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.