Monthly Archives: May 2012

Vic’s Review – “Boy Wonder” (2010)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years after witnessing his mother’s brutal murder, withdrawn Sean Donovan develops a dark alter ego and starts dispensing some vigilante justice. But soon a dedicated cop picks up his trail, and Sean’s twisted crusade begins to implode.

Victor –

8 out of 10

Micheal Morrisey’s small, indie flavored movie is a dark fable that is beautiful, tight and impressive to watch unfold. It is cleverly paced and is a strong story about loss, revenge and regret. It can be summed up as a coming of age film that is bold and brooding. It isn’t about super heroes or their sidekicks. It is about a path to truth that has many jagged curves for a young boy turning into a man at a costly price that engages us and forces us to dwell inside the mind of it’s protagonist.

Caleb Steinmeyer  stars as Sean Donovan a teenager from Brooklyn, NY that as a child, witnesses the brutal murder of his Mother. Needless to say he is deeply affected and his soul and psyche become tortured looking for an answer to who the killer of his Mother really is. In this journey Steinmeyer takes us on, he brings us in completely with a deft hand at drama and technique. He broods, cries and shows his brutal and menacing side. As he starts his dark trip towards finding his Mother’s killer he shows us that taking the law into your own hands has a price and Morrissey’s sharp script places us in a real double edged reality. Sean is a bright school kid but feels the need to put black paint on his face and protect the citizens of NYC by night. Lines blur and Sean’s world is upended by a Police Detective and her partner as they investigate the victims of Sean’s alter ego at large.

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The beautiful Zulay Henao plays Det. Teresa Ames who places doubt into the open regarding Sean’s seemingly paranoid and unhealthy attention to criminals, old cases and files held at the Police Station. She wonders why he spends so much time there. A retired Captain admits to all the Officers taking him in like an adopted son at the station. They felt sorry for Sean and since the death of his Mother he is a constant at the Station. Ames is wary of it all and with good reason. She can just plain and simply see thru it all. This plot point becomes the best part of the film despite it’s violent anti-hero/vigilante trappings. The film is about Sean and Teresa’s cat and mouse relationship and that is what makes the film gel and Morrissey really shines with the earnest and real dialog that is biting and very slick in places.

What the film is for all intents and purposes is a dark graphic novel come to life. It is the polar opposite of Vaughn’s “Kick Ass” where that film is a fun and self deprecating tale, Boy Wonder is a serious, gritty and self aware gem. The photography by DP Christopher LaVasseur is full of rich tones and well placed framing of the dark streets and subways. It’s frames are comic panels come to life. It is ripe with blues, reds and blacks and compliments Doug Fitch’s incredible editing which is thoughtful, precise and exciting. It is an amazing production to get lost in.

So, I hope you enjoy “Boy Wonder” as much as I did. It is currently streaming on Netflix. It is not your Dad’s superhero movie. Highly recommended!

 

“Mac and Me” – A Manifesto

Hi all you readers in the interwebs, I’m Kristen, founder of the Journeys in Classic Film blog and I’m hear to discuss a film that holds a place in my heart, whether I like it or not.

I was honored and humbled when I was contacted by the eponymous The Movie Brothers to break down my hatred of the film Mac and Me, a movie they deemed “worthy” of being one of the ten worst movies they’ve ever seen.  I seconded that notion heartily as I, too, have seen the utter shit that is Mac and Me.  I originally saw this 1988 E.T. rip-off when doing a commentary track for my now defunct film podcast.  A listener had said there was no movie worth discussing more than this film.  I’ve seen bad movies before but I had never seen anything as bad as this film.  Mac and Me will make you question life, love, Hollywood, and your very sanity.  The story of a small boy and the bug-eyed dumpster baby (or alien as the box claims) that hang out together is an abomination to film and all that it stands for!

The movie tells the story of Eric (Jade Calegory), a young boy in a wheelchair who recently moves to a new house.  Once there he meets an alien running away from NASA and separated from his parents.  As Eric and the alien try to find the missing alien parents and escape NASA the audience questions: “Why is McDonalds so prevalent,” “Why does this kid never see the alien standing right in front of him…is he blind, too?”  And the biggest query of them all: “Who the bloody hell is Mac?”

Director, screenwriter, best boy; no one can answer the immortal question: Who or what is Mac?  IMDb tries to answer the question with the name “Mysterious Alien Creature,” but you can tell whoever’s writing the synopsis isn’t sure because they add (Mac?) into the very synopsis!  Yes, the IMDb plotline to this movie has more guesses than a Wikipedia page.  The movie was a blatant attempt to rip-off E.T. and is filled to the gills with product placement, predominately for McDonalds.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the break dancing scene at a McDonalds.  I’ve been to many a McDonalds and have never seen anyone break-dance, nor have been inclined to break-dance.  Personally, who the hell eats in a McDonald’s anymore?  I know, I know, this is 1988 but they still had drive-thrus!  It’s not like McDonalds is the go-to place to have a step up dance party…everyone knows you do that at IHOP!

There’s a LOT I could complain about in regards to this film but I doubt my kind editors on this site want me to fill up a book.  There’s the whole plotline about the aliens wandering for forty years in the desert (oh they aren’t…they’re just stupid) or the fact that Mac looks like a weird mutant baby out of the Hills Have Eyes, nope my problem is in the main character of little Eric.  I do applaud the movie – yes I just said applaud, stop laughing – for hiring a genuinely disabled actor for this film.  So many movies put Tom Cruise in a wheelchair and expect you to believe him so it’s refreshing to see a person in a wheelchair truly be in a wheelchair…..but what they do to this poor boy is disgusting.

First of all, I myself am in a wheelchair so I consider myself an “expert” on how to treat a disabled person.  I don’t think throwing a kid in a wheelchair off a MOTHER****ING cliff is the way to sell your movie to kids!  Seriously, there’s a scene where the kid goes rolling down the world’s biggest hill, off a cliff into a body of water.  Let’s break this down.  He’s rolling down the smoothest grassy hill in the world.  I’ve rolled down many a hill, and there’s always twigs, grass, or you know, a fricking rock to at least slow you down or tip the chair over.  Nope, this kid’s going down Lombard Street apparently because it’s a smoothest descent.  Next the kid tries to put on his brakes and they snap off like a toothpick.  Wheelchairs have metal breaks so if these are snapping off I’d be suing the manufacturer of this chair right off the bat for shoddy merchandise.  Then, he falls off a cliff that’s easily a 50 foot drop.  Don’t ask how a residential area has a grassy hill that leads to barren, jagged quarry, but hey, must have had good rental rates.  The kid falls into a body of water and should be dead.  Not sputtering water, not flailing for help. Dead.  Joining the choir invisible dead, pushing up the daises dead!  He should be an EX-PERSON!  But no, Mac saves Eric.  Mac sees Eric going down the hill and instead of trying to make any attempt to save him mid-push he waits to save him after Eric has been thrown from his wheelchair to his death.

Okay so we have that fun ride what about the end?  Well there’s a big to-doinvolving guns and a convenience store, but it all culminates with Eric wheeling to save Mac and the building blows up!  Did this movie just blow up a handicapped child?!  Yes, they did.  But no, he’s not charred to a crisp, skin flaking off him like ashes.  He’s not even bleeding.  He’s just limp.  So what does Mac do….he wakes him up.  Apparently, Mac has the ability to heal people (you know, like E.T.!) and saves Eric.  Here’s my problem….Mac has the ability to resurrect the dead, therefore he should be able to fix any damaged cells that person has, including the damaged cells responsible for Eric’s disability!  So either Mac either possess crappy alien powers, or he’s just a total dick.  If I woke up after being brought back from the dead and was still in a wheelchair I’d be stabbing that bastard alien and asking why he didn’t just let me die!  God or whoever wouldn’t have stuck me in this chair for eternity — isn’t that what they say!  No, some douchey alien has to bring the poor kid back and say “Sorry, my power only works at 80%…but hey welcome back to Earth!”  Mac is a tool and if Eric were smart he’d give the alien to NASA with his well wishes “feel free to torture him till his bug eyes pop out.”

I’ve only touched the surface of why Mac and Me is so heinous!  I didn’t even discuss the pro-immigration stance the movie takes at the very end with the naturalization of Mac and his parents.  Yes the term “illegal alien” is taken literally.  Mac and Me is crap on another level.  I love a lot of bad movies but after watching this I wanted to take a shower and sell my soul to the Devil to remove the knowledge of this film from my brain.  If you watch it, I urge you to draw up a will, it would honestly not surprise me to hear that this movie kills people like cigarettes.  Mac and Me is making Battleship look like Citizen Kane.  Thanks again Movie Brothers to letting me unburden myself!

Brian’s Review – David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart” 1990

Barry Gifford’s neopulp novel inspired this controversial cult film from director David Lynch. A star-crossed couple on the lam (Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern) is in for the most gruesome ride of their lives when they encounter a handful of bizarre — and perhaps murderous — strangers (played by the likes of Sheryl Lee and Willem Dafoe).

“Wild at Heart” (1990)

Brian –

Rating: 7 out of 10

This is a film that at its very core is quite standard. It’s not like we haven’t seen a “lovers on the run” film before. Who they’re running from or why they’re running is really pointless. The idea is that you take lovers on the road and see what happens to them on the journey. David Lynch’s approach is to add a dash of Lynchian weirdness to offset that and give it its own identity and, in that vein, he’s successful. It reminded me a little of the Godard classic “Breathless” with its scenes with a couple inside small rooms, constantly on the run, and its climatic confrontation. However, where Godard was restrained and fun, Lynch is over the top, weird and violent.

There are two performances that really stand out to help lift this film from mediocrity. Ironically, both actresses come from the same family. Real life mother Diane Ladd and daughter Laura Dern are both excellent in their respective roles. Ladd displays an over the top evil with a level of self-absorption rarely seen in a fictional character. Dern meanwhile has a certain innocence. She’s hopelessly in love and in dire need for someone to take her away from her mother’s hold but she leaves a little opening that there might be a little bit of darkness under the surface. There are other good performances in small bit character:s Willem Dafoe, nearly unrecognizable behind the ugliest teeth ever, Harry Dean Stanton as a hopelessly pussy whipped man who will do anything for Ladd’s affection, and Crispin Glover in a small but funny part. Nicolas Cage however doesn’t fare as well. The dialogue sounds hokey and hackneyed whenever he’s speaking and any time he’s trying to be sincere it comes across as disingenuous. He’s fine whenever it is a scene of over the top emotion but he just cannot play straight drama.

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Visually, this is pretty restrained by Lynch standards. It has his usual strangeness added with quirky characters and weird colored costume choices but he seems to be holding back a little. I wondered whether a script that was essentially about a poor white trash Elvis meeting a rich Marilyn Monroe type on the road was weird enough that it didn’t need his usual flair. I also had issue with the ending. I won’t give it away but it tidied things up too easily. There’s way too much baggage between these characters to simply pretend that nothing happened. Also, why the happy ending? Cage’s entire existence revolved around a certain level of self-destruction. Why would it all come together for him? However, don’t let all my negative sentiments towards certain aspects hold you back from viewing it. If oyu’re any bit of a Lynch fan, you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not, you’ll probably rate this lower.

Dark Knight Trailer #3 Released

Matt

The Dark Knight Rises, coming July 20, is the final and much anticipated conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s brilliant vision of Batman. The latest trailer looks very promising, leaving much to be the imagination while whetting our appetites for what promises to be an incredible closing chapter in the Nolan series. Enjoy.