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Flash Movie Review: I Origins

I imagine it being a vast, rolling drum that continually tosses the contents within its hold. Random pieces stick together as if they were covered in velcro before they exit to settle down in what will become a new being. This is what I think takes place with our genes; it just seems so random to me. I have always been fascinated with the way characteristics, mannerisms and appearances get passed down within a family. There is a family of 5 where one child will look like a clone to one of the parents, but another child bears no resemblance to either; how does that happen? I find it freaky when characteristics skip a generation; I have been told I have some of the same mannerisms as my deceased grandfather. Though it is curious how this all happens, how about when individuals are not related to each other? The word is doppelganger and when I looked up its definition it said it was a ghost or double walker. Essentially it is a person who is an apparition or double of a living person. I experienced such a being when I was at a restaurant and thought a member from my class was sitting near me. As I walked up to her and began talking I noticed the strangest look come across her face, a mixture of confused fear. It was not her though she was even dressed similarly to the woman in my class.    REINCARNATION was a theme explored in this Sundance Film Festival winning movie, written and directed by Mike Cahill (Another Earth, Boxers and Ballerinas). Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths, Last Days) played molecular biologist Ian who had concentrated his studies to the human eye. Like fingerprints a person’s eyes were unique and different for each other. It had always been the case until Ian and his lab assistant Karen, played by Brit Marling (The East, Sound of My Voice), discovered a set of eyes that matched another pair. The story in this dramatic film was original and intriguing; the concepts regarding the meaning of this finding were thought provoking. Everyone acted wonderfully in this picture, including Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Angels of Sex, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) as Sofi. I cannot begin to tell you how bummed I was that the first half of this movie was slow and felt like it was going nowhere. It was not until the 2nd half where things came together to deliver an interesting and memorable film. This movie was listed as science fiction but I did not consider it to be. One brief scene had blood shown in it.

 

2 1/2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The East

I treat companies the same way I treat actors and musical artists. In my cycle classes I do everything I can to avoid playing music from artists associated with racist, sexist or prejudiced lyrics or actions. This applies to actors as well; I will boycott their movies, not even watching them on DVD or cable. I do the same thing with companies. When I travel, one of my guilty pleasures is to eat at fast food restaurants. Recently I discovered one of my favorite out of state places has discriminated against a group of people. Since I do not have a tolerance for people who are prejudiced, I no longer can visit that restaurant chain. Will it hurt their quarterly sales? Not at all, but I do not care. Morally I cannot purchase anything from them. A group of anarchists in this thrilling movie take things beyond what I have done. Brit Marling (Another Earth, Sound of My Voice) played Sarah, a skilled investigator working for a corporate security firm headed by Sharon, played by Patricia Clarkson (Married Life, Easy A). A radical group called the East has been targeting individuals from large corporations. Sarah’s assignment was to infiltrate the group and expose them. Led by the mysterious Benji, played by Alexander Skarsgard (What Maisie Knew, Battleship), the group was cautious around her before revealing their true purpose. This mystery was well thought out, building up the tension as Sarah delved deeper into the group’s activities. Brit worked on the script with the director, creating an intelligent, thought provoking story; I enjoyed watching this film. Ellen Page (Inception, Juno) as Izzy and Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla, Wrath of the Titans) as Doc were exceptional in the roles they played. Having seen Brit’s previous movies and now this one, I am impressed with her writing and acting abilities. She is certainly creating a smart body of work for herself. This action drama only reinforced the beliefs I have regarding certain public individuals and corporations. There were a couple of scenes where blood was shown.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Arbitrage

Just because someone has financial wealth does not mean they are smarter or better; there is not a different set of rules for them, though they may think so. I have a relative who became wealthy and felt they could tell everyone else what they “should” be doing in life. It is quite annoying listening to them. I am certain there is more going on in the business world besides the Bernie Madoff types and Enron style scandals, that we do not hear about in the news. One could add from this movie Robert Miller, played by Richard Gere (Brooklyn’s Finest, Chicago), to the list of immoral, corrupt greedy businessmen. While Robert was in the middle of delicate negotiations to sell his company, he was involved in a terrible accident. If news were to get out about the incident, the ramifications would be monumental to his firm and family. How far would the unscrupulous Robert go to maintain control over his life before his greed ripped him and his empire apart? Richard Gere was excellent in this role, being smooth and sexy with a venomous bite. Susan Sarandon (Robot & Frank, Mr. Woodcock) did a beautiful job playing Robert’s wife Ellen, the charitable good spouse with a steely spine. The story was evenly paced, allowing the suspense to build long enough to keep my interest. A couple of noteworthy performances I want to mention were Brit Marling (Another Earth, Sound of my Voice) as Robert’s daughter Brooke and Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails) as Jimmy Grant, the son of a former employee of Robert’s firm; who was trying to make a better life for himself. Except for the choice of ending that was not very satisfying to me, this was a solid adult movie that showed the ugliness of greed we have all seen before.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Sound of My Voice

I felt as if I had just been dropped out of the sky in the first few minutes of this unusual movie. With no explanation given; Peter Aitken, played by Christopher Denham (Shutter Island, Charlie Wilson’s War) and Lorna Michaelson, played by Nicole Vicius (500 Days of Summer, Last Days), were going through a prescribed set of directions before meeting Maggie, played by Brit Marling (Another Earth, The Recordist). The precautions were necessary because Maggie was from the future. I hesitate to explain why Peter and girlfriend Lorna wanted to meet this individual. The two were filmmakers who wanted to infiltrate Maggie and her followers; but at what cost? An interesting story that I found engaging, to the credit of Brit Marling who shared in the writing credits. I enjoyed her performance here as much as I did in her movie Another Earth–both off center, but with emotional depth. What pulled me into this movie were the scenes when the followers were assembled before Maggie. It felt creepy, watching individuals losing their identity. There were some scenes I did not understand and the ending felt rushed to me. When the movie was over, I was left trying to figure out what was real.

 

2 2/3 stars

 

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