Fracture – A Movie Review

There’s so much I want to say about this film that I simply can’t for fear of spoiling some pretty captivating moments and revelations.I will say this: Watching Anthony Hopkins as the manipulative, arrogant, charming aeronautical engineer and Ryan Gosling as the manipulative, arrogant, charming lawyer was riveting.  Both men ooze charisma in this film, and the scenes in which they interact are magnetic.

I don’t remember hearing much about this movie when it was out in the theaters, and that’s a real shame.  Even I must admit I’m normally not one for “court room” flicks, but I finally got around to it anyway because I’m an Anthony Hopkins fan.  And by the way, Gosling, who more than holds his own with the veteran, impresses me more and more with each role I see him play. 

Let me assure you, this thriller was a winner all because of the superb acting.  I really recommend you give it a view and see two of Hollywood’s best at work. 

Grindhouse: Planet Terror/Death Proof – A Movie Review

I want to point out that I did not see Grindhouse in the theater; I watched Planet Terror and Death Proof as two separate movies on DVD.  Therefore, I did not get the full “grindhouse” experience as the directors and producers sought to offer in the theater.

That being said, I watched Planet Terror first and absolutely had a blast with it!  Robert Rodriguez directs an ensemble cast featuring Freddy Rodriguez, Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, and Bruce Willis in a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek zombie movie.  This film was pure, over-the-top action, obviously fake blood and guts galore, and dialogue demanding a straight face.  In other words, Robert Rodriguez knew exactly what sort of “grindhouse” movie he wanted to make and had fun making it.  Planet Terror in no way took itself seriously, and that’s what made it so enjoyable.  I won’t even bother to explain the premise other than to say a military weapon went wrong resulting in a zombie epidemic.  The movie didn’t bother to explain this too thoroughly, so why should I?  In the end, it didn’t matter at all.  Each actor played to their “type” perfectly, and this was just a very fun, hyper-stylistic movie.

Death Proof, on the other hand, represents everything that drives me nuts about today’s Quentin Tarantino (no pun intended).  Look, Pulp Fiction was unlike anything I’d ever seen and will forever be one of my favorites.  But Tarantino, the director of Death Proof, has lost the ability to reign himself in.  He says he wanted to make a movie with the ultimate car chase scene.  Fine.  Mission accomplished.  The other hour and a half is unwatchable, though.  Tarantino gives us an all female cast, scantily clad, spouting horrific dialogue delivered horrifically, which I’m guessing Tarantino found “cool.”  They talk mostly about sex, and as I’m watching it I’m envisioning Tarantino slobbering off-camera over these women he has amassed for his own personal fantasy.  The only saving grace of Death Proof is Rosario Dawson, who lights up the screen, and Kurt Russell, who gives a great performance for half the movie, then a terrible performance for the other half.  Tarantino took himself too seriously with this genre, and thus had the exact opposite effect Planet Terror achieved.  Oh, by the way, Death Proof is about a deranged former stuntman hunting down women and committing vehicular homicide in one case, and attempting to in another. 

My recommendation is to watch Planet Terror and skip Death Proof.  If you must watch Death Proof, I suggest only watching the last half-hour, the incredible car chase; the rest of it is painfully inept.

The Sandman: Brief Lives – A Book Review

I thought Season of Mists was my favorite The Sandman volume until I read Brief Lives

Brief Lives absolutely has it all-drama, action, comedy, romance, and philosophical ponderings.  It focuses upon Morpheus rather directly-unlike other volumes where sometimes he exists within the stories only peripherally-as he helps his sister Delirium track down their brother known as Destruction. 

Destruction is part of The Endless.  The other members of The Endless are his brothers and sisters Destiny, Death, Dream (Morpheus), Desire, Despair, and Delirium.  He long ago abandoned his post and family, choosing instead to exist on his own terms.  Addle-brained Delirium unusually makes up her mind and decides she wants to reunite with her favorite brother.  She is very surprised when she manages to enlist the aid of her brooding brother, Dream, especially after all her other brothers and sisters refuse to help her.

Dream accompanies Delirium on quite a journey as created by Neil Gaiman who makes brilliant use of legend and mythology, both preexisting and self-manufactured.  They finally find Destruction, but things don’t go exactly as expected and incredible possibilities are revealed.

I love this volume so much because something happens to Dream that hasn’t really occurred in the previous volumes-he changes.  While always dynamic in dialogue and appearance, Dream was not a character who seemed to evolve.  I enjoyed Lord Morpheus just as he was, but now that Gaiman introduces a changing Dream, a Morpheus who suddenly empathizes with mortals and family members, he becomes all the more fascinating.

Furthermore, the afterward by Peter Straub was absolutely riveting.  Brief Lives was enthralling on its own, but Straub’s afterward analyzing the volume makes it, and the intricacies of Gaiman’s artistry, all the more impressive.

Read My Article “Advanced MRI: ‘Bringing the Best to Bloomington-Normal'” in Healthy Cells of Bloomington

If you live in the Bloomington-Normal area, make sure you pick up the free magazine Healthy Cells of Bloomington.  In the March issue I wrote the cover story about Advanced MRI. 

Healthy Cells of Bloomington can be found in most grocery stores and medical facilities. 

Read Dr. Nekros: Phantasms and Chicanery (Volume I, Episode II)

The next installment of my Dr. Nekros series has been released though the Amazon Shorts program, and it’s called Dr. Nekros: Phantasms and Chicanery.

In this second installment, Dr. Nekros surprises his ex-wife, Zetta, with a phone call requesting help on what he says is an authentic haunting. With the support of her loving husband, Jason, she takes her video equipment and convenes with Dr. Nekros. But after spending the night on a loveseat with her former spouse and dreaming of the night he first came home after the demon Xaphan brutalized him, she doesn’t know what to believe about the haunting, her ex-husband, or herself.

To read this story for only $00.49, click here, or visit:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001356RP8/ref=cm_arms_pdp_dp

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Ed Wood – A Movie Review

I’m a big Tim Burton fan, and when Burton and Johnny Depp get together, it’s always magic.  That’s why I always felt bad about not seeing the movie Ed Wood.  Released in 1994, I simply never got around to watching it, but after hearing about how good it was, I finally decided to sit down and give it a watch.

First a little background information-Ed Wood was a director responsible for famous B-movies such as Plan 9 from Outer Space.  He died in 1978 and two years later was voted “Worst Director of All Time.”  He also had a penchant for dressing in women’s clothing, despite the fact he was a reputedly a staunch heterosexual.  He used Bela Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of Dracula in his younger days, in a few of his films well after Lugosi had been forgotten by Hollywood.  Once Lugosi died, Wood’s career took a turn for the worse-not that it’d ever been great-and he faded away.

Of course, such a strange life and career is right up Tim Burton’s alley, and Burton assembled an incredible cast of actors in this film.  (Remember this is 1994.)  He secured Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, and a charismatic and Oscar winning performance from Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi.

While I appreciated the acting and the homage paid to Wood by Burton, the overall storyline didn’t really interest me all that much.  Ed Wood’s story, while odd, didn’t captivate me as perhaps it would a fan of his B-movies.  Those standards I usually appreciate from Burton in movies such as Edward Scissorhands, Beetle Juice, Sleepy Hollow, and Big Fish were also absent.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing; I’m saying that it simply didn’t interest me all that much.

That said, though, if you really want to see Johnny Depp acting his tail off, I’d check this movie out.  Just be aware it focuses more upon Wood and Lugosi’s relationship than anything.  If I’d known this going in, I might have had a different impression of the film.  I really thought it was a comedy about Wood’s complete life story for some reason.  But, while there are some funny moments and characters, I found it really to be a rather dramatic story about a vanishing actor striving to remain relevant and a hapless director’s failed dream of making it big.

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy – A Book Review

The first volume of what’s known as The Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses encompasses what I love about McCarthy’s writing.

 

Set in the late Forties, All the Pretty Horses follows teenage Texan John Grady Cole seeking a better life for himself in Mexico.  He travels by horse with his slightly older friend, Rawlins, and on the way down they join up with a very young teenager named Blevins.  They can tell Blevins is trouble, and he causes them more problems than they ever could have imagined.  But John also finds some danger without the help of Blevins, and it involves the daughter of his new ranch boss that he just can’t quit.

 

McCarthy offers a bit more descriptive narration than I care for in this work, slowing it down at times, but his tight-lipped, capable, honorable, humble, and just plain tough John Grady Cole represents what I enjoy most about McCarthy’s creations.  John Grady Cole is the perfect McCarthy protagonist, and this neo-western perfectly conveys all that it means to be human—love, loss, betrayal, redemption, loyalty, and resolve.

 

It is with great anticipation I look forward to completing The Border Trilogy.