Monday, September 1, 2014

DONNIE DARKO (2001)

[This review is for the theatrical version.  113 minutes.]

Donnie's got some problems.  The biggest happens to be that he's accidentally(?) slipped into an alternate universe and...well, you know what, just watch it.  I dislike reviewing movies like this because anything I say might ruin it.  All you need to know is you're going to have to pay attention for this one.  Close attention.  No fucking around on your phone or kissing your girlfriend or playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos.  Pay attention!   I'll be shocked and disappointed if you figured it out in one viewing.  Shocked because "goddamn, u smart!" and disappointed because you might decide against watching it a second time.  One of the biggest joys of DONNIE DARKO is watching it again and again.  I think I've discovered about everything there is to discover, but I still love revisiting it every once and awhile simply because I enjoy the story and the characters so much.  And the dialogue!  I don't know if writer/director Richard Kelly won any awards for this script or not, but he fucking deserved to.  I wish he'd write a novelization, honestly.

Hard to decipher story that's incredibly rewarding when you do, memorable characters that you wish you knew in real life, a stupid bunny suit, beautiful photography, about 10 billion quotable lines, Smurf gang bang, cellar door, beer and pussy, maybe the coolest parents of all time, dedication to Sparkle Motion, Patrick Swayze's best performance(?), the fucking Antichrist, powerful musical moments that'll make you feel all wonky britches inside, non-distracting special effects, Beth Grant as a flibbertigibbet, a stupid man suit and a cast/crew that every single member should be proud of themselves.  Mary McDonnell should have walked home with an Oscar.

Do me a favor.  If you haven't already seen it before, don't look up anything about the story.  Just watch it.  Twice.  If you need  me I'll be in the locker room cleaning up baby mice.  Awww!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

VIOLENT ROAD (1958)

I don't mind a remake or even a ripoff...if you can improve on the original or bring something new and fresh to the table.  Although it never gives onscreen credit VIOLENT ROAD is a direct remake/ripoff of 1953's excellent THE WAGES OF FEAR.  TWOF is a beautifully photographed and masterfully acted thriller about a four broken men desperate enough to drive two explosive laden trucks across a rugged terrain for the promise of $2,000 each.  VIOLENT ROAD is about about a six broken men desperate enough to drive three explosive laden trucks across a rugged terrain for the promise of $5,000 each.  Whatever, as long as it's exciting...it ain't.

The film starts off well enough with Brian Keith being all macho and shit.  Then the set up is introduced and it's three trucks and all three trucks have to make it.  Well fuck, right there you can pretty much bet that all three trucks are gonna make it.  Next off Brian picks five complete dorks for his team.  One of them is even a race car driver with a lead foot!  So finally they take off and these idiots are driving on the open road!  What the fuck?  There's normal cars all around and all these champions have is a warning sign and some flags.  Anyway, they eventually get off onto some desert roads and the hot shot driver is driving balls out!  You can see the trucks bouncing all over the joint, mud splashing, they're banging into shit and hauling ass.  Plus they're always crowded up together just waiting to blow each other up.  And speaking of stupid, at one point a guy sees that an concentrated acid tank is leaking out of a loose cap.  So what does this supergenius do?  Does he put on some badass gloves/protective clothing and use a pair of pliers?  Ohhhh no, this brain surgeon just grabs the cap with his bare hand and of course burns his hand off.  Brilliant!   Multiple other totally preventable injuries happen, but it's all silly.  There's even a runaway bus full of children!  Oh brother.

I really wanted to like VIOLENT ROAD, but the story was garbage.  Absolutely zero tension and nearly all of their troubles were caused by their own negligence.  The acting was fine for what it was, but the budget was too low and the story just shit.  Skip it and rewatch THE WAGES OF FEAR again instead.
 Robert Williams.  He has 331 credits on IMDb over the course of 40 years.