Lemmy Review

Lemmy
Directed by: Greg Olliver & Wes Orshoski
Starring: Lemmy Kilmister
Featuring: Dave Grohl, Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Dee Snider, Scott Ian, Steve Vai

Every fan has their own ideal set of figures that are seminal to the foundations of heavy metal and Lemmy Kilmister has always been a part of that set. As the new decade has rolled over, Lemmy, at 65, has a career spanning six decades, with no sign of slowing down or changing a damn thing. Lemmy examines Lemmy’s career, lifestyle and impact on Western music, much of which should impress a fan of any sub-genre of rock.

Without a direct chronological narrative, Lemmy, produced and directed by Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski, reveals Lemmy’s live and let live ideology even into his mid-60s. He plays video games, in his house, on his phone, in bars. His home is filled with trash, memorabilia (both Motörhead and World War II), and his proudest, most valuable possession: his son. As Henry Rollins explains, Lemmy grew up in a time before rock n’ roll; cut his teeth on Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, was a roadie for Hendrix, and has his own place in rock n’ roll history with The Rockin’ Vickers and Hawkwind long, long before Motörhead.

Read the rest of this entry »

Savannah Film Festival 2010: Beneath Hill 60 Review

Beneath Hill 60
Directed by: Jeremy Sims
Written by: David Roach
Starring: Brendan Cowell, Gyton Grantley, Aden Young

Beneath Hill 60

Produced from the diary of an Australian miner Captain Oliver Woodward, with liberties taken by the screenwriter and co-producer, David Roach (who offered a post-screening Q & A), Beneath Hill 60 tells the story of a underground, secret war that was fought beneath no man’s land during World War I. This film offered an objective story, never posing either side as the enemy, and stuck to the necessities to tell Woodward’s story. Director Jeremy Sims leads this Australian production into a deeply enjoyable portrayal of this lesser-known aspect of a brutal war.

Oliver Woodward (Brendan Cowell) leaves Australia during World War I due to their need for miners with underground explosive expertise. His team, the Australian Tunneling Company, is instructed to blow up the strategic Hill 60 knowing full well that the Germans were also listening and collecting intelligence during the underground tunneling. The plot is simple, but the film offers a new understanding of the battles that took place in the trenches. Beneath the muddy and vicious no-man’s land was a maze of tunnels that were dug up to 30 feet deep. In these tunnels only vibrations and muffled explosions remind the viewer of the war up above, and for these miners, working and living in these tunnels is second nature.

Read the rest of this entry »

Savannah Film Festival 2010: Rabbit Hole Review

Rabbit Hole
Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell
Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller, Sandra Oh

Rabbit Hole offers a respectable and safe perspective on how a couple chooses to move on from the death of their child. John Cameron Mitchell has gone outside of his traditional directorial style and has created a far more mature, almost necessary revelation on how a typical upper mid-class family deals with their loss. Featuring a wonderful ensemble cast, led by Nicole Kidman, this film also includes the introduction of a soon-to-be giant, Miles Teller.

Still unable to cope with the loss of their son Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie Corbett (Aaron Eckhart) express their sorrow in drastically different ways. Becca wanting to rid her life of all instances of her dead child, she befriends Jason (Miles Teller), the young man responsible for hitting their son, understanding that it was all an unavoidable accident. Howie, however, finds solace in holding on to the objects and videos that remain of their son.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hereafter Review

Hereafter
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Peter Morgan
Starring: Matt Damon, Cécile de France, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr

Hereafter

Clint Eastwood’s past decade as a director has been hit or miss. Along with several Oscar winners and nominations, Eastwood has released several films that seem to hit a growing inconsistent nature. Hereafter continues this inconsistent production style while exploring many of Eastwood’s themes of death and the end of life.

As a victim of a tsunami, Marie Lelay (Cécile de France) is revived after drowning and experiencing a brief encounter with an afterlife. She has trouble returning to a normalcy within her life as television journalist in France. In London, pre-teen English twin boys Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) struggle with their mother’s drug-addiction. An unfortunate accident sends a depressed Marcus to live in a foster home where he constantly looks for answers with local faux-psychics. Meanwhile, George Lonnegan (Matt Damon), a former psychic reader who has traded the ideals of exploiting his talent for the life of a factory worker, gets laid off and finds solace in a cooking class where a romance is sparked by classmate Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Girl Who Played with Fire Review

The Girl Who Played with Fire
Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
Written by: Jonas Frykberg (screenplay), Stieg Larsson (novel)
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Georgi Staykov, Micke Spreitz

The Girl Who Played with Fire

With many of the same themes and motifs, The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second part of the Millennium Trilogy, a best-selling series of Swedish novels by the late author Stieg Larsson. Three of completed and published novels in the trilogy were released in Sweden in 2009, and released internationally in 2010. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a darling earlier in the year, lauded as one of the best of the year by some. This film however, is unable to completely turn over the momentum from the first, but does provide some thrilling entertainment and continues the compelling story of Lisbeth and Blomkvist.

After visiting her previous ailing guardian in a hospital, Lisbeth visits her current guardian, Bjurman, who brutally raped her in the previous film. Bjurman had not been sending in positive reports of her behavior, which was a part of their deal after she managed to turn the tables. Lisbeth threatens Bjurman to continue with the positive reports and even holds up Bjurman’s gun to his own head. In the meantime, Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), editor of Millennium magazine hires Dag Svensson who is on the verge of completing an essay on prostitution and the many government employees and politicians who’ve taken part in this seedy behavior. One night Blomkvist finds Dag and his girlfriend shot dead in their apartment with Bjurman who is also dead.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ghost Writer DVD Review

The Ghost Writer
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Written by: Robert Harris (novel), Roman Polanski (screenplay)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, James Belushi, Jon Bernthal

It is rare for a major motion picture to be released while the director remains in custody; this custody may have added to the political strife that is featured in The Ghost Writer. Based on the original novel, The Ghost by Robert Harris, this 2010 political thriller is a first for the troubled director Roman Polanski, yet features many of the traditional signatures that have made him a major figure in cinema for six decades.

An unnamed protagonist (who will be referred to as Ghost) (Ewan McGregor) is hired to pick up where the previous ghost writer left of on former British Prime Minister Adam Lang’s (Pierce Brosnan) memoirs. The previous ghost writer was found dead and washed ashore. Ghost is invited to a secure home where he continues to work on the memoirs with the Minster’s assistant, (Kim Cattrall) and his wife (Olivia Williams).

Read the rest of this entry »

Paper Man Review

Paper Man
Directed by: Kieran and Michele Mulroney
Written by: Kieran and Michele Mulroney
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow, Hunter Parrish, Kieran Culkin

Most adults have shed their imaginary friends from their childhood, yet their childish conscious may have never left. For Richard Dunn, his imaginary friend is Captain Excellent, equipped with tights and cape, and appears to be Richard’s only voice of reason. Paper Man has your typical modern quirkiness with familiar faces that poses little risk to audiences. Debut writer/director husband/wife team of Michele and Kieran Mulroney have crafted a comedy that does not provoke big belly laughs, but mostly just slight smiles.

Richard (Jeff Daniels) takes temporary residence at a small home in Montauk to finish his next novel in solitude. Claire (Lisa Kudrow) is adamant that Richard gets his life back on track and grows up during this writing sprint. Growing up is difficult for Richard, as his imaginary friend, Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds) is still a major part of his life and severely prevents Richard from achieving solitude. Richard’s writers block continues to prevent him from starting the first sentence, often due to hesitation in deciding the main character’s name.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage Review

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage
Directed by: Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen
Featuring: Neil Peart, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson
Interviews: Sebastian Bach, Jack Black, Les Claypool, Billy Corgan, Kirk Hammet, Taylor Hawkins, Vinnie Paul, Mike Portnoy, Trent Reznor, Gene Simmons, Matt Stone, Zakk Wylde

There are three types of people in the world: people who love Rush, people who hate Rush, and the rest of the world who have never heard of Rush. Regardless, after 36 years the band has accumulated two-dozen gold records and fourteen platinum records, and are responsible for influencing many of the modern metal and hard rock bands of today. Their story, like any other band, has its ups and downs and the most interesting aspect is that they have strayed away from complete mainstream acceptance from traditional press and critical praise. Director Sam Dunn (Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey,Iron Maiden: Flight 666) has thoroughly dug through nearly 40 years of material to construct a detailed timeline of Rush’s existence.

Guitarist Alex Lifeson, Bassist Geddy Lee and original drummer John Rutsey, all very committed to their instruments, began playing high school dances before catching the eye of their future manager Ray Danniels. With little interest from record companies, the band self-produced their self-titled debut album which landed with no popularity until “Working Man” was picked up as a “bathroom break song” for WMMS in Cleveland, Ohio. Just prior to beginning their touring efforts, Rutsey was asked to resign for health reasons. Neil Peart was asked to join with two weeks before touring began opening for KISS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shrek Forever After Review

Shrek Forever After
Directed by: Mike Mitchell
Written by: Josh Klausner, Darren Lemke
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn, Jon Hamm, John Cleese, Craig Robinson

Shrek  Forever After

As a fitting ending to the franchise (so we are told), Shrek Forever After has an entertaining aura, yet the laughs are few and far between. Originally known for the imaginative blend of fairy tale characters who engage modern American contexts and commercialization, the Shrek series has sputtered slowly to a uninspired stop.

The story has an acceptable plot to round out the four-film series: Shrek is approaching a midlife crisis where he is unable to find personal time and is now surrounded with three children and family activities. Wishing to return to a time where he was an ogre who was happily left alone and feared, Shrek is now disenchanted from family life and the fame he encounters from residents of Far Far Away. After an outburst at a birthday party, Shrek leaves only to be confronted by Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn), who is sour from never having a chance to get Queen Lillian and King Harold sign a contract passing the kingdom to him. Rumpelstiltskin is able to coerce Shrek into signing away one day of his life to be the ogre he used to be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mystery Team DVD Review

Mystery Team
Directed by: Dan Eckman
Written by: Donald Glover, DC Pierson, Dominic Dierkes
Starring: Donald Glover, DC Pierson, Dominic Dierkes, Aubrey Plaza, Bobby Moynihan, Matt Walsh, Ellie Kemper

The Mystery Team

The acclaimed Derrick Comedy sketch team has reunited to write and produce Mystery Team, a campy throwback to childhood detective stories like The Hardy Boys with bizarre gags and adult humor. Seeing the three performers reunite after reaching the edge of mainstream success, Mystery Team is a satisfying comedy that has potential and momentum to become a cult hit on home video. After premiering at Sundance, followed by a very limited release, Mystery Team can now find its primary resting place on the shelves of loyal Derrick Comedy followers.

The Mystery Team is comprised of Jason (Donald Glover), the Master of Disguise, Duncan (DC Pierson), the Boy Genius, and Charlie (Dominic Dierkes) who claims to possess superhuman strength. The team has seen their share of stardom years earlier as child detectives solving petty crimes involving children much younger, and often much more crude then the Mystery Team. Now, just before graduating from high school, the naïve detectives struggle to be taken seriously. A new case dealing with a local murder arises, giving them a chance prove themselves once again. The Mystery Team rounds up their usual child suspects and the gang slowly dives into revealing a mystery and conspiracy that is far more adult than they could have ever imagined.

Read the rest of this entry »