Noah Fleiss

Noah Fleiss

Noah Fleiss Quick Links

Film RSS

Brick Review


Good
It doesn't take long to notice that Brick is a film that feels entirely fresh and new. It hits you rather suddenly, a few minutes after the movie begins: Why are teenagers talking like they came out of a Dashiell Hammett novel?

That's the rub, folks: Brick, as best as you can describe it, is a postmodern mashup of a '90s teen drug drama and a '30s noir. The setup is quite straightforward: A girl named Emily (Emilie de Ravin) is dead, and her ex-boyfriend Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who apparently can't get enough of the indie scene now) wants to find out what happened. He suspects foul play, and he launches an investigation, much like some renegade gumshoe might do, always evading the watchful eye of the chief. Only here, there's no chief, just a principal (Richard Roundtree, of all people). With the help of a brilliant colleague -- er, classmate -- Brendan starts digging into the underworld, such as it exists in a world of letter jackets and parking lot brawls. (Indeed, for all the talk of highschool, not a single class is actually attended in Brick.)

Continue reading: Brick Review

Storytelling Review


Excellent
Writer-director Todd Solondz has a knack for making us feel downright uncomfortable. He did it in his twisted debut, Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), with a young Brendan Sexton III announcing his intentions to rape an even younger Heather Matarazzo. He did it in Happiness (1998), in nearly every scene. And he's providing more squirm-inducing moments in Storytelling, a film with less intensity than Happiness, but with a continuing streak of intellectually challenging dialogue and unforgiving subject matter.

Aside from Solondz's decidedly risky topics, his format in Storytelling takes chances. It presents two separate shorts, entitled "Fiction" and "Non-fiction," with no obvious connection between the two. The only true thread is that both comment on the telling of tales, the shifting of points of view, and the way most people in Solondz's suburban landscapes constantly paddle their painful lives upstream.

Continue reading: Storytelling Review

Joe the King Review


Unbearable
If you go to see this movie because you like Val Kilmer or Ethan Hawke, you're making a mistake. You won't get the typical flamboyance a la Kilmer, nor the masculine ruggedness you've come to expect from Hawke. Both actors put on weight and changed their look in order to portray absolute degenerates in this film, but that old trick doesn't work for these two. No matter how sloppy, drunk, or flabby these two get, they can't hide their Hollywood faces--they're just too pretty. Both are unconvincing, and when the two biggest names fail to produce, you know you've got a lousy product.

Joe the King is the sad story of a young boy trying to cope with his dysfunctional family in a poor, small town in the 1970s. Director and writer Frank Whaley's debut attempts to reveal the loneliness of adolescence by exposing the heart of a boy made tough by the harsh circumstances of his miserable family life. Set in upstate New York, the film follows Joe Henry (Noah Fleiss -- Josh and S.A.M.) as he deals with an abusive father (Kilmer) and a hapless mother (Karen Young). His only salvation is his fifteen-year-old brother, Mike (Max Ligosh). Together they comfort each other as they deal with each violent and horrific episode of family crisis.

Continue reading: Joe the King Review

The Laramie Project Review


Terrible
Hey, look at me! I'm a B-list Hollywood actor with an inflated sense of self-worth that thinks he can "do something" for the world by making a socially responsible film.

Hey, look at me! A gay kid got beaten to death in Laramie, Wyoming, so let's go there and interview people... and write a play using their words.

Continue reading: The Laramie Project Review

Storytelling Review


Weak

Todd Solondz's "Storytelling" is designed to foster a sensation of absorbing discomfort, not unlike his earlier examinations of esoteric, emotionally disquieting Americana "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Happiness." But this film's two shrewd but pointless short stories are suppressed by the underlying feeling that the film got worked over something fierce in post-production, and that half its guts are lying on a cutting room floor somewhere.

The conspicuously abrupt first segment, entitled "Fiction," runs about 20 minutes and stars Selma Blair ("Legally Blonde") and Leo Fitzpatrick ("Bully") in painfully authentic performances as an emotionally insecure coed and her cerebral palsy-stricken dorm neighbor and lover. Unable to connect emotionally, they each vent their frustrations in pallid short stories about their thinly veiled real lives for a creative writing class. These yarns are not well received by their ruthlessly candid classmates, who pass judgment on Blair's and Fitzpatrick's meager authoring talents and, by extension, their messed-up lives.

Desperately seeking some kind of acceptance, the frail, troubled Blair surrenders herself sexually to her even more cruel professor (Robert Wisdom). Once at his apartment, he forces her to spout racial epithets (she's white, he's black and about three times her size) while having his way with her rather violently and so graphically that Solondz covered the scene with a superimposed red box to avoid an NC-17.

Continue reading: Storytelling Review

Joe The King Review


Weak

A notably realistic portrait of borderline poverty and familial dysfunction, "Joe the King" has such commendable performances and such an amazingly assimilating sense of time, place and circumstance that I hate not being able to recommend it.

The writing-directing debut of under-appreciated actor Frank Whaley -- you probably know him as the guy Samuel L. Jackson shot after quoting Ezekiel 25:17 in "Pulp Fiction" -- his "Joe" script won a screenwriting award at Sundance this year for its story of a foul-mouthed 14-year-old boy (Noah Fleiss) trapped in a sullen, angry, desperate life he'll probably never escape.

His abusive, hard-drinking father (a paunchy, intimidating Val Kilmer) is a constant threat and an embarrassment who owes money all over town. A troublemaker at school (to add to his shame, his dad is the janitor), Joe takes ceaseless, cruel criticism from his teachers and more of the same from his boss (he washes dishes at a local greasy spoon). The poor kid has spent his life learning the hard way to fend for himself.

Continue reading: Joe The King Review

Noah Fleiss

Noah Fleiss Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Youth - Trailer

Youth - Trailer

Set in the beautiful Swiss Alps, Youth sees Michael Caine & Harvey Keitel in a fine piece of work.

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through a checklist of the major events.

We Are Your Friends Resonated With Zac Efron

We Are Your Friends Resonated With Zac Efron

While talking about his new drama We Are Your Friends, Zac Efron has been unusually thoughtful.

Advertisement
New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New reports indicate that eagerly awaited albums by Adele and Coldplay are set...

45 Years - Movie Review

45 Years - Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a quiet conversation than any number of...

Z For Zachariah Pushed Robbie, Ejiofor And Pine As Actors

Z For Zachariah Pushed Robbie, Ejiofor And Pine As Actors

Z for Zachariah was a welcome challenge for high-profile stars Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine.

Daniel Craig Talks About The Pressures Of Celebrity Superstardom

Daniel Craig Talks About The Pressures Of Celebrity Superstardom

Ahead of his fourth turn as James Bond in Spectre later this year, Daniel Craig has spoken...

Advertisement