Tag Archive for Movie

Vincent Wants to Sea

Directed by: Ralf Huettner

Written by: Florian David Fitz

Produced by: Viola Jäger, Harald Kügler

Starring: Florian David Fitz, Karoline Herfurth, Heino Ferch, Robert Gellner, Katharina Müller-Elmau

Language:  German with English subtitles

Run Time: 96 minutes


Did you hear the one about the man with tourette’s, an anorexic woman and the guy with ocd?  No? Well there’s this guy with tourette’s, an anorexic woman and a guy with ocd who escape a mental institution. They steal their psychiatrist’s car and drive from Germany to Italy to dispose of a tuna can filled with the ashes of tourette’s guy’s mom.  On the way they have adventures, find love and of course escape the evil psychiatrist and tourette’s guy’s grumpy father.  It all sounds like a bad joke, which it very well could be, but it’s also an award winning movie in Germany.  Vincent Wants to Sea isn’t as bad as the joke sounds but it isn’t anywhere near what an award winning masterpiece should be.


The big problem with Vincent Wants to Sea is that the characters aren’t consistent, aren’t believable and worst of all, are extremely predictable.  Vincent’s (the guy with tourette’s syndrome) tics aren’t uncontrolled and in fact only come at a time when the movie demands it.  Instead of having random movements or outbursts throughout the film, his symptoms all but disappear during parts of the movie and reappear when it’s comedic and convenient.  It’s the same way with Marie, the anorexic girl, who really shows no symptoms of her condition aside from being thin for most of the movie.  Marie’s silly, has lots of energy and a great sense of humor which doesn’t really seem very realistic for a girl who’s supposedly so starved her body is about to fail.  Sadly, the potential that lies in all of the characters is largely ignored and instead is turned into a common parody of what their mental illnesses are.  The lack of in depth character development is understandable though; after all, if the characters seemed somewhat real it would transform a feel good drama into a cringe-worthy comedy.


The soundtrack is another huge piece of the puzzle that makes the movie seem extremely scripted.  It follows the same formula of bland cheesy music at all of the right times that you’d see in any chick flick or trendy drama.  As soon as the intro starts you can queue the acoustic guitar and the bad lyrics sung by a middle aged man in Birkenstocks that plays on light rock stations.  Again, the music reflects a striking lack of originality and uses the very same themes that are used in hundreds of other movies.  Perhaps the reason why all of the song’s lyrics are in English is to fool a German audience into thinking they aren’t as bad as they are but that’s just a theory.  All theories aside, the music just reflects the current trend that’s seen in romantic movies and as pleasurable as it is to some listeners; still offers nothing new or innovative to the film.


Vincent Wants to Sea does have a redeeming quality, namely the scenery photography. The landscape shots are breathtaking and indeed make the viewer want to retrace the steps of the characters in the movie.  Even though there are some goofy shots, one where all the protagonists sit on a cross overlooking a mountain, the fact remains that there is real natural beauty captured in the film.


Just looking at the poster of Vincent Wants to Sea, where Vincent is standing with his back turned to the camera and looking at the ocean, says exactly what kind of movie it is, a feel good drama.  The viewer knows just by looking at the poster that there’s going to be love, some silly comedic moments and of course a long journey complete with bonding and healing so in the end it doesn’t really disappoint.  Vincent Wants to Sea seems as if it was meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator of audiences who are looking for more of a good time instead of a realistic emotional story.  The characters are all likeable and charming but aren’t dysfunctional enough (unless it’s convenient that is) to actually merit them being in a mental institution in the first place.  Vincent Wants to Sea is a goofy, stereotypical, easy to vegetate to movie and is therefore pleasurable to watch as long as you don’t expect anything new or groundbreaking.



A Little Help

A Little Help

Directed by:  Michael J. Weithorn

Written by:  Michael J. Weithorn

Produced by:  Joe Gressis, Dena Hysell

Starring:  Jenna Fischer, Chris O’Donnell, Kim Coates, Mel Kaminsky, Lesley Ann Warren, Brooke Smith, Aida Turturro, Rob Benedict

Run Time:  108 minutes


There’s a parallel universe in which every actor who you kind of know the face but forgot the names all joined forces to make a super vaginal (that’s a term from the film) movie where every aspect is completely over emotional and pointless.  The writing is so amazing that it actually raises the viewer’s psychic abilities to where they’re actually able to predict the future an hour in advance. While this movie should be considered an embarrassment for all of the people who were involved in the making of it, personally I love it, even if it’s for all of the wrong reasons.


A Little Help revolves around a mother, Laura, as she tries to cope with the death of her sweaty husband (almost all of the characters perspire a little bit too much) and her fat untalented son who makes the kid in Two and a Half Men look like a Shakespearian actor.    Now this all sounds well and good but since this a part of Indy Fest we all know that her family has to be completely dysfunctional and overly dramatic.  Throw in a little bit of lost love, nagging sisters, kids that should have been aborted and overly feminine men  in the mix and you have one of the most typical and uninteresting stories known to man.


As you can probably guess from the description of the story, it’s safe to say that all of the characters are either mind numbingly bland or completely enraging.  For instance, Laura’s son Dennis is literally annoying to the point where you would actually be able to justify his own mother drowning him in a bathtub for the greater good of mankind.  Of course Dennis isn’t the only fresh new child actor Zach Page, Kile in the film, who fills you with fantasies of slamming your fist into his teeth like any character from Street Fighter 2 would do to a Nancy boy and knocking his Joan Jett haircut clear off of his girlish head.   Then comes Paul Kiles Dad(who also came up with the vaginal line), played by Rob Benedict, who lovingly watches his sons god awful emo band as he dances like a teenage girl.  Paul is the grisliest of the girly men with his V-neck t-shirt, cool shorts and flip flops.  Now that I look back at it, there isn’t one character who I liked in this movie.


A Little Help kind of reminds me of a small ugly animal, like Sam the Chinese Crested Dog, which you know you’re supposed to hate but it’s just so ugly and fun to insult so you’re forced to love it for its flaws.  I could spend the whole night making comments about how bad every aspect of the movie is; it’s just so much fun to complain about.  Of course most people don’t go to movies to insult them so this may not be the best film to see in theaters with those overly serious and deep Indy types or art aficionados but then again I don’t think they’d enjoy the film as much as the people with a personality would.  If you do decide to watch this film, be sure to bring a friend who will actually enjoy being a jerk while you watch instead of sitting there with a dumb beret, miserably trying to figure out some deep meaning to the movie.




The Tree



Directed by: Julie Bertuccelli

Written by:  Judy Pascoe, Julie Bertuccelli, Elizabeth J Mars

Produced by:  Sue Taylor, Yael Fogiel

Starring:  Charlotte Gainsbourg, Morgana Davies. Marton Csokas

Run Time: 100 minutes


The Tree is like going to a friend’s house where the only entertainment is their toddler playing with Legos.  The box that shows what’s supposed to be built, maybe a car or robot, looks like it could be interesting but as you watch the child build, all that’s there is a square which doesn’t resemble anything close to what it could be.  The toddler throws away the head of all the interesting characters minutes after opening the box just like the film does where all the characters (two of them) with a personality are tossed aside.  The Tree is entertaining for the first few moments while you try to figure out what could possibly happen but in the end nothing is created.  The Tree can be described in three words: “Waste of time.”


Most people would think that a movie about a woman who loses her husband would be a film about self discovery and healing her broken family but there’s nothing remotely resembling that in the movie.  Instead, The Tree feels more like an episode of The Family Guy where random events happen but they aren’t really funny.  Instead of a plot there’s just moments which are supposed to give the viewer some sense of a story.  Due to the lack of plot and story the viewer is left with little or no emotional investment in the characters which is a huge problem if the viewer is looking for a memorable film.


The story itself is supposed to be about how the main characters husband dies (you may notice that I’m not using the characters name.  This is done because she’s so bland that you forget it anyways) and his spirit comes back to live in a tree.  The husband, whatever his name is, (who could have been an interesting character if he didn’t die at the beginning) was perfect in every way.  He was handsome, took care of the family and the best lover on earth as we learn in a pointless conversation right after he dies.  All of his good traits must have died with him because the tree that his spirit inhabits just causes problems throughout the film and at one point even falls through the bedroom of his forgettable wife after she connects with another man.  Of course a guy as great as him wouldn’t want his family to move on or find happiness, he wants to cling to their misery and ruin their lives.  The whole concept is just plain stupid and worst of all, doesn’t make sense when you take into account how perfect the husband’s character is supposed to be.


Even the photography and imagery only enhances the blandness of the movie.  The color tone of the movie is dull and there’s little of no color in the film which doesn’t make it enjoyable to look at.  There are some parts of the move where the director puts in some imagery which just looks horribly cliché.   The biggest example of the imagery is the wilted flowers on a nightstand of the woman’s bed when she’s depressed.  The only image that does stick in one’s mind is how many teeth the main character has in her goofy smile and that’s something nature did, not the director.


The saving grace for The Tree is that the actors all do an excellent job in their roles which makes the movie watchable instead of complete garbage.  As unmemorable as the characters are, they’re not badly acted so it’s difficult to hate the film for all of its flaws.  Given the story, even an Oscar winning actor couldn’t make this film worth watching so look for the two main actresses in other films which may actually make use of their ability in a noticeable way.


The Tree isn’t really worth watching unless you have absolutely nothing better to do.  It’s the kind of a movie that you’d watch if the dvd was there and you need some background noise while you figure something else out to do.  Personally my advice to you is, if you must watch this movie, wait for the film to come out on dvd then watch the first 10 minutes to get the basic plot.  After you’ve grasped the basic idea, fast forward to halfway through the movie and watch it again for another 10 minutes so you’ve caught up on the story.  Finally fast forward to the last 10 minutes of the movie so you can see the ending.  Watching the movie this way may sound like you’re going to miss a lot but the plot you come up with for yourself as you put the pieces together will be much more interesting and rewarding than the movie could ever be.  If there was any justice in the world, The Tree would be shipped out to the slums of India where it would be at home with all of the other things that no one cares about.



Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Directed by: Wai-keung Lau

Written by: Gordon Chan

Produced by: Gordon Chan, Wai-keung Lau

Starring:  Donnie Yen, Chen Zhen, Qi Shu, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Yasuaki Kurata

Language:  Cantonese with English subtitles

Run Time: 105 minutes


In what seems to be extremely common in action movies coming out of China, Donnie Yen returns to fight off the….. wait for it….. the evil Japanese in the loosely based historical action movie Legend of the Fist:  The Return of Chen Zhen.  The Return of Chen Zhen takes place in the period after World War 1 when the British and Japanese are exerting their influence over the Chinese mainland.  Supposedly dead, Chen Zhen returns to Shanghai, under an alias of a fallen soldier he had served with during the war to help protect his country from the evil foreign forces.  The plot sounds bland because, well, there’s nothing original about it.  All of the Blockbusters to come out of Communist China need to be approved by the government and are just a rehashed version of the same propaganda over and over again.


Perhaps my favorite aspect of the movie is the glamorous set design of the Jazz/Swing club that the most of the movie takes a place in but there’re other good things as well.  The acting is done well, the way the characters look and of course the intense action scenes that Yen is famous for.  The viewer can even get into Yens horrific fake moustache and laugh about how no one can pull off the leather super hero outfit that he wears(after finding it prominently displayed in a store window).


The plot of Legend of the Fist would have so much more potential if it just had a new villain and offered some original aspects in the story itself.  It seems as though directors have a virtual checklist of events that have to happen in every new kung fu movie.  Evil Japanese characters?  Check.  Innocent masses?  Check.  Evil Characters shut down local newspaper or kill off intellectuals?  Check.  This plot would be forgivable if it had been told maybe once or twice but not the multitude of times that it’s been done in the last year or two.  Some movies with similar plots are Yip Man, Yip Man 2(both of these star Yen and are simply amazing), Bodyguards and Assassins, Fearless and Shaolin.


The story is good, the action scenes are everything we’ve come to expect from Donnie Yen but the main problem is the lack of an innovative story.  We all like a superhero but it’s the villain that makes the hero important and China needs another villain besides the Japanese or the British.  Legend of the Fist is a good kung fu/action movie for people who aren’t kung fu fans or aren’t familiar with the age old story of the oppressive Japanese and British.  Yes Japan and Europe did horrible things to the Chinese but that’s no excuse to make virtually every martial arts movie about that.  It’s gotten to the point where fans of the genera can’t do one of the things we like doing which is having a kung fu movie marathon with the newer blockbuster movies that have come out of china.  Honestly if you want a kung fu movie that does most of these things better you’d be better off watching Yip Man on Netflix.  Legend of the Fist is absolutely worth the watch if you’re a Donnie Yen fan or just want to have a random night out with friends watching action movies but if you’re an avid fan of kung fu movies Legend of the Fist is just more of the same with some pretty bells and whistles.




Directed by: Takeshi Kitano(Beat Takeshi)

Written by: Takeshi Kitano

Produced by: Masayuki Mori, Takio Yoshida

Starring:  Takeshi Kitano, Kippei Shiina, Ryo Kase, Tomokazu Miura, Jun Kunimura,  Tetta Sugimoto, Takashi Tsukamoto

Language:  Japanese with English subtitles

Run Time: 109 minutes


Finally Beat Takeshi has returned, much to the excitement of his fans, to the dark and shadowy world of the Yakuza in his latest film Outrage.  This isn’t your typical Yakuza film where the characters are disciplined, classy and somewhat respectable; instead, Outrage is a louder movie where the characters lack all subtlety, are cold and embrace their inner asshole (the way Takeshi says asshole is one of his trademarks).  Outrage experiments with a different sort of style where there isn’t a single protagonist but a group of villains selfishly misleading each other in order take control of the wealth that organized crime has offer.


Outrage does a lot of things well, such as the photography or some of the creativity in the way the characters are killed, but does some things extremely badly.  For instance, there doesn’t seem to be a coherent plot due to the fact that there is no main character.   At some points it seems like more of a soap opera geared towards men where one sneaky man pulls the strings of other characters much in the same way a cunning woman character would; using a manly version of that he said she said type of manipulation.


Now that the main problem with the movie is covered we can get into all of the good parts like the violence.  Everybody knows that gangsters are supposed to be extremely ruthless and the characters reflect that as they act more like psychopaths without remorse than productive members of society.  The lack of human decency leads to some very innovative ways for the characters to maim and kill each other.  Some of the action is cold, some of it makes you cringe, and some of it leaves appreciating the ability of Takeshi to do hurt people in creative ways.


The acting is superb and there’re a lot of familiar faces in the cast.  Jun Kunimura has appeared in close to 100 films and TV shows including Kill Bill vol 1, Ichi the Killer and Audition.  Musase is played by Renji Ishibashi who also had a role in Audition, Dead or Alive and over 200 other roles.  When listing actors in the film, you can’t forget to mention Beat Takeshi who’s stared and directed in many of his own films and television shows.  In fact all of the actors have quite a long resume which isn’t surprising since all of the characters are fun to watch, especially some of their facial expressions.


Outrage is a hit or miss film, it’s a hit if you like Japanese gangsters and gratuitous violence but a miss if you want a movie with a deep plot and likeable characters.  Sometimes it’s best to sit back and enjoy the show and that’s exactly what Outrage is good for.  It’s violent, silly, has big stars and there’s no excuse for Takeshi fans to miss it.



13 Assassins


13 Assassins

Directed by: Takashi Miike

Written by: Kaneo Ikegami (based on a screenplay by), Daisuke Tengan (screenplay)

Produced by: Minami Ichikawa, Tôichirô Shiraishi, Michihiko Yanagisawa

Starring: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Gorô Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, Mikijiro Hira

Language:  Japanese with English subtitles

Run Time: 141 minutes


Director Takashi Miike (Audition, One Missed Call) explains, “Sword-fighting scenes are about LOVE. Without brotherly love, we could not shoot such violent sword-fighting scenes.”  If violence represents love than 13 Assassins is one of the most romantic and loving films made in the last few years; a chick flick if you will, filled with not only blood but with strong male characters, intelligent dialog and ruthless antagonist.   Well, maybe 13 Assassins isn’t really a movie about romance and lacks all of those warm, friendly moments that make up most modern day action movies but is that really a bad thing?   Picture this: a handsome rebel who does some sort of dangerous work meets a beautiful woman in need.  Sound familiar?  That’s the plot to almost every action movie that’s been released in the last few years and it’s exactly the opposite of what we see in 13 Assassins.


13 Assassins chronicles a suicide mission where a small group of samurai plot to kill a corrupt, brutal member of Japans ruling class who is in line to become the next Shogun.  While the basic idea sounds simple, it’s the execution that makes the movie shine.  The main characters, good and evil, have deep philosophical ideals behind their actions which are rooted deeply with what it means to be a samurai.  13 Assassins showcases a mix of drama, subtle conflict, and of course, extreme violence much in the same ways that have characterized Miike’s previous films.


Almost everything about the film’s production is done well aside from a few aspects with bad cgi effects and a few over the top visuals.    The sets are beautiful and authentic with a great deal of attention to detail.  The music enhances and meshes with the story as do most of the sound effects.  While most of the cinematic details are brilliant there are still some flaws, such as extreme close ups during battle scenes which throw the viewer off a bit(since that usually means the actors can’t really do the more intense action scenes) but all of that can be forgiven when the sheer volume of work that went into the choreography.


13 Assassins fills the void left behind by the swarms of those cookie cutter action movies that are produced by untalented Hollywood writers.  America needs is a different kind of action movie, one that’s raw, dark, where the characters aren’t handsome charming womanizers but actually have depth and believe in something.  In the end 13 Assassins is a brilliant action film but be warned, the action scenes are extremely long so if you’re not into action than it may be best to skip this film.  This movie is a must for fans of Miike’s work, fans of samurai movies and people who are tired of watching common stylized action films.  13 Assassins is indeed an action movie made with love; the love of the actors, directors, producers and everyone else involved in the production of the movie.  13 Assassins will be part of the San Francisco International Film Festival so be sure to take the chance to see it on a big screen.



Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Jean-Michel Basquait:  The Radiant Child

Directed by: Tamra Davis

Produced by: David Koh, Lilly Bright, Stanley Buchthal, Alexis Spraic

Run Time: 88 Min

I’ll be honest with you; I think most modern art is pure rubbish. The last time I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was with my mom for her birthday to see a Yoko Ono exhibit. As I explored the museum, I found 3 blank canvases, a painting with some squiggly lines that you would see in a day care and a toilet in a glass maze which were all being debated by young people wearing sweaters that their grandparents gave them. Needless to say, I left the museum annoyed that I had wasted a day supporting talentless hacks and at the same time been forced to endure the sounds of people debating the social value of the “masterpieces” I had just seen. It didn’t take much time for me to realize the popularity of modern art, like the taste of wine(check out the studies showing how people think wine that costs more tastes better), is more subject to reputation and hype than it is actual talent. Why do I start off a review telling you about my opinion of modern art? I’m telling you because Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is a journey into the modern art community and basically reinforces whatever you already thought about modern art. If you’re an avid art buff you’ll think the film is touching and if you’re like me, it’ll solidify your predisposition that artists and art critics are complete snobby asses.

Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child chronicles the rise and fall of Jean Basquiat starting from the time he left home in search of fame. The backbone of the film is a rare interview of Basquiat that his friend and director of the film Tamra Davis shot of him at the height of his career over 20 years ago. The movie is also packed with interviews with his friends and colleagues who either dated, worked or sold his art. The documentary itself feels more like tribute to the too short life of troubled Basquiat who some consider “the most influential artist of his generation.”

Tamra Davis has been directing movies for years and her experience shows with how well the documentary is produced and directed. Even though I’m not a fan of the artist, I am a fan of how the movie was structured. The music that played throughout the film fits perfectly and though I wasn’t wearing a beret was able to thoroughly enjoy it. The movie mixed archived footage with recent interviews seamlessly giving the film a terrific flow which kept it entertaining throughout its duration.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the film is unsaid commentary of how fame and wealth effects people and their relationships. Basquiat seemed to be more stable in the beginning of the movie, when he was a young struggling artist, than he was after he achieved his goal of being famous which is something we see with celebrities in general. It’s an all too common tragedy when people achieve their dream but forget those little things that make life worth living, namely friends, family and what inspired them dream in the first place.

Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child does everything well, the story is seamless, the editing is superb and it’s a perfect film for those people who appreciate modern art. My only complaints about the movie are personal ones derived from my intense dislike of the subject matter and my own personal opinion of the modern art culture. This movie did absolutely nothing to make me question or change my opinion but, since it’s more of a tribute to the artist, it doesn’t have to. Again, I’ll be honest with you; while the subject isn’t for me, it still makes for a very good watch and is perfect for just about anyone who likes modern art or documentaries in general.


The Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

The Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Directed by: Jessica Oreck
Written by: Jessica Oreck
Produced by: Jessica Oreck (Myriapod Productions)
Run Time: 90 Min
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles

For thousands of years, mankind has been examining nature as a way to learn more about our self, our purpose and our destiny. The idea that everything in the world is somehow connected has inspired generations of Japanese philosophers, rulers and religious figures who look for answers in their quest to for the universal truths of mankind’s existence by looking at some of the smallest creatures on the planet: insects. The Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, even though it sounds like a B-Movie, examines Japanese culture and their fascination with insects, from the roles that these strange creatures have played in their ancient philosophies, to becoming modern day pets or collectors items.

The documentary primarily follows a bug catcher and several children, combining them with spectacular photography of Japan’s natural beauty as it tells the story of the insects influence throughout history. At the same time, the movie isn’t just about bugs or all of the deep philosophies passed down through the ages; it’s also about instilling the same sense of wonder and appreciation of nature that we all felt the first time we stumbled across a giant beetle on a hike or in our backyard. Even the tone of the movie is everything you’d expect out of eastern philosophy writings where calmness and being connected to the world around you almost makes the viewer forget the westernized world we live in.

The movie would be perfect except for that it might be difficult for some young children get into because they wouldn’t be able to read all of the subtitles. Luckily this flaw will be solved soon with the educational version of the film due to be released in the late summer complete with an English script. The $365 price tag of the educational version will however make it unobtainable for most people and is geared towards schools. Hopefully a more consumer friendly version of the film makes its way out so a younger audience or just those people who hate subtitles can enjoy it along with everyone else.

What else can I say besides I love this documentary? I know that not everybody likes bugs but I can’t picture a single person (even those squeamish people that hate spiders) who wouldn’t think some of the insects in this movie aren’t interesting. This movie is an awesome watch for anyone curious about exploring other cultures but I liked it for a completely different reason; it made me forget all of those things I don’t want to deal with in my everyday life. After a long day at work or just a day of watching the news, who wouldn’t want to leave all of that behind and go to a simpler place and escape for an hour or two? Now that I think about it, after watching this movie, I want to go outside with a net and see what kinds of weird bugs I can find. I hear you can make a good living selling them In Japan




Directed by: György Pálfi

Written by: György Pálfi , Zsófia Ruttkay, based on short stories by Lajos Parti Nagy

Produced by: Emilie Georges, Gabriele Kranzelbinder, Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu

Starring: Csaba Czene, Gergely Trócsányi, Marc Bischoff, István Gyuricza, Piroska Molnár, Gábor Máté, Géza Hegedüs, Zoltán Koppány

Running Time: 91 min

Language: Hungarian, English Subtitles

The story of three generations of men, over two centuries, filled with oddities and cringe worthy moments is the only way to describe Taxidermia. This movie isn’t for the faint of heart nor is it for the typical foreign movie connoisseur. All the way from the beginning to the end, the viewer is taken through completely unique stories, each, leaving the viewer either traumatized, questioning who could possibly write a movie like this and where they got their inspiration. Taxidermia is the perfect movie for horror fans or for someone who craves a deranged story with a copious amount of gore and disturbing imagery.

The film takes place throughout three different generations and the settings reflect everything from a small Hungarian slum, decayed by years of neglect, to an old European sports ring, complete with everything one would picture from the communist era and finally the shops and markets modern society. The cinematography itself is beautiful and artfully done though the environments are visually unpleasant and strange which gives the viewer the best of both worlds. As dark as the settings are, there’s always a strange beauty brought out by contrasting colors, camera angles and special effects.

Just like the masterful use when it comes to settings and photography, the gritty and gory parts of the movie are just as brilliant. Taxidermia constantly and graphically depicts gore and bodily fluids in ways that haven’t been done in movies before. The slicing of flesh uses real meat, real (I think) inner organs, real vomit and other fluids which leave the viewer as disgusted as they’d be in real life if they’ve seen anything similar. The movie could never be made in the United States as it would violate numerous health codes not to mention the protests that PETA would bring for a scene where an animal is slaughtered. The imagery quite possibly makes the movie too extreme and graphic for the majority of people, let alone anyone under eighteen.

As if the imagery wasn’t enough, each characters story is extremely twisted and depressing. The grandfather works at a military outpost, where he lives in a small shack and is assigned menial jobs all while having deranged sexual fantasies. His son, a morbidly obese competitive eater, yearns to be with the one woman he loves. Finally we have the grandson, who runs a taxidermy shop and takes care of his father, who is too fat to move, and his giant cats. The generations of strange characters provide the viewer with an interesting story different from any that they’ve seen before.

If you’ve been having trouble finding a movie with a unique plot, strange characters, a mix of beautiful and horrific imagery, Taxidermia is for you. This movie proves that women producers can make a movie just as vile and gory as their male counterparts and that’s definitely a good thing for any fan of the horror genera. While the movie is way too much for most viewers, if you can bring yourself to endure the gritty stuff you’ll be treated to an entertaining and unique movie that isn’t common in a world of movie rip-offs and remakes. Taxidermia is absolutely worth a watch if you’re a fan of the horror, gory or off the wall movies.


Brooklyn's Finest

Brooklyn's Finest

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Written by: Michael C. Martin

Produced by: Elie Cohn, Basil Iwanyk, John Langley, Avi Lerner, John Thompson

Starring: Richard Gere. Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes

Run Time: 132 Min

The best way to accurately describe Brooklyn’s Finest is every bad cop movie rolled into one film, with all of the personality, intrigue, comedy and likable characters sucked out of it. Brooklyn’s Finest offers nothing but stereotypical characters, bad dialog and a story that’s so predictable that the ending wouldn’t catch a 5 year old off guard. Now some people would describe this story as a tragedy but in all of those memorable stories and plays there’re actually characters that the viewers like. When you make a movie it’s important to remember that in every story you need to have a protagonist that the audience can identify with but that basic fact was forgotten by the writer Michael C. Martin. You’d think that since this really is a story about 3 police officers, that at least one aspect of the story characters would be interesting but Brooklyn’s Finest strikes out each time.

The story starts out with Sal, the bad cop, talking to a man who explains the “righter and wronger” reasons why people do the bad things (which may be the plot of the whole movie). The writer of this movie would like you to believe that Sal is a good guy who’s in a bad position in order to justify his actions but that doesn’t really stick. The problem with Sal is that he’s just a dumbed down version of an interesting character. His whole story revolves around his poor family that lives in a house with wood mold in the walls which endangers their health. Sal already has 2 children and has twins on the way because he isn’t smart enough to use birth control when he already can’t support the kids he has. Since a police officer can’t make money by taking side jobs or working overtime; the only solution to Sal’s problems is for him to rob drug dealers and to buy a new house with the fruits of his labor.

Things to look for in Sal’s story:

His confessional, he talks to a priest about how he needs help from god.

The lamest poker game scene in a movie ever made.

Next we’re introduced to Tango, the undercover cop who’s in way over his head. Tango is the closest we have to a likeable character but he still falls short in that department. After a short stay in prison, where he gains street cred, Tango’s back on the street tasked with infiltrating the cities inner city gangs posing as a drug trafficker. The stress of working undercover starts to effect his view of the world and his job to the point where he’s worried he’ll become a criminal himself. His boss gives him a deal where he can get off the street but he has to get evidence about a man who saved his life while he was in prison, leaving him struggling between loyalty and his desire to leave the undercover life behind.

Things to look for in Tango’s Story:

He’s in too deep maaaannnnnn.

The shady FBI woman.

His friend dies as a result of their drug dealing.

His supervisor gives him a “This is what you wanted” speech.

As if two lackluster characters weren’t enough, enter Eddie, the 22 year police veteran who’s about to retire in 7 days. Eddie is quite possibly the most useless and uninteresting cop character ever created. His own boss tells him that he’s basically a failure and Eddie only proves that to the viewer throughout the whole movie. In his first scene, Eddie wakes up and puts his revolver in his mouth but the gun doesn’t go off as he slowly pulls the trigger back(later we learn that he doesn’t keep his gun loaded). How lame is that? Why would anyone care about a boring, unmotivated depressed police officer who isn’t even man enough to shoot himself? It’s pathetic. You might be thinking to yourself that since he’s suicidal, he’s going to end up proving himself in some blaze of glory that will make up for having to watch him for 2 hours but, even in his shining moment at the climax of the movie he proves himself to be quite frankly, worthless and unexciting. Maybe the audience is supposed to be moved by his staring into space and walking away from conflict. Eddie is one character whose role would be better left in a garbage can next to the writer’s desk.

Things to look for in Eddie’s story:

The stupid look on his face which makes him look like he’s constantly in deep thought but we all know he’s completely useless.

He’s assigned to teach a rookie cop the basics of the job but the rookie course messes something important up like all rookies do.

His only love is from a hooker who doesn’t even want him.

He can’t even kill himself.

The presentation of this whole movie is horrifically bad. Throughout the entire movie there’s always some dramatic music playing which is meant to emphasize the internal conflict that the characters are supposed to have. If you can get past the music, you’ll have to deal with the story itself which is full of holes and defies logic. Even if by some strange miracle you can stand the story, the characters come to your aid and quickly ruin anything that’s likeable left in the movie. Just for a bit of overkill, if you try look past all of the flaws with the music, the main characters and the bad story the writer has an ace up his sleeve: all the supporting actors who are all rip offs of characters in better movies.

Brooklyn’s Finest is the worst cop movie I’ve ever seen. There’s absolutely nothing original or interesting about the characters and while the writers should be sued for plagiarizing every aspect of the story from better movies, they even manage to ruin the stereotypes we’ve grown to love over the years. Even the ending to the movie was disappointing. Why this movie is getting a 7.4 rating with 3353 votes on IMDB mystifies me. We all know how the movie ends, all the characters end up in the same place at the same time. If you want to watch a cop movie you’d be safer going on Netflix and renting Lethal Weapon, where the suicidal cop does something exciting, or Dirty Harry instead of a two hour long bore fest like Brooklyn’s Finest.