“Why don’t you just kill me?” “Is that what you think I want?”
Though described as a “thriller,” this is a horror movie in the purest sense, and an emotionally draining one at that. A man engages in a horrible crime, thinks he’s gotten away with it and discovers he’s being outwitted, outsmarted, and tortured by a vindictive little bitch about half his size.
The irony being that the character Jeff is a good looking man with the ability to pick up any woman he wants and he chooses young children, and yet he’s not above spouting the same crap excuses we hear from all pedophiles, too.
Slade’s film is indeed a horror movie. And then I had to see “Hostel Part II” to review, and it was pretty much the same experience as the first time.
Why wasn’t “Kick Ass” this kind of movie? I mean granted I loved the comic book from Mark Millar, but “Kick Ass” the movie was not what I originally envisioned. “Super” from director James Gunn is what a movie about a regular man fighting crime should be. Funny, original, inventive, and dark, “Super” is that movie the big budget spectacle should have been, a story about a demented individual who tracks his sheer insanity with the use of his red costume and monkey wrench, fighting crime, and inevitably coming across real evil in pursuit of his own form of identity.
Dreamscapes and the sub-conscious can be an often marvelous subject matter for the discerning creative mind primarily because it’s a realm that is vast and wondrous but incredibly mysterious. After so many decades and centuries of research and exploration’s in to our brains, many scholars and professionals still have no real clue as to where dreams come from, why they exist, where we go when we dream, and whether or not they’re supposed to actually reveal anything. Christopher Nolan has created a Lynchian fantasy set in the mind that is devastating in its originality and innovation taking the dream world and turning it in to one giant landscape upon which to draw a story that is simultaneously a heist film and an existential drama about a man confronting his demons that he has locked away in his dreams for as long as he can remember.
For a film that basically revolves around the feminine experience and empowerment of the opposite sex, “Whip It” is pretty much one of the most humble homages to female independence I’ve seen in years. Director Drew Barrymore chronicles the evolution of the modern female through sports and shows how these warrior women are indeed one of a kind and promoting the ideals of feminism in their own ways. Barrymore never quite looks down on any one sector of women, but instead opens up a wider scope of exposition that posits every female character before us and explores how they help to influence young women of today with their strength and adversity. Even Marcia Gay Harden, a bonafide pageant mom, is not held up to scrutiny or turned in to a villain as Barrymore and Shauna Cross pull back mid-way and allow us a second look at a women who might have a more justified and well intentioned goal when pushing character Bliss in to the pageant circuit.
When we first see Hayley, she is not what we’re expecting her to be. For Jeff, he’s met and seduced a young girl online and when we first see Hayley she might very well be between eleven or twelve. She’s a chocoholic and pretends to be sophisticated in spite of the fact that deep down she’s kind of a bubble head. She’s sort of annoying, and she’s dressed like she’s just waiting to be dragged in to an alleyway and murdered by a wolf crossing her path. She could be taken down at any moment. For audiences around the world, it was most jarring to see a preteen portraying a juvenile who was on the verge of being victimized by an older man. Hayley says she’s fourteen but she may very well be much younger. She has short hair, and red lips, and talks with a bit of an accent giving away too much information about her secret life, and for Jeff it’s all a cakewalk.
Last year I saw the film adaptation of author Jack Ketchum’s novel “The Girl Next Door,” a dramatic thriller based on the infamous case involving a young girl kept prisoner in a basement to be tortured relentlessly by her aunt and cousins. While I absolutely loved the Ketchum film, I was interested to see if it was any better or not as good as “An American Crime,” a festival runner that made considerable waves among audiences, but has yet to be released in America. Determined to seek out most (if not all) of Ellen Page’s prior work, I sought out “An American Crime,” and was surprised to see that it pretty much equaled in quality, and proved how much of a versatile actress Page is and will soon become.
I admit that I was worried about this film for the first twenty minutes. I was bored, I was thinking “Who are they kidding?”, and I noticed the shocking similarity to “Immediate Family.” But then my mind was changed once Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner were introduced. Don’t get me wrong, Ellen Page does wonders with this film as she provides yet another great performance as the title character who pretty much experiences something sadly not out of the ordinary in today’s society. She’s a sixteen year old who after a night of drinking and heavy kissing, finds herself pregnant.
Those upset by the ex-pedophile makes good story of “The Woodsman” may find consolation in “Hard Candy”, which is basically just a film about a pedophile that gets what he had coming to him all this time. While “The Woodsman” is basically about redemption “Hard Candy” is very much a one-sided revenge flick in the vein of “I Spit on Your Grave”, and “Audition”. Incidentally enough, both films with opposite depictions of pedophilia bear the same red riding hood metaphors. “Hard Candy” begins with the glow of a computer screen with two people chatting online and engaging in heavy flirting and finally, after a run around, decides to meet up. The two people in question are a fourteen year old named Hayley, and Jeff, a man in his thirties.