Saw II made me feel like I was watching that same thing for 90 odd minutes. It's a picture as revolting as it is needless.
Continue reading: Saw II Review
On July 1 of that year, four people were savagely beaten to death in a Laurel Canyon apartment that had long been a party hangout and drug-dealing haven; a fifth person was put into intensive care. Holmes (Val Kilmer) was at the center of the tangle of paranoia, greed, and confusion that led to the massacre. Always hanging out at the apartment scamming drugs for his vacuum-like habit, Holmes incurs the enmity of the hard cases living there (played by Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan McDermott in a frighteningly unconvincing biker beard, and Josh Lucas). To make it up to them, Holmes acts as their inside man for a robbery of the palatial home of his buddy Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), who just happens to be one of the biggest club-owners in Southern California and a bona-fide gangster, to boot. Things go poorly after the robbery, to say the least.
Continue reading: Wonderland (2003) Review
Confidence has triple the pizzazz of any caper movie released in the past several years. To say that it keeps you guessing would be misleading; the film has so many twists, turns, and reveals them in such an order that you don't even know where to start guessing. You'll need a scorecard to keep everything in order. Yet, remarkably, in the end, everything adds up without any apparent plot holes. It's astonishing.
Continue reading: Confidence Review
Mark Wahlberg is perfectly cast in "Four Brothers" as an angry, scruffy Detroit greaseball who returns home for the first time in years to avenge his foster-mother's murder during a convenience store robbery.
While not an actor known for his emotional range, here his soft-featured scowl embodies resounding heartbreak without giving an inch on the kind of toughness and bravado that makes his character a loose cannon. How loose? He even tells the investigating cops (one an old friend played by the sublime Terrence Howard) who come to pay their respects that "I'm not here for the funeral."
Reunited with his three brothers -- fellow former delinquents adopted by the kindly but adamant Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan), and played by Garrett Hedlund ("Troy") and talented rappers-turned-actors Andre Benjamin and Tyrese Gibson -- it isn't long before they're literally beating a path through the ghetto toward any suspects they can get their hands on. And it isn't long after that before a conspiracy begins to emerge (the details of which are never entirely clear) involving bankruptcy and insurance money, connections to the mob, and crooked cops and city councilmen.
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Part "Rashomon"-like roundelay of dubious recollections, part "Boogie Nights" flashback, "Wonderland" recounts, with drug-addled stylishness, events leading to a brutal 1981 mass-murder in the Los Angeles hills made famous by its link to washed-up, strung-out ex-porn legend John Holmes.
Starring the charismatically glazy-eyed and understated Val Kilmer as Holmes and "Blue Crush" cutie Kate Bosworth as Dawn, his newly legal, foolishly co-dependent girlfriend, this film has a big comparison hurdle to overcome -- the riveting "Boogie" was loosely based on Holmes and some of these events. But for the most part it succeeds because sophomore director James Cox (his unreleased "Highway" premiered on video last year) bypasses the self-destructive smack-head's severed sex-trade ties except as they relate to his celebrity among lowlifes who supply him with drugs.
In fact, Holmes is just one of four characters around whom Cox constructs his story from several points of view in single-perspective segments.
Continue reading: Wonderland Review
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