Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


With a film like Valkyrie one is left to ask... Why? What is the point of this movie? To give Tom Cruise another "hero" role? It's a historical "thriller", but, the problem remains that it is based on one of the most known events in all of history - Hitler's fate during World War II. So... What exactly is "thrilling" about it?

Tom Cruise plays Claus Von Stauffenberg, a Colonel who has come to the realization that Hitler is completely off of his rocker and is leading the German's to certain failure in this World War. After loosing an arm, an eye, and just generally getting BTFU in Africa, Stauffenberg returns to Germany to take a cush desk job, where he meets several soldiers and politico's who are trying desperately to figure out a way to kill Hitler, and disperse the SS. 

The problem with many of these films is that they are, ultimately, a lot more interesting as History Channel documentary's. At least in that format, their usually only an hour and a half long (commercials pop them up to two), and their not full of pointless and self important "drama" between characters that you never really get to know, and never really get to care about. Valkyrie was like watching paint dry, because, you already know what's going to happen - Hitler doesn't die. It would be like if James Cameron's blockbuster didn't flesh out the relationship between Jack and Rose, and actually tried to keep you in suspense as to whether the Titanic sinks or not. Bryan Singer, probably best known for the first two X-Men films, just didn't pull it off for me. I never felt interested in any of the characters, least of all Stauffenberg, and I found myself not really caring whether they succeeded at their plan or not (even though I knew they wouldn't). I think, on all counts, they just, flat out, made an uninteresting film, which seems to be happening more and more as the World War II film keeps coming back with a vengeance... It's like the Police Academy of genres... Maybe, someday, if we're all lucky, people will just let it go for a while, and, like Western's, we'll get a decent one every couple of years.

The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky is one of THOSE kind of filmmakers. You know the type - The filmmaker that only releases something every once in a while (whether out of necessity or preference), and when they do, you end up salivating over the very thought of it for months before it comes out, and when you do, finally, get to see it, it usually fulfills all the expectations you had for it. With The Wrestler, Aronofsky doesn't disappoint.

The Wrestler is the story of Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a one time WWF style super star, who fell out of fame, and out of money, and now subsists on working odd jobs, wrestling on the B-circuit, and the occasional convention, where he sells memorabilia and autographs. He is a man with an undying passion, a passion that he is so dedicated too, he lets all other things in his life go by the way side.  But, when the Ram starts facing undeniable health problems, he begins to realize that he may not have as much time ahead of him as he thought, and now, in his middle age, it may be time to right some of the wrongs of his life and leave wrestling behind.

Mickey Rourke does an amazing job as The Ram. You sense every ounce of pain and nostalgia for his previous life seeping out of Robinson because of the parallels between The Ram's story and Rourke's own. Marisa Tomei is electric as the aging stripper who decides to take a chance on letting this lonely, broken man into her life, and Evan Rachel Wood is undeniable as Ram's daughter, who was abandoned in her youth, and who Ram is trying to rebuild his relationship with.

Aronofsky is a character guy. He's one of the best there is. He brings these people to life so fully and so realistically, that you never once feel like one is there simply to push the plot along. I mean, let's face it, the plot of The Wrestler is not exactly anything new, but Aronofsky builds his film in such a meaningful and heartfelt way that it doesn't matter. You feel like your meeting these characters for the first time, and you are sucked into their world. The Wrestler is beautiful - In the way it's acted, in the way it's directed, in the way it's shot. In every way, it is a must see.

The Definers is on IndieGoGo

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted. A lot of work stuff has been going on, but that has also been tempered with a fair amount of laziness towards this blog... Oh well. Time to play catch up.

Just to let you know, I have started an IndieGoGo page for Schusterfilms. The Definers is up on it, so, should you feel the need (and I would be ever so appreciative of you if you would, fine reader), hop on over, check it out, and consider donating to make independent film happen. You can donate any amount, and any amount is appreciated.