Brad Wyman

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Blitz Review


OK
This British crime thriller is so unapologetic about recycling cliches that it's actually hilariously good fun to watch. Even with its glaring plot holes and camp performances, the cast and crew's chutzpah keeps it consistently entertaining.

Brant (Statham) is a bad-boy South East London detective always in trouble with the authorities. But he gets the job done, so his loyal chief (Rylance) protects him. His new challenge is to find a brazen psycho (Gillen) who's killing cops in cold blood. Working with new boss Nash (Considine), who's tormented for being gay, Brant starts bullishly breaking the rules to solve the case. Meanwhile, the killer is leaking information to a tabloid hack (Morrissey). And another of Brant's cop pals (Ashton) is struggling with returning to the job after her stint in rehab.

Continue reading: Blitz Review

Look Review


Weak
The voyeuristic Look begins with statistical information that's perfect for our YouTube world: More than four billion hours of surveillance video are generated every week in the U.S., from roughly 30 million cameras -- and the average American is captured around 200 times a day. Those overwhelming numbers then segue into a film told entirely from surveillance footage. Every scene, every shot.

Unorthodox? Sure. Trailblazing? Nah. Look feels both cool and gimmicky, but has a fairly traditional approach to telling multiple stories, jumping back and forth between teenage sexpots, illicit affairs, and in-home spying. The movie should be a peeping tom's wet dream... if only the material were real.

Continue reading: Look Review

The Dark Backward Review


Weak
Writer/director Adam Rifkin has had an odd Hollywood career. While he's best known for penning late-'90s kid-friendly fare like Mouse Hunt and the surprisingly dark Small Soldiers, Rifkin has been in the business since the late-'80s and has written and directed everything from a sex comedy spoof (The Invisible Maniac) to a gritty urban crime flick (Night at the Golden Eagle). Despite his wandering interests, all of Rifkin's material has a goofy, edgy side. And he's written (and directed) nothing edgier or kookier than 1991's The Dark Backward.

Rifkin wrote the film when he was 19 and probably had it sitting in his proverbial "back pocket" just waiting for the day he had enough clout and experience to get it made. Judd Nelson (great when playing bizarro characters) stars as Marty Malt, a garbage man who moonlights as a terrible stand up comedian. His pal Gus (the seemingly ubiquitous Bill Paxton -- was he in every quirky '90s flick?) thinks Marty's actually pretty funny, but he's really the only one. Worse than Marty's shtick are his attempts at romancing Rosarita (Lara Flynn Boyle).

Continue reading: The Dark Backward Review

Monster (2003) Review


OK
Thank God that Monster, the fictionalized story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, wasn't made back in the 1990s, when filmmakers just couldn't fetishize mass murder enough. Wuornos's story would have been "loosely adapted" so that they could have cast someone attractive in the role, there would have been a slick grunge soundtrack and plenty of hipster humor amidst the bloodletting. That's not to say that movies haven't stopped their love affair with the serial killer, but Monster shows that it is possible to make a gripping, yet still dispassionate and non-exploitative film on the subject.

Wuornos is famous not just for the fact that she killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990, but for being pretty much the only female serial killer of note in recent American history. A troubled girl who had been on her own since she was 13 and had survived by prostitution, Wuornos claimed, up until her execution in 2002, that she had acted in self-defense each time. Writer/director Patty Jenkins's script manages to show how self-serving and untrue this story ultimately became while at the same time acknowledging how Wuornos's past and profession led to her killing spree. There's a wonderful moment in a dingy biker bar where a self-pitying Wuornos is consoled by her friend Thomas (Bruce Dern), a Vietnam veteran; they take turns volleying variations on "What choice did I have?" back and forth in an attempt to escape culpability for any of their actions.

Continue reading: Monster (2003) Review

Girl Review


OK
Dominique Swain jumps from one Lolita to another with Girl, this made-for-cable romp about a brainy beauty virgin who decides to let it all slut-out with the local grunge-rock hero (Flanery). What lessons does she learn along the way? I never really figured that out... but for some reason, I didn't completely hate the film -- maybe because Swain is so damn cute.

Susan's Plan Review


Grim
Yea, and the masses cried for a time when John Landis would once again make a passable movie instead of doing direct-to-cable crap like this. Amen.

Continue reading: Susan's Plan Review

Denial Review


Weak
Often depressing and banal, this "comedy" occasionally manages to rise above its subject matter (theory: manogomy is impossible) to be lighthearted and entertaining. Silverman and Dempsey make for an incredible duel of bad acting. Fortunately, the ladies save the show. Sort of.

Continue reading: Denial Review

The Chase Review


Unbearable
Unwatchable crap. Sorry for being blunt.

Love & Sex Review


OK
The good news: Movie is called Love & Sex.

The bad news: Director of Love & Sex is a woman.

Continue reading: Love & Sex Review

Trees Lounge Review


Good
Get this tagline for Trees Lounge: "A story about one man's search... for who knows what." That could describe quite well writer/director/star Steve Buscemi during his creation of this film, a quirky and melodramatic tragicomedy about... who knows what.

Buscemi plays Tommy, a regular guy in Long Island whose life is basically a series of alcoholic binges, sprinkled with failed love affairs, cheap drugs, and terminal unemployment. A parade of supporting characters (all played by Buscemi's personal friends) run in and out of his life, and everyone tries to make some sense of it all.

Continue reading: Trees Lounge Review

Monster Review


OK
Thank God that Monster, the fictionalized story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, wasn't made back in the 1990s, when filmmakers just couldn't fetishize mass murder enough. Wuornos's story would have been "loosely adapted" so that they could have cast someone attractive in the role, there would have been a slick grunge soundtrack and plenty of hipster humor amidst the bloodletting. That's not to say that movies haven't stopped their love affair with the serial killer, but Monster shows that it is possible to make a gripping, yet still dispassionate and non-exploitative film on the subject.

Wuornos is famous not just for the fact that she killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990, but for being pretty much the only female serial killer of note in recent American history. A troubled girl who had been on her own since she was 13 and had survived by prostitution, Wuornos claimed, up until her execution in 2002, that she had acted in self-defense each time. Writer/director Patty Jenkins's script manages to show how self-serving and untrue this story ultimately became while at the same time acknowledging how Wuornos's past and profession led to her killing spree. There's a wonderful moment in a dingy biker bar where a self-pitying Wuornos is consoled by her friend Thomas (Bruce Dern), a Vietnam veteran; they take turns volleying variations on "What choice did I have?" back and forth in an attempt to escape culpability for any of their actions.

Continue reading: Monster Review

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