Steve Barron

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Choking Man Review


Very Good
In addition to directing pretty much every great music video of the 1980s, including Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and A-ha's "Take On Me," Irish director Steve Barron has racked up an electic list of credits from cult favorite Electric Dreams to Coneheads. Choking Man is a big departure from the music and sci-fi work he's best known for. A humble slice of immigrant blue-collar life in Queens, New York, the movie rises above the mundane with the inclusion of some gorgeous animated interludes and just a touch of Latin American-style magical realism.

Life isn't easy for Ecuadorian dishwasher Jorge (Octavio Gómez), who works at the Olympic diner under the management of a beneficent boss played by Mandy Patinkin. Jorge is painfully shy and almost mute in his loneliness. All he does is wash dishes and sleep, moving from work to hovel with his head hung low and his hat pulled down. His humdrum existence is shaken by the arrival of a vivacious new Chinese immigrant waitress named Amy (Eugenia Yuan) who couldn't be sweeter to him and tries to get him to come out of his shell. Getting in the way, however, is loudmouth cook Jerry (Aaron Paul), a real jerk who bullies and teases Jorge to the point of cruelty. At the same time, Jerry makes flirtatious moves on Amy, and Jorge, who is slowly developing a crush on her, is flummoxed even further. His attempts to give her small gifts he's picked up at the local thrift store are both pathetic and touching.

Continue reading: Choking Man Review

Rat Review


Weak
Franz Kafka meets Stuart Little in Rat, a presumably witty and clever Irish import that aims a little too high to be kid-friendly and far too low to be of interest to many grown-ups.

Pete Postlethwaite stars as Guinness-swilling Everyman Hubert, who, for no apparent reason, suddenly turns into a large white rat (he was a white man, they say, so it would be ridiculous for him to turn into a black rat!). That's not the point of the film, though -- the point is that no one seems to care very much about Hubert's predicament, staging a series of mundane problems around Hubert's dilemma. The local reporter wants to write a book about Hubert. Hubert gets tossed into a washing machine. Hubert bites his wife's finger. By the time Hubert suddenly turns back into a man again, we've utterly forgotten why we should care about him in the first place.

Continue reading: Rat Review

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Steve Barron Movies

Choking Man Movie Review

Choking Man Movie Review

In addition to directing pretty much every great music video of the 1980s, including Michael...

Rat Movie Review

Rat Movie Review

Franz Kafka meets Stuart Little in Rat, a presumably witty and clever Irish import that...

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