Tuesday, May 17, 2011

127 Hours

3 1/2 STARS

Wow, wow, oh and did I forget.....WOW!

James Franco gives the performance of his career in this gut-wrenching true story from director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later). 127 Hours tells the true story of Aron Ralston, who in 2003 during a canyoneering trip in Utah, fell in a crevice and got his arm trapped by a boulder against the canyon wall.  He remained in that crevice for five days, sipping on what little water he had with him, suffering paranoia and intense hallucinations.  What made his story so compelling was on the fifth day, after many attempts to dislodge his arm, he purposely breaks it and proceeds to cut it off with a very dull utility knife he had with him.  With an amputated arm, he climbs out of the crevice and gets rescued.

Now, the movie is predictable.  I had read Ralston's story in National Geographic and watched his awesome interview with Tom Brokaw on Dateline so I already knew the plot of the film going into it.  For most of it, 127 Hours sort of drags along with filler.  But, when the shit hits the fan, Franco pulls out a set of acting balls bigger than that boulder that was pinning his arm.  His portrayal is intense, gritty, and awe-inspiring.  He even received a much deserved Oscar nomination for the role.  I do have to warn that the amputation scene is graphic and gave even me, someone who has witnessed two live autopsies, chills. There was even a time when I thought I was going to go numb.  There is never a moment when Franco doesn't make you feel what Ralston was feeling that day in 2003.  127 Hours will definitely make you feel as if you are between a rock and hard place.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Walking Dead (Season 1)


Finally, a fine horror television series that can only be called groundbreaking.
Finally, a horror television series with real actors that can damn well act and don't all look anorexic.
Finally, a horror television series with real dialogue.
Finally, a horror television series!

This show is developed by Frank Darabont, who works often with adapting Stephen King novels.  Darabont is writer/director of two of the finest movies ever put on film (which also happen to be Stephen King stories), The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. So, it is safe to say this show would have to be superb.

Honestly though, I had my reservations about this show before watching it.  I did not watch the actual season on television.  As with all other shows these days, in the time of everything being on DVD and Netflix, I wait until I can watch the entire season at once.  With what I read about the premise of the show, I thought about how Darabont could pull off an entire series with nothing but zombies.  It sounded a little too 28 Days Later to me.  I can tell you now is, he definitely pulled it off with some very talented writers and actors.

Now, I do not believe in giving too much of a great story away so I will keep the show's events to a minimum as much as possible.  The Walking Dead begins when Rick Grimes (played by British actor Andrew Lincoln), a sheriff's deputy in a small Georgia town, suffers a near fatal shooting and falls into a coma.  When he awakens in the hospital, Grimes finds the world has been turned inside out by a zombie apocalypse.  Grimes finds himself in the company of other survivors and it becomes a constant battle of survival for the group as they try to make their way away from the hordes of undead.

The first season is only six episodes long but, if you are like me and watch it on DVD for the first time, its like a very long movie.  Season two has been picked up by AMC and will begin on, as it did last year, Halloween with thirteen episodes this time and I am very ready.  I strongly urge everyone to watch the featurettes after watching the actual show.  There are some great Making of.... specials for every episode.  The work Darabont and everyone put into this show was nothing short of incredible.  I was in awe of the AMC network with what they let Darbont get away with in this show.  Every episode has what every horror fan loves, suspense, genuine creepiness, blood and gore.  The entire cast (many who appeared in several of Darabont's movies) work their asses off to make this a very character driven piece, whether they are covered in the blood and gore, or in one of the more emotional scenes.  Believe it or not, this show has its tender moments too.  I have yet to meet anyone who has not loved this show.  I think it will appeal to most all, whether you are alive or undead.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Friday, May 13, 2011



Upon first seeing the trailer for this film, I thought, Clint Eastwood directing. Matt Damon starring. Yes please!

This movie gets off to one of the most incredible starts I have seen in years.  So, of course after knowing who was behind the camera and in front and then that beginning which was so intense and visually stunning, I was intrigued and had high hopes.  Honestly, the rest of the movie sagged and just dragged on and on.

Hereafter centers on the subject of death and how it is affecting three people, a journalist from France, a young boy in England and a factory worker in the United States.  It begins with the French journalist Marie Lelay (Cecile de France) who, while on  vacation, experiences a monumental disaster.  That, as I mentioned earlier, being an amazing cinematic moment.  We are then introduced to American blue collar employee George Lonegan (Matt Damon) who at one time was a renowned psychic/medium and decides to walk away from his gift to speak to the dead.  London is where the viewer is introduced to twins Marcus and Jason.  Their junkie mother has to go away then a death occurs of course.

It is actually a shame I do not have much to say about this movie.  It is beautifully filmed with some very fine acting. There's just not much going for it.  There is an especially stand out performance by Cecile De France.  She brings much intensity to Marie Lelay that she is almost the center of the movie if it weren't for Matt Damon taking up the entire movie poster.  Damon couldn't really do much in his role since George Lonegan wasn't really much anyway.  But, seriously, how could he say no to a Clint Eastwood film.  I certainly never would.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.