IN THE CUT (2003)

Directed By: Jane Campion 
Written By: Jane Campion, Susanna Moore & Starvos Kazantzids
Based On The Novel By: Susanna Moore 
Cinematography: Dion Beebe 
Editor: Alexandre De Franceschi

Cast: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kevin Bacon, Sharrief Pugh, Nick Damici, Heather Litteer, Arthur J. Nascarella, Patrice O’Neal 

A psychological thriller: a lonely New York woman discovers the darker side of passion after becoming involved with a tough homicide detective who is investigating a series of murders in her neighborhood.


This film seemed to be dismissed and quickly forgotten by audiences and critics at the time of its release. Seen more as a failure or embarrassment. When actually it is a film that is worth exploring for the rules it abides by and the many it doesn’t. 

It’s grimy ugly not all that sexy. You don’t want to be there but are kind of forced to. As the film starts off disorienting and claustrophobic, it constantly feels like it’s tightening a noose. It stays intense with barely any noticeable score. 

Not a pleasant experience but this film is worth exploring. 

It’s strange as it is Jane Campion making a movie that is more seen as the most mainstream for her at that point and you have America’s sweetheart who wants to challenge herself and be seen in a different more dramatic light. In other words, trying to be anti-mainstream 

So you have these two working together trying to tell a tale that seems mroe obsessed with sex and maintain interest in a murder mystery that seems to be in the background until it hits close to home 

It certainly doesn’t help that all the male characters seem to be creepy as hell. Though make up a long suspect list 

The violence is more told or shown in the aftermath. After a while, the film’s problem is that you wonder what this is all about and what we are waiting for as it gets a bit monotonous at times but stays interesting. As you never know quite where it is going to go next so it feels alive 

The film is certainly well-directed though the material might not be the best. It works as everyone seems ordinary and doesn’t feel like a glamorous Hollywood production. As it does get down and dirty 

So can’t say you like or really care about too many of the characters. Especially when every cop character seems to have an overworked New York accent 

Then throw Kevin bacon into all this madness as a psycho stalking ex. He usually wears red so he might as well be labeled a literal red herring. Where you wonder why Meg Ryan’s character slept with him in the first place. As he seems to be there as a recognizable face and kind of a waste of time.

As Meg Ryan plays a nerdy teacher who is brought into all of this erotic and sexual obsession. At first, she seems Miscast almost like this film is more an experiment for her watching one time America’s sweetheart in a down and dirty role that for some might come across as desperate but for others, it shows she is up for the challenge. Between this film and her other dramatic performances in COURAGE UNDER FIRE and WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN. 

Mark Ruffalo gives the most convincing performance. As he comes across as a simple character with a lot of secrets and heMs not the type to talk about his feelings. More direct as he seems to inhabit the role than play it. Though will admit him, Nor most of the cast are the first you would think of or fantasize about seeing in an erotic thriller 

Though the film would have been easily welcomed and probably lauded had it come out in the ’70s or 80’s as it seems to agave that kind of grit and seriousness of those films even if it would have felt like more of the norm back then. Though it does show classic early 2000 New York 

It feels like a welcome daring film especially for the times that was just too gloomy for audiences of the time to really get into as it is far from enjoyable 

Doesn’t play into bigger-budgeted thrillers with plenty of tension but not as much suspense and lead up. The score is barely noticeable 

The film shows the violence that men do to women that isn’t always physical or sexual but mentally and emotionally. 

 No matter what you think you are going to get going into this film. Do you actually get, It’s A challenging film that has a mind of life or energy if it’s own. That isn’t quite like anything you might have seen before. Not for everybody 

The film is sexual and erotic but not sexy necessarily. When it comes to the more erotic scenes and nature of the film. In the cut is the first Hollywood movie where I have seen someone a man eat ass booty 

Even by the end of the film once the killer is revealed there are no real answers. It’s more left for the audience to put together from what they have seen. Not only when it comes to the murder mystery but even most of the characters’ motivations.

Grade: B- 

FOXCATCHER (2014)

Directed By: Bennett Miller 
Written By: E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman 
 Cinematography By: Greg Fraser 
Editor: Jay Cassidy, Stuart Levy and Conor O’Neill 

Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd, Brett Rice


The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul – a union that leads to unlikely circumstances.

The film sets a brooding tone from the beginning, Which feels like the air has been let out of the room throughout the film.

Seeing the humiliation and what life is like in his brothers’ shadow. it seems is already its own tragedy of sorts. The story is told stilted yet matter-of-factly. While it seems each gesture even in behavior is presented almost under a microscope as its own action, As far as detail. Proving that in this film everything means something no matter how minor or even if dealt with in an off-handed way. So that the film feels more like a clinical behavioral study with precision angles.

I give the director Bennett Miller accolades for sticking with his singular vision for the film. His style helps not only define the film but showcases his style as well. Which seems to be more clinical and observational.

In this film, it is the deepest we have seen Channing Tatum ever and not quite surprisingly as good as 21 JUMP STREET. Where he proved he could be intentionally funny in a star-making turn. Here he plays the type of character you would expect, but rather than a general type of character here the film gives him nuances and a certain depth. Not letting him fall and not letting him avoid and go into his bag of tricks as an actor. You feel him really being open and raw in this performance. Having to truly work more than ever before in this role.

At first, Steve Carell seems like a stunt casting in his role. He seems to be trying to break out of strictly comedic roles here. Unfortunately, he seems to become more of a slave to the prosthetics used on him. It could also be that they were so distracting it’s hard to pay particular attention to the complexities of his performance. Though as with many comedic actors he plays well in the confines of drama as serious, disturbed, and strange. Almost feels like a Real-Life Version of the strange comedic character Dan Ackroyd played in NOTHING BUT TROUBLE only not as loud.

Just as in DAN IN REAL LIFE and SEEKING A FRIEND AT THE END OF THE WORLD playing a vulnerable character suits him and he attacks the role with more relish. He tries harder. Taking it as a challenge and running with it. More than he does with comedy, which is his natural talent, and more in his training. Not seeking to be one thing or play one note. Showing his range.

Mark Ruffalo is good though his character is already set up as a saint and martyr and he might be playing the person as he actually was. Good-hearted and that is what makes what happens so heartbreaking. Here he gives the character shades and is obviously important to the story. He seems to be the only character who has sense and is a sobering presence to the lunacy of the other main characters dementia of sorts. 

Before filming a particularly dark scene, Bennett Miller made Steve Carell write on a piece of paper the thing that he hates the most about himself and then put it in his pocket. Miller told Carell, “Just have it right there, and know that it’s in a place where, if I was a dick, I could just grab it.” According to Miller, the result is the favorite thing that he has put on film.

Because the project took so many years to get off the ground, many actors were considered for the lead roles. Heath Ledger, Ryan Gosling, and Bill Nighy were strongly considered for the lead roles in the early stages of production.

More is said in silence and behavior throughout the film. It’s like a tragic buddy film. As soon as the main character’s relationship is close but ambiguous and never quite fully explained but suggestions are made silently as to the lengths of it.

The film never seems to drop its air of impending doom and tragedy. Setting a chilly mood and tone that never lets up and leaves things implied rather than explained.

Both characters are in a struggle to define themselves and impress family and others by standing on their own and defining themselves separate from how others might see them. Most of all they seem desperate to prove to themselves that they are more than the roles they have been offered in life. Then living up to it. Though one brings it about himself and the person, he is trying to prove himself to is more himself than his brother who is already proud of him. The other seems lost in his own mind to define himself not by actual talent but by what he finds interest in. As he has been given mostly what he has ever wanted and seems not to be that successful at it. But he has a passion it seems to showcase actual work and/or talent.

Eventually, the film leads to strained relations that seem to revolve between the characters at different intervals that keep seeming to mount more and more that you can feel that it is going to surface and bubble over at some point.

When it does it does rather simply and more out of the blue rather than. A showcase or a spectacular scene. I guess it’s like the facts just random and ordinary.

According to Bennett Miller’s comments at screening, a rough cut of the film was more than four hours long.

Steve Carell claimed that according to director Bennett Miller’s wishes there was no joking between takes, and he did not socialize with the co-stars after work.

According to Steve Carell, the real John DuPont was known for even more outlandish behavior than what is shown in the film, but he and director Bennett Miller wanted his madness to be gradually revealed to the audience.

The third act of deep resentment festering until a final act that you know is coming. Though still feels surprising when it happens and is just as senseless in the act as in the reasons.

The film feels downtrodden. It is based on a true story and real events. Though it keeps the story singular. It also makes the film feel barren and an island in of itself.

Too much of the people who love the good life. Go to extremes to feel something new and different. That registers and that they grant in control of to feel accomplishment in themselves. Here no one gets what they set out for, and their grand plan seems to doom them all to places that might have been inevitable but none planned to end up that way.

It’s a tragedy that feels like a boom as it sets the mood. It seems to be more about what is written between the lines though tells you the story fully as it happens. Nothing feels hidden.

The film ultimately comes off as a bit disappointing as we wallow but are given hints yet no definitive answers. The film immerses us in the drama and relationships yet still keeps them in the shadows a bit.

Grade: B

THE AVENGERS (2012)

theavengers-group-shot

Written & Directed By: Joss Whedon
Story By: Zak Penn & Joss Whedon
Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey
Editor: Jeffrey Ford & Lisa Lassek 


Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johanssen, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alexis Denisof, Jerzy Skolimowski, Jenny Agutter, James Eckhouse, Harry Dean Stanton, Stan Lee 

Nick Fury is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., an international peace-keeping agency. The agency is a who’s who of Marvel Super Heroes, with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury and his team will need all their powers to save the world from disaster which is formed by Loki and his team

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FOXCATCHER (2014)

FOXCATCHER

Directed By: Bennett Miller
Written By: E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman
Cinematography By: Greg Fraser
Editor: Jay Cassidy, Stuart Levy and Conor O’Neill 

Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd, Brett Rice
The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul – a union that leads to unlikely circumstances.

Continue reading “FOXCATCHER (2014)”