Reviews

Martin Scorsese frightens me.  I can’t help it.  Anyone this obsessed about movies and moviemaking has to be a really frightening guy.  And being so good at it, well that’s just not human.  Either he’s a robot sent from a scary future to entertain us or he’s one really obsessive-compulsive guy bent on making sure he earns our hard-wrought dough.  I’m betting on the latter.

Okay, I don't do this very often in this column but here ya go: go see Crank, the furiously fast-paced action film by writers-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, released through Lionsgate films.  It's one of those movies for people who love seeing movies because they love movies, not just because it's based upon a comic book property, the hottest actor/actress, or yet another remake of a thirty-year old flick.  Crank is 87 minutes long, it's rated R for excellent reasons, and if you see one movie in the next few months, make it this one, even twice.

path911I don't usually review T.V. mini-series and with good reason: they're not good.  They may be great at selling advertising but on the entertainment spectrum they rate somewhere just above a Billy Mays infomercial ("and the oil just disappears!!") and just below any movie starring Rutger Hauer.  And, bear in mind, I like Rutger Hauer movies.

But in this case I'll make an exception.  I have purposely steered clear of the hype, spin, and ridiculous framing of this "television event" in order to give you my unbiased opinion.  As someone who has actually read the "9/11 Commission Report" (okay, some of it) as well as one who loves a good movie, I found the treatment fair, essentially accurate, and not a bad way in which to tell a tragic tale that desperately needs our understanding.

About as much as you could attempt to translate a complex narrative that spans cultures and decades into a 4 hour or so movie, I give director David Cunningham and writer Cyrus Nowrasteh ("The Day Reagan Was Shot") sizable kudos for their cojones grande.  It is no small accomplishment to make sense of the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks, and for making this understandable in the context of a made for T.V. movie, they deserve credit.  The result is a finished  dramatic storyline -- perhaps a testament to the scrutiny they knew they'd be under -- but not a "documentary" of the events in blow-by-blow format.  Thank you for that.

A woman and her daughter are forced to move into a really crummy dump and before you know it weird things start happening, most of them involving water.  Lots of water.  And more really rusty, crummy, dark and danky water.  There's water, water everywhere, and, presumably, even a ghost for no clear reason.  But you won't see that until just before the credits are ready to scroll.  Meanwhile, you get to watch mom (Jennifer Connelly) fritter away her days doing household chores, talking with her divorce lawyer (Tim Roth), and taking care of daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade) who goes to a really cool elementary school nearby.

Feel those chills down your spine?  Did I mention there's lots of water?

Being a creature of the VCR/DVD generation, I've never read an Elmore Leonard novel.  Not because I don't ever read anything, just because I don't tend to read things that get made into movies.  Generally I prefer to just wait for the movie itself and skip the 80,000 word lead-in, because once you translate into film it becomes its own entirely different experience.  So I can only imagine how disappointed Elmore Leonard readers are with Be Cool, especially since the author himself got an executive producer credit.

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