Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A review of "My Own Private Idaho"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “My Own Private Idaho”
By: Brian Cotnoir
                Gus Van Sant’s 1991 Independent film “My Own Private Idaho” is one of the best independent films ever made and is a film that should be seen and enjoyed by everyone.   “My Own Private Idaho” is the story of a narcoleptic gay street hustler, named Mike Waters, as he journeys across the country and the globe with his best friend, Scott, turning tricks and searching for Mike’s long lost mother.  The role of Mike Waters is played by River Phoenix.  Phoenix does a marvelous job in his portrayal of the street hustler Mike Waters.  His character is very likeable and humorous, but also makes you feel sympathetic towards him and his life throughout the movie.  The role of Mike’s best friend, Scott Favor, is played by Keanu Reeves.  Get used to hearing me say this in a lot of my film reviews; Keanu Reeves is the worst actor ever!  Reeves character in this film is the son of the Mayor of Portland, Oregon and he plans to keep turning tricks until his 21st birthday, when he is set to inherit a large fortune.  Scott is heterosexual, but he does do “gay for pay”.  Scott doesn’t realize that his best friend Mike is actually gay until he comes out to him one night and confesses his love for Scott as they sit around a camp fire.  Even after that awkward moment, Scott decides to stick by Mike and help him locate his mother.  Their journey takes them from Oregon, to Idaho and eventually to Italy.  While in Italy, Scott falls in love with a beautiful Italian girl named, Carmella.  Scott’s relationship with Carmella does take a toll on his friendship with Mike, and Mike is forced to return to the U.S. alone without finding his mother.  The film ends with the stories of what became of Mike and Scott and the two different lifestyles they would go on to live.  
                                                                                                                                                                                    I found this film to be very enjoyable.  Director Gus Van Sant did a great job on this film.  He was able to create a story that is sad, funny, interesting, and mysterious.  All the characters, big and small, are very entertaining; one of the other street hustlers in the film is actually played by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  So, if you haven’t seen “My Own Private Idaho”, do you yourself a favor and see it; you will not be disappointed.

A review of "Everyone says I Love You"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of the film: “Everyone Says I Love You”
By: Brian Cotnoir
                The year 1996 gave us the film “Everyone Says I Love You”; a musical-comedy minus the comedy.  What else can I say about this film other than that it is the DUMBEST MOVIE EVER MADE!  I’ve seen some terrible movies in my lifetime, but “Everyone Says I Love You” takes the cake.  What is so wrong with this movie that I felt it deserved the title of dumbest movie ever?  My answer; EVERYTHING is wrong with this movie.  The story is stupid, the acting is terrible, the jokes aren’t even remotely funny, and this music is perfect—for something that was written in the 1930’s!                                                                                             
 On paper this movie sounds like a pretty good idea; various age groups from young teens, to young adults, to older couples try and find love around the world.  In a nutshell it’s like “The Parent Trap” meets Classic Broadway.  The film actually has a lot of big name actors such as Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Goldie Hawn, Tim Roth, Alan Alda, a young Natalie Portman, and Edward Norton                  
 Also appearing briefly in the film is a young Christy Romano (from “Kim Possible” & “Even Stevens”) singing the song “Chaquita Bannana”.  Now you would think having all these big name stars in this movie would make this movie great, but it doesn’t.                                                                                                                             
   The worst part of this movie (and the worst part of any movie) is Woody Allen.  Allen wrote, directed, and starred in this cine-massacre as Joe Berlin, a divorced 50-something year old man living in Paris trying to find a new love in the world, with the aid of his young daughter D.J.                                                   
 Other things wrong with this movie is the music.  I’m probably the biggest Edward Norton fan in the world, but I will admit the man is not a great singer by any stretch of the imagination.  The only person who had the common sense to not use their own singing voice in this film was Drew Barrymore (she lip-synched her parts because she said she did not have a great singing voice).  Another problem with the music is the songs.  Unlike many other musical-comedy’s that have original music, the music in “Everyone says I Love You”, comes from Musicals from the 1920’s & 1930’s.                                                                          
 Then there’s the dancing in the movie.  How should I put this?  I’ve seen people having seizures that are better dancers than the people who dancing in this film.  Most people who dance in front of a mirror are better dancers than the dancers in this movie.                                                                                                            
Finally, there are the jokes.  The jokes in this film are not funny.  There not even “wow this is so bad its funny”.  A person who has had a full frontal lobotomy could tell you that this movie isn’t remotely funny.                                                                                                                                                                                                             To sum it up I HATE “Everyone says I Love You”.  And the shocking thing to me is people continue to praise this cinematic attrocity.  The film has an 83% freshness rating on “Rotten Tomatoes” and was even nominated for a Golden Globe.  This movie is an insult to film, it is an insult to musical theatre, and it is an insult to human intelligence itself.  I think we should take Woody Allen out of whatever dog kennel he is staying in and put him to sleep.  So do yourself a favor and DO NOT see “Everyone Says I Love You”.    

A review of "Joyeux Noel"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Joyeux Noel”
Brian Cotnoir
                I had never heard of the 2005 Foreign Historical-Drama “Joyeux Noel” or “Merry Christmas”as it is sometimes refferred as, until just recently when one of my heroes Doug Walker (aka “The Nostalgia Critic” and “That Guy in the Glasses”) put this film on his list of the “Top 11 Next Best Christmas Specials”.  I can honestly say this film is amazing and is one of the best films to have been made in a long time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                “Joyeux Noel” is the true life story of a truce made by Scottish, French, and German soldiers during World War I, who despite firece combat and a lot of tension agree to call a truce and a temporary cease fire for the Christmas Holiday.  The groups of soldiers emerge out of their trenches and begin to fraternize, share pictures, exchange gifts, and they even have a Christmas mass together with the men that they had called their enemies just only hours before.                                                                                                 

   As a History Major I really enjoyed this films historical accuaracy.  I also like how most of the soldiers are speaking their own language; the Scottish soldiers speak in English, the French soldiers speak French, and the German soldiers speak in German, it really gives you a feel for the time.                 

Also this film just makes you feel good.  What’s amazing about the films story is that it really did happen; these men were trying to kill each other one day and then the next day they were bestfriends because of the holiday.  This film really shows that there is hope for all man-kind no matter what the situation is.  After the holiday is over the film focusses on the awkwardness of having to return to the trench warfare after just making peace with a man you used to believe was your enemy and the film ends with an amazing ending.                                                                                                                                                                          

 So when the holidays come around and you’re alredy to watch your favorite Christmas specials with the person or people that you care about, make sure you add “Joyeux Noel” to your list.  Also I think this film is better with the subtitles on; that way you can understand what the other soldiers are saying.

A Review of "LO"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Lo”
By: Brian Cotnoir
                What else can I say about the film “Lo” other than, what the fuck?  “Lo” is a horror spoof that tells the story of Justin, a young man who recently lost his girlfriend, April, to a demon.  In order to get April back he summons a demon, named Lo, to bring her back.  Upon Lo’s arrival in Justin’s apartment he begins to explain that there was a reason why she was taken to hell and Justin finds out about April’s past from Lo and other demons.                                                                                                                                                       
 This film is a horror spoof but unlike other great horror spoofs, such as “Shaun of the Dead”, “Zombieland”, and “Feast”, “Lo” isnt all that funny.  Don’t get me wrong; the film does have its comedic moments, but the jokes throughout the film are hit or miss.  I honestly think that this story came to be one night when the films writer and director, Travis Betz, got really trashed while watching “Evil Dead” and that he said to himself “I’m going to make ‘Evil Dead’ into a show for the stage and I’m going to make it comedy”.  Fear not horror movie fans, “Lo” is not a knock-off of the “Evil Dead” films, but there are some obvious references to the “Evil Dead” films in “Lo”.                                                                                          
  “Lo” also has a lot of moments in the film that’ll make you say “What the fuck was the point of that?”.  My final conclusion the film is this; I don’t think “Lo” was a terrible film, but I certainly believe that it could’ve been better.  It has some really funny lines, but unfortunately not enough to make this film a great horror spoof.  I did not like the ending of the film, and I think there should’ve been a re-write for the final scene.  Finally, I really enjoyed the character “Jeez” in this film; actor Devin Barry did a great job with his character and made his character both interesting and enjoyable.