Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

My Week With Marilyn

Posted 22 Apr 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

My Week with Marilyn, UK / USA, 2011

Directed by Simon Curtis

My Week with Marilyn is a solid biopic buoyed by an excellent performance from Michelle Williams. Marilyn Monroe was my first real crush, even before I really knew what a crush was. I grew up on old movies, which is probably the reason I still find the image of a woman smoking with a cocktail in the other hand extremely sexy, and no woman on the silver screen from that golden era long before I was born held the mysterious, seductive allure of Marilyn. Three of her films in particular were my childhood obsessions: Otto Preminger’s River of No Return (1954), Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959) and John Huston’s The Misfits (1961), which turned out to be her final feature. Of course, there were other favorites, especially Howard Hawks’ Monkey Business (1952) and Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch (1955), but those three really captured her sweet vulnerability, her almost oblivious sensuality, and the soft sadness behind her alluring smile, an indication of the hard life she had lived and, as my young mind and these films dared to hope, had now left behind. In reality, of course, poor Marilyn’s life only got harder, until it was snuffed out all too soon. Read More

Limitless

Posted 11 Apr 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

Limitless, USA, 2011

Directed by Neil Burger

Limitless is limited. Limitless is limited, but it proposes something interesting. Granted, its proposal is one we’ve heard dozens of times, a couple of which were to chilling effect (echoes of the 1968 film Charly, based on Daniel Keyes’ short story, “Flowers for Algernon,” are plenty), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun story. The man with nothing suddenly becomes the man with everything. Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is given a wonder drug that allows him to use all of his brain, rather than just twenty percent.

Side effects may include nausea, blackouts, migraines, and Robert De Niro’s performance. Read More

Enter The Void

Posted 25 Jan 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Enter the Void, France / Germany / Italy, 2009

Directed by Gaspar Noe

Enter The Void is a strange and unique film experience. French filmmaker Gaspar Noe has always been known for the intensity of his vision. His 1998 debut, I Stand Alone, features one of the most unlikable protagonists in cinema history (Philippe Nahon’s brilliantly realized “The Butcher”), as well as moments of shockingly realistic violence and subject matter that includes incest and the brutal beating of a pregnant woman (who, it must be noted, is at least as unlikable as The Butcher himself). His highly polarizing 2002 follow-up, Irreversible, managed to drastically raise the already high ante with its horrifyingly unflinching and lengthy depictions of murder and rape; it may have had more theatrical walkouts than any single film in history, and has only arguably been topped by Lars von Trier’s Antichrist (2009) as the most disturbing film ever shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Now, with his latest feature Enter the Void, Noe seems to be pushing audience tolerance levels even further, albeit in a very different way. While I Stand Alone was essentially a one man show for The Butcher’s virulent hatred of pretty much everything and everyone (kind of like a French Taxi Driver, for people who thought the original was too cute and cuddly), and Irreversible showed extraordinary technical prowess with its impossible camera angles and chronologically backwards narrative (inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Memento), both films show a great artistic restraint and clarity of vision by comparison to the sprawling head-trip that is Enter the Void. For one thing, Void is nearly an hour longer than Noe’s previous features, taking the viewer on a wild and occasionally tedious ride full of even more dizzying and impossible cinematography than Irreversible. The film is nothing if not original, and Noe’s determination to push the boundaries of what cinema can do must be admired. Read More

A Scanner Darkly – Reaching Too Hard For Nothing

Posted 22 Aug 2010 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Didn't Get

By Corey Birkhofer

A Scanner Darkly, USA, 2006

Written and Directed by Richard Linklater

Based on the Novel A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

keanu reeves robert downy jr

Richard Linklater has always been a filmmaker who has impressed me. Since Slacker (1991) set the stage for his later work, he has gone from one unique film to the next, helping to put Austin, Texas, on the filmmaking map as well as carving out an eclectic career for himself.

About 10 years ago, when I was just starting out in university, a little film with incredibly impacting visuals suddenly came out of nowhere. This was none other than Waking Life (2001), a film that set highly intellectual and downright ridiculous conversations as the stage for a main character who went to sleep and couldn’t wake up. Simple, but brilliant. For my (at the time) 19-year-old, pretentious mind, this film was a smorgasbord of content for late-night coffee shop discussions about the existentialism of life, what dreams really are, and so much more.

Visually speaking, the film took an incredibly new approach to animation, layered over the top of live-action actors, called “rotoscoping.” So here Linklater was, making a relatively inexpensive feature animation using one-chip mini-DV cameras and then rotoscoping rich color palettes and layer upon layer of animation, one frame at a time. Revolutionary. And the result provided for an eerie, almost too-real form of storytelling because the animation was painted on top of real human subjects.

I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t the only one so deeply influenced by Linklater’s venture into animation, nor would I say that all those who loved Waking Life weren’t just as excited as me to see Linklater’s second stab at the rotoscope style of animation in his new film, A Scanner Darkly.

Read More