, as seen in the movie, Twister. You can read the intro below and then follow the provided link to access the full article. Continue reading

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Rear Window: Old vs. New, In a Matter of Opinion

rear_window

I recently had the honor of being asked to write a collaborative piece with fellow blogger, Ryan from Films and Figures. Ryan’s blog features fantastic reviews of the American Film Institute’s (AFI’s) 100 Years, 100 Movies list (if you have yet to check out Films and Figures, I urge you to do so). Our collaborative efforts would cover number forty-eight on AFI’s infamous list, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, Rear Window. Ryan would exemplify the opinion of a first time viewer, while I would attempt to deify what I affectionately refer to as “My favorite movie of all time.” In simpler terms, just as the title suggests, I would represent the ‘Old’, while Ryan represents the ‘New’.

Once we had metaphorically signed on the dotted cyber line, I almost immediately became terrified. Not that I in any way doubted Ryan’s abilities. Ryan’s reviews are meticulous, well written, honest, and often humorous critiques of some the most iconic films the industry has to offer. No, the pangs of uncertainty that settled in the pit of my stomach were all derived from one question. How could I possibly do justice to a film that I hold in such high regard? Continue reading

Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens): Gets My Stamp of Approval

nueve_reinas

Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)(2000)

Genre: Thriller | Crime
Country: Argentina
Director: Fabián Bielinsky
Stars: Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, Leticia Brédice

Juan’s father is a lifelong con artist imprisoned for his last failed scam. In order to raise money to bribe a judge into reducing his father’s sentence, Juan must enter the world of the grift. During one of his cons, Juan successfully swindles a cashier. But when his greed and inexperience has him attempting the same scheme in the same store at shift change, Juan is busted by Marcos, an off-duty officer who’s been watching his every move.

Once out of sight of the store, Marcos reveals to Juan that he’s not a cop, but actually a fellow con artist. After hearing Juan’s story of his father’s plight, Marcos offers to take him under his wing and teach him the tricks of the trade. Continue reading

Joy Ride: Postcards From A Thriller’s Edge

joy_rideJoy Ride (2001)

Genre: Thriller | Horror
Country: US
Director: John Dahl
Stars: Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski

I have always been captivated by travel. The whine and hum of spinning tires, like a siren’s song the open road seduces me to dance upon her weathered blacktop. Alone or with friends, for a weekend or two weeks, there is nothing like the adventure and promise of a road trip. Even my taste in literature tends to center around tales of travel. Jack Kerouac’s classic, On the Road, and Will Ferguson’s Hitching Rides with Buddha are two of my favorite books. So it’s no surprise that a movie such as Joy Ride has found its way into my list of offerings. Continue reading

Bound – And Determined to Become a Cult Noir Classic

boundBound (1996)

Genre: Thriller | Crime
Country: US
Director: Andy and Lana Wachowski
Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano

Bound is the brilliant directorial debut of Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski (The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas), the writing/directing duo more affectionately known as The Wachowski Brothers, but who are now professionally identified as simply, The Wachowskis. Presented as neo-noir, Bound is a suspenseful thriller that follows the classic noir outline of sex, violence, and betrayal, only with a twist. Our two star-crossed lovers are both…women [gasp]. Holy leaping lesbians Batman! Don’t panic 1966’s Robin. Although lesbian relationships in modern cinema have become quite mainstream, in 1996 this was still pretty taboo. Continue reading

M – Is For Masterpiece

M3M (1931)

Genre: Thriller | Crime
Country: Germany
Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut

“Just you wait, it won’t be long,

The man in black will soon be here.

With his cleaver’s blade so true,

He’ll make mincemeat out of you!”

A serial killer is on the loose in Berlin. His crimes, so unfathomably heinous, have become the talk (and paranoia) of the town. Even his targeted prey, the city’s children, play a macabre elimination game, chanting a chilling limerick and pretending to identify potential victims. Apparently this is before parents taught their children about “Stranger Danger”. Continue reading

Les Diaboliques: The Hitchcock film that never was

Les DiaboliquesLes Diaboliques (1955)

Genre: Mystery | Thriller
Country: France
Director: Henri-George Clouzot
Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse

I begin this review with a disclaimer of sorts. This is a foreign film. This film is subtitled. Some people tend to shy away from subtitled films, claiming that it’s too difficult to read subtitles and pay attention to the action on the screen at the same time.

Well, suck it up my fellow cinephiles. By restricting your movie choices to only English language films you are denying yourself some amazing, cinematic experiences. You will find that very rarely will I ever recommend a dubbed version. Even if you don’t understand the language the actors are speaking, the subtle nuances in their inflection and delivery are based on emotions that are universally understood. With a dubbed version you miss out on part of the original intention of the film. So give subtitles a chance. As with anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. And now back to your regularly scheduled review. Continue reading