items tagged with Mark L. Smith
Written By: Mike Schulz
As you may have heard, The Revenant – given its bloody violence, grisly survival tactics, and almost complete lack of levity – is strong medicine. It also inspires the same reaction that strong medicine does; you’re glad it exists, but ugh, the taste. There are images and battle sequences in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s neo-Western that I didn’t think movies were even capable of, let alone capable of making transcendently beautiful and utterly horrifying in equal measure. Yet all that beauty and horror turn out to be in the service of a dispiritingly one-note, unduly protracted revenge saga that, miraculous visuals aside, could have easily starred Charles Bronson in his mid-1970s heyday. It’s Death Wish in fur coats – or, more accurately, The Passion of the Christ if Jesus survived his crucifixion and was determined to get even with that bastard who hammered the nails.
Read More About Forest Gumption: "The Revenant" And "The Forest"...
Written By: Mike Schulz
Bella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.
Read More About Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007...
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