Claude (Alison Folland) certainly has issues to contend with. The only child of a man-hungry and alcoholic mother, she's struggling with her weight, her schoolwork, her job at the local pizza parlor, and most notably, her emerging lesbianism. It doesn't help that her super-best friend Ellen (Tara Subkoff) is a bit of train wreck who likes to dabble in the drugs her loutish and violent drug-dealing boyfriend Mark (Cole Hauser) is stringing her out on. Claude tries to cope with the awful fact that she's falling in love with Ellen, while Ellen uses Claude to provide her with reassurance, safety, and even a roof over her head at times. It's what the self-help books call a destructively co-dependent relationship.
Continue reading: All Over Me Review
As a woman, it is always difficult to watch a movie involving rape. When filmed realistically, as Things is, it's impossible to distance yourself from the onscreen pain. And when a film is not constructed with realism the result is anger from shoddy storytelling, or with a filmmaker failing miserably to grasp the emotional honesty in a situation they can't understand.
Continue reading: Things Behind the Sun Review
From the outset, the movie bumbles into genre territory inhabited by superior specimens like John Dahl's Red Rock West, Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan, and the Coens' Fargo. Images of wintry fields and desolate small-town streets -- not to mention a moody minimalist score that feels directly indebted to Thomas Newman's music for American Beauty -- puts us in a mind for an existential fable, something those aforementioned movies delivered by way of complex characters nursing pent-up desires and grievances. Mindell and Murphy provide us with a potentially interesting collection of ne'er-do-wells, dreamers, and saps. But their material is too shallow to allow any of their creations to function as more than cogs in the story's clockwork plotting. And, for a movie that references setting in its very title (more for its cultural implications than for geographic accuracy), Milwaukee, Minnesota's sense of place feels as arbitrary as its characterizations, never venturing beyond the stale stereotypes of the provincial Midwest.
Continue reading: Milwaukee, Minnesota Review
If you can get past the insufferable bunch of violent, worthless, ignorant, career criminal rednecks that Brandon Teena aspires to befriend in "Boys Don't Cry" -- a based-on-reality account of a young Nebraska transvestite's murder -- then this otherwise dramatic and devastating drama might just leave you speechless and emotionally wiped out.
By itself Hilary Swank's unfettered, unflinching performance as Brandon -- a 20-year-old from Lincoln who discards the female coil that never suited her to embrace the gallant swagger of the charming, delicately chiseled cowboy within -- is so convincingly masculine that if you walked in on the middle of the movie, you'd never know you were watching an actress.
This works out well, since "Boys Don't Cry" is the story of how Brandon moved 70 miles away to a wide spot in the road called Falls City and began a new life as the little buddy of felonious, hard-drinking hayseeds and an the town's most alluring, byronic, 120-pound hunk -- before being exposed as a cross-dresser and heinously raped and murdered by the repulsed rabble-rousers he called friends.
Continue reading: Boys Don't Cry Review
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