I remember when I had just turned 14, and on Bravo was this TV Spot for a movie called Being John Malkovich. I had never heard of it, and I had no idea what it was about. All I knew was that the cast alone would guarantee that I would see it. The TV spot that guaranteed my viewing of it was this:
A common thread that runs through all of Bret Easton Ellis’ books is the exploration of hollow persons. People who are generally well-off financially yet dead on the inside, so numb to the world around them that even acts of horrific violence and depravity can’t faze them more than momentarily. Ellis has populated his stories with these characters, often set in the 1980s to satirize the excessiveness of the time period. While reading all the books back-to-back is probably not recommended, the author manages to find enough variety and different themes to explore to make them all have some value. If he seems one-note, one does not look closely enough. Read the rest of this entry »
There is perhaps no one better at writing about the contemporary “average Joe” than the English born Nick Hornby. This could very well be one of the reasons that his novels adapt so well to the screen. We see characters that remind us of both people we know and ourselves, and we become enthralled by their stories. We want them to find happiness, we want them to achieve some measure of their dreams, and we want them to grow emotionally as people. If they can do it, then there’s no reason we can’t as well.
His career as a director spanned seven decades, starting in the Forties with a small job on an early religious program and ending in 2000 with the action-mystery Reindeer Games. With such meager and lifeless bookends, one might question the abilities of director John Frankenheimer, who passed away shortly after his final film at the age of 93. But as poet laureate for Generation Z Miley Cyrus so eloquently sings, “It’s the climb,” and Frankenheimer’s climb was one populated with a tense body of expertly crafted films that brought action and suspense to breathless new heights. His last great work paired him with a tight script and three brilliant actors for some of the most dizzying and fun car chases this side of The French Connection. But in this week’s Reel Rumbles, Ronin has some fierce competition out of Michael Mann, another talented director, with a film that many consider to be his finest hour. A loose remake of his previous made-for-TV effort L.A. Takedown (1989), Heat won the praise of critics and audiences alike, and built a bridge between an overlooked cadre of masterpieces and a prominent career for the director that continues today. Study the blueprints, sync your watches, and get ready for the big score. It’s time for Heat vs. Ronin.