David Mckenna

David Mckenna

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Body Shots Review


Grim
Again, Hollywood has taken creative marketing to new heights with Body Shots. Judging by the trailers, the ads, even the tagline ("There are movies that define every decade!"), one would be led to believe that Body Shots is an incisive drama/comedy about twentysomething relationships, emphasis on the comedy.

Body Shots is not that movie.

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American History X Review


Essential
It's a shame. Every year, I am disappointed with the Academy's pick for best picture of the year. Last year my favorite movie was LA Confidential. Did it win? No. Titanic won and that was a painful movie to sit through. This year, Saving Private Ryan will win all the gold undeserving. It was a terrific achievement in film, but American History X is the better movie.

Edward Furlong plays Danny Vineyard, a young skinhead who turns in a school paper on Mein Kampf. The principle (Avery Brooks) decides that a good lesson would be to have him write a paper on his older brother Derek (Edward Norton). The events in Derek's life are shown in black and white flashback, and we see how he is transformed from a straight A student to a murderer. Derek was sent to prison for killing two black kids who tried to steal his car. In prison he learns his lesson by making friends with a black inmate. He is raped and beaten because of the way he chose to live his life. When he gets out, he realizes that Danny is headed right where he was. He quits the skinhead gang called the D.O.C., headed by Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach) and tries to reform his brother. The movie uses powerful methods of getting its point across. The camera work is excellent, the acting is brilliant, and everything meshes perfectly together to form what I think is the best movie this year.

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Get Carter (2000) Review


Grim
Forget Get Carter. Instead... get me a cup of coffee.

What the hell has happened to all good American action movies? Did I unknowingly miss a meeting somewhere? When did all of the bad-ass, kicking butt and taking names, gun-toting, crazed, vengeful characters of the 1980s -- from such films as Commando, Cobra, Predator, Raw Deal, First Blood -- suddenly turn into innocent, compassionate, sensitive, teary-eyed knuckleheads. The only place to turn these days for an honest action film is towards the East -- and I don't mean New York City.

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S.W.A.T. Review


Unbearable
Is it that Samuel L. Jackson's character is nicknamed "Hondo"? Could it be the sequence where Colin Farrell goes running on the beach, appears to flirt with a dog and later explosively vomits, all of it set to the Rolling Stones' "Shattered"? Or maybe it's the time that the cast of S.W.A.T. all bust out with a rendition of the theme song from the TV show that the movie itself was based on. (Imagine Tom Cruise humming the Mission: Impossible theme while breaking into Langley.) You can pick from a variety of primary causes, but the end result is the same: S.W.A.T. is such an abominable waste of time and resources that I barely know where to begin.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but it should probably start with the script by David Ayer and David McKenna, which starts with your basic bank hostage scenario that can only be solved by (cue music) the S.W.A.T. team. Hotdoggers Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner) move into the bank, disobeying orders, and Gamble ends up shooting (nonfatally) one of the hostages. Street gets demoted out of S.W.A.T., while Gamble quits the department entirely, holding a serious grudge.

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Blow Review


Weak
In the famed cocaine drama Scarface, I remember a lot of gun battles and bowl after bowl of cocaine spilled on the table. I do not remember heartfelt talks with dad, a cancer-stricken girlfriend, and a child custody battle.

Yet such is the world of Blow, the most wildly anticipated drug thriller since, well, last year's Traffic. Welcome to the "based on a true story" tale of George Jung (the inimitable Johnny Depp), just a suburban boy from New England who tires of his conservative life and heads for -- where else -- L.A. Here (in the 1960s, natch), Jung hooks up with the local hair stylist/drug dealer and starts his own small pot distributorship. Soon enough he's running drugs back to Boston with the help of his friends and flight attendant girlfriend (Run Lola Run's Franka Potente). But just as he's made a name for himself, he gets busted and lands in prison.

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