Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Client

Thriller about a young boy Mark Sway (Renfro) who witnesses the suicide of a man (Olkewicz) with ties to the mob. The man decides to spill certain details about the mob before his suicide, sucking Mark into the crossfire of a mob murder. The kid must hire his own lawyer (Sarandon) to protect his rights, since district attorney (Tommy Lee Jones) is fixated on taking down the mob and won't stop at anything--even willing to put the safety of Mark at risk. Very '90s, very Schumacher, and very Grisham. Hard to know what to feel for Tommy Lee Jones' character, and it's even more confusing as to why Romey didn't just blow his brains out sooner with the gun right there in the car! A lot of holes at the beginning of the film, and the plot neither fills them or makes up for them. You won't gain anything from watching this so-called "mystery-thriller". Am I really supposed to take LaPaglia serious?

The Boston Strangler

Despite being a one of a kind thriller, there are plenty of flaws that hold back Fleischer's 1968 film about the infamous Boston Strangler. Interesting filming concept, but lends itself to too many continuity errors and audio difficulties. Structurally very unconventional that simply doesn't work--there are fundamentals for a reason. Seems like two different films going on at once, and both lead characters are introduced so late that they have to rush to the audience's emotions. For the first half-hour, we're not even sure who we're rooting for. The film brings attention to social commentary that's applicable even today, but the fact that a lot of what's portrayed in the film didn't actually happen kind of contradicts its own statement. Entertaining, but drags on way too long with terribly dated and redundant interrogation scenes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Scre4m

The first unnecessary follow up and the fourth installment to the 1996 film sensation that redefined the horror genre. SCRE4M hardly takes the lead in this one, but rather follows. All the films have been about clich├ęs and many a homage--this film has plenty, and within universe nods--but this is the most violent of all SCREAM films, almost as if it's trying to compete with SAW or HOSTEL; really separating itself from the other three films. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has returned to her hometown Woodsboro, and people suddenly start dying… who didn't see this coming? Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is now the sheriff not the deputy, but he's still as useless and foolish as ever. Courteney Cox's beloved bitchy character, Gale Weathers, has now turned into an ex-reporter and housewife--this subplot just begs for an excuse to have Weathers in the film. Something is very askew when the three returning characters (and the only three returning characters) are less interesting than the materialistic and twisted kids that are either getting butchered or doing the butchering. Brie, Jaffe, Knudsen, Panettiere, Shelton and especially Rory Culkin are all terrific in their roles. Keep an eye out for Nancy O'Dell as the reporter interviewing Sidney about her new book--she was also a reporter in SCREAM 2 and SCREAM 3. Williamson returns as the screenwriter (he wrote all but SCREAM 3), developing the most charismatic characters since the original and a very interesting plot that starts to ware thin. If the series has done anything perfect, it's the opening scenes. The opening scenes to all four films have been fantastic. Still, once the plot starts flying, you begin to realize how unnecessary this film is. Also, despite handfuls of salutes to the first three SCREAMs, the fact that the series is all about continuity--plus more importantly, Sidney wrote a book about her bloodbath of a life!--lends the story to have many open windows into the past. Yet, not a single reference to Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), a backbone in the Prescott family history. Thank God there were indirect references to Tatum Riley (Rose McGowan) and Steve (Kevin Patrick Walls), and the obvious references to Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy), Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), Stuart (Matthew Lillard) and Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore). All-in-all, pointless but memorable--it serves its purpose as entertainment, but there's really not much other purpose besides that. Yes, some of filmmaking is about business, but SCRE4M is pretty much all about the money; kind of lame.