Marcia Nasatir

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Eironweed Review


Excellent
Ironweed, based on the novel by William Kennedy (who is also credited with the script) tales the tale of Francis Phelan. Francis (Jack Nicholson) has a lot of problems. He's haunted by vivid hallucinations, constantly relives mistakes of the past, and is unable to find steady work. That sounds familiar, but Francis isn't a former Bush administration official, he's a former major league baseball player living in 1938 and a lot of his problems are brought on by his drinking (if his drinking is due to these problems is a subject up for debate). That's right, Francis is the stereotypical Depression-area drunk.

Since it stars a stereotypical Depression-era drunk you'd be tempted to think that the movie is a stereotypical treatment of the subject. Perhaps most directors would have played it that way, but Hector Babenco keeps things quite unusual. Instead of the familiar story most have come to expect from movies about prodigious amounts of alcohol ingestion: the fall, the bottom, then either redemption or death. There's none of the expected in Ironweed, no fall because we never see Francis when things were good, no bottom because he's already there, and redemption? Well that's a topic left to the viewer's imagination.

Continue reading: Eironweed Review

Ironweed Review


Excellent
Ironweed, based on the novel by William Kennedy (who is also credited with the script) tales the tale of Francis Phelan. Francis (Jack Nicholson) has a lot of problems. He's haunted by vivid hallucinations, constantly relives mistakes of the past, and is unable to find steady work. That sounds familiar, but Francis isn't a former Bush administration official, he's a former major league baseball player living in 1938 and a lot of his problems are brought on by his drinking (if his drinking is due to these problems is a subject up for debate). That's right, Francis is the stereotypical Depression-area drunk.

Since it stars a stereotypical Depression-era drunk you'd be tempted to think that the movie is a stereotypical treatment of the subject. Perhaps most directors would have played it that way, but Hector Babenco keeps things quite unusual. Instead of the familiar story most have come to expect from movies about prodigious amounts of alcohol ingestion: the fall, the bottom, then either redemption or death. There's none of the expected in Ironweed, no fall because we never see Francis when things were good, no bottom because he's already there, and redemption? Well that's a topic left to the viewer's imagination.

Continue reading: Ironweed Review

Vertical Limit Review


OK
After suffering through an airline showing of The Perfect Storm, I could think of no better way to spend the evening than with another Man vs. Nature story in 2000's take on the genre, Vertical Limit.

As the thrill-packed trailer might already have cued you, this is an action-filled mountaineering movie, with Chris O'Donnell as Peter Garrett, the unlikely hero trying to save his stranded sister Annie (Robin Tunney) from certain death atop K2, the second-highest place on earth. How'd she get there? Glad you asked... three years after a family tragedy sends Annie on a perpetual climbing quest and Peter grounded on earth, the siblings meet up again at the base of K2, where a Texas billionaire (Bill Paxton) is ascending the peak as a publicity stunt with Annie in tow. Naturally, we learn you can't mess with Mother Nature for profit, and the climbing team ends up stuck in a crevasse only a few hundred feet from the summit -- beaten up, but alive. Barely.

Continue reading: Vertical Limit Review

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