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Posts Tagged ‘mickey rourke’

I’d wax eloquent about the joys of brevity, but it is as much an art form as a goat’s tonsil tethered to the business end of a woodwind instrument. I have merely realized that it takes a week or two for me to forget why I loved or loathed certain films. Hence, the frantic and discourteously blunt dialogue on various films, good, bad and those starring Abhishek Bachchan.

Thursday: Skip Woods is best known for writing brain-dead masala flicks (Swordfish, GI Joe). Before his inglorious pilgrimage towards questionable stardom, he wrote Thursday – a brutish white-knuckled urban thriller. Thomas Jane and Aaron Eckhart are glorious as main characters, Casey and Nick; one a drug dealer and general practitioner of chaos and the other well versed in both, but unwilling to participate. The cameos are so good that if it were up to me I would piss and moan in the parking lot until someone made full-length feature films with the Rasta assassin (Glenn Plummer), the skittish adoption agency executive (Michael Jeter) and the corrupt copper (Mickey Rourke) as lead protagonists.

Good Intentions: I enjoy small-town comedies about blackmailing, dysfunctional families and oddball sheriffs as much as the next blogger drunk on his/her own pathos of fashionable city life. Unfortunately, Jim Issa’s Good Intentions is so mediocre that if you squint one of your eyes you can actually see a silhouette of Tom Hanks in every second frame. The film has one good joke that it beats the crap out of until all the horses drop dead quicker than Luke Perry should actually retire from acting.

Hard Eight: Paul Thomas Anderson always gives us something different to play with every single time. How a single brain can conceive both Boogie Nights and Magnolia I’ll never understand. His debut Hard Eight a.k.a Sydney stars two of my favourite actors – John Reilly, Philip Baker Hall – has Samuel Jackson in his second best role ever and Philip Seymour Hoffman doing what he actually does best, play an ostensibly unlikable tub of lard. They share incredible chemistry too, feeding off each other’s intensity like real performers should. If only Hope Davis, Juliette Lewis or Chloe Sevigny were cast as Reilly’s love interest instead of Gwyneth Palthrow, I would have had a tough time explaining why salt-crusted tears sometimes leave a happy trail on my cheeks.

Raavan/ Raavanan: People treat Mani Ratnam’s films like chunks of yak cheese. They stick a piece in inside their cheeks and chew on it for hours, desperately looking for nuances to hate and love. I’d feel better comparing his films to the now defunct Cadbury’s Dollops chain of ice cream stores; never spent nights wondering how scrumptious their ice creams were; never really playfully tore the dead skin of my palm, thinking about all the wonderful new flavours that could be…sure, I enjoyed a scoop or a cone every now, but that’s because I generally liked ice cream. It didn’t really matter if it were Arun, Kwality or Dollops. The Tamizh version of Ravanan would have been worth a second watch if it weren’t for the lame cinematography/music that sounds/looks ripped off from some unfashionable first-person shooter Playstation game, and Aishwarya Rai. The Hindi version had Abhishek Bachchan…so uhmmm no thanks.

Next Stop Wonderland: Yes, this is a romantic comedy from Miramax Films, but no, it doesn’t suck at all. It’s probably one of most likable romantic films ever made. Director Brad Anderson is man of proven genius (Transsiberian, The Machinist, Session 9, Happy Accidents), but the spotlight from Next Stop Wonderland righteously gleams on the lead couple – Hope Davis and Alan Gelfant and ever so slightly on Seymour Hoffman, who is hilarious as a disgruntled hippie. The couple’s love story is in fact reminiscent of that film in which Amala and Mohan play star-crossed lovers who never get to see each other, with all the melodrama stifled and replaced instead with melancholy. The ending is just perfect even with nobody really dying or carrying the burden of such.


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Citizen Kane: Very few people I know disliked Citizen Kane. Even fewer could exactly tell me just what it is they liked about the film. Some only pretend to appreciate it because their movie geek friends would judge them if they didn’t. I have watched Citizen Kane a couple of times and I’m yet to find something even remotely justifying its apparent spot in the upper echelons of cinema.

Personally, I’d like to think that Citizen Kane is one of those films, which is dwarfed by the musings that followed its appreciation. So many people have written so splendidly about it that everyone else just assumes that it is perhaps the greatest film ever. And then there is the ‘oh but it was magnificently edited’ argument flaunted by others. If technical aspects of a film can propel it to greatness then by its logical application on the theories of music, Joe Satriani must be the greatest guitarist ever. In fact, Orson Welles’ so-called epic is a lot like the bald man’s music. Soulless, gutless, with minimal touch and only passable because of its obvious superiority in flaunting the finer nuances on the technicalities of art.

Well, I’m no filmmaker; as a voyeur, I prefer George Romero over Orson Welles any day of the week. Hell, I’d take Kirk Hammett over Satriani in my sleep…buuuut, that’s just me. As for the Rosebud mystery, I (and many others) think it is the name of the sled, which the protagonist rode as a child. Something to do with innocence fading away in the midst of ambition, I think.

Dam. There goes the space for my reviews on Donnie Darko, Kingpin and Mister Lonely.  Greatest film ever..hmpfff…my ass.

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All The Boys Love Mandy Lane: Now that’s how you make a slasher film. I really really enjoyed this film; mostly because it lacked any pretension of what it intended to do. Think clever, have fun. In fact, so coy Jonathan Levine’s All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is about its slasher status that it almost gives the entire story away every five minutes for the first thirty minutes. You’d be a fool not to identify the killer by the one-hour mark.

You can reconstruct the twin towers twice with the sheer number of times I have felt like a fool over the past two decades, but I must say this has been one of most rewarding. When details are finally revealed, I was as surprised as when Verbal Kent literally straightens his handicaps out and lights a cigarette in the final scene of Usual Suspects. In Mandy Lane, the director peppered the film with so many moments of genuine silence that I almost felt like swaying to the smell of blood that swallows the lives of six teenagers in a creepy farmhouse by the river. These distractions cleverly set me up for the climax as I wasn’t even sure if I completely understood the killer’s motive, by the time the end credits rolled. Having said that (because I just did), I’ll wager a fine sum to anyone who enjoys misfit cinema and who can stomach a bit of violence (some excruciating even) to actually give a shit about climax. No no no…that’s not how bad the climax is, that’s how friggin fantastic everything else is.

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Here’s the premise…so, all the boys in high school love Mandy Lane (a steely performance by Amber Heard) and she doesn’t. You may not be entirely sure if she could, but you are more than likely to believe that she doesn’t want to. Five other teenagers invite her to a farmhouse party and before they can fall in love, they fall down…dead. Mutilated and put through a great deal of suffering. Now, everyone…please watch more indie films.

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Bullet: I was disappointed that Tupac Shakur once again played a raving lunatic in front of the camera. Well, you might say it just was the way his character – Tank – was mapped out by the director, but the Pac enthusiast inside me wants to see the Machiavellian one act with subtlety; not just the maniacal vigour that could either put the fear of god on a ten-ton bull on crack or make it die laughing since crack kills a lot of people anyway. His music thrived on exploding in the faces of both fans and critics, which meant it sometimes crossed the line between silly machismo and the justifiable kind. As an MC, he had the talent to make us ignore it by rapping it out in a way only he could; as an actor, he just doesn’t. If indeed he is alive and partying with ODB and Ronnie Zant on some remote Island, I’d love for someone to sober him down and beg Michael Mann to redo Collateral with Pac instead of Jamie Foxx. There, I needed to get it off my chest.

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Coming back to Julien Temple’s Bullet, it is Mr Burns-excellent. One of lost classics of the Nineties, if you ask me (and since you did). And by classics, I mean – slightly demented, gritty urban dramas about how men go insane in the face of their preconceived disposition about life. Mickey Rourke has always been a fantastic actor…he just wasn’t nominated enough to be noticed until The Wrestler.

In Bullet, he plays the lead role – a fallen son, an erstwhile brother, a hardened criminal and a worthy nemesis who goes to war with local druglord Tank. His brothers – a painter (Adrien Brody) and a Vietnam vet gone horribly mad (Ted Levine) – deliver some of the best lines in the film with their troubled lives acting as silhouettes to Mickey Rourke’s unabashed callousness. Special mention to Ted Levine for the greatness; very few actors can convincingly go insane for our pleasure. He did it twice (he also played Buffalo Bill in Silence Of The Lambs).

Oooh and if Joker had not said, “Madness is like gravity, all you need is a little push” for the tenth time on my DVD player this year, I would have gladly nominated Bullet for having the most satisfying closing sentence ever in modern American cinema.

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Since the influx of new music is killing time, I have had to delay posting the weekend movie reviews. I have got three Werner Herzog films and a couple of others by Jim Jarmusch left to watch, so next Monday I would be posting the complete reviews of both DVD box sets.

Dead ManDead Man: Jim Jarmusch films are bitingly funny. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hires genetically jacked-up vampire bats to write dialogues for his films. People like Jarmusch and Wes Anderson are brilliant in the way they use humour to drive home a particularly gray point. Quite unlike the more theatrical mainstream comedies that rely on execution of humour rather than its actual content. There is more of an onus on making funny faces than actually saying something funny. Case in point, the American Pie series and the decade of retardation it spawned. However, in Dead Man, there is enough deadpan existential humour to tickle seven generations of Nietzsches. And it’s not one of those “you’ve got to be Kevin Smith to understand the one-liners” comedies either. For instance, take the storyline. Johnny Depp plays William Blake, an accountant on the run who ends up meeting Nobody, a large and morose Red Indian in a desolate industrialized small town. After a brief discussion between the two, they decide to kill as many white people as they possibly can; there’s also Lance Henriksen who plays a cannibalistic bounty hunter out to get them by any means necessary. You might wonder, what in the blue hell is this shit? But I assure you…everything works really well.

The William Blake references, the black and white cinematography, Neil Young’s original compositions, Henriksen’s game face, John Hurt’s accent, Iggy Pop’s cross-dressing…gasp, yes…everything.

Spun_posterSpun: Jonas Akerlund’s Spun is a cocktail of few druggie films of the past two decades. Take half a cup of Trainspotting, add a large dose of Requiem For A Dream, squeeze a few drops from Go and throw in a few pieces of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, as well. But the thing is Spun is way more fun (not necessarily better) than any of them. I guess you can thank Renita Whited, the casting director, for that. The energy and exuberance that the Spun’s cast showcase seem so infectious that you almost get the impression that a strange concoction of mashed ecstasy pills and cough syrup was passed around during the shooting of this film. Jason Schwartzman, Mena Suvari, Brittany Murphy and John Leguizamo – all of them do a fantastic job of playing meth-heads looking for a fix and quite possibly, an off-the-road path to serenity. Props to them for going beyond what we thought they were capable of.

One particular scene stands out as a testament to how gloriously fucked up and fun Spun can be. Watch out for the conversation that takes place inside the car between Ross (Schwartzman) and Nikki (Brittany) towards the end of the film. Such twisted fun! For the sake of NOT sounding like I’m gassed up on a few concoctions myself, I’m going to downplay the awesomeness that Mickey Rourke brings to Spun as Cook. A serious challenger to the Michael Madsen’s Cool Cat Of Cinema Award.

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Midnight Meat Train: Midnight Meat Train is one of the short stories in Clive Bakers’ Books of Blood, a collection of literary screams. I haven’t read the book yet so I’ll hold back personal biases about interpretations. For what it’s worth, director Ryuhei Kitamura’s film about a serial killer tearing through the heart of city metro subways leaves little to be desired. I say this because nobody should watch this, expecting the sort of subtle titillation that serial killer films such as Elements Of Crime, Cronicas and The Gray Man quietly stir up through visual metaphors and striking passages of dialogue. Watch this as you would those slow-burning, violent and strangely Lynchian Eighties movies.

Matter of fact, grab John Raffo’s Johnny Skidmarks and watch that first. You will have newfound respect for John Lithgow and Peter Gallagher. As for Midnight Meat Train, Vinnie Jones and Bradley Cooper are sort of alright but I’d say Jonathan Sela, the director of photography, should rightfully take most the credit. Who says gore can’t be stylish?

high_fidelity_1High Fidelity: Nick Hornby’s book is better. Much much better. And Catherine Zeta-Jones is as awful as always. With those clichés out of the way, let us focus on the positives. The music is friggin great. I mean, really really great… like one kickass garage mixtape. Featuring tracks by The 13th Floor Elevators, The Kinks, Velvet Underground, The Beta Band and Stereolab, High Fidelity’s OST is one of the finest of its kind. Oh and Tim Robbins is really funny with his character’s “so hip I’m square” douchebaggery. Wellllll…uhmmmm…uh huh…so much for the positives. Many have opined that the film had a brilliant cast and while the jury is still out on that, I must say that it sort of felt like the actors and actresses were sleepwalking their way through this film. Catherine Zeta-Jones continues to amaze us with her impersonation skills. Once again she plays a role of a woman who thinks she can act. Jack Black plays an over-excitable Pomeranian. Both John and Joan Cusack are wasted yet again (see Grosse Point Blank to see just how good they can be). The mediocrity of observation has started to hurt, so read more about the storyline here.

P.S: Mickey Rourke’s character Cook has been given a lifetime ban in three countries for the sheer amount of awesomeness he exudes every two seconds

P.S.S: Da Bear has reviewed one of my favourite independent American films – Shane Caruth’s Primer. Read it here.

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max_moonI have been a fan of pro wrestling for as long as 15 years. It started off innocently enough with this character on World Wrestling Federation called Max Moon -supposedly a warrior from the future who wore this spiffy spaceman suit and made it clear that he really liked doing cartwheels and somersaults. It was silly gimmick and we, as silly fans, lapped it up. See…I thought this shit was real. Obviously, I didn’t know that pro wrestling was a multi-billion dollar empire that earned its moolah from merchandise sales and four hours of scripted programming.

The obsession began when I was introduced to the local store Ric Video’s vault of classic tapes of Bret Hart – a wrestler who wore pink tights, a black jacket with frills and ridiculously retro sunglasses, which he often passed on to some kid in the crowd as a gesture of goodwill. But he seemingly could wrestle circles around evil psychopaths in scary costumes who desperately wanted the gold belt he wore around his waist. I tell you, if only I had the acumen for iconoclasm then, I would have probably built a shrine in Hart’s honour. By then I also understood that this was scripted sports entertainment and nothing more…but it never bothered me.

hitman-dvd_pic6Mos of my admiration for Bret Hart’s stemmed from his ability to beat the shit out of his opponent’s leg and then lock it in a neat submission move. Years passed and so did my fascination, hatred and indifference for many wrestlers…and it still never bothered me. Back then, even a good film couldn’t make me feel any particular emotion towards its character as frequently as wrestling did with its characters and athletes. Even now, I would prefer watching a good storyline in wrestling culminating over time into a bloody mano-to-mano battle rather than watching a film’s protagonist defy the odds, gravity, theology, the Germans, physics and pretty much everything else in order to beat the baddie and hook up with the heroine.

img1Now I get my fix mostly from AJPW, BattlARTS, ROH, K1, European mat wrestling and mixed martial arts where sweaty, pissed-off, super gnarly bastards look to rip the limbs off their opponents or at least knock them, as the French might say, le fuck out. It might not be entertaining to those who pretend to be non-masochistic (everyone’s a masochist, goddamit), but for us, bloodthirsty hooligans looking for cheap thrills in ligaments being torn and skulls being knocked out silly enough to put tails on them and call them monkeys (Black Adder rip-off #2), this probably is the purest form of athletic entertainment. Watch this to understand the theatre of Japanese wrestling.

wrestler-aronofsky-promo-05And that’s 444 words of build-up just for me to say that I am not ready to review The Wrestler yet. Rather I don’t want to fully review it. I watched it a week ago and well, so far – film of the year. I might even go as far enough to say that it was better than The Dark Knight. A few of the epiphanies I had while watching this film still send glorious shivers down my spine. The nicest one I could think of centered around how only physical pain gave Rourke’s character a reason to live and possibly, to find love. But I am going to go with what William Macy’s character said in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia.

I have got so much love to give, but I just don’t know where to put it

So tremendously unpretentious that you almost want to call up Mickey Rourke right away and tell him that it’s all going to be ok.

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Sometimes the world rules…

Slumdog Millionaire: It’s fantastic that Danny Boyle teamed up with Vikas Swarup. It’s not often that a great novel gets to be made into good movie (yeah that went well…grrr  read here). I almost get a headache thinking about how much better Q & A is when compared to any Booker Prize-winning Indian novel.

Shoe-In: Cheers for George Bush-based flash games. Finally, sliced bread has stiff competition. I just hope Lebanon and Turkey don’t go to war over the shoe’s origins.

The Wrestler: Mickey Rourke’s stamp of approval for underground wrestling. Fake you too, soothsayers.

Trinket, Montane Trinket: A new species of snake has apparently been discovered near Goa. Added to that, a new forest has been discovered in the northern Mozambique region of southern Africa. Yippee…the world is having an abortion.

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Sometimes it chews on donkey balls…

Ghajini, It Seems: Apparently South India didn’t do enough damage to Memento. And kudos to that Bollywood guy who claims Ghajini is not a remake of Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece. He’s right, you know? It is not just a remake; it is a piss-poor, batshit crazy, self-defecating, puerile remake.

High School High: Congress has demanded that minority affairs minister Antulay should take his comment back regarding the death of Hemant Karkare. The minister apparently replied, “You take your comment back”, to which Congress said, “oh yeah…” thereby initiating a 2-hour staring contest.

Broadcast Media: With no specific natural disaster scheduled for next year and with Indian security being tightened up to avoid terrorist attacks, the media has now decided to make people paranoid about polio vaccination.

Popular Genes: A random study showed that teens become more popular if they carry the human gene linked to rule breaking, adding more steam to the theory that to rebel is to battle Attention Deficit Disorder.

Epiphany: Jeers to everyone in general for requiring a panel of experts to tell them “Indian and Pakistani journalists have been acting like nationalists instead of like journalists.” You could have dug up Helen Keller from her grave and asked her instead.

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There are millions of films that have been released over the past few decades that I really wanted to see but haven’t yet had the opportunity. By millions, I mean hundreds. So it’s going to be quite awhile before I start completely salivating at the prospect of new film releases. For now, I shall restrict the excitement levels to mild frothing.

Film: W

Director: Oliver Stone

Cast: Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss

Synopsis: Supposedly, it chronicles the series of incidents that led George W Bush to the bottom of the bottle and consequently into the limelight as the President.

Why I Care: I felt sympathetic towards a pedophile in Woodsman; I can’t wait to see if I even have an ounce of it for Dubya.

Film: House

Director: Robby Henson

Cast: Michael Madsen, Leslie Easterbrook, Allana Bale

Synopsis: Two stranded couples. Three expected survivors. One crazy-ass Alabama psycho.

Why I Care: In the trailer, the psycho claims to have “killed God after he let Him into his house”…verbal viral marketing? Nice.

Film: Synecdoche, New York

Director: Charlie Kaufman

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Synopsis: Hoffman plays a director neither at the apex of his career nor his marital life, who now embarks on his theatrical masterpiece – a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse.

Why I Care: Two reasons. Hoffman and Kaufman.

Film: The Wrestler

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Michael Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood

Synopsis: Supposedly, a tale of an independent wrestler rising up the ranks to face his nemesis.

Why I Care: Aronofsky’s return to Indie films, and Mickey playing a wrestler? I am going to end up watching this film at least six times.

Film: Saibogujiman Kwenchana (I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK)

Director: Chan-Wook Park

Cast: Su-Jeong Lim, Rain, Dal-Su Oh

Synopsis: IMDB says, “A girl who thinks she is a combat Cyborg checks into a mental hospital, where she encounters other psychotics,” and falls for a man who thinks he can steal people’s souls.”

Why I Care: Didn’t you read the synopsis? Also, Park is the twisted mind behind Oldboy and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.

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