Archive for the Uncategorized Category

AL PACINO ON FIRE

Posted in Actors, Uncategorized with tags , on April 5, 2013 by Toi Brownstone

(Originally published on Since My Baby Left Me)

Some weeks ago I re-watched Glengarry Glen Ross after many years and I really enjoyed it, highly recommendable, with a very outstanding cast: Jack Lemon, Ed HarrisAlec BaldwinKevin Spacey…and Al Pacino.

pacino thoughtful

I’ve always loved this guy. At high school my best friend there, Ana, and I, used to refer to the guys we fancied as Al Pacino’s, as a code name. Why? Not very sure, especially considering it was in the early 1990’s and Pacino was too old for us already. Guess it had to do with his manly appearance. It’s true, though, that 20 years later and looking back to 1970’s, I must admit Al Pacino was a very attractive man.

The more I’ve been into movies, the more I’ve appreciated and respected Pacino’s work. He’s one of my favorite actors no doubt. Everybody immediately thinks of Michael Corleone and Antonio Montana, but actually he won my heart with Dog Day Afternoon and Cruising, not to mention Donnie Brasco, Serpico or Carlito’s Way.

The decision to write about this actor had to do with the final scene of the film I told you I was watching,  right after Kevin Spacey has ruined an important operation he had been handling. Al Pacino’s speach humilliating Spacey is simply brilliant. Terrific!

This scene reminded me that I’ve always felt fascination for his outbursts. He really gets hysterical, spitting while yelling totally out of control. To achieve such state, being conscious you are acting, is simply impressive.

After giving this post a thought I finally decided to highlight  5 scenes. Hope you like them.

** I suggest you turn down the volume a bit.

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS

Ricky Roma’s a top seller of worthless land. His convincing skills are enhanced by his speeches, but this time, due to the incompetence and stupidity of John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), an important operation slips right in front of his eyes. Roma explodes.

You just cost me 6 thousand dollars and one Cadillac

DOG DAY AFTERNOON

Sonny Wortzik had planned an easy bank robbery which finally turns into a hostage situation. He’s not ready to cope with such pressure, and doesn’t know how to deal with the cops, the hostages and his partner in crime Sal.

This film is full of outbursts, Pacino’s interpretation is intensely overwhelming.

Attica, Attica!

SCARFACE

Scarface is just excess from the beginning to the end. The story of Antonio Montana, a political refugee from Cuba who will get to the king of cocaine in Miami. Just a tiny detail which gets out of control, will mean his own decline and fall, the first rule of the drug dealer: don’t get high on your own supply.

His common sense is numb due to his addiction and thirst of power, which will take him to the graveyard.

This is probably one of the most excessive scenes in the history of cinema.

You wanna play rough? You want more? How you like that you little maricon?

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

Arthur Kirkland has to defend a judge he doesn’t get on well with, in a rape case, otherwise this judge will ban him from court. When the lawyer finds out the truth, he will get crazy.

The son of a bitch is guilty!

THE GODFATHER

There are many memorable scenes on The Godfather which could be remarked, but this is the moment when Kate confesses hers was an abortion and that she can’t cope with such living anymore. Michael, the head of the family, cold and calculating, eventually loses control.

THE MASTER, Paul Thomas Anderson (2012)

Posted in Drama, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Toi Brownstone

the master

Last night I went to the movies for the first time this year 2013. There’s a lot of upcoming film releases which have already caught my attention, so seems that there’s gonna be a pretty busy season ahead, which I like, because my foursquare application reminded me I hadn’t gone to a movie theatre for almost 3 months, this is, since I attended some sessions at Sitges Film Festival. My bad!

After almost two months bombed by billboards exposing perfumes, beautiful women in bras, and Xmas season films addressed to kids, the new year brought the invasion of promo posters of the film The Master. How could it be ignored with Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Thomas Anderson right in front of my eyes? Impossible, I had to see that.

It’s been long time since I assumed Joaquin Phoenix to be one of the greatest actors of his generation, able to transmit deep feelings, and always enveloping his characters in a dark halo, somehow tortured and frustrated.

People always remember him for Gladiator or his stunning interpretation of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line, but it was first with Shyamalan‘s weak The Village, and then interpreting himself in the mockumentary I’m Still Here directed by his brother in law Cassey Affleck, when I realized I really digged this guy. For Phoenix, playing the role of Cash was easy, he seemed comfortable in the role of this legend, and I loved him right away. However his performances in Shyamalan’s failure and when offering an unseen (fake) side of the actor risking too much in his personal experiment, made me think of a hard gambler and an adventurer.

Regarding PTA, I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of blind faith, but since I was charmed with the overwhelming film Magnolia, I’ve been always following his steps.

quell

Frank Quell, who’s been sailing for long time serving the US Navy as a mechanic taking part in World War II against the Japanese, is finally dismissed from service, better said, retired, due to a long record of mental disorder episodes and sex obsessive behavior which make him unfit for war times. Now it’s time to rehabilitate into society but his mental issues and his heavy alcoholism bringing out aggressive behavior only cause him problems and do not allow him to adapt. From a photographer at a mall, to cabbage collector in the country, sooner or later he ruins something and has to get away pursued by people.

One freezing night he sneaks into a private yacht, whose commander happens to be Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of The Cause, a philosophical movement, based on the concept of the soul living many lives in different bodies throughout the existence of the human kind on Earth, and the regression therapies recovering the past traumas to wake up and heal.

Dodd will adopt Quell as his protégée and will start using him as a guinea pig, starting with a very revealing informal processing which justifies in some way why the sailor has become a drifter and a misfit. In exchange, on his command, Quell will prepare his secret alcoholic poison, Dodd is so enthusiastic with.

From this moment, he will become part of the family even though Dodd’s wife, the manipulative Peggy (Amy Adams), his son and other members, do not feel comfortable with the stranger’s odd behavior.

As for The Cause, the movement will become more prominent among high society, no matter the ideas and values transmitted are weak and lack of rational sense, as sympathizers find it attractive enough as to adopt it as their guide to happiness and mental awakening, contributing through donation to the support of the movement.

the cause

The Master deals with several different aspects to take into account: first, the decline and evolution of Quell, second his relationship with Dodd, The Cause inspired in Scientologist movement, the relationship of Dodd and Peggy…and so on.

 Also the film, resembling There Will Be Blood, is clearly marked by different stages. First, the mental disorder episodes of Quell while on a mission, and the elaboration of its poisonous beverage, second the attempt of an insane man to rehabilitate into society with no supervision nor care received, the encounter and adoption of Dodd and his family, the adaptation and rehabilitation, the final enlightenment and the separation of Quell and the family.

John Quell is the most remarkable character, and his journey, the main plot in the history. His mental scars from war have turned him into a sick man, unable to adapt into society. He is, in essence, pure white trash, a scoundrel with no goals in life, no interests of any kind, and no feelings towards anyone. His only motivation in life is to prepare his poisonous booze and fuck whenever it’s possible. He used to be with that beautiful girl in his hometown, Doris, but considering his condition, unable to behave normal, he knows it’s not possible to get back to her.

When he meets Dodd and becomes his protégée, all of a sudden he’s granted access to privileges and luxuries he couldn’t dream of earlier: clothes, food, wealth, “happiness”…He just have to be part of the experiments the master improvises, even though they don’t make much sense most of times. A simple mind crippled guy as he is, can only feel grateful to the man who gave him a hand, thus, whenever contrary voices rise criticizing and accusing Dodd of being a liar, Quell will always act as the physical force responsible to defend his master. Submission and gratitude develop into comradeship, dependence and sort of friendship, however, once the poor man finally comes to terms with himself, finding some piece of mind which allows him to put himself together, Quell realizes Dodd is working on a big lie, and will leave The Cause.

Joaquin Phoenix

Some reviews have been too hard on Joaquin Phoenix’s interpretation of Quell as too exaggerated and affected. I particularly think he manages to transmit all the troubles and insanity this guy oozes. It’s necessary and I think he’s realistic. Outbursts and violent attacks are overwhelming, and those intense scenes of processing and confrontation with Lancaster Dodd are impressive.

Regarding Dodd, the more prominent his Cause becomes, and the more renown he gets, the more we see it’s actually Peggy the one who commands, decides and addresses the movement. As soon as she concludes Quell is hard to tame, she’s not longer interested in him and thinks of him as a threat, capable of ruining what she and her husband have been hard achieving for so long time.

It’s interesting the issue of the philosophical movement, and the ability of manipulating weak people charming them as to influence their minds to believe what you want them to believe.

We’ve always been warned of these associations seeking for our dependence and momeny, offering the ultimate truth about life, or about death, the justification to our sufferings, and whatever a hopeless soul would require. Weak people can be easily abducted for their purposes, living in a state of denial and mind induced lethargy. But what is really the turning point which make some of these adapts to suddenly realize the reality they’re living in such environment is not real?

It’d be interesting to dive into the origin of sects, their motivations to be created, and when was the first time one person discovered that creating a movement based on something attractive to some potential victims could be profitable. At the end of the day, if carried out in a harmless way, the idea of providing this mind and soul shelter to someone in need shouldn’t be bad, leaving all the religious issues aside. In The Master, even though everything Lancaster Dodd preaches about is pure fake and nonsense, the truth is that, regardless the stupid experiments performed, Quell improves and manages to keep his anxiety and obsessions under control.

All these sects gather interesting psychologic, philosophic and anthropologic points of view in my opinion. Truth is that, since I was a kid and heard of them I’ve always felt fascinated for them.

WC9V2014.CR2

The Master is not an easy film. I think none of Paul Thomas Anderson are, because of all the side plots and aspects involved, the slow development of the stories, and the excessive length of his films. Many people are not able to focus on stories with so many details to assimilate and get easily tired and bored. The Master is impressive in terms of interpretation, flashbacks are very graphic, and the main story, even though can be confusing at some points and could be dealt with in a different way, it’s definitely worth it. It is one of these films likely to improve every time you review it being able to differ among stories, understand unnoticed details, and focus on the characters in the film. It won’t take me too long before I repeat.

And yes, it smells like some Oscar awards and others to come.

SITGES PT. II: LET’S HAVE SOME FUN

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Just Fun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

The festival schedules a wide-ranging list of movies. This year I haven’t seen many proper horror films, but as I did watch some quite disturbing and suffocating and some quite dense, comedy-horror titles to have an easy break were very welcome.

Thus I watched Grabbers on Wednesday, and the other two, Sightseers and John Dies at the End, which were included in the marathon selection.

GRABBERS, Jon Wright (2012)

The typical cute island off the coast of Ireland, where nothing ever happens, is invaded by outerspace creatures, CthulhuKraken like, which easily adapt thanks to the rainy climate, and look for blood for feeding. By chance, the drunken fisherman, the two police officers in charge, and a the loud-off biologist, discover that these creatures are allergic to a certain percentage of alcohol in human body, and as good Irish, the will arrange everything to defeat them and restore piece.

These typical Brit-Irish comedies related to creatures follow more or less the same pattern, they are low budget, in this case approaching the beautiful nature locations, but with poor treatment to the creatures, ultra computerized. It’s entertaining but not brilliant, however, the way to fight the creatures provide some hilarious moments, and the Irish character and acting is always funny.

SIGHTSEERS, Ben Wheatley (2012)

No doubt this was the coolest surprise in the festival. I loved every second of this super black comedy. In the distance it reminded me of John WatersSerial Mom.

Tina (Alice Lowe) is a woman in her thirties living with her oppressive mother. They were devoted to their dog Poppy, who passed away recently, and they haven’t got over the tragedy. Chris (Steve Oram), Tina’s boyfriend, has planned a getaway route in his caravan, to let her discover his world. The couple seems to be one of these awkward families which we usually see in pictures, shy, fussy and too traditional, however, whenever they feel their holidays are threatened by strangers, the serial killer resting inside of them brings out merciless.

Sightseers is a road trip, a romantic comedy, and an orgy of murder, if you get chance, do not miss it. You won’t get disappointed.

JOHN DIES AT THE END, Don Coscarelli (2012)

When I think of Don Coscarelli, Phantasm saga and Bubba Ho-Tep escort the director , thus if his name is mentioned I always pay attention.

I got the chance to see his last work at the marathon, warned by some that it was a bit nuts. I didn’t feel discourage, to be honest, and instead of heading back home after Maniac, I decided to go for a walk and then watch the fifth story in the evening. I don’t regret having chosen the hardest option, which implied to arrive home super late, but after seeing the result, I must confess inside of me I’m banding my head against the wall. Johnny Dies at the End, based on Dave Won’s novel was everything I couldn’t have thought of, yet, it didn’t catch me.

Dave Won (Chase Williamson) has an appointment with a journalist (Paul Giamatti) in order to tell him the truth of the business he’s handling together with his best mate John Cheese (Rob Mayes) and the story behind their special abilities, which started to be noticed due to a devastating drug labeled as Soya Sauce, which opened the doors to another dimensions, and consequently enhanced their skills to detect evil creatures threatening human kind, forcing these  two college partygoers  to fight to save humanity.

I’m not really sure whether I was too tired and not in the mood, but I was surprised hearing the audience lively laughing. Really, the jokes weren’t so smart. The sequence of events and the flashback technique weren’t clearly exposed, and the result was quite chaos. The start of the story was appealing, but as the story is developing, loses its initial effect and goes flat. Nope, I didn’t buy it!

COSMOPOLIS, David Cronenberg (2012)

Posted in Directors, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

The reason I probably started Popcorn and Movies almost four years ago was David Cronenberg, one of my favorite directors, if not the first one. I’ve revised my earliest posts and damn! They are short and terrible. I’m glad this is something I think I’ve improved  as I’ve been feeling more comfortable with what I wanted to do here. Regarding Cronenberg, , I’ve discovered that right after my first post introducing myself to the world, I immediately talked about the Canadian director. Mine is irrational passion for his work.

It’s been many years since the Baron of Blood started working into more conventional projects, such as A History of Violence or Eastern Promises, receiving sharp criticism who were charmed by his entrails, frightening tools, and twisted stories, in which you as the viewer had to put your senses to work in order to differ what was reality and what hallucination.

With a Dangerous Method, many fans gave up on him as there was no action, no sci-fi, and the story about the triangle relationship among Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein was too philosophical and very heavy to stand for many. Since I love subjects related to psychiatry, I enjoyed the film lots, but I knew immediately that fans would despise it.

Cronenberg is presenting  his last work Cosmopolis at Sitges Film Festival these days, before being released at cinemas in a couple of weeks, and I’ve managed to watch it already. After the trailers and despite the presence of Robert Pattinson, I was really excited about the film. I haven’t finished Don DeLillo’s book yet, but as far as I’m concerned, the script is quite loyal to the original story.

Cosmopolis basically tells the story of the decline of a 28-year-old powerful and hugely wealthy Wall Street shark, in just one day.

Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) has so much money, he can buy everything in life. He’s the atypical man who can hardly understand NO for an answer, so used to have all kind of yes men around. He has barely slept last night and decides he needs a haircut at his favorite barbershop downtown. On an average day such errand would not take much time, but these are restless times, and the city is affected by the presence of the US president, a large funeral, and hordes of anarchists trying to put Capitalism to an end, rioting on the streets. All these events determine the car route to take, which has to be modified at any risk signal Torval (Kevin Durand), his security chief, receives. Thus, most part of the action takes place inside the car, a huge armed  limo equipped high technology, capable of isolating Packer from any outside threat. He receives visits from several counselors and advisers, who consider themselves at a lower lever than their employer, who is defined as a seer. Today Yuen, is behaving beyond his prediction, and the young billionaire is losing large amounts of money at the smallest time measure you might think of, but still he’s calm. Eventually “it will chart”.

He crosses ways with Elise Shifrin (Sarah Gadon), his new wife, a gorgeous poet who barely remembers his physical features and doesn’t feel like having sex with him. Their marriage was actually a transaction, as her family is even wealthier. No matter how much effort Eric puts in having average couple conversations and behaving normal towards her, she’s continuously rejecting and avoiding him. There’s no love nor affection, everything’s a fake. He only seems to be affected by the deprivation of sex, which he quickly eases sexual encounters with a former mistress (Juliette Binoche), who is his art consultant, and a security staff member. It’s remarkable they are both his employees.

Cosmopolis is a series of encounters with different kinds of people, and the cathartic ride of Packer from control and safety to the unknown and dangerous, a ride that he deliberately forced into motion, probably looking for a reason to live and many to keep on doing what he had been doing all these years. As the day advances, not only he’s losing his fortune, but also the unstable situation in the city begins to affect him, and the death threat to his persona is becoming real, so he starts looking forward to facing it the soonest possible.

Again David Cronenberg delivers a work too controversial from the fan point of view. Cosmopolis will never let you indifferent, but there’s one thing for sure: you’ll love it or hate it, but there’s no grey scale you can stick to. My choice is totally predictable: thumbs UP.

If there is something I’ve found disturbing in DeLillo’s book is precisely the coldness of Eric Packer. He’s a control freak and a visionary, and his counselors, real statistics and financial nerdy experts, are way behind him. Every time he asks a question they avoid answering to safe themselves from humiliation for not delivering a smart enough answer. Of the acquaintances he meets throughout the day, nobody stands at his same level, but his barber, Anthony, probably because he’s the only attachment to his past, and consequently to his father. “Destroy the past, make the future”.

His relationship with women is also peculiar. Recently married to Elise, they have nothing in common, and since the very beginning such marriage is doomed to fail. It’s another deal, another transaction, too aseptic, with a complete lack of confidence and affinity. He forces himself to act like an average husband to get what he really looks for in a woman, sex, and she’s constantly rejecting him, as she doesn’t depend on him but on her family, and is free to do so, as she’s not of his property. Eric hardly accepts this, and keeps on pushing, while in the meantime submit his female employees to his will. For instance, Jane Melman (Emily Hampshire), his chief of finance, is summoned to the limo on her day off while training, and she has to discuss yuen issues while he’s having his daily prostate exam, something which brings out a highly sexual tense situation. The only woman who perhaps receives all his attention and we could say respect, is Vija Kinski (Samantha Morton), his chief of theory, during the anarchist riots started by the rat men yelling the spector of capitalism” happening outside the car. No doubt their conversation, her analysis of what going on with capitalism, remarking that the future is inconsistent and something might happen that very same day, is the key of the whole story, the confirmation of Packer’s world collapsing.

In order not to spoil the film, I cannot extend much talking about another essential character, Benno Levin (Paul Giamatti), a loser who used to be enthusiastic about currency analysis. He aims to see Packer suffering for certain reasons, however, he’s at lower level, he cannot compete in dialectics, and no matter how hard he tries, he’s uncapable of impressing his former boss, it is the other way round.

Packer’s personality and behavior can be easily compared to American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, leaving aside all the serial killing. They are both neat, powerful, cold, detached from reality and current society. While Bateman is unable to fit in because of his mental issues and his thirst of blood, Packer is unable to establish boundaries to real world due to his power. When he’s offered a piece of art by Rothko, he doesn’t show any passionate interest, he only wants to purchase a whole chapel to be rebuilt in his apartment just for his own pleasure, regardless the public interest. Everything has a price, and he will yield to his will only if outbid. The billionaire’s actual status would be reduced to his own sentence: “show me something I don’t know”. His wife Elise at some point realizes his main occupation is knowing things. The more you know the more you control, right?

The limo and the city are also relevant in the film. I’d say the limo is an extension of Packer himself, and all the damages it suffers during the riots are a reflection of his own decline. Inside the car remains intact, alien to what’s happening on the streets, protecting and isolating Packer from reality. The car works as an office, a private surgery room, a bachelor pad, a therapy room…and a toilet. The movement is almost unnoticeable, the city is burning while he inside is cold and silent.

Manhattan has been always a traffic mess, however the visit of the president, and the mourning and  funeral of Packer’s favorite rap artist Brutha Fez, seed chaos, which turns into complete mayhem with the riots. The unpredictability, combined with the man’s stubbornness, results fatal for someone who has everything under control to the detail.

I’ve been reading all kind of comments and reviews already, and seems that there’s not a firm and common verdict, which I particularly enjoy. There are aspects very criticized, I personally feel enthusiastic about. The cold tone of dialogues, the succession of visits and characters creating this one to one scenes, the rhythm of the story as a long ride, and the claustrophobic setting of the car…

My taste for this journeys to the lowest level of the human being is known. I also think of Shame here. Characters living a perfect and under control lives till there’s some twisting point which drives them to free falling into fatal decadence.

The story of Packer is the tale of a guy who never paid attention to improbability, the tale of a non so far away inconsistent future, and he fall of the values society was stuck to.

Can’t think of anyone better than Cronenberg to depict the above mentioned. The presence of Peter Suschitzky responsible for cinematography, is essential to deliver such an impressive visual film, beautiful in technique and outstanding in aesthetics, the participation of Howard Shore once again with the soundtrack, is subtle yet fully intense. The director’s special taste to adapt DeLillo’s work in a magnificent way, managing to develop his personal insane atmosphere is out of question. You watch Cosmopolis and even though Cronenberg has diverted from earlier works, or it should be about time to change the term to EVOLVED, you clearly notice his trademark. It’s difficult to recreate a complex story with your personal features remaining almost intact.

It’s taken me many years to understand and feel comfortable with David Cronenberg’s works at first glance, and because I don’t trust myself when dealing with him, I reckon more screenings are necessary in order to hog as many details as possible and be able to announce a final verdict. All I can say 24 hours after my first approach is that once again, Cosmopolis is not an easy film, and lots of people will end up disappointed. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to reviews and critics and would recommend you to enjoy/suffer the experience yourself, trying to isolate yourself in the Packer way form comments and anything which might influence you.

If I get the chance to see the Canadian director in Sitges tomorrow, I will only say to him BRAVO!

Ah! Before I forget… Seems that Pattinson can act.

 

SITGES FILM FESTIVAL 2011 (PT. I)

Posted in Action!, Events, Just Fun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

What a mess! Once again, it’s taken me longer than expected to update on this festival I attended a month ago already. My apologies!

Wish I could talk about more films from Sitges Film Festival 2011 edition, but unfortunately, not press registration, bad planning, and lack of time and money, only allowed me enjoy a wonderful Saturday in town. Can’t complain though, for I had tickets for just two films, and ended up attending 4,with a result of 3 positive and worth seeing, and one a total joke.

I’ve not too much experience regarding film festivals, but I’m starting to think they’re as worth attending as music festivals, especially if contents are related to genres you love.

I’ve come to the conclusion I’m trying to get more involved in the future, in order to discover new proposals, and opening to new stuff. And of course, the possibility of meeting friends and share interesting conversations regarding all this marvelous world is simply priceless, and helps you realize how much you still can learn, and set new targets you to focus on.

So here it is my Sitges experience I want to share with you. Hope you enjoy.

DRIVE, Nicolas Winding Refn (2011)

There are many components in this explosive cocktail as not to fail: Ryan Gosling, cars, pink neon credits, 80s inspired soundtrack, violence and blood…  Nothing could be wrong, and in fact it didn’t, Drive is gonna be the hype of the year, but it’s worth it, believe me.

The Driver, by Walter Hill, as a strong source of inspiration comes to mind immediately. And of course, memories of Bullit or Vanishing Point also spark underneath.

The driver (Ryan Gosling) is a workaholic. He devotes his life to work with cars, as a mechanic in a repairing shop owned by his mentor, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), who also introduced him into Hollywood as a stuntman for car action scenes. Moreover, he performs occasional driving for robberies requiring a professional driver for the getaways.

He’s a guy with no identity, no attachments, not relatives known, and not a very talkative person or emotional either. Until he gets acquainted with his neighbors. A young woman, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her kid, Benicio. A kind of platonic story starts, with the shadow of Irene’s husband, serving prison for armed robbery.

In the meantime, Shannon is making business with dangerous people, in order to get enough money to develop a car prototype the driver would race with, involving lots of money. The associates, Nino (Ron Perlman) and Bernie Rose, are the kind of guys you don’t mess around with, and they accept to invest, supervising and nosing on the preparations as to ensure their money is safe.

Eventually Standard, Irene’s wife, is released from prison, which means the friendship among neighbors should logically come to an end, for obvious reasons. But nothing was said to be that easy, and Standard is attacked and beaten for unfinished business, up to a point if he doesn’t carry out a robbery at a pawn shop, his family will suffer the consequences. And who will do the driving? Easy to guess.

What seems to be a non risky job, turns out to be a trap, and the driver will be forced to apply all his skills and cold blood to get Irene, Benicio and himself out of danger.

The way the plot is developed is perfect. Opening with a robbery as a way of introducing the driver to the audience, as cold, calculating, and professional, is enough as to catch the bait.

Although the start of the film is powerful, according to the typical pattern of the action movies, with the first 5 minutes creating tension, the following change as to introduce us to the actual plot is radical in its rhythm, focusing on the strong attachment among the driver and his neighbors, Irene in special. There are some moments you can think of another cakey love story, as the tone is very evocative, takings are very artistic, and the whole thing is kind of bucolic. But it’s a good technique, to enhance the super blow to come.

Really, Drive is the perfect shot of action. It’s violent, dynamic, surprising, bloody and mean. Beware! It’s not to be related to last year’s major action releases, such as Expendables or Machete, better considered as just entertainment and a great laugh. Drive is serious in its story, not aiming to be taken as a joke. Characters are not super heroes but just the opposite. Standard is a vulgar robber, the driver is a mechanic and Irene is just a waitress. If you think of the mob side, involving Albanian mafia, believe me, there’s no glamour or attractive in that.

The cast is something to take serious. With Ryan Gosling, absolutely brilliant, confirming, not only he’s the most wanted man in the world, but also a great actor, with a promising future ahead, but also featuring one of the current hottest goddess Christina Hendricks, a rough Ron Perlman, and the innocent but seed of the whole mess, Carey Mulligan (truth is her performance is not so consistent).

Release date in Spain is due to the end of this month. Sure I will repeat and will go to the cinema to watch it for the second time. Believe me, this hype is worth seeing, and most likely is to be one of the films of the year. hope you like it!

KILLER JOE, William Friedkin (2011)

After an extense career as director, featuring more than 20 films, including classics such as The Exorcist, The Cruising or The French Connection, Friedkin is not expected to prove anything. Perhaps, because he can do whatever he wants, he’s delivered this shocking black redneck comedy this year, away from social politeness.

The Smiths are pure white trash. Dumped from his mother’s house, Chris (Emil Hirsh) asks his father for money and shelter. He’s in debt with Digger Soames, the kind of big guy you cannot play with, and his life is in risk. Ansel has no money and if he had, he wouldn’t spend a dime on his stupid boy, his wife Sharla (Gina Gershon) would not allow it.

The only solution is contracting Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to kill Chris’ mother, so they’d be able to claim for her life insurance policy money, pay the killer, clean the debts and share the money among the family.

Problem is that Joe Cooper only accepts prepaid jobs. But he finds a way to ensure the payment. Dottie, Ansel’s 12 year old daughter, a night walker and a very special girl, still virgin, will be the pledge.

As soon as the agreement is done, Chris will regret having ruined his sister’s life in the hands of the killer and will try to put things into order.

Killer Joe is an excessive story. The protection of the underage is not valid here. Dottie is to fulfill Joe’s requirements and is a grant for payment. Everything is unacceptable and morally wrong. But who cares? Anything goes.

Dialogues and situations are so way out of line, so absurd, while watching the film I was totally shocked, so astonished, I found myself laughing nonstop. The way all things are messed around, how situation is getting more and more twisted is insane.

Such extreme the contents are, don’t think this film is being released at any cinema. Positive Friedkin wasn’t looking to be acclaimed nor praised, he just doesn’t care.

Therefore, if you are sensitive to certain subjects or morally concerned as not to understand this film as a joke, don’t waste your time watching it, otherwise you’ll get angry and disappointed. I had fun though.

A WARM WELCOME

Posted in Uncategorized on October 7, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Dear friends,

It’s an honor for me to introduce you to the first contributor for Popcorn and Movies, and very close friend of mine since the high school years, Arantza.

The most important interest in common we share is our passion for films since were really young. Truth is that our tastes are far from each other, although I reckon her contributions will enrich and improve the contents of this blog for sure. Really I can’t think of anyone more appropriate to participate and giver her input nowadays.

Her debut starts triumphant, telling us about her experience during the famous San Sebastian  film festival, Donostia Zinemaldia, held two  weeks ago.

Again, I really feel very proud Arantza has accepted joining me in this personal way of supporting this beloved art.

DO NOT MESS WITH THE KIDS!

Posted in Horror, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Few days ago while Night of the Living Dead, the subject of kids in horror movies came to my mind.

Most of times, kids as “good” characters or even heroes, get on my nerves, because they involve this emotional part totally expendable in the plot. For instance, I don’t know whether you’ve seen 28 Weeks Later…well, let me tell you the kids are two completely assholes, ok, they imply the action starting to develop, but in the end, there’s too much crap which ruins the effect of the film. They just suck!

Kids are cool when they are badasses, because they can be terrible, making you shit on your pants.

The girl in Night of the Living Dead is absolutely gorgeous, but with just few make up, she’s become an icon in horror culture. When affection and innocence vanish, replaced by coldness and evil, children are relentless. Better you step out, otherwise, you’ll be pretty fucked up.

Sure you remember some characters, apparently harmless, which have made you feel uneasy. Wanna feel like creating a list? Here are my top 10 kids I would run away from if I was unlucky to find them by chance:

THE VAMPIRE KID – SALEM’S LOT

I’ve discovered many people in my age got traumatized by this ugly little bastard, scratching at the window with that deadly smile. Most of us watched this chapter hidden from our parents’ sight and then we used to have lots of nightmares. Nowadays you can see the strings holding the vampire, yet those scenes give me the creeps.

THE MUTANT CLONE  BLONDE GIRLS – THE BROOD

With those winter suits covering their ugly faces, those bitches were ruining everything and killing everyone their crazy mother thought were an obstacle.

MALACHAI AND ISAAC – CHILDREN OF THE CORN

Adult people must die! Isaac as a kind of preacher, and Malachai, his closest dog, applying this philosophy and submitting all the kids in town to the worship of “He who walks behind the rows”.

REGAN – THE EXORCIST

No comments needed. It took me many years to get the courage enough to see this film. Everything related to the occult, spirits, the Devil and everything unseen, scares me to death. And this bitch throwing up and twisting her neck 360º makes me sweat…a lot!

THE GRADY TWINS – THE SHINING

Oh my God! With those blue dresses I also used to wear, holding hands, just standing in front of poor Danny Torrance…and that half smile seeming to say: you’re done!

MELANIE ROBERTS AND THE CHILDREN – VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED

These blonde children ready to rule the world, numb and super cold, were capable of terrorizing a whole town, controlling their parents and having psychic powers were too difficult to beat.

DAMIEN – THE OMEN

A classic! Since born, he was a pain in the ass for those obstacles in his race to rule the world. His personal entourage was interesting too…

KAREN COOPER – NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

As already commented, this girl is absolutely gorgeous, but in motion and seeking for living flesh, delivers an image you cannot forget ever. Needless to say, she’s THE  icon of the zombie world.

SADAKO YAMAMURA – THE RING

Beware with videotapes you see…Sadako was right not having her long black hair cut, because she’s so ugly it’s not necessary she does anything else for you to have a heart attack. And her eyes…ufff!

TODD BOWDEN – APT PUPIL

Not to be considered a horror movie, Apt Pupils features Todd Bowden, a teenager decided to blackmail and ruin an old Nazi’s hidden retirement.

What do you say? Any kid this list is missing? Sure! Hope you share them with me ASAP!