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Review: “The Road” (2009)

July 8, 2013 1 comment
The RoadDirected by: John Hillcoat
Produced by: Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz
Written by: Joe Penhall (screenplay)
Edited by: Jon Gregory
Cinematography by: Javier Aguierresarobe
Music by: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker, Michael Kenneth Williams, Garret Dillahunt
Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
Year: 2009

 

(Portions of this review appeared in one of my previous articles, with thoughts and quotes expanded upon, updated, and edited throughout.)

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, The Road is a depressing, relentless story of this nameless father and son traveling across a desolate, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Here is an apocalypse where any sort of hope at all comes from what remains with you in the present, right in front of you, because tomorrow is no longer a certainty, and people are no longer to be counted on to help. For this father, his son is the only source of hope that he clings to, and it is his sole ambition to keep the boy safe from harm, even if that means the safest route is a quick and painless death. Read more…

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Theatrical Review: “Looper”

October 2, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Produced by: Ram Bergman, James D. Stern
Written by: Rian Johnson
Cinematography by: Steve Yedlin
Music by: Nathan Johnson
Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Pierce Gagnon, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Summer Qing
Year: 2012

 

If there’s any one element to appreciate in Looper, it’s the fact that writer/director Rian Johnson has committed to this sort of matter of fact tone with the film. Sure, there’s a bit of exhibition in the form of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s noir-ish narration, but, for the most part, this is a universe that we’re thrown into, given a bit of explanation for, and are asked to just accept. Though the world of the future as portrayed in the film from the years 2044 – 2074 is one that is relatively plausible in appearance (you’re not going to be seeing any androids, aliens, or regular use of spaceflight), it’s important that we accept this world for what it is despite its more fantastical elements, such as the mutation of telekinetic abilities in some members of the future population, as well as the film’s portrayal of the discovery of backwards time travel. The reason for this is because, though these elements play a great deal of a role in the story, the story itself is not necessarily about these elements. You’re not, for example, going to be getting an explanation as to how time travel was uncovered, just that it exists and is being used for nefarious purposes.

It’s almost impossible to sum up the narrative of Looper without delving into too many specifics and spoiling the plot for you, but I’ll try my best to summarize the premise without giving too much away. Read more…

Review: “The Last House on the Left” (2009)

October 11, 2011 7 comments
Director: Dennis Illadis
Produced by: Wes Craven, Sean S. Cunningham, Marianne Maddalena
Written by: Adam Alleca & Carl Ellsworth (screenplay)
Based on: The Last House on the Left by Wes Craven
Starring: Monica Potter, Tony Goldwyn, Garret Dillahunt, Spencer Treat Clark, Martha MacIsaac, Sara Paxton
Music by: John Murphy
Year: 2009

 

Review is of a film that deals with a topic that may be disturbing to some viewers. The goal of this review was primarily to examine and compare the remake’s handling of the horrors of rape and murder with the original 1972 film’s treatment. SPOILERS are also present in the review.

The 1972 film The Last House on the Left became infamous for its intimate portrayal of torture, rape, and revenge — subjects that are still taboo to address in films today without a sensitive touch. Interestingly, largely due to the film’s brutality, the film went on to become a cult classic of the horror genre, a film genre not typically known for having a sensitive touch.

Personally, despite finding in it some admirable qualities, I didn’t much care for that film. However, aside from its advertising campaign, I did feel that the low budget production was, yes, shocking, but also tactful and sensitive in its handling of the grotesque but all too realistic depiction of the girls’ humiliation and pain before the film switched into more familiar territory as a revenge film. I can’t imagine that it was an easy task to film those scenes, and it stands as an example of a film, no matter the quality, that doesn’t necessarily have to be entertaining to have a justified existence. Read more…

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