Brick Mansions is a Detroit district overrun with violent crime, inhabited by gangs and fuelled by drugs; an area so brutal, authorities were forced to build a wall around it. One particularly agile resident named Lino has managed to anger some of the more virile crime bosses by possessing a strong moral compass regarding the treatment of his neighbours. As he is quickly hunted down, it seems he is no match for his enemies - though he could be a match for the city's law enforcement. Damien is a cop enlisted to go undercover after one gang leader named Tremaine holds the Mayor and half the city hostage. He must team up (and keep up) with Lino if they want to stop Tremaine from destroying the city with a seriously destructive neutron bomb. Initially hostile towards each other, can Damien and Lino cast aside their differences to save their people?
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This biopic about the pianist-showman Liberace may look almost painfully camp, and sometimes it is, but it's also a remarkably honest depiction of an intimate relationship. In the hands of Steven Soderbergh, the flaming excess is never made the butt of the joke; instead we get a strong dose of gritty humour, dark emotion and even a revealing look into the smoke and mirrors of show business. And the astute performances from both Douglas and Damon continually catch us off guard with their resonance.
It was 1977 when the 57-year-old entertainer (Douglas) met 17-year-old Scott Thorson (Damon). There was an instant spark as Liberace, known to his friends as Lee, offered Scott a job as a companion: on the stage, in his bed and running his household. But their relationship wasn't easy. Lee coaxed Scott into joining him under the knife of a plastic surgeon (Lowe) who reshaped Scott's face to look like a younger Liberace. Afterwards, Scott became addicted to a variety of drugs, which strained their romance to the breaking point. And it didn't help that Lee had an eye for ever-younger boys, all while insisting to the world that he was straight. "People see what they want to see," he said.
While the production design overflows with Liberace's "palatial kitsch" design sensibility, Soderbergh keeps the story and characters grounded, finding humour in unexpected places (Lowe's over-lifted face is hilarious). And despite the outrageous costumes and hair, the actors never camp up their performances, which cleverly holds the story in a delicate balance between sharp comedy and involving drama. In this sense, LaGravenese's script is particularly clever, peppering the dialog with telling details that gives us a remarkably well-rounded picture of the interaction between these men. And it continually resists becoming another stereotypical gay romance, celebrity biopic or drugs odyssey.
Continue reading: Behind The Candelabra Review
Liberace was an American pianist and entertainer well-known for his flamboyant lifestyle and the sense of grandiose he carried about with him. His personal life was embroiled in scandal with rumours of homosexuality which he vehemently denied. While everyone saw him as a figure of extravagance and individuality, behind closed doors was a turbulent relationship with a young chauffeur 39 years his junior. Scott Thorson became an important figure in Liberace's life; not only as a driver, but also like a son, a brother and a best friend. They embarked on a 5 year affair that saw Liberace persuade Scott into facial surgery to resemble himself, something which led to a desperate struggle with drugs on Scott's part and many a fiery argument between them. Just what was life for Liberace like behind the glitz and glamour of his luxurious existence?
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Alive is the true story of a plane crash that occurred in 1972 in the Andes. Come on, you know what I'm talking about, the one where the survivors had to resort to cannibalism? Yeah, I saw that episode of Seinfeld too. The movie has been parodied way too much for something of its caliber.
Continue reading: Alive Review
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Here's what you missed at this year's Video Music Awards.
Brick Mansions is a Detroit district overrun with violent crime, inhabited by gangs and fuelled...
This biopic about the pianist-showman Liberace may look almost painfully camp, and sometimes it is,...
Liberace was an American pianist and entertainer well-known for his flamboyant lifestyle and the sense...