Carmen Zilles, Murray Bartlett, Frankie J. Alvarez, Tanya Saracho, Raul Castillo, Jonathan Groff, Jose Joaquin Perez, Danielle Davenport and Jose Rivera - The cast of HBO's Looking Visits INTAR's "Adoration of Old Woman" at the INTAR Theatre. - New York, New York, United States - Saturday 22nd March 2014
Despite the skill behind and in front of the camera, a badly constructed script flattens this film version of Jack Kerouac's iconic 1957 novel. It's beautifully shot and sharply played by the starry ensemble cast, but the repetitive structure leaves the film with no forward momentum. Instead of a voyage of discovery, it feels like a lot of random, pointless wandering.
Thinly autobiographical, the story centres on the young New York writer Sal (Riley). He's drawn to the charismatic Dean (Moriarty), a charming rogue who's married to 16-year-old Marylou (Stewart) but is having an affair with Camille (Dunst) while seducing every other woman he meets. And quite a few men as well, including Sal's friend Carlo (Sturridge). All of them are writers and artists, hanging out in clouds of hash smoke as they drive back and forth across America in search of something to write about.
Of course, Sal finds this in Dean as their friendship ebbs and flows over several years. Since this is essentially Sal's story, it's rather odd that the film abandons him from time to time to follow someone else, leaping jarringly into another situation, often marked by Dean's sudden reappearance after yet another bit of roaming. So while we understand how everyone is held in Dean's magnetic orbit, we can't quite see the point of it all. Sal may be obsessed with his thoughts of Dean, but he seems strangely willing to abandon him time and time again. There isn't nearly enough of the scene-stealing costars like Mortensen, Adams and Buscemi. And frankly, it should be a crime to waste Moss (of Mad Men fame) in such a fragmented role.
Continue reading: On The Road Review
As an updated version of a classic "this could be your daughter" sold-into-bondage story, Trade arrives on the scene with at least the appearance of higher motives. The Motorcycle Diaries' writer Jose Rivera's script is based on Peter Landesman's harrowing New York Times Magazine story, "The Girls Next Door," which found an astoundingly extensive network of traffickers who ferried their human cargo across borders with alacrity, often pimping them out of quiet houses on quaint, upscale, suburban streets. The numbers are staggering, with estimates of how many humans are currently held in a state of slavery around the world ranging as high as one million, and the conditions horrifying, with victims snatched away in broad daylight from families who are later threatened should the kidnapped woman try to run. Featuring some appropriately jittery, handheld camerawork, and starting with multiple storylines converging in a Mexico City filled to bursting with people and corruption, Trade for a time seems to have designs on doing for its subject what Traffic did to illuminate the drug war. It doesn't even come close.
Continue reading: Trade Review
Adapted from both Guevara's The Motorcycle Diaries and Granado's Traveling with Che Guevara by Jose Rivera, Salles' episodic film follows the intrepid travelers as they leave family and friends behind in Buenos Aires and head for the rural countryside riding their beat-up metallic steed dubbed, ironically, "The Mighty One." Granado (Rodrigo De la Serna), a 29-year-old biochemist, and Guevara (Gael García Bernal), a 23-year-old student one semester away from getting his medical degree, had planned on being gone for four months, but their eventual odyssey would last twice as long, cover 8,000 miles, and forever change Guevara's way of looking at his homeland's social and economic inequity. As portrayed by Bernal and De la Serna, Che and Alberto are yin and yang, with Guevara's candid, charitable demeanor standing in sharp contrast to the more gregarious, hedonistic Alberto, and Salles' film makes great use of their complementary personalities during the duo's humorous antics to procure room, board, and booty from local businessmen and comely beauties. Salles' focus on the duo's push-and-pull chemistry gives the early stages of their trip a lighthearted joyousness, and Eric Gautier's expressive, ethereal cinematography of the Peruvian Andes and Chilean desert makes Che and Alberto's somewhat uneventful story - not a whole lot happens during the film's first two-thirds - sparsely lyrical.
Continue reading: The Motorcycle Diaries Review