Director/Writer Chad Faust really knows what he’s doing in “Girl,” as he places a lot of the film’s weight on star Bella Thorne. Thorne is an underrated actress that’s been stuck in a lot of terrible movies, but when she’s paired with the right director, she gives performances like the one we see in “Girl.” Star Thorne carries what’s just an okay movie that feels like it aspires too eagerly to be held in the class of other backwoods dramas like 2010’s “Winter’s Bone.”
Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” is a movie without a specific audience in mind, and doesn’t seem to know who it’s appealing to. It’s too dark and adult to be considered another “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and much too juvenile to be taken as an adult film. I vividly remember collecting comic books as a kid and seeing full page ads for “Cool World” in every single issue I bought, and yet the movie clearly was not intended for a nine year old, and was too underground for teenagers. In a decade where everyone was trying to be Disney, I doubt many audiences were in the market for a dark erotic animated neo-noir satire involving an animated seductress trying to have sex with her creator so she can become a human.
In a neon-filled city, the pair of killers is carrying out their dark plan while a few characters meet with a sweet yet odd waitress. Her charm and behavior lead the story to open and their lives to unravel in front of the viewer’s eyes.
David Leitch’s adaptation of the graphic novel from Oni Press is something of an anomaly that I’ve had a difficult time wrapping my head around since I finished it. I’m not typically one who is easy on an action movie that’s so unnecessarily hard to follow, but “Atomic Blonde” kept me hooked, even when I was trying to keep up with it. Leitch’s direction, matched with the excellent editing, and just amazing martial arts scenes assured me I may just be watching “Atomic Blonde” again and again. The amalgam of a neo-noir and a gung ho martial arts spy thriller amounts to an occasionally awkward experience, but I embraced it in the end as this imperfect action film that sucked me in time and time again.
FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL
Jacob Gentry’s “Synchronicity” is the kind of film I really do enjoy. It’s non-linear, it has a taste of noir within it, and it’s filled with existentialist themes about parallel worlds and wormholes that dare to challenge its audience. “Synchronicity” is the kind of challenging fiction that will spark conversations among its audience and leave them pondering on the bigger questions that it poses right through to the end. I didn’t quite understand what was happening in the film for the first half, but Gentry really brings all of the narrative together making what seems like a scattershot series of events feel like one giant master plan. It’s a film in the tradition of “Memento” sparking brilliant visuals and a vivid world where nothing is ever really what it seems.
It must either be really wise decision making, or a really weird coincidence that Eva Green stars in two Frank Miller based projects in 2014, both of which are pretty much just god awful cash grabs of their former films, and she ends up being about the best aspect of both films. Green really stole “Rise of an Empire” from everyone, and here she seems to embrace the absurdity in the incredibly rancid “A Dame to Kill For.” I’m not going to say I’m disappointed that “A Dame to Kill For” is awful, mainly because I didn’t ask for a sequel and I didn’t want one. I likened “Sin City” to Robert Rodriguez’s own wonky version of “Pulp Fiction.”
Do we need a sequel to “Pulp Fiction”? Hell no.
I love pulp heroes and classic superheroes from the 1930’s. If you were around during the 90’s, you will remember many of the heroes that studios attempted to revive for big franchises and massive movie series. And sadly they all failed. From Tarzan, and The Phantom, right down to The Rocketeer, they were all fun movies, but audiences wanted no part of their worlds. “The Shadow,” the biggest inspiration for the creation of Batman, is still one of the most underrated superhero adaptations ever made, but one that unfortunately never bloomed in to a full fledged film series.
By my money, I consider James Ellroy’s “LA Confidential” to be one of the greatest crime dramas ever made. It’s an elaborate, morose, and brutally intelligent display of respective talents and truly keen storytelling that gets better with every single viewing. “LA Confidential” was not a real hit with me upon the first viewing; in fact I found it painfully mediocre once the credits began to roll. Suddenly, I found myself watching it repeatedly and soon discovered that it was a stellar piece of filmmaking that grew on me once I opened my mind a bit.