Monday, December 28, 2009

Eric's Favorite Flicks of 2009


It's been an interesting year. One particulary strong in documentaries. The usual assortment of sequels. And the obligatory re-imagining of an iconic character (one year it was Batman. Another it was James Bond. This year was Sherlock Holmes' turn. However, I wound up liking that film better than I thought I would). It's also been an incredibly strong year in Science Fiction what with MOON, DISTRICT 9, STAR TREK and AVATAR (fantastic, absolutely mind blowing visuals. But the story/script wasn't strong enough for my tastes. It's as if all the energy was expended on realising the world of the movie and there just wasn't enough energy to come up with a complex enough script -- a script worthy of the world Cameron created).

So here we go with my top ten. They may not be the best films of the year but they were my favorite. Thus, in no discernable order:


Thursday, December 24, 2009

BAD LIEUTINENT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS



This was a film I expected to be fun and really enjoy, Yet I found this to be another disappointment. It has good and interesting characters. But for all the great actors in the film they have characters who would be interesting if they really had something to do and fit more into the film.

Nicholas Cage gives a great performance and this film is practically a one man show. As he is a live wire from beginning to end. Now knowing that his character is on legal and illegal medication most of the film. It strikes me as odd that none of his co-workers think that he is on high on illegal substances considering how jumpy he is and always seems to be on. I only wish the film could be as off the wall and entertaining as his performance.

The CineFiles -- THE ALIEN SAGA!

Happy Holidays! Wonder if Santa ever had to take out one of these mothereffers...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The "Art" Of The Twist by Eric Cohen


We all have that creative project we keep going back to, tweaking it and re-tweaking it over many years. When I was a senior in college I wrote a screenplay which I attempted to and almost got optioned (I think. There was interest from an independent producer. Long and short of it: we discussed the project, he made suggested changes, I complied. He even asked me if I had anything else, etc. And then, the correspondence ended. Haven't heard from him since). Since then I have written a few more screenplays and plays. And during the course of these times, Ive been a part of many projects either as an actor, producer or director on the stage, on video, you name it. But I would always return that first script. The one I wrote during my last semester at Ithaca College. Five years after graduation, inspired by my experiences in the theater, I decided to adapt it as a play. The result was liberating as it went from a straight forward narrative to something more postmodern. By becoming a stage piece, I was allowed to ignore the rules of screen writing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

VAMPIRE MOVIES

In honor Of TWILIGHT: NEW MOON being a success and Ruining a new era of moviegoers with it’s Romeo & Juliet with vampires storyline. I am rather tired of all this romanticism of vampires everywhere all of a sudden in books on television and in movies. Can a slasher get a hug. Vampires are always so Romantic, distinguished and classy sort of like the myth applied to Europeans. That I tend to like the films that give you more of a realistic portrayal. That look at it as more of a curse you have been infected with. That make it seem more like a drig addiction you have been infected with that you can’t quit or you die. One of the problems is that there has been plenty of films with vampires in them that don’t really feel like or to me count as vampire movies. I have decided to make a list of vampire movies that might be more entertaining then any TWILIGHT movies.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The CineFiles -- ANIMATION!

We get "animated" as we discuss our favorite, feature length cartoons.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SIN NOMBRE



Written & Directed By: Cary Fukunaga
Cinematography By: Adriano Goldman
Editor: Luis Carballar & Craig Mckay

One of the problems with being a film fan is that you have seen a lot of films so you begin to see films influenced or downright steal scenes, plots and characters from other films you see twists coming a mile away you can predict where a story is going to go. So when a film is labeled as original you go into it already with a skewed mindset. You watch it waiting for something original, something that everyone else who has raved about it saw and loved, something you haven’t seen to come on the screen or at least something to dazzle you and if it doesn’t appear you are ready to pounce.

SWEENY TODD




Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Anthony Head

Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: John Logan
Based On The Musical by: Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler
Musical Adaptation By: Christopher Bond
Cinematography By: Dariusz Wolski
Editor: Chris Lebenzon
Production Design: Dante Ferreti
Costume Design: Colleen Atwood



For a film that had been in development for almost 25 years ever since the broadway show premiered I was expecting a spectacle. I was not disappointed. I really wanted to love this the sixth collaboration between Director tim burton and Johnny depp. With the added bonus after a candy colored kids of them going back to a bleek story a musical none the less. I don’t even care that it’s a musical. I’m not a musical hater far from it. But I am also not a musical lover it depends on my mood. But generally I’m indifferent all that matters is that it is done well.

MAN BITES DOG



Directed By: Remy Belvaux & Andre Bonzel & Benoit Poelvoorde
Written By: Remy Belvaux & Andre Bonzel & Benoit Poelvoorde & Vincent Tavier
Cinematography By: Andre Bonzel
Editor: Remy Belvaux & Eric Dardill

CAST: Benoit Poelvoorde

This film is a masterpiece or at least so close to being one then in one simple scene one simple act it passes the point of no return that at least in my mind ruined the movie for me. Was it intentional?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

If you want to be in my gang ...

This is the first line of the song "We Can't Be Beaten" by Australian 80's metalheads, Rose Tattoo.  This also happens to be the rockin' song that leads the rockin' documentary that I saw called NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD.

The song and the first lyric sum up the feel of this film from the get go. Filmmaker Mark Hartley brings us into the world of Ozsploitation and doesn't let us up for one second, not even to breathe. I'm telling you, it was like some wild amusement park ride you DO NOT want to get off. Little did many people outside of the film geek society know there were such riches coming out of Australia that filled up drive-in and video store shelves for years. And, in my case, fed my eyes and imagination from the late night cable menu (Thank you, Showtime & Cinemax!).Now, when you watch this, you're going to get a lot of talking heads thrown at you. And you probably won't know what the hell they did. But this film EDUCATES you in the ways of these trash auteurs like not many docs on filmmaking have in the past. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Late 20th Century Period Piece: AFTER HOURS directed by Martin Scorsese

I revisted Scorcese's AFTER HOURS recently after having not seen it for a very long time. I initially remembered liking it a lot, thinking it was far better than the "meh" response it was given by critics at the time (Vincent Canby, in his 1985 New York Times review of the film wrote that it was "at best, an entertaining tease" which will "leave you feeling somewhat conned"). Apparently Scorsese took on AFTER HOURS after his first failed attempt to get LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST off the ground. It was his bid to do something, anything, that would take him away from the nightmares of big studio pre-production politics and return him to his independent roots.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

THE CINEFILES: DRUG FLICKS!

Tapping a vein... taping a vein... tap, tap, tap... the merry flicksters get their afternoon high discussing MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK, DRUGSTORE COWBOYS, SWEETS AND DUSTY MCGEE among others. And it's another episode taped at Manhattan's Lower East Side bar Nurse Bettie.

Monday, November 9, 2009

PRECIOUS: Based on the novel push by sapphire (2009)


Directed By: Lee Daniels
Written By: Geoffrey Fletcher

CAST: Gabourey Sibibe, Monique, Paula Patton, Sherri Sheperd, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey

Yes that is truly the whole film title.

The film is a emotional rollercoaster. While not as depressing as I thought it would be. It is a truly dark film.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

THE CINEFILES: BOOZE FLICKS

Check out our latest episode: BOOZE FLICKS. Just the thing to cure that weekend hangover. Taped at Nurse Bettie, a pin-up themed bar on Manhattan's Lower East Side. In this installment we discuss THE LOST WEEKEND, DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, BARFLY, FACTOTUM, COCTAIL and BAD SANTA. And Edwin proves he can't bartend worth @##$$!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Death Wish Films



I haven't been contributing too much to the blog, so I decided to make a video entry about one of my favorite film series of all time: Death Wish with Charles Bronson. I hope you enjoy my take on the wonderful sleazy saga with the the baddest mother of them all: Charles Bronson. Click here to view video on You Tube.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The CineFiles The Star Trek Films - Part One

We now go from STAR WARS to STAR TREK. Gear up for that Vulcan mind meld! And set your phasers on fun! This captain's log covers our thoughts on the first four flicks: Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek: The Voyage Home.

We'll continue with the rest of the films in the next episode, so stay tuned!

RESONATING EVILS AND SINISTER INSPIRATIONS PART 4: FAVORITE HORRORS by Eric


UPDATE: slight change in my favorite horrors list! And added an honorable mention. Almost forgot about THE BLACK CAT...

Since this is a film review site, I think it's fitting to conclude my four-part Halloween tribute with a "25 of My Favorite Horror Movies" list. It's not original. Every journo on every blog will be doing the same this year. I guess what will make my list unique to most is that I'll share an occasional brief thought on some films and then follow up with a comparitive "Films That No Longer Hold Up For Me."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ORPHAN (2009)

Directed By: Jamie Collet-Serra
Written By: David Johnson
Story By: Alex Mace
Cinematography By: Jeff Cutter
Editor: Tim Alverson


CAST: Vera Farminga, Peter Sarsgaard, CCH Pounder, Isabelle Fuhrman, Karel Roden, Margo Martindale, Jimmy Bennett


The film succeeds in a lot of ways until you get to the third act which I know disappointed a lot of people with it’s ridiculousness. I think it is because the film so far plays but logical realistic rules so far and then you have this twist that belongs in a crazier movie. Especially since all the advertisements say “you’ll never figure out the ending” they are right you won’t no one could have. It’s like those mysteries where they give you all this evidence and clues to suspect one of the characters you know about up to this point is the murderer then they bring out a character out of the blue making all that came before it null and void fully knowing you were never really meant to figure it out.

MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (2008)

Since Halloween is officially here this weekend i though i would post some horror film reviews for you to enjoy

Directed By: Ryuhei Kitamura
Written By: Jeff Buhler
Based On A Short Story By: Clive Barker
Cinematography By: Jonathan Sela
Editor: Toby Yates

CAST: Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Vinnie Jones, Roger Bart, Peter Jacobsen, Tony Curran, Brooke Shields, Ted Raimi, Quenton “Rampage” Jackson


I can see why the studio held this film up. By doing so they made this into a unofficial cult film the truly sad part was I bought into it. But the end product is not worth it. I don’t believe it was I had my hopes up to high even if I wasn’t expecting much this film is pretty much a disappointment on many levels

RESONATING EVILS AND SINISTER INSPIRATIONS PART 3: LIVE HORRORS by Eric

When I was about ten years old, I was taken to Disney World for the first time in my life. And there were two attractions I was looking forward to the most. Space Mountain, since that would be my first rollercoaster (because up to that time I had always wanted to ride a rollercoaster). And The Haunted Mansion.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

RESONATING EVILS AND SINISTER INSPIRATIONS PART 2: THE MONSTER MAKERS by Eric

As we countdown to Halloween, kids and adults alike will be stocking up on their holiday accessories. Masks, wigs, make up and costumes. Be it ghoulish or sexy, most people wanna' be something other than themselves come Halloween. My lady is a performer and, in lieu of this, is prepping for what will be the inevitable Halloween-themed performance. I have somehow taken on the task of building her costume. As I am in the process of doing this, I reminisce over previous efforts during my childhood past.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"I'm ... I'm A SERIOUS MAN!"

Well, people, from the trailer I saw, I NEEDED to see the Cohen Brothers' new film, A Serious Man. Let's face it, before they won their Oscars for the much lauded and much deserved, No Country for Old Men, they have gone Hollywood. Because of their track record making the most unique films within American cinema (independent or studio-produced), they draw the big name talent like bees to honey, or fat guys to buffets. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

RESONATING EVILS AND SINISTER INSPIRATIONS: CHILLER THEATER by Eric


During the next couple of weeks leading up to Halloween, I may post a few thoughts related to the horror genre. I was and still am a Horror/Monster movie nerd. In fact, my whole love of film was the resulting expansion from the thrillers I obsessed over as a kid. I cannot recall what the first horror film I saw was, but I definitely know which one had the first, initial impact on me at the time. It was CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, a rather infamous cult flick by the directing/writing team of Bob Clark and Alan Ormsby. Both gentlemen would go onto greater success unleashing the PORKY'S series to the world. Bob Clark himself had directed another cult classic, the antithetically family friendly A CHRISTMAS STORY. Obviously this displayed a great versitility in a man who met an untimely death by car accident only two years ago.

GOOD HAIR (2009)



Directed By: Jeff Stilson
Written By: Lance Crouther, Chris Rock, Jeff Stilson, Chuck Sklar
Cinematography By: Cliff Charles & Mark Henderson
Editor: Paul Marchand & Greg Nash


Featuring: Raven Symone, Eve, Salt N’ Pepa, Lauren London, Maya Angelou, Andre Harrell, Sarah Jones, Nia long, Tracie Thoms, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Megan Goode, Melyssa Ford, Al Sharpton, Ice-T, Paul Mooney, KRS-ONE


This is a must see. It’s not the greatest documentary of all time but it is like a Michael Moore documentary in other words it’s a documentary for people who don’t usually like or go to documentry’s it’s funny while being informative and bringing up emotions of course the film has the celebrity interviews to bring more people in to see them give there personal account of the subject but that is not the whole film it’slike a little boost now and then

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Favorite Woody Allen Films


It's a trick posting. I hate them all. 

THE FILMS OF WOODY ALLEN



Now i seem to be the rare member of the cinefiles who actually likes woody allen films so here i have made a list of my favorite to not so favorite films by the man keep in mind there are quite a few i still have to watch. but i hope you enjoy the list and feel free to comment.

Where the Wild Things Are



I have one word to describe Spike Jonze's latest effort:

Sublime. 

That's what I kept thinking to myself as this little created wonder-of-a-film went along. Now, it's not really what you expect out of a kid's film. I know. I know. We've already read the press clippings about the weight of expectations from Maurice Sendak fans AND the constant meddling by money grubbing studio execs, who seem to always be the true Hollywood villains. 

WHIP IT! (2009) - Jeff's Review



Directed By: Drew Barrymore
Written By: Shauna Cross
Based On The Book By: Shauna Cross
Cinematography By: Robert D. Yeoman
Editor: Dylan Tichenor

CAST: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Stern, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Landon Pigg , Jimmy Fallon, Zoe Bell, Eve, Andrew Wilson, Ari Gaynor, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat, Har Mar Superstar


Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is much like her personality. It’s cute, fun, funny and surprising. With a career in front of the camera for almost all of her life and working with so many talented directors and running her own production company. It really goes to show that while she was working, she was taking notes and paying attention because she definitely picked the right story to direct and is more successful then I believe most people would have thought.

Friday, October 16, 2009

CAPITALISM: Eric's review



We've done a couple of Michael Moore related episodes. I wasn't a part of the first one we did but I was involved with the one we shot on Fahrenheit 911. Michael Moore is definitely a litmus test for people. You can pretty much size up where a person is coming from based on whether they are a Moore hater or lover and both seem to occupy an extreme divide. There is a middle, however. Those who may appreciate Moore as a filmmaker but have issues with how he approaches documentary film making in general. And I fall into that camp.