The Masters of Horror collection is a wonderful idea fronted by Mick Garris that, in a way, pits the best horror directors currently working today (most of them, anyway) against each other in a battle to make the most effective one hour horror gem. I realize that the initial purpose may not have been competition, but having this much talent in the same association means that even if the directors aren't taking this endeavor as a competition, then horror fans certainly are.
I was moderately aware of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland before "Battle of the Bone", not necessarily in detail, but I did have a meager understanding of the Protestant vs. Roman Catholic kerfuffle, and that it had been going for quite some time. I later learned that “The Troubles” was a proper name, and that it was an issue that regardless of being somewhat resolved, is still a forefront part of Northern Ireland's social and political culture. Which makes sense when one considers that the crux of “The Troubles'” violence occurred in the mid-1970's, and that many of the people involved in the military conflict would still be alive today.
I remember a time when Ben Stiller was an ambitious actor. He was part of a wonderful ensemble cast in Neil Labute's "Your Friends and Neighbors". He played a heroin addict in "Permanent Midnight", which while not a great film, was definitely a serious acting role for Stiller. And with Jake Kasdan's "Zero Effect", Stiller gets the task of setting up the entire film for us. His monologue exposition of Darryl Zero (Bull Pullman) establishes the tongue-in-cheek tone of the film perfectly. It is sad when an actor who has the ability to pull off a mission as arduous as this has relegated himself to acting in stupid comedies like "Dodgeball" with the same stupid character over and over again. Stiller has skill. Why he chooses not to use it is beyond my comprehension.
This is a film with a ton of potential.
From start to finish we see the sexual encounters of five couples: ex-lovers, plutonic best friends, a first date, a long-time couple, and an impromptu threesome. Each encounter starts with the uncomfortable conversation and works its way through the foreplay and the orgasm to the pillow talk at the end. With its provocative title, and its ambitiously frank attitude toward sex, "Young People Fucking" promises eroticism and insight. How can one not be intrigued?
To my understanding, the only reason "Yellow Submarine" was made, was because The Beatles had a three picture deal and didn't want to honor it, so they agreed to just have their voices recorded in a cartoon; less effort. It's difficult to justify this, since "Hard Day's Night", and "Help" were two of the most important films of their time, and defined an era in history by themselves. If The Beatles had known how important their cinema was going to be in just a few years time, perhaps they would have agreed to star in a third picture to allow the trilogy to be remembered as such.
I sit down to write this knowing full well how socially insignificant both the movie is, and my review will be. If you haven't seen "The X-Files: Fight the Future" yet, then chances are you had little to no interest in the first place, and that hasn't changed, nor will it change, based on my review. If you have seen it for that matter, nothing I say here will change your point of view about it; I have no new insights or much original to say about its cinematic validity.
Since I saw "Your Friends and Neighbors", Neil LaBute has been among my personal favorite directors. Not only has he been able to accurately portray relationship angst better than any director since Mike Nichols, he has also scored high marks with me with his romantic drama "Possession", and the (albeit uneven) "Nurse Betty". That LaBute can succeed in such varying genres, gave me hope that his "The Wicker Man" would not fall into the same category as other pointless remakes of great horror pictures. Nobody understands his characters, and their motivations better than LaBute, and that fact alone should have made "The Wicker Man" update better than most others.
I have a confession to make. This is an embarrassing one considering that I am Canadian, and also a movie geek (of sorts). I don't really like Atom Egoyan. I think he is a marvelous technical director, and at times he has caught me up in his cinema. I find, however, with a lot of his work that he keeps the material at such a distance from the viewer, that the audience can not fully appreciate it like they should. He made "The Sweet Hereafter", which was a prime example of what I'm saying, and then "Felicia's Journey" which was a step in the right direction. Then along came Ararat and I thought he was doomed. During that film, I swore he was lost forever in material that was relevant only to him.
I will begin by clarifying (as everyone else does) whether I am a reader and a fan of the original “Watchmen” graphic novel. I am. I cannot speak for the value of Snyder's picture from the perspective of someone ignorant to its source material.
It surprises and dismays me that there are others who are familiar with Alan Moore's original and still approve wholly of Zack Snyder's film.
I can't see why.
I went into "Walk the Line" a skeptical viewer. I am not a fan of biography movies in general, for I find that most of them either become too inaccurate in their approach, or miss the point entirely and become focused on the darker side of the person. Films such as "A Beautiful Mind", "Ali", and "Blow" are all examples of movies that failed to portray their subjects in the light that would have most suited them, and henceforth failed entirely.