Billy Kay

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L.I.E. Review


Grim
Best remembered for his understated performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann's forensics thriller Manhunter, Scottish character actor Brian Cox brings something special to every movie he works on. Usually playing a bit role in some studio schlock (he dies halfway through The Long Kiss Goodnight), he's only occasionally given something meaty and substantial to do. If you want to see some brilliant acting, check out his work as a dogged police inspector opposite Frances McDormand in Ken Loach's Hidden Agenda.

Cox plays the role of Big John Harrigan in the disturbing new indie flick L.I.E., which Lot 47 picked up at Sundance when other distributors were scared to budge. Big John feels the love that dares not speak its name, but he expresses it through seeking out adolescents and bringing them back to his pad. What bothered some audience members was the presentation of Big John in an oddly empathetic light. He's an even-tempered, funny, robust old man who actually listens to the kids' problems (as opposed to their parents and friends, both caught up in the high-wire act of their own confused lives.) He'll have sex-for-pay with them only after an elaborate courtship, charming them with temptations from the grown-up world.

Continue reading: L.I.E. Review

L.I.E. Review


Weak

Another esoterically engrossing dark portrait of troubled suburban youth, "L.I.E." is part of an emerging indie genre that strives to reveal an ugly underbelly to growing up middle-class in America.

Larry Clark is the director seemingly setting the pace for this trend with 1995's disturbing "Kids" and this year's fact-based "Bully," about a group of Florida teens who brutally murdered the scuzzy leader of their pack. But Michael Cuesta adds a solid, if mismanaged, entry with "L.I.E.," the story of a morally and sexually conflicted 15-year-old delinquent (Paul Franklin Dano) left in an adolescent limbo by his mother's recent death in a car crash along the Long Island Expressway (thus the title) that runs near his house.

His father (Bruce Altman) -- a well-off and quite crooked contractor under investigation by the FBI -- makes only minimal and insincere efforts to show interest in the boy's life. Pop is more interested in sleeping with his plaything girlfriend, who moved in while mom's side of the bed was still warm, and exploiting his would-be grief ("Don't you know about my wife?!" he scolds an insistent investigator).

Continue reading: L.I.E. Review

Halloween: Resurrection Review


Grim

Trying to breath a little "Blair Witch"/reality TV life into a horror franchise that has been on creative life-support for over 20 years, "Halloween: Resurrection" features masked psycho Michael Meyers going Ginsu on a bunch of teenagers (no, really?) who spend the night in his dilapidated childhood home as part of a live internet broadcast called "Dangertainment."

The college kids vying for tuition money wear headsets with little cameras in them so we can see their point of view as they get hacked to death, and one of the program's producers (played by over-acting, incessantly yapping hip-hop star Busta Rhymes) dresses up as Michael Meyers to give the kids a scare, not knowing the real dude is in da house. But while this camera gimmick is put to good use once the bodies start piling up, the movie fails in several other ways -- not the least of which is that it's never even a little bit scary.

The picture opens with a prologue that includes perpetual franchise victim Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, making her final appearance in the series) locked in a sanitarium so explanations can be offered for how Mike is back after she beheaded him at the end of 1998's "Halloween: H20." (What isn't explained is the absence of Laurie's son, played by the now too-hot-for-horror Josh Hartnett in "H20.")

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