Saturday, December 31, 2011

A review of "Dear Mr. Gacy"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Dear Mr. Gacy”

By: Brian Cotnoir

American’s for some reason or another have always had some unique and unknown fascination with serial killers.  Lately I’ve been noticing a lot more independent film releases which are essentially biographies of famous serial killers, and they’re not just films loosely based on actual events—these films stay as true as they can to the stories and the methods of these madmen murderers.  For decades before serial killers such as Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Charles Manson have provided inspiration for some of horrors most notorious villains and bad guys, but now it appears that the real life murderers are finally getting recognition for their life’s work and legacies.  Recently, I watched a film about serial killer John Wayne Gacy, entitled “Dear Mr. Gacy”, and I almost never say this about horror films/thrillers, but this film scared the crap out of me.  I am dead serious this movie is so chilling; I actually had to pause the movie a few times and splash my face with cold water to help calm myself down.                                          
William Forsythe is Terrifying as
notorious American Serial Killer
John Wayne Gacy
    The story of “Dear Mr. Gacy” is based on the true events and conversations that took place between Gacy and a young college student named Jason Moss.  Moss wants to write his thesis paper on John Wayne Gacy and believes that he can get Gacy to open up about his life and find out what makes him tick.  Moss begins to send letters to Gacy.  In the letters Moss lies to Gacy and says he’s from an abusive home, that he thinks he might be homosexual, and that he’s thinking of becoming a street hustler, and how he believes that Gacy is the only person who could understand him.  Jason Moss’ lies (along with a few homoerotic pictures he sent to Gacy) eventually get the stoic murderer to open up to him.  Moss has Gacy eating out of the palms of his hands, and the whole time Gacy believes that it is he who is taking advantage of Jason Moss.  At one point Moss contemplates if what he is doing is wrong or harmful as he begins to exhibit erratic and destructive behavior—he manages to push through and it all comes down to one first and final encounter with Gacy himself in prison.  I don’t want to give away the thrilling (and 100% true ending), but I will tell you once you see it, you will be left with a feeling of terror and unease.     

Forsythe & Moss's characters meet for the 1st time
The Real Gacy and Jason Moss
     The acting in this film is fantastic.  Jesse Moss (no relation to the real life Jason Moss) is fantastic as the films protagonist, and actor William Forsythe is absolutely terrifying as the serial killer John Wayne Gacy.  I actually read parts of Jason Moss book The Last Victim years before this film was made and this film made the stories he told all the more frightening.  It’s actually quite a good book.  I believe that John Wayne Gacy was the most dangerous serial killer the world has ever seen and this film does a excellent job of not sugar-coating this psychotic murderer or distorting the truth of his horrible and bloody legacy.      
      
   I would recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of Serial-Killer Horror films and/or Psychological Thrillers, but be warned this is a terrifying film based on true events and is one of the more accurate films I’ve seen that is based on real-life events, which I think adds to the terror because they didn’t have to add or make up anything to make him more scary because he was already one of the most shocking and evil people to have existed in history.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A review of "Freaks"

Confessions of a Film Junkie:  A review of “Freaks”

By: Brian Cotnoir

     Director Tod Browning broke all sorts of barriers and standards of film when he directed his 1932 film, “Freaks”.  Browning first gained his notoriety in the cinema world in the early 1930’s for his collaborations with early horror movie icon stars Lon Chaney Sr. and Bela Lugosi; Browning was the director of the original film “Dracula” (1931).  One year later Browning decided to push the envelope of shock value in horror films and make the movie “Freaks”.                                         “Freaks” is set in France in the late 18th century and tells the story of a group of circus performers.  One of the circus performers, a midget named Hans, falls madly in love with a trapeze artist named Cleopatra.  Hans begins to buy Cleopatra gifts and lend her money because he believes that she loves him, but Cleopatra doesn’t really have any feelings for Hans; she’s just using him to get whatever she wants.  One day Cleopatra finds out that Hans has inherited a large fortune and decides that she will marry him and then poison him so she can inherit Hans’s fortune and run off with her lover—the strong man, “Hercules”.  However, if the other circus performers find out about Cleo’s plans they could be ruined and she and Hercules could be in a lot of trouble.                                      
    
I really like how Browning cast actual circus “freaks” in this film.  Many people who saw this film in theatres walked out before the films shocking ending because they were appalled and repulsed by the people that appeared on the screen.  Browning actually posted in a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that basically said that the people that appeared in his film were real people and just because they look different it doesn’t mean that they should be judged or looked down upon and that everyone is unique and special.  I was absolutely blown away at how sensitive and ahead of its time this film is on the issue.  All the freaks that appear in the film are memorable and really likeable and here’s a fun trivia fact; the actor who played Hans in this film, Harry Earles, was also a member of the “lollipop guild” in the “Wizard of Oz”.                   
    
I cannot say enough nice things about how great this film truly is; it is definitely my current favorite classic-film, and I think it should be seen by everyone.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A review of "Pride & Glory"


Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Pride & Glory”

By: Brian Cotnoir

            One of the most dissapointing films I’ve ever seen is the 2008 cop-drama “Pride & Glory”.  When I first saw the trailer for “Pride & Glory” I was very excited; it looked mysterious, action packed, and was starring my favorite actor, Edward Norton.  What I got after seeing this was total dissapointment.  This film could have been great, but unfortunately it was one giant failure.                              

         
The story of “Pride & Glory” is the following; Detective Ray Tierney, played by Edward Norton, is a policeman with the NYPD, along with his older brother, Francis, and brother in-law, Jimmy.  One night four of Francis’s men are gunned down during a drug raid and his brother Ray is assigned to the investigation.  Ray quickly discovers that the man they are looking for is a local drug dealer named Angel Teaso.  While searching for Teaso, Detective Tierney discovers that a group of cops from his precinct have been doing murder-for-hire and that the head of this murder-for-hire ring is his brother-in-law, Jimmy Egan.  Ray brings this news to his father, an ex- NYPD detective, and his father, who is played by John Voight, pleads with his son not to tell anyone what he has discovered in fear that the news might tear the whole family apart.  Ray is left with a tough decision, does he come forward with his discovery and turn in his brother in-law or does he keep quiet about everything?                                                                                                                 
         
Like I said, the trailer led on that this film was going to be more action packed than it really was.  Just by watching the trailer it looked like Norton’s character was going to be a tough, take-no-bull-shit detective, when in actuality his character was a total pushover.  The whole film he’s taking orders from his father, his brother, his brother in-law, and they all expect him to take the fall so that the rest of the family remains unharmed and can stay out of trouble.  The real star of this film in my opinion is Colin Farrell.  I’m not a Collin Farrell fan, but I think he did a great job as the good cop turned murderer, Jimmy Egan.  Farrell’s character is psychotic, driven, manipulative, and just pure evil.  One scene in the film actually shows Farrell threataning to burn a newborn baby with an iron if he doesn’t get any answers from a witness he’s illegally interogating; that scene right there is absolutely terrifying.  I also like actor Shea Whigham in this film.  He plays a cop and one of Jimmy Egan’s goons, but his character is at times very imcompetent, but still he provides some comedic relief.  The rest of the cast his really hit and miss.  John Voight does a great job as the family patriarch, Francis Tierney, Sr., but his characeter isnt’t really all that likeable, and I didn’t really like the performance of Noah Emmerich’s character, Francis Tierney, Jr.                                        
         
This film isn’t awful, but certanily could have been a lot better.  I’ve seen films similar to this with Edward Norton that were better than “Pride & Glory”, but this film still did not live up to the hype and potential it could’ve lived up to.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A review of "Heavy Metal"


Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Heavy Metal”

By: Brian Cotnoir

            Heavy Metal” is the closest thing that you can get to experiencing an acid trip without actually taking drugs.  The first time I saw this 1980’s animated cluster-fuck of insanity I had to pause it, turn on the lights, and make an observation of my surroundings to make sure that I was, inded, not having an acid trip.  This film is just weird, and I mean that in both a good and bad way.  The film was made in 1981 based off of a magzine of the same title.  There’s really no story-line to the film.  I actually think that they just took 5 separate stories from the magazine and tried to link them together to this glowing green orb known as the Loc-Nar.  The Loc-Nar, like I said, is a small glowing green orb that has traveled through, space, time, and parallel universes.  The Loc-Nar is described as the “sum of all evils” in the film and has powers that can change or destroy the universe, and man, as well as aliens.                                                                                                   
       
The film has a great soundtrack featuring songs and peformances by many great bands, such as Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, Devo, Cheap Trick, and many more.  The film also features the voice work of actors such as John Candy and Eugene Levy.   The artwork for this film is also very creative; extremely weird, but creative.  This isnt childrens animated movie though, this is an adult movie with scenes of animated graphic nudity, sex, and drug use.  Before I saw this film I never would’ve thought that aliens enjoyed snorting large amounts of drugs or that robots like having sex with humans.                                                                               

       
“Heavy Metal” is strange, it’s confusing, and I’m not really sure what all the stories have to do with one another; I still say using the Loc-Nar to relate all the stories is a real stretch. Still, I found the artwork and the music to be enjoyable, but other than that this film sucked.  I’m sure if I took gratuitous amounts of drugs that this film would make a lot more sense, but I for one have no intention of doing that in order to find out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A review of "Oliver Twist" (1922)


Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Oliver Twist” (1922)

By: Brian Cotnoir
            I’m not really a huge fan of silent films, but wow did my impression of them change after watching the 1922 silent classic, “Oliver Twist”.  The story of “Oliver Twist” was of course based off of the novel by the great Charles Dicken’s and tells the story of a young orphan boy, Oliver Twist.  Oliver’s mother died shortly after giving birth to him and he was raised in a workhouse.  While, in the workhouse Oliver stirs up some controversey by asking for some more gruel.  Oliver, is severely punished for his menial request, but is later saved when he is purchased by an Undertaker by the name of Sowberry, who takes Oliver in as an apprentice.  The life of an Undertaker’s apprentice is not the life style that the young Mr. Twist has dreamed of and he runs away in hopes of finding a new life in London.  While in London, Oliver is found by a young boy known as “the Artful Dodger”, and he takes Oliver to a good friend of his named Fagin.  Fagin immidieatley takes a shine to Oliver as does Oliver to Fagin, until Oliver uncovers that Fagin and the other boys in Fagin’s homes are gang of roaming pick-pockets and thieves.  Now, it’s up to our young hero to stop Fagin and the others and uncover who he really is.                      

      Even though it’s a silent film and there have been other films made based on the story of “Oliver Twist”, I still like this one the best.  What I like best about this version of the film is the cast.  Everyone in the 1922 film looks and acts the part of their character.  Actor Lewis Sargent does a wonderful job as the troubled Noah Claypool, Edouard Trebaol is a quite funny as the pick-pocketing scamp the Artful Dodger, and Lon Chaney plays a very frightening Fagin, but the Best Actor hands down in this film is the star of “Oliver Twist”, Jackie Coogan.  The films director, Frank Lloyd, couldn’t have picked a better child actor than Jackie Coogan to play the young, kind-hearted orphan, Oliver Twist.  Throughout the film Coogan is chased, beat, used, and tossed around like a rag doll; all this adds up to comedic and cinematic gold.  It’s actually quite a shame that when people start listing the greatest child actors of all-time that Coogan is often over looked to other child actors, like Macauly Culkin, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, and Dakota Fanning.  Jackie Coogan is one of the most underrated and underappreciated actors in Hollywood history and I think every child start owes Jackie Coogan a lot of gratitude for setting the bar and the standard of what it really means and takes to be a child star.  So if you are a serious fan of films, then you should check out the Silent movie classic “Oliver Twist”.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A review of "How to Be"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “How To Be”

By: Brian Cotnoir

                How To Be” is an independent comedy/drama starring Robert Pattinson, who plays a confused and depressed teenage musician, named Arthur.  Arthur suffers a number of personal setbacks and seeks help from Dr. Levi Ellington, a therapist from Canada.  Dr. Ellington agrees to fly out to England to help Arthur with his personal problems (for a fee).  What follows is a montage of bland humor and self-loathing.                                                                                                                                                                                                     
              
Pattinson’s character, Arthur, goes through a variety of emotions that range from over emotional, depressed, neurotic, psychotic, totally pathetic, and at points mildly humorous.  For the most part his character is very bland; like tofu spread on wheat toast dipped in hot water bland!  Pattinson’s role isn’t terrible but I did not find his character to be very likeable.  Compared to some of the other characters in this film, Pattinson does the best job out of all of them.  Rebecca Pidgeon, who plays Arthur’s neglectful mother, is absolutely terrible in this film; she does one of the worst acting performances I have ever seen in a film.  The late Powell Jones character, Dr. Ellington, comes off as slightly creepy and at times his “methods” appear to be highly irrational.                                                                                      
       
          
I will give Rob Pattinson some credit; he actually sang and performed some of the songs written for the movie and that takes balls no matter who you are.  Pattinson doesn’t have a great voice, but he at least he tried.  This film in not terrible, but I really can’t think of any group recommend this film too, unless you’re a fan of whiny, pathetic, Emo boys.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Tribute to Actor Christopher McDonald

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A tribute to Actor Christopher McDonald

By: Brian Cotnoir
Actor Christopher McDonald is one of the most underrated and overlooked actors Hollywood has ever seen.  He may not be as famous an actor as someone like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, or Johnny Depp; actors who most people could name films they’ve been in off the top of their head, but most people fail to realize that they have seen McDonald in many movies before and have not even realized it and today we are going to pay homage to McDonald and the great acting he has brought to us over the years.  The first film McDonald ever appeared in was “Grease 2” a film that many people considered—myself included—a God awful movie, but fortunately McDonald would receive better roles in better movies.                                         
     
     McDonald has appeared in many great and notable movies such as “Thelma & Louise”, “Fatal Instinct”, “Grumpy Old Men”, “Flubber”, “SLC Punk”, “The Iron Giant”, “Requiem for a Dream”, and “The Perfect Storm” are just a few of the many movies McDonald has appeared in over the years, but the one film most people know Christopher McDonald from is the 1996 Sports Comedy “Happy Gilmore”, where he played the rival golfer Shooter McGavin.                                                         
   
Since “Happy Gilmore” McDonald has been kind of type-casted in the role as the obvious villain; the type of character that really doesn’t display any kind of character complexity and is easily identifiable as the films villain.  However, he doesn’t always play the role of the obvious villain in the films he appears in; he’s actually quite funny in the film “Chances Are”, “Splinterheads”, and “SLC Punk” (even though he only appears briefly as a supporting character in those films) and I think he is one of the better underrated actors in the history of film.  So here’s to you Christopher McDonald for bringing us many great performances and always playing a wonderful obvious villain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A review of "Silent Hill"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Silent Hill”

By: Brian Cotnoir
                Based off the popular video games series, “Silent Hill” is one of my favorite horror movies of all-time.  Now, I will admit the story in the film is not very accurate to the video game story, which I have played as well, but still I found this to be an extremely entertaining and well-made horror film.                            

              
The story of “Silent Hill” is the following; Christoper and Rose De Silva adopted their daughter Sharon when she was a baby, and years later Sharon has began sleep walking.  Sharon cries out “Silent Hill!” as she sleepwalks.  So Sharon’s mother decides to take her daughter to the place that she cries out at night, Silent Hill, West Virginia, but Rose and Sharon are followed by a female police officer into Silent Hill, which leads to a fierce chase that ends in a crash.  When Rose comes to, Sharon is missing and she is the mysterious, ashy world of Silent Hill.  Now trapped in the dark, grainy world it is up to Rose and Police officer Cybil Bennet, to find Sharon and find their way out of the bleak hell that is Silent Hill.               

              
As I mentioned before; Silent Hill is based off of a popular video game series by the same name.  The story of the game and the story of the film are significantly different; too different for me to go into detail, if you want more detail play the game and then watch the movie yourself.  I have to say even though I found the game scarier than the film I still think film is awesome.  I am a fan of the game “Silent Hill” and I don’t care that the writer(s) of the film changed the story; they still made a really awesome film.  I say that “Silent Hill” is one of my favorite horror films because this is the film that put my belief back in horror films and made me believe that they could be scary and that they could be entertaining.  The films story is very mysterious and is filled with violent and scary imagery.  Plus, the charcter Alessa Gillespie is one of my top 10 Best Movie Villains.   Finally, I have to say to the the films director, Christopher Gans, I salute you, sir; you made a great film.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A review of "Fight Club"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Fight Club”

By: Brian Cotnoir

                Every man has two key moments in their life; their life before seeing “Fight Club” and their life after seeing “Fight Club”.  Fight Club is not just a great film, but also it has led people to make radical changes to their lifestyles, and has a cult-like following.  My life and my perspectives of it have changed so much since seeing this truly amazing movie.  “Fight Club” was the first novel written by author Chuck Palahniuk in 1996 and it was made into a film in three years later by Fox Studios.                                                 
    
The synopsis of “Fight Club” is the following; the main character in the story is a nameless Narrator, played by Edward Norton, who is a lonely and depressed insomniac working for a Major Automotive Company.  The Narrator’s job requires him to travel around the country frequently in order to fill out accident reports and inform his company if they need to make a major recall on one of their vehicles or not.  One day the Narrator meets a man named Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, and his life changes forever.  Tyler is a Soap salesmen and he takes in the Narrator after his apartment mysteriously explodes.  The Narrator and Tyler quickly become good friends and eventually they start “Fight Club”, and illegal underground fight ring, where “hardworking-everymen” take out all of their frustrations and anger out in Fight Club.  There are only 8 Rules to Fight Club and Tyler expects everyone to follow every one of those rules.  Over time Fight Club grows into another one of Tyler’s projects, a project he calls “Project Mayhem”.  Soon the secret of “Project Mayhem” moves into the house where the Narrator and Tyler live and everyone seems to know what’s going on everyone except the Narrator.  Then one day the Narrator makes a startling discovery that rocks his world and it’s up to him to try and stop Tyler Durden and his “Project Mayhem”.                                                                                                                                                         

     
One thing that really appeals to me about “Fight Club” is that it is a wonderful black satire and I have a theory that everyone can relate their life to “Fight Club”.  You see the “Narrator” is us; we spend our whole lives working jobs we don’t want to make money for stuff we don’t need because the belief that the corporations have instilled in our brain.  “Tyler Durden” is everyone’s secret fantasy avatar; he looks the way you wish you looked, he talks the way you wish you talked, he even fucks the way you wish you fucked (though everyone has a different name and different idea of what their Tyler Durden-avatar is like).  Then you have “Marla”; that one person in your life that ruins everything.  Every time something goes wrong in your life you often associate or blame that person for it because you truly believe that “Marla” is responsible.  Finally you have “Bob”.  We all know a “Bob”; that one person that makes you say “OK no matter how bad my life gets at least it can’t get worst than Bob’s life”, which is also sad because “Bob” aspires to be just like you, even though you really don’t want “Bob” to be like you and wish they’d stop trying to be like you.                                                                                                                     

     
“Fight Club” has astounding visual effects and a wonderful story to go along with it.  I know my life has changed so much since seeing this film.  I’ve never looked at a bar of soap the same way since seeing it, and every time I sit in a movie theatre and I see the little “cigarette burns” at the top of the screen I pray that the projectionist has spliced in a single scene of pornography just like Tyler Durden did.  Director David Fincher did a fantastic job making this movie, I simply cannot praise him enough for the wonderful job he did making this film.  I especially like the subliminal Brad Pitt’s in the beginning of the film.  My only complaint I have with this film is the ending.  I must say that after reading the book, I like the ending in the book better than the movie, and I wish that Jim Uhls would have kept the ending from the book in his screen play.  I won’t tell you what the ending in the book is, that you’re going to have to find out for yourself. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Tribute to Director Sam Raimi

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A tribute to Director Sam Raimi

By: Brian Cotnoir

     I have always been a fan of Horror movies ever since I was a young boy, and since the earliest days of film we have been introduced to many great horror movie franchises and horror movie characters.  The “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Saw”, and “Friday the 13th” movies have given us some of our most beloved horror movie characters and these films today still have a loyal cult following, but before them there was another film franchise that brought horror movies back to their roots and introduced us to a new way to make and enjoy horror films.  I of course am talking about director Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” trilogy.          
   Sam Raimi is one of the key figures in bringing back the gore and shock to horror films that had been lost in the years prior to the release of “Evil Dead”.  I like to refer to the time period from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s” as the “Dark Age of Cinema”.  During this time period very few movies were released that were actually well made—especially in the genre of horror.  True, during this time a few great horror films were made such as “The Exorcist” (1973), “Jaws” (1975), and “Halloween” (1978), but most of the horror films made during this time tended to focus more on showing sex and nudity rather than actually scaring people; I believe that horror films reached an all-time low when the film “Blood Sucking Freaks” was released.               

  
That all changed in 1981, when Sam Raimi made the movie “Evil Dead”.  “Evil Dead” brought the fear, mysticism, and gratuitous amounts of blood and violence back to horror.  “Evil Dead” also gave us—to my knowledge—the first ever scene of “arboretum-penetration”.                                            
   Sam Raimi also introduced as to actor Bruce Campbell, who has been featured in many more of Raimi’s films, and has gone on to become a cult-movie start icon.  Since the release of “Evil Dead” Raimi has gone on to write and direct many other great films such as “Evil Dead II”, “Army of Darkness”, the “Spider Man” movies, and “Drag Me to Hell”.                             
   Today, Raimi’s style and influence on horror genre can still be seen in many films today, which is why we are paying homage to Sam Raimi for helping return horror movies return to their former glory and for being an icon that all those who are interested in filmmaking and writing can aspire to be like.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A review of "The Bad Seed"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “The Bad Seed”

By: Brian Cotnoir

     The 1956 classic horror movie “The Bad Seed” tells the story of a young girl named Rhoda Penmark and her mother.  Rhoda is a young girl who, on the outside, appears to be the perfect child’ she is well-mannered, courteous, well-spoken and mature for a girl her age, but her mother fears that she may be evil on the inside.  Rhoda’s mother first becomes concerned that something may be wrong with her daughter when she appears to be excited that one of her classmates has died, and now Mrs. Penmark must figure out whether her daughter is the perfect little angel most people view her as or if she is, indeed, a bad seed.                                                         
   I’ll start off by saying that “The Bad Seed” is a timeless horror classic and I also believe it was one of the first horror movies to have a child as the villain, rather than an adult or a paranormal anomaly, but I did find some big problems with the film.                                                        
   My first problem with the film is a the dialogue; the dialogue for this film reminded me more of the kind of dialogue you’d see in a stage play instead of a movie, which makes sense because before “the Bad Seed” was made into a screen play it was a successful stage play and before that it was a novel, but I just feel like the dialogue was too weak for the film.  The scenes were always crowded (very rarely did you see only one person in a shot) and every time one of the characters would go into a monologue it was really more to give themselves expositional background story; “EXPOSITION/EXPOSITION/RUSH IT OUT A.S.A.P.” (Sorry I couldn’t resist).  Also a lot of the dialogue in the film was really dragged out; this film probably could have been a half hour shorter than it’s present running time.                                                        
    The one thing that I hated about this film was Rhoda’s mother, but I do want to clarify I thought the actress playing Rhoda’s mother, Nancy Kelley, was great, I just hated the character she was playing.  Mrs. Penmark is without a doubt the weakest, whiniest, and most moronic heroine I’ve ever seen in a film.  She is a person who lives a life of denial and let’s her daughter do as she please with blind ignorance.  Rhoda’s mother is hardly suspicious of her daughter’s morbid remarks and behavior, and I believe she only raises her voice one in the entire movie.  If I ever met a woman like this in real life I think I would pay one of my female friends to hit her for me.       
     Then there’s the films antagonist, Rhoda, who is played by Patty McCormack.  I think McCormack was just wonderful as the young sociopath Rhoda.  She is a person who it motivated to get whatever she wants and if doesn’t get it she will kill you.  Driven and manipulative are the words I’d used to describe her.  Watching this film made me realize that Rhoda and her mother were more than likely the inspiration for Eric Cartman and his mother from the television series “South Park”.  Rhoda and Cartman share many similarities; they’re controlling, demanding, manipulative, and go absolutely insane when they don’t get what they want, and their mothers are both passive and always making up excuses for their child’s behavior.                              
    “The Bad Seed” is not very scary by today’s standards, but still it is a horror classic.  I didn’t really think it was great, but it’s certainly not bad, and I also believe that this story is probably adapted way better on the stage then it is on screen.  I also found most the supporting cast to be wonderful and very enjoyable, and can I just say the film had one of the best twist ending I’ve ever seen; it really made watching this film worth the 2 hours of boring drawn out dialogue.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A review of "Wristcutters: A Love Story"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Wristcutters: A Love Story”
By: Brian Cotnoir
                The story of “Wristcutters: A Love Story” is one of the best independent films to have come out in a long time.   With its original story, morbid imagery, and terrific casting this film is just simply phenomonal.                                                                                                                 

             
The story of “Wristcutters” is the following; Patrick Fugit plays Zia, a young man who recently went through a rough break up with his girlfriend, Desiree.  Shortly after their break up, Zia decides that he’d rather be dead than go through life without Desiree, so he decides to slash his wrists and kill himself.  Upon, taking his own life Zia learns that people who commit suicide don’t go to heaven or hell, but rather an alternate world where everything looks just like the real world except a little worst; there are no flowers, no stars at night, the color is dim, and no one has the ability to smile anymore.  Zia wanders tries to make it through the rest of his eternity in this world, but the thought of his ex-girlfriend, Desiree, just can’t seem to escape his mind.  One night while Zia is out a bar he meets a man named Eugene, played by Shea Whigham.  Eugene is a former Russian musician who decided to kill himself while on stage with his band.  Even more shocking to Zia is finding out that Eugene’s entire family (Mother, father, and younger brother) all committed suicide to and that they all lived together in this bleak new world.  Zia and Eugene quickly become friends and start hanging out and drinking all night long.  On another night Zia is spotted by an old friend who recently committed suicide. Despite the tragic circumstance, Zia is elated to find out that Desiree also committed suicide not long after he did.  So after much needed convincing, Zia finally convinces Eugene to travel with him across the land in hopes of finding Desiree.                                                                                                                                                                                   
      While traveling across the land Zia and Eugene cross paths with a young girl named Mikal, played by Shannyn Sossamon; Mikal is trying to find the “People in Charge” because she wants to escape this bleak and dreary land because she believes that she doesn’t belong there.  Mikal’s reason is that she overdosed on drugs and was not trying to kill herself, so therefore she should be allowed to leave and return to her old life on Earth.  While on their journey to find Desiree and the “People in Charge” the group comes across a man named “Kneller”, played by Grammy-Award winning musician Tom Waits; Kneller runs a camp in the world where people live together.  Kneller’s camp quickly becomes a paradise for the three travlers; while their Zia and Mikal form a really close bond, and even Eugene finds love with a girl, named Nanuk, who is a mute and communicates through speech-song.  Mikal likes Zia, but doesn’t think that he can give up his focus on Desiree, so that they can be together.  Now it’s up to Zia to decide if he should continue to search for his ex-lover or stay with Mikal and the others at Kneller’s camp. 
                                                                                                                                                                              “Wristcutters” is just an awesome film.  The first time I watched this I thought I was going to be watching a slasher-film, but much to my surprise I got a Dark Romantic-Comedy.  This film has one of the most orignal and unique stories I have ever heard and is handsdown my favorite Independent Film of All-Time.  The film is actually based off of a short story by Etgar Keret called “Kneller’s Happy Campers”.  Not too many people know about this film, but trust me when I say if you havent seen “Wristcutters” yet do yourself a favor and see it; you will enjoy this film, I promise.                          

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A review of "Easy A"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Easy A”
By: Brian Cotnoir
     The film “Easy A” is loosely based off the novel “the Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but unlike Hawthorne’s literary works, this film is a piece of garbage.           
   The film tells the story of Olive Penderghast, who is played by Emma Stone; Olive is this pretty, but for some mysterious reason, “unpopular girl” at her high school.  One day Olive lies to her best friend, Rhiannon, and tells her that she lost her virginity, word quickly travels around the school and Olive is quickly labeled a “slut” and feels the scorn of many of her classmates.  Olive decides to take her new label as the school slut and turn it into a business; she gives boys permission to say they had sex with her in exchange for gift cards.  Olive thinks nothing of her little business at first, but things start to slowly go downhill for Olive and now she’s going to do everything she can to make things right and end her reputation as the “school skank”.                                   
    My one major problem with this film is that I feel it is totally un-relatable to high school kids in this day and age.  With teen pregnancy rates at an all-time high, it’s very hard to believe that this one girl is the only person having sex while in high school; especially a high school in the state of California.  Maybe if this film would have been filmed in the 1980’s (or at least set in the 1980’s) it would have done well, but because it’s set in present time the story doesn’t really make that much sense.  
   The whole time I spent watching this film it kept coming off like it was trying to be a John Hughes film, but it wasn’t. There are clear references to Hughes films in this movie, but they’re not clever and they’re not subtle, they are just blatantly acknowledging that they are making a John Hughes reference.  I think that “Easy A” should have tried to be its own original film instead of trying to be a John Hughes film.        
   Another confusing point I’d like to address is why are these boys giving Olive hundreds of dollars—I kid you not—to say that they had sex with her?  You could get a pretty nice escort with that kind of money and you’ll actually get laid you fucking morons!  Also, I like how the “conservative-girls” in this film dress the sluttiest.  Finally, the people who play Olive’s parents in this film are just idiotic.  They are without a doubt the worst movie parents I have ever seen; they are just so over the top and unrealistic that there is just nothing funny or credible about their performances.                         
   “Easy A” was bland, unoriginal, unfunny, and totally unrealistic.  I’ve met a lot of people who actually like this film (pretty much all of them being female), but I just didn’t like anything about it. I give the film “Easy A” an F for lack of originality and poor effort.             

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Top 10 Movies that make me want to Punch somebody!

Confessions of a Film Junkie: Top Ten Films that make me want to punch somebody!
By: Brian Cotnoir
     This was another difficult list to compile, and not because there are so many movies that I hate, but rather because there are very few movies that I actually hate with a burning passion.  I know in some of my past reviews I’ve torn apart some films, but it wasn’t because I hated most of them, it’s because I didn’t find them very entertaining.  I usually enjoy bad movies;  “Great Balls of Fire”, “Troll 2”, and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” are just a few of the worst movies ever made that I really enjoy because they’re so poorly made and they make me laugh hysterically each time I watch them.  This list however, focuses on the Top Ten Films that send my blood into a boiling rage, the films that make me shout out and anger, and most importantly these are the films that make me want to punch somebody really, really badly.  So take a deep breath and “enjoy” the Top Ten Films that make me want to punch somebody.

#10- Selena
     Back when I was between the ages of 8-10 my mother used to drop me and my older sister off at Day Care Center during the summer and every day we got to watch only one movie and since most of the kids at this particular Day Care Center we’re young Hispanic girls, I have been forced to watch this movie more times in my life than I have ever cared to see.  I’m probably just being shallow and hate this movie for my own personal reasons rather than explaining why it’s a bad film, but you know what every time I think about this movie it makes me angry.  It used to drive me insane when all the girls would start crying at the end of this movie when Selena died because I would just sit there and say to myself “So what; she died!  She dies every time in this movie, it’s never going to change, she always will die at the end of this movie”.  What else can I say but I hate Selena, I hate her music, and I especially hate this movie that was made about her.

#9- Cannibal Holocaust
     I bought a copy of this film because I heard that it was one of the most “controversial” films ever made, and I will admit that I liked the films story and a lot of the special effects, but there were just so many unpleasant images I saw in this film that I actually thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish this film.  I did manage to make it through the entire film in just one sitting, but for a while I was convinced that the film was actually going to make me vomit—it was that disgusting at points—and the fact that the director had the cast kill live animals in the film made me shout out in fear and question the logics and ethics of so many things.  I’ve only seen this movie once (by myself) and I have no intention of EVER watching this film again.
#8- 28 Days Later
     I am a huge fan of zombie’s and zombie movies, but this film just pisses me off!  First of all, the first 20 minutes of this film focuses on some British guy walking around a virtually deserted London trying to look for survivors; that’s not entertaining that’s boring!  Secondly, I hate the “zombies” in this film.  Zombies aren’t supposed to move at the speed of light and have super-human senses they’re supposed to be slow and moronic.  Also, a REAL zombie is a deceased person who is brought back to the dead by means of mystical powers/rituals.  A Zombie is NOT made from a virus developed in a research laboratory that is released to mankind by the actions of stupid hippies!  The creatures in this film are Mutants; NOT ZOMBIES!  Not to mention this movie is incredibly boring.  I hate this movie so much; it fills me with rage!  I did however like its sequel “28 Weeks Later”, but still it’s a film about MUTANTS AND NOT ZOMBIES!!!!
#7- Easy A
     This movie is just stupid.  It’s not so stupid it’s funny and it’s definitely not so stupid that it’s kind of charming, it’s just plain stupid.  Nothing about this movie is realistic or relatable to teenagers or anyone else.  This movie spends most of the time trying to rip of director John Hughes and it is an embarrassment to itself and cinema.
#6- Boy Eats Girl
     If you haven’t seen this movie yet, don’t!  This Irish film is basically “Twilight” with zombies.  It’s not witty, it’s not entertaining, the characters are one-dimensional and bland, the story is absolute garbage, and it’s just stupid. The only thing I liked about this film was that they acknowledged that zombies are incapable of “getting-it-up”.  So unless you’re a teenage girl who has a thing for necrophilia don’t see this movie.
#5- Caligula
     I am ashamed to admit that I made it through this film in just one sitting.  I wanted to see this film because it featured Malcolm McDowell, who is one of my favorite actors, and this is without a doubt the worst movie he has ever appeared in—besides “Easy A”.  This acting in this film is just terrible, the dialogue is uninteresting and really awkward at times, and this isn’t even really a film, it’s porn; really expensive, badly made porn.  I don’t think you can go more than three minutes into this film without seeing a topless woman.  The only thing I liked about this film was the sets.  The sets were cool looking, but unfortunately when the best part about the movie is the sets you should know that the movie is absolute crap.
#4- Every Tyler Perry Movie
     I really want to punch Tyler Perry in the face.  Every movie he does has the same God damn story!  Tyler Perry should just call all his future movies “Stereotypical Black Family featuring Tyler Perry dressed as an old crazy black woman”.  How has he made so many movies with the same unoriginal story?  When Eddie Murphy dressed up like an old black woman it was funny.  When Martin Lawrence did the same thing it was kind of funny, but when Tyler Perry does it its idiotic and makes me want to hurt people.  Tyler Perry is black equivalent of Mike Meyers; he just recycles the same story over and over again and calls it something different, and the movie studios are too stupid to realize it.  The only reason why he’s not number one on this list is because I’ve never even made it through an entire Tyler Perry movie; that’s how much I hate him and his stupid movies.  Tyler Perry should be given a full frontal lobotomy so that he can never come up with another terrible movie idea ever again.
#3- Everyone Says I Love You
     I’ve already mentioned why I hate this film in a previous review so I’ll try not to go into too much detail.  I’ll just repeat my statement that it is the “Dumbest” movie I have ever seen and there’s simply nothing charming or entertaining about this movie.  I should’ve known that this movie was a hunk of shit when I found out that it was written, directed, and starred Woody Allen.  I only saw this movie because it featured Edward Norton and this is without a doubt the worst movie and worst acting job he has ever done.
#2- Antichrist
     This is another film that I’ve already posted a detailed review on why I hate “Antichrist” so if you want more specific reasons for why I hate this film then read the post (http://filmjunkieconfessions.blogspot.com/2011/01/confessions-of-film-junkie-reviw-of_15.html).  Other than that only thing I have to do is ask the film’s director, Las Von Trier, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SHOW THAT?!  I MEAN WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SHOW ALL OF THOSE HORRIBLE THINGS AND THAT SCENE WITH THE GIRL AND THE SCISSORS AND SHE STABS...GAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! AND WHY?!  WHY WILLIEM DAFOE’S PENIS?!?!?!?!?!  WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SHOW ALL OF THAT?!  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?!?!?!
#1- Cool World
     Don’t think that “Cool World” beat out “Antichrist” by a landslide in this countdown; “Cool World” won by about a half-millimeter.  The big decider on which film I hated more was that “Antichrist” had a few cool camera shots, where as “Cool World” had none.  My review on this film has already been posted in a past edition of “Confessions of a Film Junkie” so just read that if you want to really know why I hate this film. (http://filmjunkieconfessions.blogspot.com/2011/03/confessions-of-film-junkie-review-of_11.html)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A review of "Let Me In"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Let Me In”
By: Brian Cotnoir
     I hate when American Film studios take a foreign movie and try to “Americanize” it, so when I saw the movie trailer for “Let Me In” for the first time I, of course, began cursing God and the heavens.  For those of you who are unaware, “Let Me In” is a virtual shot-for-shot re-make of the Swedish horror movie called “Let the Right One In”.  I quite enjoyed “Let the Right One In”; I like the characters, I liked the story, I liked the visuals—I liked just about everything about it.  So how much did I hate it’s Bastardized American Half-Brother?  Not as much I thought.     
    First of all, I must acknowledge that this film is a total rip off.  I counted a total of 36 re-created scenes that were used in both films, and a good portion of the dialogue was taken from the “Let the Right One In” and translated from Swedish in to English.  This has to be one of the laziest re-makes I have ever seen in a movie.  There are almost no differences between the two films, and I can’t believe that any studio actually gave the films writer/director, Matt Reeves any financial backing.  He didn’t have to do much of anything!  The shots were already laid out for him, the script was already written; all he had to do was film it in English.  Now what are the differences between these two films you may be wondering?  Well there are very few distinct differences between the two films that I noticed.      
    In “Let the Right One in” the boy and girls names are Oskar and Elly, and in “Let Me In” their names are Owen and Abby.  Owen is more creepy and more of a sissy than Oskar, and because of that I felt almost no sympathy for Owen.  At least when Oskar faced the boys who were bullying him he tried to show some strength and bravery through silence, so you felt sympathetic towards him. Owen, however, would scream and cry almost every time the bullies got within three feet of him so I felt no sympathy for him when he got his ass kicked.       
    I also didn’t care much for the vampire girl in “Let me In”.  I liked Elly from “Let the Right One In” more than Abby because Elly was more mysterious, whereas I found Abby to be more suspicious.  Also when Abby fed she was more creature-like as opposed to Elly who still had some humanistic characteristics when she fed.  Abby was not terrible; I just liked Elly better.  Another significant difference between the films is the locations. “Let the Right One in” is set in Sweden, while “Let Me In” is set in Los Alamos, New Mexico of all places.  Having “Let Me In” set in New Mexico really bothered me and the reason why is because when I think of New Mexico I think of a hot and dry desert, not a cold winter suburb.  At least in “Let the Right One in” having the story take place in Sweden made sense, with all the snow.  Every time I think of Los Alamos, New Mexico, I think of the Manhattan project and “The Hills Have Eyes”.  I think this story should have been set somewhere more associated with the cold like Vermont, or Minnesota, or Alaska, or New Hampshire—anywhere but New Mexico.                     
     One thing I noticed in “Let Me In” that I didn’t notice in “Let the Right One In” was the time period it was set in.  Both stories are set in the early 1980’s.  I didn’t see any signs that “Let the Right One In” was set in the 1980’s, but “Let Me In” shoves out so many 80’s pop culture references on to the screen, such as showing televised speeches of President Ronald Regan, playing 80’s songs in the background, showing the kids playing Pac-Man, and people dressed in attire that most people associate with the 1980’s.  I found the 80’s references in “Let Me In” to be more of a distraction than anything.                   
    The one thing that irks me the most about “Let Me In” is that it was made only TWO YEARS after the release of the film that it’s ripping off.  For crying out loud most people haven’t even had time to watch and enjoy the original.  Why have you already made and released a re-make/rip-off of it.  If “Let Me In” would have been made 15-20 years after “Let the Right One In”, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much, but two years between the original and the re-make is just ridiculously unnecessary.  And for those of you who are thinking, “oh-they just-wanted-to-make-the-movie-in-English-so-more-people-would-see-it”, I say bull shit!  There are these things formatted onto every DVD called “subtitles” and most studios hire voice actors to do the whole script in English for those people who are too lazy to read the God damn subtitles!                                
    My final opinion on “Let Me In” is the following; I didn’t hate, but I didn’t like it.  This film was far too Americanized and is a total rip-off in the worst way possible.  It should not have been released, let alone made.  If you liked “Let the Right One In” and you watch “Let Me In”, you’re probably not going to hate it, but you’re going to like it less than “Let the Right One In”.