Movies that allow us to wallow in a trashy story for a couple of hours can often become a guilty pleasure, and this lurid concoction blends the skills of Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) and Paul Schrader (American Gigolo) for an entertaining story of sexual depravity with Hitchcockian overtones. It's a bit clumsy and corny, but the characters and situations hold our interest simply because we have no idea where it's heading.
In the canyons around Malibu, independently wealthy Christian (Deen) has decided to produce a low-budget slasher movie starring the sexy actor Ryan (Funk), boyfriend of Christian's assistant Gina (Brooks). Christian's girlfriend Tara (Lohan) is trying to stay out of all of this, but Christian keeps telling everyone about their wild sex life with random third and fourth partners. Their one rule is that they won't lie to each other, but both are keeping secrets: Tara has started seeing Ryan, who's actually her ex, while Christian is sleeping with his yoga teacher (Houston). And when these secrets emerge, trouble follows.
Christian is the usual Ellis protagonist, a guy with no real moral centre: his whole life seems lifted from the movies, and Deen plays him as a preening peacock, arrogantly sure he is in control of everything. He's a charismatic villain, and Deen commands the screen. But Lohan gives just as good as the more emotional Tara, who is a bundle of naivete and duplicity, driven by insecurity and just as power-mad as Christian, really. Opposite them, Funk and Brooks are playing the innocents caught in their depraved web, so they're the ones we can identify with.
Continue reading: The Canyons Review
Braxton Pope, James Deen, Amanda Brooks, Bret Easton Ellis and Nolan Gerard Funk - Celebrities attend IFC Film's THE CANYONS LA Premiere at The Standard Hotel. - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Tuesday 6th August 2013
Let me recap what I could glean about the story, primarily from the Internet Movie Database and secondarily from actually watching the film: There are creatures of Korean legend, a Good Imoogi and a Dark Imoogi, who both want to become more heavenly dragons. The legend isn't well-clarified by the film's visualization of the non-dragon Imoogis, which bear a striking resemblance to a) giant snakes, b) each other, and, to a lesser but still confusing extent, c) dragons.
Continue reading: Dragon Wars Review
For two smart, nerve-wracking acts, "Flightplan" is a thriller almost worthy of the tag "Hitchcockian," in which Jodie Foster plays a distraught mother whose forlorn 6-year-old girl has disappeared in the middle of an overnight flight from Berlin to New York.
Already an emotional wreck because her husband has just died -- his coffin is in the cargo hold -- when Kyle Pratt (Foster) wakes up three hours into the flight to discover her daughter gone from her side, she loses it. Frantically searching the state-of-the-art jumbo jet, she becomes so unruly that the passengers are put on edge, the captain is called, and an air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) takes her into custody while the crew looks for the missing child.
But startling revelations soon emerge about the death of Kyle's husband and other seemingly indisputable plot particulars. The whole dynamic of the film, and your perception of this grief-stricken widow, soon shift wildly -- and more than once -- as director Robert Schwentke (a German making his Hollywood debut) deftly rolls mood, pacing and Foster's gut-wrenching, cracked-psyche performance into an atmosphere of incendiary tension.
Continue reading: Flightplan Review
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