CELLUROIDS: A Movie Tally Site

I SEE YOU aka D-TOX (2002)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on June 1, 2010

Stallone makes the best straight-to-DVD movies out there, and this is no exception. The cast is stellar: Robert Patrick, Tom Berenger, Sean Patrick Flannery, Jeffrey Wright, Charles Durning just to name a few. This could have been the cast of THE EXPENDABLES and I would have been fine with that.

Everyone is a cop with a problem, so they’ve been sent away to the Outpost #31 of rehab centers, only to find out that one of their demons – namely Stallone’s – has been let out of the bottle so to speak…

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Fincher Features: SE7EN (1995), PANIC ROOM (2002)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on June 1, 2010

Date: 5/25    Format: AVI

Director: David Fincher

PANIC ROOM (2002)

Starring: Jodie Foster, K-Stew, Dwight Yoakam, Nicole Kidman’s voice

Tense, funny, horrific and Fincher’s first fantasy film since there is no way you would ever find a Brownstone like that on the Upper West Side. K-Stew before she was a waif phenom and a fun cameo from Nicole Kidman as the woman on the other end of the phone. Kidman was originally set to star, but injured herself on the set of the Grand Guignol-meets-Glee feature film MOULIN ROUGE directed by Baz Luhrmann.

SE7EN (1995)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Lex Luthor and Pepper Potts

For how dark and twisted this film is, it still feels decidedly mainstream and the success of the film was a great example of how audiences can embrace something original and turn it into a cultural event. This is a perfectly conceived and executed film, and if you haven’t seen it in a while, do yourself a favor and let yourself be reminded what an incredible piece of entertainment this is. (The number in the name is its only flaw.)

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QUICK LIST: 5/18-5/23

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 24, 2010

5/18

WHAT WOMEN WANT – The chemistry between Gibson and Hunt really is electric, the Sinatra hat-dance is a treat, and if IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is too heavy for you, this is Capra-lite at its finest.

MEET THE FOCKERS – DeNiro has a man-boob and Gaylord’s parents have a great sex life…and scene. Is THE LITTLE FOCKERS still in the works?

JUST FRIENDS – Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit makes me happy…but not because it’s funny.

5/19

RED HOOK – Avoid at all costs! The premise sucks you in, beware! A group of college kids from Jersey go on a NYC scavenger hunt and things go horribly wrong. See? Sounds interesting, right? It’s not. Even if you live in New York, it’s not worth seeing some of your favorite spots and the kills are all off camera and totally generic.

ROBIN HOOD – Bootleg. It slows in the middle and the final battle seems rushed and unimportant but this film is getting bashed up against the rocks unfairly in my opinion. Still, Scott and co. should have injected more of a sense of fun into the proceedings.

5/21

FAY GRIM – Technically, you don’t have to see Hal Hartley’s HENRY FOOL in order to enjoy its quirky film noir sequel, but it wouldn’t hurt. Odd angles and odd characters + a rabbit hole of a script make this and most of the director’s movies worth catching.

CANDYMAN – Confession – I’d never seen this all the way through! Great gore, effective melodrama and side-boobage. Who could ask for anything more?

CAVEMAN’S VALENTINE – Samuel L. Jackson is really weird, has dreads and is one helluva piano player. If Romulus Ledbetter (Jackson’s character name in CV), Foxx from THE SOLOIST and Wesley Willis ever form a band, I will be front row. Rodney Eastman aka Joey from Elm Street 3 and 4 also shows off his acting chops in this as well.

5/22

HACK! – SCREAM inspired but did that movie have Winnie Cooper, the asshole villain from KARATE KID III, Drusilla and Paulie from ROCKY in it? Didn’t think so!

HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1980) – The surreal, sedative-induced sequence at the end of this film makes the movie for me. The killer’s reveal is effective too,  mainly because it delves into the past, revealing one character’s sordid history that the co-eds are suddenly forced to deal with. I would’ve liked to see more praise heaped on this flick when the remake hit, but we were all too caught up with the fact that Princess Leia wields a shotgun and says ‘fuck’ a lot.

STRANGE BEHAVIOR (1981) – Love this flick! Very atmospheric, very creepy and very ahead of its time. The local clinic is giving kids cash to be guinea pigs, but what they don’t know is the fact that they are actually being programmed to kill! Eeek! Great make up effects and a fantastic reveal towards the end make this one surprisingly tense and downright disturbing at times. So of course it comes highly recommended.

THE FAN (1996) – “Do you care now?” This is vintage Tony Scott and although NIN is played way too much throughout the film, it’s a great double feature with TAXI DRIVER or CAPE FEAR and certainly features the best performance by Wesley Snipes to date.

5/23

SCREAM – Still fun. Still responsible for the new era of American horror. It’s a classic, whether you like it or not. Deal with it.

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE – This one is better than I remember it. Neil Jordan did a fine job, but what would a DePalma or Schumaker version have looked like? It’s hard not to think about River Phoenix when seeing Christina Slater on screen, knowing that the young actor was set to play the part of the journalist before his death.

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Double Feature: BOOT CAMP (2008), SURVIVAL QUEST (1989)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 21, 2010

Date: 5/17/2010         Format: Netflix Instant

BOOT CAMP

Director: Christian Duguay

Starring: Peter Stormare, Mila Kunis

Every year, hundreds of  troubled teens are sent off to Boot Camp disciplinary retreats. There have been numerous deaths attributed to these camps, and I’m willing to bet most of them happened at the camp that Peter Stormare runs. It is hardcore, man.

Mila Kunis is sent to a remote island in Fiji where a number of kids are subjected to forced labor and abusive drills and exercises. What’s interesting is the fact that some of the kids, and even out starlet at one point, feel that this is actually a healthy environment that is doing them some good. In fact, there are positive aspects to the camp, so the argument can legitimately be made that, while very strict, this experience is ultimately beneficial.

Then everything goes to shit. This flick surprised me. Definitely recommended.


SURVIVAL QUEST

Director: Don Coscarelli

Starring: Lance Henricksen, Dermot Mulroney, Catherine Keener, Reggie Bannister

“In the wilderness, you can’t dial 911.”

This one’s a real gem. Seek it out at all costs.

from IMDB: “There are two sets of campers on California’s Sierra Madre Mountain. One group is the Blue Legion, a gun-happy squad of teenage boys under the command of survivalist Jake Cannon. The other group, Survival Quest, is a sort of backpacking self-help group led by gentle mountain man Hank Chambers. The Survival Quest group includes smart-aleck Joey, fragile divorcee Cheryl, and alienated convict Gray. Through various exercises and object lessons, Hank teaches his crew how to work together. Jake is harassing the Survival Quest group. When a viciously ill-mannered Blue Legion member named Raider ends up shooting Hank, this angers Jake to no end. While Jake was harassing the Survival Quest group, Jake actually wanted no one to get shot. Jake starts beating Raider up, and Raider responds by shooting Jake and blaming it on the Survival Quest group. Now led by Raider, the Blue Legion plans to kill the Survival Quest members. Cheryl is now in charge of the Survival Quest group, because they think Hank is dead. They work together and race through the wilderness in an attempt to get to the nearest airstrip, while Raider and his group follow them with every intention of killing them.”

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On Repeat: CARLITO’S WAY (1993)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 21, 2010

Date: 5/15/2010         Format: Netflix Instant

Director: Brian DePalma

Starring: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, John Leguizamo

Yes, the unofficial sequel to SCARFACE still holds up, but the patented DePalma melodrama falls flat here, mostly due to the fact that Pacino (and DeNiro for that matter) are not romantic leads and they never will be. Interestingly, the only time Pacino was believable in a love story was with his SCARFACE co-star Michelle Pfeifer in FRANKIE & JOHNNY.

Shoot out at the end is reminiscent of THE UNTOUCHABLES -just not as operatic and more intense – and of course it all ends in tragedy. As it should.

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NIGHT MOVES (1975)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 14, 2010

Date: 5/13/2010         Format: Netflix Instant

Director: Arthur Penn

Starring: Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, Melanie Griffith

Although this entry into the legendary actor’s career has been largely forgotten, you still just can’t go wrong with ’70s Hackman. Melanie Griffith plays an LA runaway that Hackman is hired to locate and bring back to her washed up starlet of a mother. It’s one of Griffith’s first roles and let’s just say she certainly wasn’t shy.

James Woods appears too as a sleazy ex-boyfriend of Griffith’s, who may or may not be connected to a Hollywood cover up that Hackman and Griffith become entagled in.

The story moves back and forth between LA and the Florida Keys – where Griffith has been hiding out with a very strange, very Bohemian couple – and as the plot thickens, Hackman must piece together an unfolding mystery that threatens to undo everything he has done to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Griffith’s character.

NIGHT MOVES is a bit slow in parts, and somewhat laughable in a few scenes (especially as Hackman gets introduced to the hippie lifestyle down in the Keys) but the ending is unbelievable. The last reel is made up of the intensity and righteousness that is pure Hackman and there is a shocking, action packed, stunt rock of a finale.

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HOLY ROLLERS (2010)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 14, 2010

Date: 5/13/2010         Format: Screener

Director: Kevin Asch

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha

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On Repeat: GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 14, 2010

Date: 5/14/2010         Format: Torrent

Director: Gus Van Zandt

Starring: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, other actors…

Inspired by this week’s episode of Community that referenced this flick several times. Still a great script and the wonder boy’s win at the 70th annual Academy Awards is probably the closest any of us will ever get to Oscar gold.

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JACKIE BROWN (1997)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 6, 2010

Date: 5/05/2010         Format: Torrent

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Pam “she’s coffee and she’ll cream you” Grier, Mace Windu, Travis Bickle, Beetlejuice

The fact that JACKIE BROWN was Tarantino’s next film after the cultural landmark that was PULP FICTION, undermined the sheer perfection it possesses. It’s gotten its due in recent years, though, to be sure. Using the template of a ’70s blacksploitation heist flick and setting it in the mall-obsessed sterility of the ’90s is strangely effective. Grier’s Jackie serves as the bridge between Ordell (who might as well have jumped off the screen on 42nd st.) and Max Cherry (a cracker that get’s a backbone from a Delfonics cassette), and she closes the gap  between both eras in the process. These characters and the era itself need a little adventure and Tarantino creates suspense and a sense of gritty fun by turning JACKIE BROWN into an excellent pastiche of ’70s era blacksploitation – an era that ironically had Grier at the forefront.

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BRILLIANT LOVE (2010)

Posted in tallyteers 2010 by dtinnin on May 5, 2010

Date: 5/1/2010

Director: Ashley Horner   Location: Village East Cinemas – Tribeca Film Fest
Starring: Liam Browne, Nancy Trotter Landry

The conceit of BRILLIANTLOVE is simple: Love can not be challenged until something comes along to test its strength. If a perfect world is created around two people, whether intentional or unintentional, they can exist inside a bubble filled with life and surroundings of their choosing; an environment that only compliments their relationship with nothing to undermine it and nothing to cheapen it. There’s a real beauty knowing that it can still be possible to be so wrapped around someone that you don’t know where they end and you begin. Oh, and the sex is great, too.

Manchester and Moon are those two people in BRILLIANTLOVE, and they are blissfully unaware of anything outside of each other. They are poor, they steal food, and they live in an abandoned garage outside of town. But director Ashley Horner transforms poverty into romance, theft into adventure, and a den of slack into Eden.

Manchester loves to take photos of Moon in and around the garage and while they have sex. It’s completely in the moment and perfectly innocent. It’s in these early scenes where it’s a joy to see these two together and be so crazy in love. However, when the conflict of the film is introduced, and the two lovebirds are forced out of their nest, they cease to be the neo-hippie Adam and Eve and thus the spell is broken. When a taste of the real world becomes available, the whimsy of the film diminishes, and we see the couple outside of their magic castle which exposes their one-dimensionality.

The real world enters in the form of Franny, a bloke at the Pub who happens to find the newly developed pictures of the couple having sex that Manchester drunkenly leaves behind. It just so happens, Franny has found success in the field of erotic art. He tracks Manchester down, gives him a fistful of cash, and before long both Manchester and Moon are living at Franny’s house while Manchester prepares for his first and only gallery opening. Franny is really just a form of destruction disguised as opportunity and it’s not long before the arrangement takes its toll.

The problem is that Moon doesn’t know that Manchester is exploiting her to get famous. Does she even know he has an art opening? She never even thinks to ask what all this is about or why they get to shack up in a huge house. She just pops pills and plays with her pet frog. That’s the problem with these characters once they leave their paradise – they are pure id. It’s not a matter of being cynical. Manchester and Moon are so childlike that they aren’t relatable. Manchester is utterly clueless and it doesn’t even occur to him to ask the love of his life if she minds the fact that he has taken their most intimate moments and framed them for the art world to ogle. He plays the part of the artist/rock star for fun.

Moon, on the other hand, has a temper tantrum if she doesn’t get her way. In one scene toward the beginning of the film, she asks Manchester through a thrift store tape recorder about a photo he took from under her which makes her vagina look twice as big as her head. “Is that what you think of me?” she wonders, but she might as well be asking Horner, who never gives us a reason to think otherwise. Moon is constantly talking about sex or seen having sex. That photo perfectly illustrates her character in actuality. That’s the main contention that needs to be addressed in BRILLIANTLOVE: if the two central characters are utterly clueless, it’s much harder to justify their actions and care about them as characters.  Manchester and Moon are essentially just two vessels of pleasure that can’t process the outside world.

In one scene at the end of the film, Manchester – drunk and unfettered – takes his penis out in front of the patrons at the gallery and proceeds to drink his own piss. “C’mon ladies! This is where champagne comes from!” Unfortunately for BRILLIANTLOVE, you just can’t make champagne out of piss.

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