Thursday, September 25, 2008


Choke is due out this week. I saw this last January at Sundance. So, instead of doing a new review, I am going to take the lazy route with this one. Here is my review of Choke, from last January on The Mad Scientist blog (of course, with the features here added):

Well, I am going to start off by saying that the book is better than the movie. It always is. This movie is an excellent adaptation however. There were only a few small changes and creative liberties for times sake. The show was pretty much step by step the book. Sam Rockwell did an excellent job as the main character. He channeled Palahniuk’s writing perfectly. The rest of the supporting cast was good as well, with the exception of the mother character. She left a little to be desired. For those of you who are easily offended this movie is not for you. There is a LOT of vulgar/pervasive content. But what would you expect? The movie is about a sex addicts. That is incidental in the story however. The main ideas of the book, mostly the twisted and unusual take on the concept of a ‘savior’. The driving point of the book (one of my favorites by Chuck P.) is where and how do we find a ‘savior’? The main character runs a scam by pretending to choke to death in high-end restaurants, and have the wealthy patrons ‘save’ him. By the old Chinese concept that once you save someone’s life, you are responsible for that person, so they send him money and nice gifts, which he uses to pay for his mother’s mental hospital bills. They become his savior by a sort of twisted means. But that is not the only way this is explored. He has his mother’s doctor translate her diary. She finds that through some weird turn of past events he may be a direct descendant of Jesus. He of course does not want to be the savior of humanity and goes down some paths that he thinks are self destructive, and end up unintentionally parallel to that of Jesus, and craziness ensues as only Chuck P. can produce. The main questions are accurately presented: If we save someone who is pulling a scam, is it still saving? Are we saved in our lives by the highs from our addictions? Do we save ourselves through rehab and sobriety? Is a savior just a religious idea, or can we find them in the most unlikely of places? Can one surrounded by smut and pervasive behavior be saved by love?

All in all: Saviors, Sex and Sarcasm

Lives up to the pre-views? Yes.

Stars (out of five): 4


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Righteous Kill

In reading other reviews for this movie, I was not expecting much going into it. However, with that being the case, I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. I wanted a gritty cop crime drama, and that was exactly what I got. The two actors I thought did an excellent job. They were their normal characters though, Pacino was the normal seeming crazy guy and Deniro was his usual hot-headed mean guy. Not a large step out of the norm for either actor, but always fun to watch.

The movie centers around two cops who are on the trail of a murderer. the problem is, they come to the conclusion that the killer is also a cop, making him very hard to catch. The killer targets bad people who have slipped through the justice system and remain on the street, and most of them are cases that the buddy cops had worked on. Not only that, but the crimes they are investigating drag up some shady and illegal things the two of them had done years before to put a child killer behind bars.

The movie was very entertaining, despite seeming like a long episode of CSI, a plot twist I guessed mid way through the movie, the presence of 50 Cent as supporting cast (quite painful), and the fact that both of them just seemed too old.

All in all: Wrinkles and Wrong-Doers

Lives up to the pre-views? Mostly.

Stars (out of five): 3


Monday, September 8, 2008

Bangkok Dangerous

This movie centers around a hit man (Nicholas Cage) who is hired by a Mafia boss to kill four people who are ‘bad for business’ so to speak. Then violence ensues. But there is not as much action as one might expect- the majority of the movie gravitates around the killer character and the people (two in particular) he interacts with during his job. The movie starts with him describing his routines and “rules” he follows, and how lonely he kind of is. So, basically, it takes a turn from indiscriminant killing to tell a story a guy who is essentially isolated from humanity, and how he breaks some of his “rules” to be a little more on the normal side of life.

The big problem with ‘hit man’ types of movies is setting up the killer to be a protagonist. There are only a few routes that one can take. The most cliché is the ‘I only kill bad people’ type of approach. I applaud this movie for not doing that. Or there is a ‘they needed to be killed, because some other higher power said they did’ type of scenario (a perfect example is Wanted). This show did not take that route either. In fact, it made no apologies for the main character, and what he does. To set him up as a protagonist with that being the case, they give him the guilt of what he has done (yes, even innocent people) to grapple with. Unfortunately for this movie, it was not done enough, nor is it enough material for an entire movie. But the touches on this subject are well done- it just needs more, a lot more. Then it would have been a much better movie. My biggest complaints were: the middle drags, and all of his social interactions have been done before, in these same types of movies nonetheless (and much better). There are spots of action here and there, and the final scene is a bit odd. It is meant to demonstrate how once you go down this kind of path, your life cannot go back to the way it was- I think. Like I said, it’s not that well done.

All in all: Life-taking Lifestyle.

Lives up to the pre-views? No, much less action than one would expect.

Stars (out of five): 3