Friday, February 25, 2011

A review of "Ed Wood"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Ed Wood”
By: Brian Cotnoir
 Ed Wood” is a film about the infamous career of director Edward D. Wood, Jr.  Ed Wood gained notoriety two years after his death, when he was voted “The Worst Film Director of All-Time” and his film “Plan 9 from Outer Space” was voted “The Worst Film of All-Time”.  Since his death, Wood has been called everything from a disgrace to cinema to a cult movie icon.  His films, and the 1994 film about his life, still serve as an inspiration and a reminder of the madness of one of the most notorious figures Hollywood has ever seen.                                                                          
The film focuses on the point in Ed Wood’s life where he was struggling to make it as a director in Hollywood.  Wood went through a lot of crazy, and at some point’s, desperate measures in order to get the funding to make his films.  The role of Ed Wood was played by Johnny Depp.  Depp does an absolutely wonderful job in my opinion.  One of the key facts of Wood’s life that I’m glad they addressed in the film was that he was a transvestite.  Even if you’re not a fan of Wood’s movies, seeing Johnny Depp in drag makes this film worth watching.  Another great actor in this film is Martin Landau who plays Wood’s friend and only big name star, Bela Lugosi.  Landau’s portrayal of one of the greatest horror movie icons of all-time is one of the best acting performances I have ever seen.  It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen this film that Landau won the Oscar for “Best Support Actor” that year.  Besides Depp and Landau, “Ed Wood” has many more big name stars, such as Bill Murray, who plays Wood’s good friend and socialite, John “Bunny” Breckinridge, Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Wood’s former girlfriend Dolores Fuller, and many other great stars such as former professional wrestler George “the Animal” Steele, Lisa Marie, Patricia Arquette, and Juliet Landau, who is the daughter of fellow co-star Martin Landau.                                                                                                                                        
“Ed Wood” was directed by another iconic film director, Tim Burton.  I really like how Burton filmed this entire movie in black & white, just like Ed Wood’s films; it gives the movie a certain mood that really puts you in the time and place that the movie is set in.   I think anyone who sees this film will really like it.  It’s a bit long, but it tells the story of a man who was so determined to follow his dreams he’d take any drastic measure to make sure that his dreams came true.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A review of "Plan 9 from Outer Space"

By: Brian Cotnoir
  Out of all of director Edward D. Wood Jr’s.  films, "Plan 9 from Outer Space" has been called "The Worst film ever made".   So I decided to put it to the test; is the "Worst film ever made" by the "Worst Movie Director of all time" really as bad as it seems; surprisingly, no.                                                                               

 "Plan 9 from Outer Space" tells the story of a group of Aliens from another planet who come to Earth to resurrect the bodies of people of Earth in hopes of controlling them and stopping them from destroying the Universe.  Now, the story itself isn’t all that bad, but the film does have MANY flaws to it.  For example, throughout the movie people can be seen leaving a scene in the day time and arriving at night in the next scene (and visa versa).  Most of the Acting ranges from incredibly cheesy to flat out terrible.  The only actor who's performance really sticks out in my opinion in John “Bunny” Breckinridge’s portrayal as "The Ruler".  Plan 9 was also the last film to feature the great actor Bela Lugosi.  Lugosi died while they were filming the Plan 9 so Wood brought in a body double.  You never see the body doubles full face, because he hides it behind a black cape throughout the scenes he is featured in, but you can still clearly tell that the body double is NOT Bela Lugosi.                                               

 It was also no secret that Mr. Wood had an over dependency on Stock footage too complete some of his movies.  Throughout the movie stock footage of U.S. Military troops firing rockets and flying planes.  Also this film has the absolute WORST editing job ever.  The same scenes are used over and over again and you always can tell the difference by the quality of the film in the actual movie and the military stock footage.  The special effects in the movie aren’t all that great either (The “flying saucers” are clearly hubcaps that someone sprays painted silver).                                                                                    

  Yet, despite having all these flaws I actually enjoyed the movie.  Yes it is an EXTREMELY cheesy movie, but it’s so cheesy it’s actually kind of good and even entertaining at some points.  So is “Plan 9 from Outer Space” the worst movie ever made?  In my opinion no; I could probably think of at least 5 movies off the top of my head that were worst than this movie.  I would definitely recommend “Plan 9 from Outer Space , the movies not too long (running time approx. 1 hr 15 mins) but it is a film you might want to check out and I think most people would really enjoy it.                                                                                                                                    

Friday, February 11, 2011

A review of "Bride of the Monster"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Bride of the Monster”
By: Brian Cotnoir
                One of my favorite classic films is Ed Wood’s 1956 classic “Bride of the Monster”.  “Bride of the Monster” is actually an O.K.  film in my opinion; I’d say it was Wood’s best.                                                 
 The story of “Bride of the Monster” tells the story of Dr. Eric Vornoff, a scientist who’s been performing experiments in his secret laboratory using nuclear power.  Dr. Vornoff and his assistant, Lobo, have nearly perfected a super-human slave when spunky girl reporter named Janet Lawton decides to do an investigation; Lawton is captured and held captive by Dr. Vornoff who intends to use her for his experiments.  Now, there is no one left to stop the cynical Dr. Vornoff or is there?                                        
  Unlike many of Wood’s films the story in “Bride of the Monster” is—at times—well thought out and the use of stock footage is kept to a minimum.  Dr. Vornoff’s secret laboratory looks like an actual laboratory and the only really terrible part of the film is the Doctor’s experimental octopus pet.  The role of Dr. Eric Vornoff is played by none other than Bela Lugosi.  Lugosi was featured in a number of Ed Wood’s films towards the end of his career and he always got top billing in Wood’s films.  What I like about this film is that Lugosi does a great job and proves that even in his later years he still had it.   I especially like Lugosi’s monologue in the scene where a character, known as Professor Strowski, tries to convince Dr. Vornoff to return to his homeland.                                                                                                                  
 Ed Wood may be regarded as the worst director of all-time by some, but when he made “Bride of the Monster” he showed that once he was put in charge and had strong enough financing that he could make an fairly decent film.  For a low-budget film it was pretty good and it is often over-looked. If you ever get a chance to see it, please watch it; the films running time is a little over an hour, but it’s the film that might change some of your negative thoughts and ideas about Edward D. Wood, Jr. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Review of "Glen or Glenda"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Glen or Glenda”
By: Brian Cotnoir
Known as one of the most infamous films in history, Ed Wood made his big screen debut with his film “Glen or Glenda”.  “Glen or Glenda” tells the story of a man named Glen, who is living a secret life as a transvestite.  Glen is about to marry a beautiful woman named Barbara, but Barbra doesn’t know about Glen’s cross dressing secret.  Glen wants to tell Barbra about his secret, but he’s afraid that she won’t accept him for who he is and that she will leave him.  Now Glen is left with a difficult decision; does he tell Barbra about his secret or does he continue to hide it from her forever?                                                             
 This film is just terrible, but it’s terrible in a good way.  Ed Wood wrote, stared, and directed this film and he definitely shows why many groups have voted him “The Worst Film Director of All-Time”.  The film has very little dialogue—the story is mostly told from the perspective of a narrator—and of course it features Wood’s over-dependency on stock footage and repeat scene usage, but when you actually watch it you’ll just laugh hysterically at how bad it is.  “Glen or Glenda” was meant to be a drama, but there’s nothing remotely dramatic about it; it’s just funny.  “Glen or Glenda” was also the first film to feature Ed Wood’s friend and only big-name star, Bela Lugosi. To be perfectly honest, Lugosi’s role is totally irrelevant to the plot.  When the film starts the first thing you see is Lugosi working in an laboratory-like setting, performing an experiment, and acting like he’s a mad scientist.  However, as the film progresses Lugosi’s appearances make less and less sense to the film.  Nonetheless, I liked Lugosi’s parts the most in this film because they made me forget how bad the movie really was.  “Glen or Glenda” reminded me a lot of those old educational films they used to show in schools back in the 1950’s.                                                                                                                                                                                 
“Glen or Glenda” also gives us a look into Wood’s personal life.  Today we know that Ed Wood was a transvestite in real life and liked to wear Angora sweaters, but back in 1953 no one knew that, let alone who he was.  This film is an almost biopic; the role of Glen’s girlfriend, Barbra, was actually played by Wood’s then-girlfriend, Dolores Fuller                                                                                                                              
I think it can be said without argument that Ed Wood’s first film was also his worst and yet I would definitely recommend that people see this film, and even if you’re a person who is serious about film I think Ed Wood’s opus “Glen or Glenda” will definitely make you laugh.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Review of "Repo Men"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of "Repo Men"
By: Lindsay Holcomb

         What is the difference between inspired by and a rip off?I have been a fan of Repo The Genetic Opera for two, nearing three years. I love this little horror film that could. It started from humble beginnings, growing it’s fanbase for years until it grew to a film that got fucked by it’s producers to a limited release...that is still selling out in theaters three years later.Now, due to the fact that I like having an informed opinion before I start really hating a movie, and the fact that Jude Law is a pretty good actor, I rented Repo Men from Itunes, not liking the fact that I had to pay for the damn thing, but what can you do with a limited amount of internet?I’m watching it right now actually. Now, don’t let that attest to the fact that the new Repo film is boring or sucks that bad, let it attest to the fact that I can multitask. I have heard many things about this movie, and read a lot of comments attesting to the fact that The Opera (as in my opinion it should now be called, calling it Repo is similar to me wearing a vampire shirt now, people will ask “Twilight?” as people may think “Jude Law?” with Repo now) came first and that Repo Men ripped it off.I agree that there are similarities, but it is in my opinion that they are two separate movies. So in that effect, I reviewed The Opera when I saw it and now here I am reviewing it’s twin brother.I call it that because that is what it is. Twins can be very different from each other in style, mind, and body. They are two different people despite their similarities.And here we...............go.

          Repo Men is set in the future in a world where a coorporation has made it possible for people to buy manufacture organs, made out of metal and machines. People can purchase these organs for a heafty price, but can go under a monthly payment plan. Of course, if you go 96 days delinquent a Repo Man comes to repossess the ‘stolen property.’ Remy (whose name I do not recall ever hearing in the film!) is one of the vest repo men in the buisness along with his friend played by Forrest Whitacker (once again, do not recall hearing the name). They have been best friends since elementary school when Whitacker’s character tried to bully Remy and Remy fought back with fervor. They were in the army together and became repo together and they love every minute of it. They are good and they do every job.Remy, though, has a wife who wants him to stop working late nights and go into sales. He puts off the talk with his boss and eventually his wife gets fed up and leaves with their son Peter. He decides to go into sales, but before he can tell his boss (who by the way is played by Liev Shrieber) He decides to do one last job. He gets hurt when a defibulator glitches and he needs a new heart. Now to keep it he needs to keep working on repos. But Remy proves he is human by not being able to take anothers organs when this may happen to him in just a few months. He tries to get money any way he can, but he goes into debt and the repo men come after him. He meets a woman who has at least 10 overdue organs inside of her and they go on the run together.

         I quite enjoyed Repo Men. It was like a non musical version of The Opera. I am NOT saying that one is better than the other. What I am saying is that it is very clear that there are similarities between the two, but I can’t be mad at Universal for taking the idea, or Lionsgate for not taking legal action. I see similarities, yes, but I also see enough differences to stick by my first comparison. These two movies are twin brothers, similar in look, but different in many other ways. If you want to appreciate one, perhaps you should get to know them both.That is my recommendation. Watch both. Get an informed opinion and please watch Repo Men with and open mind, not just looking for the similarities. It is a good movie, made me laugh and the action was good (EPIC fight scenes!), not to mention that there are a lot of talented actors that make it work!See both I would love to debate with anyone for fun, but do not hate something without seeing it. That’s just for the people with small brains.But then again their the ones in the tanks!


That Chick in the Coat