Monday, August 22, 2011

A review of "Pride & Glory"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Pride & Glory”

By: Brian Cotnoir

            One of the most dissapointing films I’ve ever seen is the 2008 cop-drama “Pride & Glory”.  When I first saw the trailer for “Pride & Glory” I was very excited; it looked mysterious, action packed, and was starring my favorite actor, Edward Norton.  What I got after seeing this was total dissapointment.  This film could have been great, but unfortunately it was one giant failure.                              

The story of “Pride & Glory” is the following; Detective Ray Tierney, played by Edward Norton, is a policeman with the NYPD, along with his older brother, Francis, and brother in-law, Jimmy.  One night four of Francis’s men are gunned down during a drug raid and his brother Ray is assigned to the investigation.  Ray quickly discovers that the man they are looking for is a local drug dealer named Angel Teaso.  While searching for Teaso, Detective Tierney discovers that a group of cops from his precinct have been doing murder-for-hire and that the head of this murder-for-hire ring is his brother-in-law, Jimmy Egan.  Ray brings this news to his father, an ex- NYPD detective, and his father, who is played by John Voight, pleads with his son not to tell anyone what he has discovered in fear that the news might tear the whole family apart.  Ray is left with a tough decision, does he come forward with his discovery and turn in his brother in-law or does he keep quiet about everything?                                                                                                                 
Like I said, the trailer led on that this film was going to be more action packed than it really was.  Just by watching the trailer it looked like Norton’s character was going to be a tough, take-no-bull-shit detective, when in actuality his character was a total pushover.  The whole film he’s taking orders from his father, his brother, his brother in-law, and they all expect him to take the fall so that the rest of the family remains unharmed and can stay out of trouble.  The real star of this film in my opinion is Colin Farrell.  I’m not a Collin Farrell fan, but I think he did a great job as the good cop turned murderer, Jimmy Egan.  Farrell’s character is psychotic, driven, manipulative, and just pure evil.  One scene in the film actually shows Farrell threataning to burn a newborn baby with an iron if he doesn’t get any answers from a witness he’s illegally interogating; that scene right there is absolutely terrifying.  I also like actor Shea Whigham in this film.  He plays a cop and one of Jimmy Egan’s goons, but his character is at times very imcompetent, but still he provides some comedic relief.  The rest of the cast his really hit and miss.  John Voight does a great job as the family patriarch, Francis Tierney, Sr., but his characeter isnt’t really all that likeable, and I didn’t really like the performance of Noah Emmerich’s character, Francis Tierney, Jr.                                        
This film isn’t awful, but certanily could have been a lot better.  I’ve seen films similar to this with Edward Norton that were better than “Pride & Glory”, but this film still did not live up to the hype and potential it could’ve lived up to.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A review of "Heavy Metal"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Heavy Metal”

By: Brian Cotnoir

            Heavy Metal” is the closest thing that you can get to experiencing an acid trip without actually taking drugs.  The first time I saw this 1980’s animated cluster-fuck of insanity I had to pause it, turn on the lights, and make an observation of my surroundings to make sure that I was, inded, not having an acid trip.  This film is just weird, and I mean that in both a good and bad way.  The film was made in 1981 based off of a magzine of the same title.  There’s really no story-line to the film.  I actually think that they just took 5 separate stories from the magazine and tried to link them together to this glowing green orb known as the Loc-Nar.  The Loc-Nar, like I said, is a small glowing green orb that has traveled through, space, time, and parallel universes.  The Loc-Nar is described as the “sum of all evils” in the film and has powers that can change or destroy the universe, and man, as well as aliens.                                                                                                   
The film has a great soundtrack featuring songs and peformances by many great bands, such as Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, Devo, Cheap Trick, and many more.  The film also features the voice work of actors such as John Candy and Eugene Levy.   The artwork for this film is also very creative; extremely weird, but creative.  This isnt childrens animated movie though, this is an adult movie with scenes of animated graphic nudity, sex, and drug use.  Before I saw this film I never would’ve thought that aliens enjoyed snorting large amounts of drugs or that robots like having sex with humans.                                                                               

“Heavy Metal” is strange, it’s confusing, and I’m not really sure what all the stories have to do with one another; I still say using the Loc-Nar to relate all the stories is a real stretch. Still, I found the artwork and the music to be enjoyable, but other than that this film sucked.  I’m sure if I took gratuitous amounts of drugs that this film would make a lot more sense, but I for one have no intention of doing that in order to find out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A review of "Oliver Twist" (1922)

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Oliver Twist” (1922)

By: Brian Cotnoir
            I’m not really a huge fan of silent films, but wow did my impression of them change after watching the 1922 silent classic, “Oliver Twist”.  The story of “Oliver Twist” was of course based off of the novel by the great Charles Dicken’s and tells the story of a young orphan boy, Oliver Twist.  Oliver’s mother died shortly after giving birth to him and he was raised in a workhouse.  While, in the workhouse Oliver stirs up some controversey by asking for some more gruel.  Oliver, is severely punished for his menial request, but is later saved when he is purchased by an Undertaker by the name of Sowberry, who takes Oliver in as an apprentice.  The life of an Undertaker’s apprentice is not the life style that the young Mr. Twist has dreamed of and he runs away in hopes of finding a new life in London.  While in London, Oliver is found by a young boy known as “the Artful Dodger”, and he takes Oliver to a good friend of his named Fagin.  Fagin immidieatley takes a shine to Oliver as does Oliver to Fagin, until Oliver uncovers that Fagin and the other boys in Fagin’s homes are gang of roaming pick-pockets and thieves.  Now, it’s up to our young hero to stop Fagin and the others and uncover who he really is.                      

      Even though it’s a silent film and there have been other films made based on the story of “Oliver Twist”, I still like this one the best.  What I like best about this version of the film is the cast.  Everyone in the 1922 film looks and acts the part of their character.  Actor Lewis Sargent does a wonderful job as the troubled Noah Claypool, Edouard Trebaol is a quite funny as the pick-pocketing scamp the Artful Dodger, and Lon Chaney plays a very frightening Fagin, but the Best Actor hands down in this film is the star of “Oliver Twist”, Jackie Coogan.  The films director, Frank Lloyd, couldn’t have picked a better child actor than Jackie Coogan to play the young, kind-hearted orphan, Oliver Twist.  Throughout the film Coogan is chased, beat, used, and tossed around like a rag doll; all this adds up to comedic and cinematic gold.  It’s actually quite a shame that when people start listing the greatest child actors of all-time that Coogan is often over looked to other child actors, like Macauly Culkin, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, and Dakota Fanning.  Jackie Coogan is one of the most underrated and underappreciated actors in Hollywood history and I think every child start owes Jackie Coogan a lot of gratitude for setting the bar and the standard of what it really means and takes to be a child star.  So if you are a serious fan of films, then you should check out the Silent movie classic “Oliver Twist”.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A review of "How to Be"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “How To Be”

By: Brian Cotnoir

                How To Be” is an independent comedy/drama starring Robert Pattinson, who plays a confused and depressed teenage musician, named Arthur.  Arthur suffers a number of personal setbacks and seeks help from Dr. Levi Ellington, a therapist from Canada.  Dr. Ellington agrees to fly out to England to help Arthur with his personal problems (for a fee).  What follows is a montage of bland humor and self-loathing.                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Pattinson’s character, Arthur, goes through a variety of emotions that range from over emotional, depressed, neurotic, psychotic, totally pathetic, and at points mildly humorous.  For the most part his character is very bland; like tofu spread on wheat toast dipped in hot water bland!  Pattinson’s role isn’t terrible but I did not find his character to be very likeable.  Compared to some of the other characters in this film, Pattinson does the best job out of all of them.  Rebecca Pidgeon, who plays Arthur’s neglectful mother, is absolutely terrible in this film; she does one of the worst acting performances I have ever seen in a film.  The late Powell Jones character, Dr. Ellington, comes off as slightly creepy and at times his “methods” appear to be highly irrational.                                                                                      
I will give Rob Pattinson some credit; he actually sang and performed some of the songs written for the movie and that takes balls no matter who you are.  Pattinson doesn’t have a great voice, but he at least he tried.  This film in not terrible, but I really can’t think of any group recommend this film too, unless you’re a fan of whiny, pathetic, Emo boys.