American Psycho is Actually British

Christian Bale is. Did you know that? He’s very good at American accents.

American Psycho is one of those movies that I regret not seeing sooner. Along with providing a depressingly true moral lesson, Christian Bale’s performance as the brutally insane yuppie Patrick Bateman is both hilarious and disturbing. Based off a book by the same name, American Psycho is a story of the successful white businessman archetype of the 80s, only with a growing undertone of uncontrollable sadistic bloodlust throughout. To paint the proper image, envision Christian Bale being told to feed a stray cat to an ATM machine by the ATM machine, and then attempting to shoot the cat in the head after he discovers it won’t fit through the card feed. With me so far?
AMEPic2Patrick Bateman is detestable by any standards but the standards of the bigoted, self-obsessed, coke-sniffing yuppie. He has a strict (and excessive) morning routine, he’s neurotic about things like having his apartment dirtied, his clothes touched, and his business card being subjectively inferior to those of his peers. The first major murder of one of his business partners brings an investigation down on him and his work, which in turn stresses him out and makes him want to kill even more people, known as “returning some video tapes.” And yet, despite the fact that people are disappearing left and right, he gets off scott-free. Even the private investigator can’t seem to figure out that there’s something off about Patrick.

All throughout the film, he is acutely aware of his homicidal tendencies, but seems to be completely at their mercy. The narration Patrick provides reveals that the only thing causing him to hesitate before slaughtering people in cold blood is a distant sense of abstract morality. Which is to say, “I’m pretty sure this is bad but holy crap I want to.” Only once in the movie does Patrick let someone live after luring them to his home, and that only happens because a convenient interruption pops up to halt his nailgun fun.
AMEPic3American Psycho is probably darker than I’m making it out to be, but there are several humorous elements applied tastefully. Most of the humor is admittedly black comedy or satire, so… Okay, well, I suppose you need to be a little morbid to giggle at Christian Bale screaming and chopping apart businessmen with an axe after explaining why he likes Huey Louis and The News. It’s got a charm, but the prime of that charm come from Christian Bale’s contribution to Patrick Bateman’s character.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Reviews sheds some light on the book from which the film originated. It, um… It certainly seems like a piece of literature best taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps an entire shaker. Or, better yet, throw it into the ocean and let it drown in salt. Something about a starving rat and a vagina. I’m sure I don’t need to add anything else to that for you to understand how grody the book is. Still, the movie softens the blow enough that it’s tolerable. Definitely not a family film, but… Heyyy, read some more here: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/american-psycho-20000414

Dexter is Bloody Good Television

Dexter

Pretty sure I’ve made that joke before. Oh well. Don’t knock the golden oldies.

Serial murder is the zest that makes Dexter great. I harp on horror movies for using bloody violence as their selling point all the time. But when a TV drama takes that blood and puts a powerful character at the center of it all, it undergoes a miraculous transformation: it turns to solid gold. I’ve seen six seasons, give or take, and it genuinely surprised me to find that it stayed interesting. Between the scheming, the dark backstory, the close calls, you’re always kept on the edge of your seat. It’s tough to deal with sometimes.
DexterEnter Dexter Morgan, a socially awkward blood spatter analyst working for the Miami Metro PD. He’s got a foul-mouthed sister climbing the rungs of police hierarchy, a girlfriend with intimacy issues relating to her abusive ex-husband, and the memory of a foster father who taught him how to cope with his “dark passenger.” The dark passenger is the defining aspect of the series, in a way.

Once upon a spoiler-free time, three year old Dexter saw something terrible happen before his very eyes. He could barely understand what it meant at the time, but it left a hell of an impact. He is afflicted with urges that drive him to kill, but his dear adopted father Harrison taught him to channel the bloodlust towards the deserving. Ironically enough, the “Code of Harry” only permits the murder of murderers.

DexterThankfully, our rad lab rat lad Dexter has many tricks with which to verify the guilt of his marks. Perk of being a blood-spatter analyst, though on the other hand, it’s a double-edged blade. Being so close to the police whilst taking care of his dirty business means that every little slip-up leads into a huge fiasco that nearly brings his grody little secrets to light. To make matters worse, one cop in particular, James “Surprise Motherfucker” Doakes, hounds him constantly for being creepy, artificial, and generally abnormal.

Throughout the seasons, you’ll see Dexter dive into his past, learn about his family, learn from other serial killers, explore his personal life with Rita the girlfriend, work through his addiction problems, and plenty more. The characters are strong, the web of deception is stronger, and it is more than re-watchable. Top notch series.

DexterIt’s based off of the 2004 novel called Darkly Dreaming Dexter that is acutely different from the TV show, by the way. No comparative statements pending, and there won’t be an alternate article. It’s tough to review a TV series with many seasons that is also based off a novel with a single article. But I did just that. Hope it gets you watching! First few seasons are on Netflix instant view! Enjoy!



 

 

Amber Alert Proves That Not Everything is Movie Material

Amber Alert

It’s one again time for a review of an outright bad movie! I love these! So easy. The title is Amber Alert, and I cannot fathom how I possibly sat through it all. This story is about two best friends and one of their kid brothers running across a guy whose car was just flagged by a highway amber alert. Then they argue, bicker, and bitch at each other for a few hours, then the movie ends tragically. … Actually, that about covers it. You can go home now. For the love of all that is not cinematic filth, avoid having your time wasted by avoiding this film.

Alright, I suppose I could go into detail about what I didn’t like. The introductory bit was perfunctory, tossing a “two best friends doing fun things together” montage at you to give you an idea of who the characters are. They’re generic, so it doesn’t take too long, thankfully. Samantha Green is the one-dimensional female friend, Nathan Riley is the “silly” male friend who later becomes a whiny bitch, and Caleb Green is Samantha’s younger sibling. Caleb doesn’t speak very much, so he’s my favorite character; the lesser of three evils.

Amber AlertOnce our heroes see the amber alert on the highway, the movie loses all entertainment value. From the point they spy the car in question, they do nothing but squabble in their car. They don’t even exit the car until the very end of the movie, and even then, they don’t stop squabbling until one of them dies. Yes, spoiler. I can’t ruin a movie that already sucks, though, so don’t worry about it.

I feel it would be accurate to call this a minimalist movie, because the only thing that could possibly keep you on the edge of your seat is worrying about the dull-voiced actress they got to play the pedophile’s chew toy. Otherwise, you’d just be sitting and listening to a two hour argument about whether or not the guy they’re tailing is actually a kidnapper, and then about stopping and getting food, then about whether or not they should let the police do all the work, and then about breaking and entering… Gah. You think after learning that the guy is a pedophile, Nathan would shut the fuck up and try to be useful, but he doesn’t stop whining once.

Amber AlertThe pedophile himself is pretty hilarious, though. They nailed his attempt to appear as normal as possible after he found out they were tailing him, I’ll give ‘em that, but his interaction with the girl is just precious. You’ll hear gems such as: “You’re never gonna see your mommy and daddy AGAIN!” and “Want to play with me? Yeah, that’s what we’re doing… Playing,” and “I’m gonna run to the story to get some candy for you. You like candy, don’t you?” I mean, I’ve never been nor met a pedophile, but that sort of dialogue just feels like it was meant to paint Mr. Kiddie McButtouch in the most villainous light possible without the need for ANY backstory whatsoever. It was as though his character came out of the womb thinking “I want to molest children.”

Credit where credit is due, the panicked decision-making was well done. In a life-threatening situation, irrational and impulsive actions are to be expected, especially when trying to save someone else. The issue is, the premise of the movie doesn’t work. You cannot have a movie that consists almost entirely of two hours of bitching in a car. Amber Alert was tedious, irritating, and awful because of its restrictive theme.

Amber AlertFinal spoiler? Everything in this movie is fictional. Everything. It’s based on a hypothetical scenario. The director was driving down the road one day and saw an amber alert sign, then thought to himself, “What if…” Based on a true story? Bullshit. You could pick your nose then write Shakespeare, and claim it was based on true events because your snot looked a bit like a rose. “Based on a true story” isn’t a tiara you can put on movies to make them look prettier. It’s a red flag that says “If our movie is shitty it’s because we’re trying to be true to the original story, so ease up on the criticism.” But there is no original story.

Mark H. Harris of About.com was frustrated with the execution of Amber Alert, and for good reason. Without at least some variety in setting, a tidbit of depth in characters, and a modicum of shut the fuck up and stop bickering, any movie would likely be a steaming pile of crap! Check out the review here. He’s nicer. Sorta: http://horror.about.com/od/2012theatricalreviews/fr/Amber-Alert-Movie-Review.htm




An American Horror Story: Murder House, Love it to Death

An American Horror Story: Murder House

I made the mistake of thinking that An American Horror Story: Murder House was a film rather than a TV series, thus spent most of the evening and early morning riding out the thrills and spooks. That’s how it goes with Netlix. Overlook a few things, and badaboom, you’re watching a twelve episode horror-drama from beginning to end in one sitting. Gosh it was fun.

An American Horror Story embodies ghostly horror and a measure of blood and gore that is conveyed by makeup effects all too well. I find the blend of backstory, drama, and scares easy to stomach and tough to find boring. It’s managed to spook me out a few times, but the horror aspect tends to be absorbed by the flow of events and development of characters; a lingering thematic nuance that rears its head when things turn dire or when a particular moment requires vivification. The characters themselves are particularly strong as well. Even the antagonists have stories that haunt them.
An American Horror Story: Murder HouseThe setting for the first season is a ritzy old haunted house in Los Angeles, aptly named “Murder House” due to the high number of deaths that occurred within its grounds since its construction in 1992 by Dr. Charles Montgomery. Dr. Montgomery was an ether-addicted surgeon who resorted to secretly giving women supplied by his estranged wife, Nora, abortions to keep the money coming in.

One day, one of the angry would-have-been daddies kidnaps the Montgomery baby and returns its dismembered body parts in preservative jars. Dr. Montgomery develops a Frankenstein complex and miraculously manages to revive the child with a combination of animal parts and a still-beating heart from one of his abortion clients. Nora, shocked, shoots her husband in the head before doing the same to herself.

Theirs are the first of many deaths that blight the infamous Murder House and leave discontent spirits to linger within. The Harmon family not only has to deal with knowing that such terrible things happened in their home, but has to survive the manic apparitions of every person that dies within the grounds.

An American Horror Story: Murder HouseBen Harmon, Vivien Harmon, and their gloomy daughter Violet Harmon move into the house to seek a “new beginning,” ever since Ben cheated on his wife with one of his students and was caught red-handed. Between dealing with home intruders, spectral children, and increasing paranoid tension, the Harmon family seems consistently on the border of exploding into emotional chaos. It does at one point, but I really don’t want to ruin any surprises. As I said, season one is available on Netflix, so if that service is available to you, go ahead and give it a watch.

Metacritic’s collective impression of An American Horror Story: Murder House is generally positive. It’s praised for its unpredictability and originality, along with an excellent cast. I find the cast to be particularly endearing, and their characters believable. I can’t deny my love for makeup effects, and in that regard this series delivers. I do so hope you feel the same way. Here’s a potpourri of reviews for you to consider: http://www.metacritic.com/tv/american-horror-story

The Butterfly Effect, A Temporal Tragedy

The Butterfly Effect

When I saw Ashton Kutcher on the cover of The Butterfly Effect, I had several serious doubts regarding the content of the movie, specifically the quality of the acting and the overall tone. I was wrong on both counts, and surprised to find that the ending was the most depressing thing ever. More depressing than the fact that this movie has so many spoilers that I’m going to have to divide an entire section off just to review it normally. That in itself is worth positive mention.

This first part is not spoilers. Evan Treborn (Kutcher) suffers from sporadic blackouts in which he is not aware of what he is doing, nor does he remember once they end. As a child, he was friends with a shy girl named Kayleigh, a quiet boy named Lenny, and an asshole named Tommy. Unlike every Stephen King movie you’ve ever seen, these kids are more than fluttery, brainless balls of cheer and ignorance. Their activities definitely affect their future selves, causing them to carry forward severe psychological scars.

The Butterfly EffectYou see Evan keeping journals of his daily activities, particularly the bits in which he blacks out. They play a huge role in the film, but I can’t tell you why until you hit the spoiler section. Oh, wait, there it is-

SPOILERS BEGIN NOW. In his college years, Evan discovers that by reading his old journals, he can temporarily jump back in time and change his actions. The blackouts were caused by his future self taking over. Time travel, eh? Now the title of the review makes sense. With this power, Evan tries to forge a perfect future by meddling with the past. Every time he changes something major, he wakes up in a new timeline, and is assaulted by years of new memories rushing into his brain, causing cerebral damage and nosebleeds. A little crazier with every jump!

In most jumps, all he does is make things worse. He changes from sexually abused to amputee to prisoner (not necessarily in that order) to… well, I can’t spoil the final jump. Everyone connected to his life suffers in some way, making each timeline imperfect, thus unacceptable. The end is bittersweet, but sad enough to leave a lingering gloom while the credits roll. All I’ll say is that he finally finds a way to make everyone happy.

No more spoilers! The most prominent theme in The Butterfly Effect is causality; action, consequence. The title would suggest as much, but the movie delivers an unorthodox interpretation of the matter.
The Butterfly EffectSpeaking of unorthodox, Ashton portrays Evan’s psychological changes very well, managing to translate the kid Evan’s personality over consistently, and vice versa. It’s interesting to see a goofy actor take on a serious role, and it tends to incite… unfulfilled expectations. You won’t laugh that much, but you’ll feel connected and curious.

It’s an excellent watch, but certain points get a little difficult to bear, what with all the drama pouring out everywhere. I’d recommend this movie to people who like being on the edge of their seats, because there are many climactic moments and twists to throw you off the predicted path.

Scott Chitwood of ComingSoon liked The Butterfly Effect, citing the only negative aspects to be Ashton’s thematically abnormal role and the excess nudity. I agree with the first, but I think the second part plays second fiddle to the conclusion. If you were a kid, you wouldn’t want to understand the final message. Hell, I’m not sure I’m able to come to terms with it. Shame I can’t spoil it. Here’s the link, be sure to watch the movie: http://www.comingsoon.net/news/reviewsnews.php?id=3122

Blood Diamond, This Is Africa

Blood Diamond

I didn’t really take Leo DiCaprio as the kind of actor that would play a diamond smuggler looking to secure passage out of Africa using a massive raw diamond as leverage. That said, I was happy to see him. Blood Diamond presents its audience with realism, not acting. To get specific, I mean the nitty gritty, not the glamour. Of course there’s acting. The point is, the movie doesn’t reek of Hollywood taint. You can watch it without having to pause and rinse your mouth out after a long, almost premeditated speech about how a mercenary’s cold heart thawed because of the girl of his dreams. Got it? Glad you’re listening.

Solomon Vandy is a fisherman in the village of Shenge, in Sierra Leonia. The Revolutionary United Front makes a sweep through his area, shooting up everyone they can and kidnapping who they leave alive. Solomon’s son Dia is conscripted and brainwashed by the RUF, and Solomon himself is forced into slavery, panning for diamonds.

Blood DiamondDiamond panning under the RUF is a far cry from safe and simple. Stealing a diamond means your life. Disobedience means your life, or maybe a hand. Odds are, if you’ve been enslaved, you may as well consider yourself dead. Solomon, however, chances upon a pink diamond the size of a bird’s egg, and buries it just as the government comes in and shoots the place up. He winds up on a truck heading to a prison in Freetown.

Danny Archer shares a similar fate, though under different circumstances. He works for South African diamond company executive Van De Kaap, making a living off of smuggling diamonds across the border into Liberia. The border officers catch Danny in the act and confiscate his goods, then slam him into the same truck Solomon was shoved in. The leader of the RUF camp shouts about Solomon’s family, name, and diamond before being carted away. As such, the two set up a deal where Danny will find Solomon’s family in exchange for the ruddy big diamond.

Danny eventually enlists the aid of Maddy Bowen, a journalist who he initially doesn’t care for. At first, she’s just a threat to him because she could blow his smuggling operation. Soon after, she becomes a valuable asset because she has a certain level of influence among the locals. Together, they try to rescue Solomon’s family while simultaneously trying to locate the diamond that’s going to save Danny’s ass from his employer’s vengeance.

Blood DiamondThe movie’s just over two hours long, but it feels a lot longer. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though. Does it have slower parts? Yeah, it does. Does it drag its ass? Nope. The content and quality of Blood Diamond is evenly distributed all throughout. That, coupled with the fantastic acting and above-par plot, should keep you interested until the conclusion rolls around.

Special mention goes to Djimon Hounsou for doing such a fantastic job with his role. You’d think Leo would be the focus by default, but I beg to differ. You rarely see average Joe protagonists that refrain from indulging in obligatory heroics, yet come through as the “good guy” all the same. Better seen than heard, I suppose. Check the film out and see what I’m rambling about.

But first, the Itsvery movie review take on Blood Diamond! To my surprise, many people found that Solomon was a flat, clichéd character. While I can see how that can rouse a bit of discontentedness, I do believe that Solomon was all he needed to be. He was a simple man with simple needs, and he pursued them in a way befitting his personality and situation. Sure, we in the audience may not find him very spectacular, but that’s realism over Hollywoodism for you. Anyway, check out the review here: http://www.moviereviewblog.net/2007/01/30/blood-diamond-by-edward-zwick/

The Fly Deserves More Buzz

The Fly

The 1986 sci-fi horror The Fly may have attempted to sink into the venerated halls of cinematic glory, but that’s why reviewers like me are around. While it’s true the effects of older movies are a little more difficult to pull off and oriented more around makeup and gimmicks, newer movies tend to be CGI and nothing but. In this specific case, the makeup and costume effects make The Fly scary. But you get a healthy dose of sci-fi in there too, so best of both worlds, eh?

Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife meet at a scientists’ social, where Seth says that he’s going to change the way the world works with a single invention. After fending off a little skepticism, he convinces Veronica to come over to his place and see it work. What he reveals is that he has three teleportation pods, and he dazzles her by teleporting her stocking. He tries to convince her to not write a story about him when he finds out she’s a journalist, but to no avail.


The FlyHer editor
, with whom she has shared a farcical romantic relationship with, dismisses the teleportation as a con-man’s lightshow. This allows Seth the opportunity to ask Veronica to write a novel on his work, to stay with him and watch as his teleportation progresses. That works.

Testing reveals that the Brundle telepods can only transport inanimate objects after a monkey is turned inside out and killed. Seth realizes that the computer is unable to teleport living beings because it doesn’t know how to. The Brundle analysis is that he needs to make the computer “crazy about the flesh,” a fairly cheesy 1980s sci-fi movie line.

A complication with Veronica’s editor arises, and she leaves to cut things off once and for all, something Seth misinterprets as being cheated on. In a drunken bout of anger, he goes through his telepods without her there. Little did he know, a fly snuck into the telepod with him and winds up teleported. Only, on the other side, the fly is gone. Where did it go? Why is Seth eating more sweets and gaining physical strength? And… what’s with the nasty acne and prickly new hairs?

The FlySeth Brundle has been fused with a fly. Slowly but surely, he is becoming… Brundlefly. And let me tell you, the costume/makeup effects are irreplaceable. The steady progression of Seth Brundle from man to fly-man is horrific and vivid. Pus to pimples, I personally guarantee that you’ll flinch when Veronica hugs Brundlefly after he throws up on a donut and his ear falls off. Yuck.

It’s a good movie, though I wouldn’t call it ahead of its time. It’s certainly fantastic for its time, but it doesn’t go above and beyond. If The Fly didn’t make Jeff Goldblum famous, it damn well made him more famous. He often winds up in a “quirky scientist type” role, and he plays it well. But what does someone else think?

James Berardinelli of ReelViews divided The Fly into three acts: The first is your average romance story with a dash of sci-fi. The second is the superhero story where Brundle discovers what abilities he has gained from being spliced with a fly. The third is the good old horror aspect, when Brundlefly is born. This description is apt to say the least, and the transitions between these acts are flawless. Read more here: http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=362

Kill Bill Volume 2, Love Among Murderers

Kill Bill Volume 2

We all know that REAL Tarantino fans would have watched Kill Bill Volume 2 before the first one. That way you get the full effect. And watch out, because this one’s got a pair of big old flashbacks stuck right in the middle. Volume 2’s considerably less violent than the first, focusing more around the Bride and Bill’s relationship. It’s an excellent conclusion, if not a bit cheesy, and bound to please those who enjoyed Volume 1.

After a quick recap of the last few chapters of her story, you find the Bride driving down the road to meet Bill for their final confrontation. Before that happens, it flashes back to the Two Pines Wedding Chapel, where the Bride is rehearsing a wedding with her friends and Tommy, her husband to be. To her surprise, Bill is on the scene. Worrying that he’ll start something up, she makes him promise to be nice. He declines, but says that he’ll be sweet. Enter four members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. They kill everyone in the chapel, save for Beatrice and Bill.

Flashing back to the present, Bill is talking to his brother Buck, warning him that the Bride is going to hunt him down and kill him with a Hattori Hanzo sword. Buck doesn’t seem to care that much, mentioning that he sold the Hattori Hanzo sword that bill gave him for $250.
Kill Bill Volume 2Then you see Buck go to work. Apparently, his job is shitty, he doesn’t like it, yet he does nothing about this because he’s a pushover. Upon returning home, he notices something amiss. Not soon after this, the Bride is shot full of rock salt and buried alive. With only a flashlight and a few inches of space, she must escape her grave of earth and wood.

Second flashback! You get to see a bit of the Bride and Bill before the shooting and scheme and revenge. They appear to be pretty normal for murderous assassins, and very much in love. Bill mentions a Chinese kung-fu master known as Pai Mei, a man who demands respect while giving none to his students until they absolutely earn it. The Bride decides to train under him. Time passes, and under Pai Mei’s cruel tutelage, she learns several combat techniques. In particular, she learns how to punch through a wood board not more than three inches away from her.

And that’s how she escapes. The one-eyed Elle gets a call from Buck, who wants to sell her the Bride’s Hanzo sword. She agrees to pay him one million dollars for it, on the condition that he makes sure the Bride, now revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo, suffers to her last breath. Beatrix manages to see Elle as she arrives at Buck’s trailer, and infiltrates as soon as Buck dies to the Black Mamba hidden in the briefcase full of money.

Kill Bill Volume 2Beatrix enters the trailer to find Elle wielding her katana, and a grand fight ensues. The cyclops reveals that she killed Pai Mei after he plucked her eye out for calling him a senile old fool. So, Beatrix plucks out her other eye and leaves her to die.

Then, finally, she follows a trail of names back to Bill’s final location, the place where she would complete her revenge. To her astonishment, Bill isn’t the only one there. Also present is her daughter, initially thought to be dead. End synopsis for spoilers.

Kill Bill Volume 2 doesn’t feel particularly long, though some of the scenes drag. The action is rather sporadic, as some of the characters change their tones on a dime when Beatrix makes too sudden a move. Exciting to a fault, I suppose. Overall, the conclusion is rather quiet and much more emotional than that of the prior volume. I personally enjoy it, but that may just be because I thoroughly enjoy Tarantino’s works. Maybe a second opinion will help.

Brian’s Film Review Blog can provide just that. The theme of humanity is given priority over the thrill and the gore, though the latter two each have a notable presence. As far as sequels go, Kill Bill Volume 2 seems to have taken a very minor hit in the realm of quality. But that tends to go without saying. Check out the micro-review by Brian here: http://www.bpdreview.com/2009/02/five-really-really-short-reviews-1.html

Life of Pi, Emotion on the Ocean

Life of Pi

Life of Pi really deserves the revamped attention the movie gave it. I distinctly remember wondering just how the book could provide so much content from merely describing a boy on a lifeboat with a tiger, and a few flashbacks. Same went for the movie. In both cases, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was never bored, or hoping for something more exciting.

Pi Patel was a normal boy living in India, experimenting with religion and worldviews. His father owns a zoo, and dislikes the idea of religion fervently. All the same, he thinks that forcing his beliefs on his child is a bad thing, and instead tries to impart lessons in a more constructive, unbiased way. Pi’s first strong lesson comes from his father making him watch the tiger Richard Parker eat a goat, letting him know the difference between animals and people.

Life of PiA big change goes down when the family decides to move to Canada and sell the animals. The change isn’t in the move, so much as the tanker called Tsimtsum sinking due to a storm and Pi being stuck on a lifeboat with an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a tiger. The hyena eats the zebra, fatally wounds the orangutan, and the tiger eats the hyena and nearly kills Pi.

So Pi has to survive. He builds a floatation device out of oars and life vests in order to keep at a save distance from Richard Parker, while rationing supplies to extend his window of survival as long as he possibly can. Thanks to a breaching whale, he loses a lot of his biscuits and water, forcing him to catch fish and collect rainwater. As a vegetarian, this is unsettling, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Pi and Richard Parker soon discover an island with edible plants populated entirely by meerkats, saving them once again from starvation. A little bit of searching yields a human tooth wrapped up in leaves. Apparently, the island behaves like a giant venus flytrap, drawing people in and devouring them with acid emitted in the evening. So, after gathering all they possibly can, Pi and Richard Parker depart.

Life of PiThere aren’t really spoilers, considering Pi Patel is around to tell this story in the movie. So at the end of their little adventure, Pi winds up on the coast of Mexico, and Richard Parker escapes into the jungle, never to be seen again. Pi is hospitalized, and some Japanese men representing the company that chartered the tanker being used to transport the zoo animals have questions for him.

That’s where a second story is offered, one revolving entirely around people rather than the animals. In this version, the orangutan is Pi’s mother, the zebra was a crippled sailor, the hyena was the ship’s cook, and Pi was the tiger. After hearing both stories, both the Japanese me and the man interviewing Pi Patel about his life story decided to believe the tale with Richard Parker.

That’s the story, but before I link you to an alternate review, I’d like to note the extent to which I enjoyed the CGI in this movie. While it is used realistically for the most part, namely for the storm and the animals, there is one particular part that blew my mind. It was a surreal delusional memory sequence, where Pi felt as though he could see into he ocean, into the stars reflected into the water’s surface, and then into the eye of God. In theatre, it was the most abstract, beautiful sequence of images I’ve ever seen.

But hey, the rest is amazing too.

Aaron Weiss of CinemaFunk finds that the film adaptation of Life of Pi amounted to a watered down, Hollywood-warped version of the original tale. While I don’t entirely agree with this, I can see the validity. When making a movie based off of an original work, maintaining the balance between the work’s intent and the necessary “wow factor” can be rather… difficult. Take a peek here to get a better understanding of the contrast: http://www.cinemafunk.com/movie-reviews/life-of-pi.html

Proof That Proof is a Good Movie

Proof

We’re talking 1991 with Hugo Weaving, not 2005 with Gwyneth Paltrow, by the way. You’ve probably gathered that much from the pictures.

It’s a little awkward that people think “black comedy” means “comedy about black people.” I mean, I can see how that’s confusing, but all the same. Proof is a black comedy about a blind photographer who takes pictures so he can prove that that world exists as people describe it to him. His housekeeper Celia (Genevieve Picot) loves him, but he’ll never return that affection, so she moves furniture around to trip him up.

ProofMartin (Hugo Weaving) was born blind, and from a young age felt as though being blind made him inferior; a nuisance. His mother w
ould describe things to him, and he thought she was lying to him simply “because she could.” So, he adopted photography as a means to make sure that what he thought he saw was real. However, he kept a picture of the garden his mother described in a safe, just so one day someone could finally tell him if she was telling the truth.

One day, while out on a walk, Martin stumbles on a pile of boxes and stuns a cat owned by a waiter named Andy (Russell Crowe). When confronted, Martin tells him that the cat isn’t dead, and they go to a vet. All the while, Martin begins to take a bunch of pictures, and eventually asks Andy to describe them. That’s how Andy is unofficially turned into a photograph interpreter.

ProofEventually, Celia turns their friendly relationship into a tryst, seducing Andy and causing him to betray Martin’s trust when describing an incriminating photograph. One of Martin’s major issues is that since he can’t see, he feels strongly that everyone should be honest with him. As such, once his trust is betrayed, he pushes both Andy and Celia away.

One of the most emotional moments is when Andy, as he is leaving once and for all, describes the garden from Martin’s childhood. While you never actually see the picture, the tone during that scene is powerful.

There are a lot of subtleties and humorous moments in Proof, allowing some respite from the colder tone of the movie. Its simplicity and vague moral lessons make it rather hard to follow, but the final impact is a positive one. For a 1991 film, I found this one quite enjoyable. It’s very hit and miss, though, potentially boring if you can’t dive in and connect to the characters.

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