movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Sunday, September 11, 2005

TORONTO - day 3

So “The History of Violence” was sacrificed for the sake of sleep. While I have regrets, it will open soon and I can see it when I get back to LA. I have heard that it is great and I am sure I will enjoy it, but not today. It was the worst movie day thus far though. I got caught up at a fund raising event for the Canadian Film Commision and missed the first part of the movie going day. When I was able to make it to the theater… it really wasn’t worth it…

The Mistress of Spices” world premier was the first movie that I went to today. It was co-written and directed by the writer of “Bend it Like Beckham” and “Bride and Predjiduce”. The basic premise of this movie is an Indian woman (played by Indian superstar Aishwarya Rai), who is a master of all things spices, moves to San Francisco to help people with the powers of her spices. Through spices she can help people in all kinds of ways… protection, love, seduction, memory, so on and so forth. Then she meets a man (Dylan McDermant), but this is not permitted by her spice master… blah blah blah…

I think that anyone can figure out what happens in the movie before the conclusion of the opening credits. If this plot sounds familiar, then maybe it is because it is very reminiscent of the 2000 Lasse Hallstrom film, “Chocolat”. Now if you were big fans of that film and of movies like “Monsoon Wedding” and “Woman on Top”, then this is a great one for you… me? Not so much. Where most people would find this movie sweet and endearing, I found it fake and over done. There are some good qualities to this film. Great art direction and good cinematography, help the first time director in creating a visually interesting debut. My problem was with the story and the script. The co-writer described this movie as a ‘smart script’… I disagree. That was my problem. There was nothing new said and it was said in the same way that you might expect. Very underwhelming experience.

The second movie was also the world premier of a film from a writer turned first time director. The man is David Ayer (Training Day, SWAT, U-571) and his film is “Harsh Times”. This is a semi-autobiographical tale of two best friends dealing with ‘harsh times’ living in the slums of Los Angeles. It has the same gritty feel that made the first half of “Training Day” a really interesting script. It is obvious that Ayer was born and raised in LA and that he really gets it in ways that I never will. His directing follows in suit as he creates a very gritty and real look for the film. It is real, but not distracting. He has a way with the tone and with the characters and I am really looking forward to seeing what he does more as a director than as a writer.

Speaking of the characters… the real reason to check this one out is for the performances of the two leads, Christian Bale (Batman Begins, American Psycho) and Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under). Both of these actors are fantastic in this movie. I immediately bought them as best friends and understand how they come to these places in their lives. Bale, as usual, completely transforms into the character that he plays. He is a soldier back from the middle east and is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, which is ruining his chance at a life.

Rodriguez play a man that really wants to pull himself together and start a life for himself and his girlfriend (played in a small role by Eva Longoria). The problem that he faces is his best friend, who seems to do nothing but drag him down. It is an interesting look at friendship and life in that area of the country. The movie runs 1 hour and 59 minutes and could stand to lose about 15 – 20 more minutes. With a little tightening and focus on structure, the emotional beats in the film would be a lot more effective. I think that it will go through a couple more edits before it ever sees the light of day. In shot, I enjoyed the movie… I would recommend someone check it out on dvd or HBO.

That was it for today, but tomorrow, I plan on making up for lost time and movies… look for…
“Breakfast on Pluto”, “Oliver Twist”, Brokeback Mountain”, and “Everything is Illuminated”.


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