Category Archives: Films Released in 2004
Directed by Brad Anderson
Written by Scott Kosar
The last time I watched The Machinist was maybe three years ago, give or take a month or two. I know that it was before I started blogging; I started blogging two years ago in late November. I also know that if I had watched it and tried to blog on it back then it would have been a completely chaotic review because I would have no idea what to say. The trouble with that last sentence is that now that I’ve re-watched the film I still don’t know what to say about it. How do I describe this movie without giving away plot points and littering it with spoilers? I can’t. I’m not going to. The Machinist is too good a movie than to suffer it the indignity of my giving away every detail and having you, reader, say “Oh, well there you go. No need to see it now.” I will tell you what I can and nothing more; this film deserves viewing, perhaps even multiple times.
Trevor Reznick (Christian Bale, American Psycho, and The Dark Knight Rises) hasn’t slept in over a year. His body is so thin that he calls to mind the photographs taken of the prisoners at Auschwitz during World War II. His eyes are haunted; his ribs and backbone stick out through skin that resembles tissue paper. He works as a machinist. He meets a mysterious fellow named Ivan (John Sharian, Saving Private Ryan), a jovial, grinning fat man in sunglasses and cowboy boots who seems to know more about Trevor than he knows about himself. The only friends Trevor seems to have is a waitress named Marie (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, A Walk in the Clouds) and her son; and a prostitute, Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Road to Perdition, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), for whom he goes for sex and comfort. After a horrible accident at the shop where he works, Trevor’s life begins to take a downward spiral; as what we think is paranoia by proxy of his insomnia begins to sink in on him. Who is Ivan? Why is Trevor so drawn to Marie? Why does he find a Post-it note of a game of hangman on his refrigerator with the head and the body drawn in and the clue _ _ _ _ e r filled in? There’s not much more I can tell you than that.
The Machinist is directed by Brad Anderson. Anderson is also the director of Session 9, another film that requires repeat viewing and that suffers when third parties attempt to explain it away. Anderson seems to have an immense talent for making films that requires a bit of thought on the part of the audience. Unfortunately that talent is sorely lacking in the resumes of the majority of today’s filmmakers.
Christian Bale is one of the most dedicated and reliable actors working today. A person only has to look as far as The Machinist to understand that. Jennifer Jason Leigh is delicious in the role of Stevie, the call girl. I find it hard to believe that she’s over 50. John Sharian is all oily charm in the role of Ivan and Michael Ironside is good in a small role as a co-worker of Trevor’s.
Watch The Machinist. It’s too good film to pass up.
The producers of the film claim that Christian Bale dropped from about 173 pounds in weight down to about 110 pounds in weight to make this film. They also claim that Bale actually wanted to drop down to 100 pounds, but that they would not let him go below 120 out of fear that his health could be in too much danger if he did. His diet consisted of one can of tuna and an apple per day. His 63-pound weight loss is said to be a record for any actor for a movie role. He regained the weight in time for his role in Batman Begins.
Trevor’s landlady is named Mrs. Shrike. This is a reference to Nathanael West’s novella “Miss Lonelyhearts” in which the main character suffers a spiritual dilemma and is antagonized demonically by Shrike, his editor.
The time of 1:30 AM is significant throughout the movie. Trevor often notices something out of the ordinary at this time. During the 1 hour 30 minute mark in the movie, the major plot twist is revealed.
- The Machinist (2004) – 3/5 (allenwatcheseverything.wordpress.com)
- Christian Bale Biography Authors at Comic-Con San Diego on July 13, 2012 (prweb.com)
- Halloween Horror Movie Month: Session 9 (2001) (dtmmr.com)
- What’s The Reason For Matthew McConaughey’s Weight Loss? (contactmusic.com)
- Matthew Fox Covers ‘Men’s Health UK’ (justjared.com)
- AFM: Millenium Films Acquires ‘Eliza Graves’ (m.deadline.com)
- Stars Who Packed On The Pounds For Movie Roles (huffingtonpost.com)
- The 10 most shocking method acting performances (macleans.ca)
- Matthew McConaughey Has Lost 50 Pounds for His Role as Ron Woodroof in ‘The Dallas Buyers Club,’ Says Nutrition Expert (celebuzz.com)
- Christian Bale Bails On Ridley Scott-Produced Project Child 44 (contactmusic.com)
Written and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
30 July, 2004; mark that date because it is significant for two reasons; the first being that The Village was released to theaters; the second is that it was the day that the first nail was driven into the coffin of what was the career of M. Night Shyamalan. I can’t believe I actually paid money to see this tripe. I should have asked for it back but I figured enough people had done that already and I didn’t want the poor theater manager to have a breakdown.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard more stilted and wooden dialogue from so many talented people in one film. There’s Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Adrien Brody (The Pianist), William Hurt (Children of a Lesser God) and Brendan Gleeson (Gangs of New York). Each and every one them delivers their lines with the conviction of a sixth grader playing a shepherd in a Christmas play. The only time I remember seeing acting this wooden was Phylicia Rashad in The Cosby Show (“Cliff. Why. do. we. have. four.children?”) and Hayden Christensen in Star War Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (“Obi-wan. Why. do. we. have. four. children?” Sorry, couldn’t resist.) The only silk purse this sow’s ear of a film has is the sweet, understated performance from Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-man 3).
The Village revolves around the citizens of a small isolated community. There is no crime and none of the trappings of modern life such as cell phones, televisions and personal computers. There are just three basic rules that every village must follow: 1. Do not let the bad color (red) be seen. It attracts ‘them’ 2. Don’t go into the woods; it’s where ‘they’ live. 3. If you hear the bell hide yo wife, hide yo kids ’cause ‘they’ is coming.
Who is this mysterious ‘they’? Come on, this is an M. Night Shyamalan film. To tell you would give away the tedious little plot twist he has for us at the end of the film. The twist that if you listen closely enough was already telegraphed midway through the film. The whole twist thing worked great with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and semi-great with Signs; but by the time The Village rolled around it was less ‘surprise us, Night’ and more ‘oh, for crying out loud, just tell the damned story already!’ Of course we all know how that turned out (*cough* Lady in the Water *cough* The Last Airbender *cough*). I can only imagine that Shyamalan’s epitaph will read something like this:
Here lies M. Night Shyamalan, film director
He directed three good movies and then
OMG! What the hell happened?
Kirsten Dunst was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard after dropping out to star inElizabethtown.
The director cast Bryce Dallas Howard without an audition after seeing her perform on stage.
Sigourney Weaver suffered nightmares for two weeks after reading the script.
The inspiration for the story comes from two unlikely sources: “Wuthering Heights” for the period drama, and King Kong for the community living in fear of predatory creatures.
- Holiday Hair: Get Bryce Dallas Howard’s Multitextured Style (bellasugar.com)
- Hereafter (mrmovietimes.com)
- The 4 Worst Environmental Message Movies (sprayfoamdirect.com)
- Hot Viral Videos: Presidents and Pranks (rr.com)
- Wacky Product of the Week: FakeTV Burglar Deterrent Device (savings.com)
- Centenarian Fashion Plates Take Turns on Catwalk at Vi at Lakeside Village on Behalf of PAP Corps (prweb.com)
- So…M. Night Shyamalan May Not Be A Total Hack (reeldramaqueen.wordpress.com)
- Get Bryce Dallas Howard’s Soft Eclipse Curls (bellasugar.com)
- Review: “The Sixth Sense” (viewerscommentary.wordpress.com)
- Dear M. Night Shyamalan, stop ruining things. (asocialunicorn.wordpress.com)
KILL BILL VOL. 1-United States-2003
It’s really difficult to call this a review. To call it that would indicate that I have criticisms about the particular films that I am writing about. I can assure you before we even get started down that bumpy road that I do not. This is not a review. This is not a critique. This ain’t no foolin’ around. This is an all-out balls to the wall, pedal to the motherfucking-metal appraisal of two of the most awesome films in the history of cinema, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2, respectively. Now I suppose you’re asking yourself why I’m writing about both of these films at the same time when they are two totally different films. Well yes, they are two totally different films; and no, they are not two totally different films. Yes, the tone of each film is decidedly different from the tone of the other, but in the end when all is said and done they are about one thing and one thing only; sweet revenge served up on a dish that is as cold as the steel on a Hattori Hanzo sword.
We have The Bride, a beautiful young lady on the happiest day of her life, for on this day she’s going to walk down that aisle and marry her handsome, blond-haired beau, Tommy Plympton. But, alas, the plot doth thicken. The Bride was once a member of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, led by none other than the titular man himself, Bill. The DVAS doesn’t like it when one of their own leaves the group and decides to make a life of her own. So, they shoot up the chapel and the guests and Bill delivers the coup de grace to The Bride in the form of a bullet in the head. He should have made damn sure that she was dead, because from now on her only mission in life is the total annihilation of the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and it is all going to end with Bill dropping dead at her feet.
Quentin Tarantino worked at a video store before becoming a film director. That was his film school and everything he has ever learned and nearly every film he has ever watched has made its way into the directing, writing and filming of the Kill Bill Saga. This is QT’s homage to the films of Sergio Leone, the Shaw brothers, giallo films, anime, horror, b-movies, Z-movies, Kung- fu movies and nearly every known genre of film known to man. No other director could have even dreamed of making a saga of this magnitude. This is one of the few films where every scene, every word, every character is an important piece of a larger part of the picture. The dialogue is sharp, funny and cool, sometimes all at the same time. The action is intense, visceral and cartoonish and is a wonder to behold. The showdown between The Bride and the Crazy 88′s at the House of Blue Leaves is without question the single greatest fight in the history of cinema. Yeah, I said that.
If you’ve seen Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t then for God’s sake get off your ass and get down to the video store. Rent it, watch it, and love it.
One more thing; one day the critics, film historians, bloggers and the like will say that Pulp Fiction was Quentin Tarantino’s greatest achievement as a filmmaker. But I say, no, ‘tis Kill Bill that is his masterpiece.
TRIVIA VOL. 1
I bought the final Saw film on January 26, 2011. I was all prepared to watch it and review it for my blog. Instead, I decided to take a different approach and take a look back at the other six films in the series. So I will be posting what will amount to a seven part series on the films that, for better or for worse, have been a major part of the horror genre since 2004.
So, without further adieu we begin with the film that introduced a new horror icon to the public eye. He didn’t chop them up with a machete like Jason, or slash them with razor claws like Freddy. In fact, he never laid a hand on his victims. He let them do all the work. He is Jigsaw.
Directed by James Wan
Written by James Wan and Leigh Whannell
Leigh Whannell as Adam Faulkner-Stanheight
Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon
Danny Glover as Detective David Tapp
Shawnee Smith as Amanda
What is your life worth to you? Do you cherish it or do you waste it? Do you live life unselfishly or are you an egotist? If your life were in danger and you were given the choice of kill or be killed, what would you do? Is your life more important than someone else’s life? These are the questions that shape the premise of Saw; a film that introduced a new and altogether different horror icon to the public.
Jigsaw is a different breed of horror villain. A villain who never lays a hand on his victims but instead gives them a task in the form of escaping elaborate and deadly traps. Escape and you live. If not, you die, and violently. A man is given 2 hours to crawl through a path of razor wire. Another man is covered with a flammable substance and given a candle in a dark room so that he may find the combination to a safe amongst the hundreds of numbers painted all over the walls. A woman must remove a key from her dead cellmates stomach in order to escape a trap that if sprung will rip her jaw apart. Two men are chained to pipes in a nasty abandoned restroom. Their task. One man must kill the other man to win his freedom and save his family. Jigsaw may never lay a hand on his victims, but his cruel intelligence and meticulous planning of each and every trap is far worse than anything Jason or Freddy could ever hope to achieve. Those two don’t give their victims a choice. They just kill, period. In making us choose our fates and the opportunity to change them Jigsaw is a sadistic God and his victims the helpless and hopeless sinners. Saw is a masterpiece of a horror film that stays with you long after you leave the theater or eject it from your DVD player.