Roger Avary

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Beowulf Review


OK
From the advent of sound with 1927's The Jazz Singer to the computer-generated effects breakthrough of 1989's The Abyss -- advancements in technology have had a major impact on cinematic storytelling, for better and worse. New technologies open up more cinematic experiences and new avenues for directors and actors to explore their craft. But it's easy to get caught up in the razzmatazz of the latest spectacle, instead of focusing on age-old, tried and true thematic substance. And that's exactly Beowulf's tragic flaw.

The Beowulf legend originates from a 700 A.D. oral tradition that was adapted in epic poem form by the English and into film form by director Robert Zemeckis -- using motion-captured live-action performances that are turned into a computer-generated light show. Much like the IMAX 3D screenings of Zemeckis' previous effort, The Polar Express, Beowulf's tale of a hero who comes to rid a Scandinavian village of its monster, while screaming his name every chance he gets, is more a showcase for RealD technology than an engaging film.

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Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary - Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary Los Angeles, California - Premiere of 'Beowulf' at Mann's Village Theater - Arrivals Monday 5th November 2007

Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary

Roger Avary Friday 19th October 2007 Spike TV presents the second annual 'Scream 2007' held at the Greek Theater Los Angeles, California

Roger Avary

Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary - Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary Los Angeles, California - Spike TV presents the second annual 'Scream 2007' held at the Greek Theater - Pressroom Friday 19th October 2007

Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary
Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman

Silent Hill Review


Very Good
I have not played the video game upon which this film is based, and I assume that that's not a prerequisite. If the game is anywhere as creepy and odd as this movie, perhaps I should. The plot concerns a typical family with atypical problems, their young daughter Sharon (played by the J-horror-haired Jodelle Ferland) is a sleepwalker and it seems as though her somnambulistic journeys take her further and further from the safety of home (in the opening minutes of the movie we see her standing atop a particularly dangerous cliff face). Her parents Rose (Radha Mitchell) and the dour Christopher (Sean Bean) are at odds over what to do. Christopher opts for medication, while Rose decides to follow Sharon's lead. When she's dreaming, Sharon mentions a town called Silent Hill. Rose decides she'd better bring Sharon to the town and find out just what all the fuss is about. Turns out, Silent Hill is off limits - the place is a ghost town after a disastrous fire. And the fire still burns under its decaying crust.

A car accident, a nosy cop on a motorcycle (Deborah Kara Unger), and Sharon's escaping into the deserted town that rains ash, all collide in a chain reaction that leads Rose into a literal heart of darkness. Silent Hill, the town, inhabits a peculiar limbo - it is quite literally cut off from the rest of the world - where air raid sirens (surely some of the creepiest sound effects you're ever likely to hear in a film) precede the coming of a dark tide that washes over the ghost town with surprising regularity. With the arrival of the eldritch dark, the walls literally shred away, revealing an industrial hellscape that lies somewhere beneath the reality of the decaying town, populated by human-faced, screaming insects, twisted lava infants, and something called "Pyramid Head," that has an incredibly unwieldy helmet and one of the largest swords in cinema history. It's a brutal, dark, and hideous place and the highlight of the film.

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Rules Of Attraction Review


Weak
I wondered while laboring through Roger Avary's new film The Rules of Attraction if, now that I'm approaching 30, I've lost my appreciation for early 20s angst. It was a brief wondering, interrupted by a fierce gust of "No, wait, I had a good bout of the angsts yesterday trying to determine whether the future would involve employment or this hazy otherworld of 'freelancing' and 'contract work' I occupy now." Then I ate breakfast and forgot about it. Avary, who hit the career zenith in the gloomy early 1990s by winning an Academy Award for co-writing Pulp Fiction and is now 37, hasn't. He spends the better part of two hours trying to convince us that making James Van Der Beek do cocaine and say "fuck" a lot is some kind of Statement About the Hopelessness and Desperation of This Generation. How's this for a pitch? "It's like Kids...but in college!"

But it isn't. In the hands of a professional angst wrangler like Larry Clark, I'd bite. Clark makes up his mind fairly quickly whether we're supposed to care or not about his waistoid characters and their crappy lives and then creates but honestly and with ugliness in this vain. Avary directs like a nasty teenager, asking you to care and then laughing at you for doing so.

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Killing Zoe Review


Weak
The bastard child of Pulp Fiction and a constant reminder that Roger Avary bears little responsibility for the success of Quentin Tarantino's films, this blood-splatterred heist movie tells a pretty simple (and stupid) story: Eric Stoltz flies to Paris, beds a hooker (Julie Delpy), gets stoned, robs a bank, and finds the hooker working there (who messes up the bank heist). The end! Thank God!

Continue reading: Killing Zoe Review

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Roger Avary Movies

Silent Hill Movie Review

Silent Hill Movie Review

I have not played the video game upon which this film is based, and I...

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Rules of Attraction Movie Review

Rules of Attraction Movie Review

I wondered while laboring through Roger Avary's new film The Rules of Attraction if, now...

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