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Flash Movie Review: Author: The JT LeRoy Story

With pen in hand the blank paper lies in repose for its infusion. For some writers once the tip makes contact with the paper the pen becomes a syringe, injecting the mind’s thoughts and words into the page. It flows freely, creating a world for all visitors. There are writers out there who walk a fine line between truth and fiction when they are writing a story. I know how that feels because I used to be scared to reveal too much about myself in my writings. It was in college where I broke through my paper walls and let myself be heard in class. I wrote about an incident that happened to me and instead of writing the event in 3rd person (using a fictional name and pronoun) I wrote a sentence that started with, “I fell down from the fists that punched into my back.” The scariest part about writing this story for me was knowing I would have to read it out loud to the class the following week. Not that I was singled out, everyone in the class would be reading their stories. It turned out to be a cathartic experience. Listening and working with my classmates that semester taught me how to present a story. Some students were able to express themselves on a deeper level when they wrote about a character; others did it with actual people in their life. I guess it comes down to finding balance. There are some things that happened to me that I know would lose some impact if I were to create a surrogate of myself. That is the beauty about writing, authors can create any world they wish to and call it whatever they want it to be. The story behind the story in this documentary will show you one way on how it is done.   BURSTING onto the literary scene was JT LeRoy (The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, Sarah), but who really was this person? This film festival nominated movie was written and directed by Jeff Feuerzeig (The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Half Japanese: The Band that Would be King). With appearances by Winona Ryder (Black Swan, Edward Scissorshands) and writer Dennis Cooper (Frisk, Luster), this film started out slow for me. There was a mixture of actual footage and interviews throughout the documentary, but for some reason I was not following the story at first. However something took place and this picture took on the persona of a suspenseful mystery. The story became interesting and fascinating to the point I had wished I had been aware of the events when they actually took place. By the way I am not familiar with any of the author’s writings. Even after seeing this film I still am a bit confused on a few points and may seek out one of the books to see if it will help me get a better understanding on all the hoopla. This may be a picture that is more suited for writers than the general public.

 

2 ¾ stars

 

 

Flash Movie Review: The Iceman

It is not necessarily based on their outer appearance or what they may have said, you just get a negative feeling about the person. Though there was little talk about it, there was a boy in grade school who did mean things to animals. I knew to keep my distance from him. My instinctive radar has helped me steer clear of evil people through my adult life. There have been times where I have met someone and immediately got a negative reaction from them. Looking into their eyes is how I confirm the feeling. If I see a dark murkiness in there eyes, where light does not reflect off of the surface; I know there is something festering inside of them that is cold and brutal. To give you an example, take a look at the star of this crime thriller, Michael Shannon (Take Shelter, Mud) as Richard Kuklinski. Michael is such a gifted actor; his performances always come with a deep intensity. Based on a true story, Richard Kuklinski was hired as a contract killer by crime boss Roy Demeo, played by Ray Liotta (Identity, Smokin’ Aces). The movie followed Richard’s dual life: doting father and loving husband during the day and cool killer at night. Winona Ryder (Black Swan, Edward Scissorhands) was wonderful playing Richard’s wife Deborah, who was completely unaware of her husband’s real profession. Though the script was weak in telling the story fully, the incredible acting kept everything moving forward. With Ray matching his acting intensity to Michael’s skills, I was never bored. In addition to these stellar actors there was Stephen Dorff (Public Enemies, Blade) as Joey Kuklinski, an almost unrecognizable Chris Evans (The Avengers, Sunshine) as Mr. Freezy and Davide Schwimmer (Nothing But the Truth, Friends-TV) as Josh Rosenthal. Each of their performances contributed to the overall tour de force acting done in this film. Playing the deep duality of a ruthless killer and family man should earn Michael Shannon an Oscar nomination in my opinion. Whether it is from birth, childhood or environment; there are people who are simply evil. I have seen this evil and it was in Michael’s wicked performance of a cold heartless killer. Multiple scenes had violence and blood.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Frankenweenie

Each person handles differently the loss of a loved one. Some people withdraw into themselves while others have the need to express their feelings in a creative way. My grandfather’s passing was the first time I experienced the death of a person in my life. Upon hearing the news, I remembered sitting down at the piano and played a favorite song repeatedly for a couple of hours, with tears rolling down my cheeks. The loss of a beloved pet can be just as hard. In this stunning and stylish movie, Sparky the dog was the only friend of Victor Frankenstein, voiced by Charlie Tahan (Charlie St. Cloud, I am Legend). It was heartbreaking for Victor when his cherished pet died in a car accident. With such a heavy loss, every day was lifeless for poor Victor; if only circumstances would have been different. However, everything would change when a substitute teacher performed a science experiment in Victor’s class. Inspired by the electricity experiment, Victor recreated the test at home and successfully brought his beloved Sparky back to life. The problem now would be how to prevent the townsfolk from finding out. That would not be the only problem Victor would encounter, along with the entire town. This film was a wickedly fun take on the Frankenstein story, complete with similar references and scenes. Director Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland, Corpse Bride) brought his own wild twisted sense of humor to the story, making this black and white animated film a visual feast. The use of Catherine O’Hara (For Your Consideration, Home Alone), Martin Short (Primetime Glick-TV, Father of the Bride) and Winona Ryder (Black Swan, Edward Scissorhands) to voice multiple characters was an auditory treat. Be aware this movie may not be appropriate for younger children. I had a great time seeing this film, both as an adult and a kid at heart.

 

3 1/4 stars

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