Un prophète (A Prophet): I Predict a Great Film in Your Future

Un_prophete

Un prophète (A Prophet) (2009)

Genre: Crime | Drama
Country: France | Italy
Director: Jacques Audiard
Stars: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif

 

Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim) is an Algerian Muslim living in France. At the age of nineteen, Malik is arrested and sentenced to six years in prison for attacking police officers. Shortly after arriving he is approached by the Corsican Mafia Continue reading

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

WTF: Scary or Die

Welcome to the second installment of What the Friday, showcasing some of the craziest films the horror genre has to offer. This Friday’s offering is 2012’s, Scary or Die. In retrospect, given the choice, I’ll take die.

 

scary_or_dieScary or Die(2012)

Genre: Horror
Country: US
Director: Bob Badway, Michael Emanuel, Igor Meglic
Stars: Domiziano Arcangeli, Corbin Bleu, Shannon Bobo

Well, this was just terrible. And not in that, “This will be fun to sit around and rip apart with friends” kind of terrible, but a huge monkey fling of a poop terrible. Yet another anthology film in the vein of V/H/S and The ABCs of Death, Scary or Die showcases five short stories that they forgot to make scary, and appear to have the production value of $12.50 and a gift card to Applebee’s. The shorts are linked together by a woman viewing each of them on a website called Scary or Die.

Continue reading

24 Hour Party People

24_hour_party_people24 Hour Party People (2002)

Genre: Comedy
Country: UK
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Steve Coogan, Lennie James, John Thomson

Growing up in the 80’s I developed an eclectic taste in music. But more often than not my teen angst and youthfully rebellious ear tended to bend more toward bands like Depeche Mode, Concrete Blonde, The Cure, Sex Pistols, and New Order. So I was delighted to not only discover a movie that chronicled the boom of the Manchester Music scene, but that the film itself would be just as enjoyable as the musical maestros it portrays. Continue reading

WTF: Trailer Park of Terror

I love a good horror film. I also find joy in really bad horror films. Therefore I present to you a new segment called WTF (What The Friday), where each Friday I will showcase a particularly horror-ble film. Most of these offerings will be of the so-bad-it’s-good variety, but some will be just plain terrible, in which case I will have suffered the 90 minutes for you and your cinematic sanity can stay intact (look at me taking one for the team).

May I present to you 2008’s Trailer Park of Terror. A high production value wasn’t enough to save this film full of gaping plot holes and goofy, clichéd characters. However, the rampage of ridiculousness and several crazy kills was just enough to make this a gleeful guilty pleasure. Continue reading

Let the Right One In: This Should Apply to Your Choice in Movies as Well

let_the_right_one_inLet the Right One In (2008)

Genre: Horror
Country: Sweden
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

Based on a novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also adapted the screenplay), Let the Right One In is not your typical vampire tale. First of all, nobody in this film “sparkles”, so that’s already a step in the right direction. At its very core, this film is a love story between two individuals desperate to be accepted for who they are. Continue reading

The Legend Of Drunken Master: Jackie Chan Will Crawl Across Hot Coals Just To Entertain You

the_legend_of_drunken_master2The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

Genre: Action | Comedy
Country: Hong Kong
Director: Chia-Liang Liu/Jackie Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Lung Ti

Before corporate Hollywood shanghaied Jackie Chan’s career and ruined it [The Tuxedo, really?], he was known as the undisputed master at combining action and comedy. This hard-hitting, combination knock-out style of entertainment is never more effective than in The Legend of Drunken Master (originally released in Hong Kong under the title Drunken Master II). 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