Friday, April 29, 2011

A review of "Edward Scissorhands

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Edward Scissorhands”
By: Brian Cotnoir
                One of my favorite films of all-time is “Edward Scissorhands”, which tells us the story of a young man named Edward, who was created by a scientist, played by the late and always amazing Vincent Price, to look and act like a real human being.  Unfortunately, the scientist dies before Edward could be completed and thus he is left all alone up in the scientist’s mansion with giant scissors for hands.  Edward spends his entire life up in the scientist’s mansion, until one day an Avon sales woman, named Peggy, decides to head up to the dark mansion, in hopes of making a sale.  After she finds a clearly frightened Edward she decides to invite him home with her.  Against all odds, Edward becomes a hit with just about everyone in neighborhood.  The neighbors are all fascinated by this man with scissors for hands and do their best to make him feel welcome.  Edward eventually falls for Peggy’s daughter Kim, who is played by Winona Ryder.  Kim intially rejects Edward, but as the film progresses she begins to like him more and more.  This friendship between Edward and Kim incites many violent confrantations from Kim’s jealous, macho-man boyfriend, played by Anthony Michael Hall.  What follows next is a whirlwind of romance, discovery, art, and crimes of passion.                                                                                                                
     It should come as a surpise to no one that the person who directed “Edward Scissorhands” was the always creative and always bizzarre, Tim Burton.  Everything Burton did to this film is amazing.  I especially like how he made all the houses and cars in the neighborhood these bright and obnoxious colors.  Growing up as an angsty teenager, I always saw those bright colroed cars and homes as a representation of how fake and phony the world really is and how everyone is always trying to cover up its imperfections and indiscretions.                                                                                                                                                    
       The star of the film is noneother than Johnny Depp.  I always like when Tim Burton and Johnny Depp do film collaborations with one another because it always results in an epic film with a creative story and fun cast.  Even though Depp is the star of the film, he really does not have many lines, which I do like.  Most of the film shows Edward exploring and discovering the world around him.  I really like his facial expressions throughout the film; they are priceless.                                                                                                                
      I’ve always believed that the one thing that makes a really good actor is not the lines they read, or how they speak, or what accent they use; I believe that the one thing that makes a person a good actor or actress is their ability to envoke a response without saying a word.  Depps facial expressions fill your heart and your mind with feelings of humor, sympathy, and a deep understanding.                                                      
     Everything about “Edward Scissorhands” is great; the casting, the acting, the story, the music, the setting, the cinematography, absolutely everything.  “Edward Scissorhands” is just simply one of those perfect films that come along once in great time.  Everytime Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Danny Elfman collaborate together you can guarentee that your end results is going to be one amazing film.  If you don’t like “Edward Scissorhands” than you have no soul!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A review of "Sixty-Six"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Sixty-Six”
By: Brian Cotnoir
     Sixty-Six” is a wonderful heart-warming independent comedy/drama that was released in 2006.  The film takes place in England during the summer of the 1966 World Cup, and young Bernard “Bernie” Rubens is very excited about making his Bar Mitzvah.  Unfortunately, for Bernie the day of his Bar Mitzvah is also the day of the World Cup soccer final.  Because most English residents minds are pre-occupied with the World Cup the guests—family, friends, and neighbors—begin telling, Bernie, that they will come to his Bar Mitzvah unless England makes it to the finals, and now Bernie is determined more than ever to make sure that England does not make it to the World Cup finals.       
    One thing I liked about this film is that it is actually based off a true story from the film’s director, Paul Weiland.  Weiland’s Bart Mitzvah was held on the same day as the World Cup finals in 1966, and because England made it to the finals many of the guests canceled and made up excuses as to why they could not go to his Bar Mitzvah.  Now parts of the film were exaggerated—mostly to add dramatic effect—but to me that just added more things to like about the films story.  To think that people actually put a sporting event ahead of the feelings of young boy is absolutely astonishing, and I praise Mr. Weiland for expressing some of his deep personal feelings in this film for others to enjoy. 
    Another great thing about the film “Sixty-Six” is the casting.  Actress Helena Bonham Carter plays Bernie’s always optimistic and down-to-earth mother and actor Eddie Marsan is wonderful as Bernie’s neurotic, high strung, and paranoid father, Manny.  I believe that Eddie Marsan is a highly underrated actor.  He hasn’t really been in many leading roles, but he has given wonderful performances as a supporting actor in a lot of popular films.  “The Illusionist”, “Sherlock Holmes” (2009), “V for Vendetta”, “Gangster No. 1”, “Gangs of New York” and “Hancock” are just a few of the mainstream films that Marsan has been featured in and did a wonderful job as an excellent supporting cast member.   
    Then there’s the star of the film, Gregg Sulkin, who plays the films protagonist, Bernie Rubens.  I think Sulkin gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen done by a child actor.  I like the way that Sulkin plays Bernie because it reminded me of Peter Ostrum as “Charlie” in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971).  The same way that Bernie wanted his Bar Mitzvah reminded me of how Charlie wanted that golden ticket, and just like Charlie in “Willy Wonka” when something didn’t go Bernie’s way or didn’t turn out the way hoped he expressed anger, frustration, and disappointment.  Everyone in the film keeps telling Bernie to grow up and be a man, but the truth is that even though a Bar Mitzvah is supposed to be when a young Jewish boy becomes a “man”, Bernie is still just a kid and has all the same emotions and typical reactions that most kids put in that position would have.  I also like how Sulkin’s character had many great relationships with other characters in the film such as his mother, father, brother, his doctor, and Rabbi.            
    So in conclusion, I really liked “Sixty-Six”.  It was a wonderful independent British comedy/drama and I enjoyed every minute of it. The film has its emotional ups and downs, but the film does end on happy note and I think most people will really enjoy this film.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A review of "Teeth"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Teeth”
By: Brian Cotnoir
     I had heard a lot of great things about the “cult-horror” film “Teeth” so I decided to give it a watch and surprisingly I was kind of disappointed with this film.                 
     “Teeth” tells the story of a young high school girl named Dawn.  Dawn is your typical movie girl-next-door; blonde, beautiful, a good student, devoutly religious, and an all around outstanding citizen.  One activity that Dawn likes to take part in is giving speeches to groups of children encouraging them to remain abstinent.  Dawn dreams of the day when she will meet Mr. Right and share with him the greatest gift of all.  She ends up falling head over heels in love with a boy named Toby and all seem to be going great for our young movie couple, but one day Toby snaps and forces himself on to Dawn.  Dawn pleads with Toby to stop so that they can both remain “pure”, but Toby refuses and because he refuses to stop his penis gets bitten off by Dawn’s vagina.  Yes, you read that statement correctly; our main characters vagina contains rows of razor sharp teeth and they will bite and sever the limbs off of any person who tries entering Dawn without her willing consent.  
    Now there are something’s I really like about this film and there are other things I didn’t like about this film.  I really liked the premise of the story because it is original, creative and it’s something we’ve never seen in a horror movie before.   I liked the scenes where Dawn’s vagina attacked people because they were both violent and hilarious.  The special effects in this film are pretty good too and the ending was just great.  
    The one thing I didn’t like about this film was the acting/casting.  The acting for this film was far too bland and I found the characters to be very one-dimensional, unoriginal, and incredibly boring.  Not one actors performance stuck out in my mind, which I find upsetting because I would have thought that a film with a story as wild as this, the actors would have had fun a lot of fun with their characters.  This movie was also pretty boring at points and I only really found the last 20 minutes of the film to be really entertaining.                    
    So my conclusion on “Teeth” is this; I didn’t love it, but I certainly didn’t hate it, and if someone were to ask me if they should see this film I would say yes.  So if you’re looking for a cheap fix of movie violence with a little bit of vengeance tossed in then you should go and watch “Teeth”.               

Friday, April 8, 2011

A review of “Daddy’s Girl”

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Daddy’s Girl”
By: Brian Cotnoir
   The 1996 Horror movie “Daddy’s Girl” is one of the worst attempts I have seen of someone trying to make a film.  The synopsis of the film is something totally unoriginal and it is something that we have seen in other horror films before; a loving suburban family adopts a seemingly sweet, innocent, and harmless orphan girl to raise as their own.  The child appears to be absolutely perfect, but then something in them snaps and the child starts the slow ascent into the “Electra complex” and starts killing people who try to take their father away from them, while at the same time trying to show off their childlike innocence and charm in public.      
Gabrielle Boni plays the films Evil Ginger Child
My number one problem with this story is the subtlety of the actors.  There is just nothing subtle about any of the actors in this film and a lot of the things they say are just too blunt, and because of their bluntness the story and the film suffer greatly. The lead child actress in this film, Gabrielle Boni, is convincing as a young sociopath, but does not show many other real emotions in the film, and every adult in this film seems totally unsuspicious that this 11-year-old girl is talking about murder and makes the most morbid remarks at others misfortunes.  I can’t tell if the other actors are trying to portray ignorance or if they’re just stupid.  I find it kind of sad that the best actors in the film were the two child actors.  Every adult actor in this film portrayed their roles with blind ignorance and act like total morons.  I wouldn’t be surprised if none of them have found work in acting since the release of this film.                                     
   I’ve seen this kind of story done in other films before and I’ve even seen a few of them done well, but “Daddy’s Girl” doesn’t even come close being a good film; this film makes “Case 39” look like “Silence of the Lambs” it’s that bad. This film could have had potential but instead it to remain as a speck on the excrements of what is a truly awful horror film.         

Friday, April 1, 2011

A review of "Cannibal Holocaust"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Cannibal Holocaust”
By: Brian Cotnoir
Regarded as one of the most controversial films of all-time, “Cannibal Holocaust” tells the story of an anthropologist, named Harold Monroe, who goes to the Amazon in search of four young documentary makers who went missing while they were filming indigenous tribes.  Monroe eventually locates the tribe that the documentarians were filming and at first the tribes greet Dr. Monroe and his group with fear and hostility, but eventually they come to peace.  Monroe leans that the four people he went searching for were murdered by the tribe.  Fortunately, for Monroe the tribe still had saved the documentarian’s film reels.  After viewing the reels, Monroe learns about what really happened to the young filmmakers and how they met their most unfortunate demise.                                                                               
     This film shows a lot of horrible things.  It’s excessively, violent and graphic to point of nausea.  The film’s director, Ruggero Deodato, went as far as to have live animals killed for this film.  Let me just say you never EVER want to hear a turtle or cotamundi scream out in pain.  This film has been banned in many different countries; including the United States (the ban was lifted in 1985).   I think if the film didn’t show actual animals being killed than it would probably be one of my favorite films because I like the films story and the special effects are some of the best I have ever seen; when they show scenes where one of the characters is being murdered it actually looks very realistic and you could swear that a person was actually killed.  The effects are so good that many people who first saw “Cannibal Holocaust” thought that it was an actual documentary and Deodato was put on trial for murder in Italy.  Members of the cast had to appear in court to show that they were still alive, so Deodato could be acquitted.  Anyone who makes a film so realistic that they get put on trial for murder has got to have talent.               
   I’m absolutely clueless as to whether I should recommend this film to people because I personally liked parts of it, but again there were those few things that made me think I was going to vomit, and it wasn’t just animal deaths that made me feel nauseas.  There’s a scene that shows one of the villagers being impaled and another where one of the documentarians is castrated by the tribe and it all looks so real!  I’ve shown this film to four other people and it left them all completely speechless, but the one thought they all had was “I’m-not-quite-sure-how-I-felt-about-the-things-I-saw-in-this-movie”.  So if you’re feeling a daring (and can actually find a DVD copy of the film) I wish you the best of luck, but be forewarned, there isn’t any movie like this out there that I can compare it to, and I don’t think another movie this graphic and this violent will ever be made again.