Happy As Lazzaro

An odd yet beautiful film. However, its morality play center and rambling narrative diminishes the film’s quirkiness The first act of the Italian film Happy As Lazzaro focuses on naïve, worker-bee Lazzaro, an all-around good-guy who’s as gullible as Charlie Brown. He, along with his fellow working community, is exploited by a tobacco heiress as…

Extinction

The alien invasion plot is an industry standard that is now as boilerplate as Batman’s origin and Netflix’s Extinction upholds this formula in a by-the-books thriller yet manages to present the film in a slick and entertaining way. Yes, there is a plot twist deep in the third act that is satisfying and, believe it or not,…

ANON: SciFi blast for cliché crime caper

The future can be scary, and that’s exactly how writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattica) likes it. Niccol’s latest, Anon, directly distributed by Netflix, takes social media privacy scares and concerns and makes those issues a substantial threat as every event every single person sees is stored forever in an Orwell-ian cloud. Anon presents an original, albeit…

Dope

Icarus, much like its mythological namesake, starts out openly enough. Writer/director Bryan Fogel, obviously undergoing a mid-life crisis, seeks to rise above his competition and win an long-eluded amateur bike race by subscribing to a doping program ala Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton. His gonzo-ish film about cheating the system then takes a serious turn…

Video-Game Action; Direct-Release Scripting

Let’s play nice and call Spectral an homage to a heap of sci-fi films and not a mash-up of clichés from all that has come before. A mash-up, yes, but certainly a nice-looking one at that. James Badge Dale, proving he had leading-man chops, as evident from HBO’s The Pacific, stars in first-time director Nic…

Suspenseful. Alluring. Slow.

Stoker is a surprisingly wonderful indie film written by an American television actor, directed by a Korean known for violent action flicks, all told in a suspenseful vein that Alfred Hitchcock would find suitably satisfactory, especially with the themes presented within: a loner child, daddy issues, an ignorant mother, a suspicious uncle, and death, death,…

A most excellent look at a personage of historical significance

Daniel Day-Lewis steals the show as the title character in Lincoln, but by all rights, the film itself could have been named Amendment XIII as the second act’s energy, as well as most of the third, is focused on the debate in the House to abolish slavery nearly leaving Lincoln as a mere witness to…

Charred, Not Hot

The fact that Ghost Rider is a b-comicbook character at best should bring no surprise that his movie would be of similar ilk. Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is the ultimate b-movie complete with b-grade actors (welcome back to the silver screen Christopher Lambert), a generic plot (the only way for the devil’s power to…

The "Fake Picture" becomes a real hit

In the film Argo, producer Lester Siegel, played by Academy Award winner Alan Arkin, puts forth real effort into making a fake film a success as a perfect ruse to rescue six wanted Americans hiding at the Canadian Ambassador’s residence during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. The triple-threat of Ben Affleck (Argo‘s Producer-Director-Star) must have…