Monday, October 10, 2011


Hopefully you guys have been checking out my reviews for the flud watches website in addition to this blog. The content from the old flud website is gone, but thankfully i saved everything. Here's the 6th installment of older reviews that aren't up anymore. And make sure to check out the flud site if you haven't already:, featuring even more movies reviews from myself.

For those of you not familiar with Henri-Georges Clouzot, he was one of the most renowned pre-french new wave directors, most famous for ‘Wages of Fear’ (which was later remade by William Friedken as ‘Sorcerer’) and the classic thriller ‘Diabolique’ (which was also remade, but wasn't that good). In between what would be his last film, he started but never finished a film (L’Inferno), which was supposed to turn the film world upside down, and introduce something new. It was set to be his his masterpiece. This documentary explores the circumstances surrounding the unfinished film and the difficulties Clouzot ran in to while trying to make it (ranging from his bad health to constant script changes. The director of this doc sifted through over 30 hours of footage Clouzot filmed, and ultimately never used, to paste together a collage of movie clips, present day interviews with the living cast & crew of the unfinished film as well as re-enacted scenes from the script of L’Inferno. As much as I loved this film, I don’t think everyone would enjoy it as much as I did. Fans of classical film genres like; Italian neo-realism, pre-new wave and Italian romanticism will find this an enjoyable look in to the art house world. People who aren’t in to art house will probably find this boring. Even if this documentary doesn’t sound appealing, I recommend; ‘Wages of Fear’ and ‘Diabolique’ which are probably two of the most influential films ever made.

This twisted family crime drama is one of the best things to come out of Australia since 'The Proposition'. Similar to how 'Copland' (Sylvester Stallone’s shinning moment as an actor) was looked upon as a modern-day western, i’d look at 'Animal Kingdom' the same way. In fact, Its like a cross between a Los Angeles crime drama mixed with a western.
A lot of the recent films to come out of Australia all seem to share the same moody atmosphere, missing from a lot of US crime dramas. Ever since the great Australian directors like Peter Weir and Nicholas Roeg moved away from the Australian film scene, there haven’t been to many classics to come out of that continent. In fact, Alex Proyas, the only somewhat recent Australian director to show some kind of promise in the late 80’s and early 90’s (Crow and Dark City) went on to make typical Hollywood films like 'I Robot' and 'Knowing'. But it looks like over the last couple of years Australia has been making its presence known in the film world (especially the crime genre). Animal Kingdom will surely be a classic (at least to the Australian film scene) later on down the road. It's is loosely based on real life events that took place in Melbourne Australia in the late 80’s. In 'Animal Kingdom', our character (Josh) goes to live with his family of criminals after his mother OD’s. His new family situation is quite strange. All of his uncles and cousins seems to be very open about their criminal lifestyle. All but one of his uncles seems to be normal/level-headed. And they all seem to be under the lead of their mother; Janine (played by Jacki Weaver) who not only exhibits some serious incestuous undertones towards her sons but doesn't seem to care that they’re criminals. After one of them is murdered by the police, the oldest brother gets revenge by murdering two random patrolmen. Josh gets caught up in the middle, and struggles with weather or not to be loyal to his family or to testify against them for the murder of the two police. Things get complicated when his family suspects he will testify against them, and they set out a plan to silence him. A lot of the moodiness in the film comes from dark, ambient soundtrack, similar to the films of Michael Mann (Collateral, Miami Vice, Heat, etc). Animal Kingdom has great acting all around, but the standout performance comes from Ben Mendelsohn (who plays the eldest brother and Josh’s uncle). Fans of movies like The Last Wave and Walkabout will surely enjoy this.

I wouldn’t call Ironman 2 bad or anything like that, but I sure found it disappointing. I mean at the end of the day, you wont feel like you’ve wasted your money. You’ll be entertained. But if you allow yourself to get caught up in the hype of “the big sequel” as well as this new renaissance of comic book-based movies, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. I sure was. In the latest Ironman movie, not only does Tony Stark do battle with the crimson dynamo/whiplash hybrid played by Mickey Rourke, but we also delve a little deeper in to Tony Stark’s personal life like his battle with alcoholism, his relationship with his father, and the damage the ironman suit is doing to his body. My main issue with this movie was that it had WAY too campy parts, and too much corny humor. I’m not one of these people who hold these new “dark” comic book movies up on a pedestal (dark knight, sin city, history of violence, etc), and think all further superhero movies should follow suit. The first ironman had its share of funny moments, so it’s not like I wasn’t expecting the same from the sequel. But it was just a bit much in this one. The worst example of this is the birthday party scene, which treads very closely to that awful club scene in Spiderman 3, where peter parker does that cringeworthy sing & dance routine. The next problem was that it seemed like more people in this film were doing that fast, witty, Robert Downey Jr-ish speak. That type of delivery works when its JUST Robert Downey Jr., but when half of the cast is talking like him, it gets annoying. And Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance as Nick Fury in this movie was a too long, because apparently Samuel L cant go 2 minutes of acting without slipping out of character and just acting like himself. And the final fight scene, is a HUGE letdown. All 90 seconds of it. Even with all that said, there are still some positive things about the movie. Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke give good performances. Also, if you’re as excited about the Avengers movie as I am, there are a couple of nice connections to the other Avengers. Anyway, I don’t know why I’m even writing all of this, because everyone saw the movie, and it made a shitload of money, so whatever. But it still could have been better.

After watching the HORRIBLE movie; 'Black & White; (which also starred Mike Tyson), i was almost certain that director James Toback had lost it. He went from directing one of Harvey Keitel’s best performances in 'Fingers' to making one of the worst movies ever. In fact, i had no idea Toback directed 'Tyson' until the surprise Q & A he gave before the screening i went to. Watching 'Tyson' in a crowded theater made it even MORE sad than it already was. In this documentary, Mike Tyson lets us in on many personal issues ranging from; his depression, almost getting killed as a kid, being taken advantage of, and his time in prison. However, all through out the movie all i heard from in the theater was laughter. I swear, if you closed your eyes and listened to the audience, you'd think they were watching a comedy. I guess its come to the point in Mike Tyson’s life that even when he’s at his most personal, no one can take him seriously. James Toback’s approach to this autobiography was slightly different than most documentaries. Instead of the Errol Morris-like face-to-face interview format like in “The Thin Blue Line”, Toback sat behind Tyson, asking a series of questions, similar to the psychiatrist/patient relationship. This type of questioning clearly worked, because Tyson really opened up. The most heartbreaking scene in the movie is the footage of his final post-fight interview, where loses to a sub-par fighter, and then proceeds to apologize to his fans for his performance. Fans of “Fat City”, “Raging Bull”, “Beyond the mat” and “The Wrestler” will love this.

It was a breath of fresh air to get a straight up thriller from a country like Sweden as opposed to the typical “art” films that we usually get over here. It’s hard to believe that the country most famous for Ingmar Bergman produced this much talked about film full of motorcycle chases, explosions, sex and violence. The film starts with the trial of protagonist and journalist; Mikael Blomkvist who’s been sentenced to a short prison term for the defamation a big time CEO. Before Blomkvist starts his prison sentence, he’s hired by a wealthy CEO to find out who murdered his 16 year old niece almost 40 years ago. The CEO hires Blomkvist for the job not only because of his journalistic skills, but as it turns out Blomkvist has a connection to the CEO’s dead niece. At the same time, as it turns out a young punk/goth female by the name of Lisbeth has been hacking in to Blomkvist’s computer remotely for months out of curiosity. When Lisbeth finally pieces together what he’s investigating, she contacts him, the two link-up and form an oddball team who work together to try and uncover this 40 year older murder. Early on in the film we learn that not only does Lisbeth have emotional and anger problems, but she’s also been to jail. We’re able to piece together that she was abused as a child, which may explain why she so emotionally attached to the murder mystery case of a young girl. I went in to this with no expectations, but ended up seeing it twice. The film is very well paced, and you don’t even realize that it’s well over 2 hours long. I imagine anyone who’s a fan of anything from the Jason Bourne movies to later Roman Polanski like; Frantic and the Ninth Gate will most definitely enjoy this. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is part of a trilogy, with the next 2 movies to be released by the end of this year. I will say that the other 2 parts don’t look nearly as good, but I’ll still give ‘em a shot. And yes, you guessed it, there’s already an American remake in the in the works, so I suggest seeing the original before the inevitable shortened 110 minute, PG-13 version.


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