U Turn is Oliver Stone flick from 1997 starring Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez, along with intriguing Nick Nolte and Billy Bob Thornton. It was a moderate but not economical success at that time (over $6 million gross, budget $19 million), I guess everyone had high expectations after Natural Born Killers.
I think The Snow Walker is very underrated movie. Charles Martin Smith, the director of the movie doesn’t have particularly impressive roster (Dolphin Story, 2011) and he’s known more for being actor on shows like Fringe, Ally McBeal, Law&Order and plenty more, going way back to 70s. So it was very pleasant surprise to watch engaging film.
The story is about pilot Charlie Halliday played by Barry Pepper who crashes in the midst of canadian tundra. Aboard the plane is young “eskimo” (not sure about the term) Kanalaaq who possesses survival skills for making it through the barren landscape. They both struggle to make it back to civilization with limited food supplies and shelter.
The camera is great, DP Todd Elyzen does a great job at capturing different shades of canadian land. It is almost like nature documentary considering some of the shots. The script is professionally done with no filler stuff, I’m glad the way they handled the ending – less is more sometimes.
You can get The Snow Walker on DVD for $7.93. Trailer below:
Ben Stiller’s first delve into feature film directing is this blast from the past. It stars Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder, Steve Zahn, Janeane Garofalo and Stiller Himself. It’s got great 90s vibe with references to “golden-era” MTV or Dawson’s Creek-like hair styling of Ethan Hawke. The film is somewhat perplexed to describe in terms of target audience. It feels like teen soap most of the time with occasional twists that resemble serious romance dramas. It’s nowhere close to the simple complexity of Dazed and Confused (1993) but keeps away from bodily fluid jokes typical for late 90s/early 2000s teen flicks.
Winona Ryder is great actress, somewhat forgotten – she’s really good at portraying torn-apart person. You could basically sum up the storyline into the Lelaina’s (Ryder) choice of partners. Is she gonna end up with yuppie Michael or Troy the rebel? If you’re nostalgic about 90s as well as I am, you should watch it.
Another month closing on us soon and that means another cash give-away! This month we’ve seen two new members taking their chance – welcome Riddler and Axiomsynch. They both earned only one point but who knows what the next month is going to be, we might hear of them in the future. Speaking of next month – I’m leaving to Indonesia for vacation but don’t worry, I’ll still run the site remotely so nothing will change for you.
So far, Jimmy is in the lead (no surprise there) with 8 points so far which puts Riddler and Axiomsynch on second places. You can still earn points for past screenshots listed here:
This means that anyone who gets these can earn up to 9 points! So new members, you can still outrun Jimmy by guessing all of these and you could get those $25. And if not, you’ll still be receiving small prizes anyway.
Carl Sagan is one of the coolest scientists out there (or was, RIP). His documentary TV series Cosmos (video in link) is unforgettable and still great still today. He also wrote novel called Contact just before he died. This novel (and script) was remade into movie of the same name in 1997. Contact as the title suggests, is about first communication between humans and extraterrestrials. Jodie Foster plays a role of obsessed scientist that is searching for a proof – with simple radio when she’s a kid (her kid counterpart played by beautiful Jena Malone), then in Arecibo observatory and New Mexico later. She indeed stumbles upon a strange signal which proves to be alien and carrying a very strange message.
I read the book too and the movie does a decent job of reflecting the important stuff. Contact isn’t really a sci-fi or about aliens, they don’t even show them here. It’s about cultural impact that the message from extraterrestrials have on earth inhabitants. Old beliefs crumble and people get insecure, this is how I exactly envision it. Some people refusing to accept it, other looking for answers in religion, it’s miracle they get to build “the machine” at all.
Contact is pretty hollywood-alized (it’s Robert Zemeckis) with romantic elements greatly exaggerated compared to the book but as I said, it’s faithful to the core idea and that is why I like it. As I mentioned before, good sci-fi always has a deeper message than just showing off technicalities or gimmicks. I just wish they’d explore the character of Hadden more as he’s really interesting in the book. But there’s only so much you can do with limited time of cinema.
This bust-out-of-prison flick is very enjoyable! I saw it when it came out in 2008 and I wasn’t disappointed till the end (not gonna spoil for those who haven’t seen it). It stars very talented Brian Cox (the best evil guy ever in that Bourne movie) as a reconciled inmate Frank Perry. The bad guy is no less talented Damian Lewis who I’ve been fan since I started to follow Homeland. Well his character has really sleazy twist here so he’s easy to loathe. Apart from great cast there’s some top-notch editing here with quick montages and the color grading sets the right tone.
For most of the part it was on-par with classics such as Escape From Alcatraz (1979) and mixed with modern-day TV like Prison Break. There is a lot of action, suspense and dying so you’re always reconsidering how’s it gonna play out. The reviews and ratings aren’t very favorable: Rotten Tomatoes 66% and IMDB 6.8. But I’d blame the ending which isn’t executed so nicely as the rest of the movie – the process and story development is however engaging although very genre specific. Still it’s a cool movie and I liked it. Buy it here for $13.17 on DVD.
Check the trailer:
I’d call this the best Guy Ritchie movie ever – yes even better than Fight Club. This one has great casting: Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones… and yeah Sting rears his ugly head there. I like this one because it’s not polished as Richie’s later films and the story is just hilarious, with funny situations piling up till the end. Plus there’s an abundance of quotes (There’s no money, there’s no weed. It’s all been replaced by a pile of corpses.) that are Trainspotting-like in nature and I remember bitd when I saw it that we quoted the s**t out of it with my friends. Get it here.
Adjustment Bureau’s story is inspired by Phillip K. Dick’s novel – like many other successful or unsuccessful hollywood flicks (Minority Report being the most obvious example). I dig PKD’s books so I was eager to check it out – however when the credits rolled in I felt a bit of disappointment. PKD’s novels are usually cynical and have wider perspective than just being simple sci-fi stories. They usually involve an allegory-like critique of society and the characters are greatly described. The movie was just too bland, mostly focused on the motivation of Matt Damon’s character – being in love with another chick. There are references here and there but the potential is wasted. If you’re not a fan of Dick’s books you might just as well enjoy it as a light sci-fi snack but if you are, it wouldn’t be an end of the world if you skipped this one.