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This Boy’s Life

Robert De Niro gets top billing, but young Leonardo DiCaprio is the revelation of This Boy’s Life, an astute, often painful drama of growing up in the 1950s Pacific Northwest, based on the autobiographical novel by Tobias Woolf. DiCaprio plays Tobias, a good kid with a bad boy streak but an unwavering love for his divorced mother (Ellen Barkin). “I want to be a better boy,” he promises from under a greasy pompadour, and tries to prove it when she marries single father Dwight (DeNiro), a bully who parents through intimidation and humiliation. DiCaprio is magnetic in his first starring role, full of anger, hope, and confusion as he drifts back to juvenile delinquency, and his intensity gives the true story of survival and triumph its charge. DeNiro is frightening and pathetic as Dwight, and Dwight’s youngest daughter is played by future star and vampire slayer Eliza Dushku.

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American Psycho

”I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don’t know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.”

A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies.

Christian Bale: Patrick Bateman

Christian Bale is arguably modern cinema’s
biggest rising actors from the UK going to an all boy’s school in Bournemouth originally.
I sometimes consider hailing him as the greatest performer of this generation, particularly when I watched his leap-to-fame performance in American Psycho. On its release i remember reading it received mixed acclaim; nevertheless, Bale was nearly always commended for performing in the remarkably charismatic role of Patrick Bateman.

The character ranks among contemporary literature’s greatest creations and real life serial killers, similar to Hannibal Lector, Leatherface or Zodiac, and back in 2000 a young Bale somehow managed to embody the yup maniac. The character’s slickly menacing demeanor, attentive idiosyncrasies, and always brewing revulsion is intuitively mastered in this offbeat satire.

Patrick Bateman is both the definitive New York yuppie and the ultimate sociopath. He is hidden by the Wall Street businessman persona, and his pastime activities are unnoticed by his self-obsessed associates- like himself. He thrives off a colossal maze of jealously, established on distaste for any minor, physical and social hiccup. Little do such men know that they are dehumanizing any merit they once had.

Bret Easton Ellis’ original novel contains possibly the most graphic depictions of sex and violence in any novel I have ever read. I read it a while ago from my Library. Appropriately, director Mary Harron places much of the novel’s explicit content off-screen, similar to how the book simply lets the reader imagine the vivid nature of the content.

For this reason, American Psycho is faithful to its source, and for a novel which includes such terminal violence there is still a huge amount of wit and charm. This owes to the book’s satirical disposition, with its brazen accuracy and jagged humour. It is in many respects an absurdist’s take on an already surreal culture; this lends the questionable theme of subjective reality to the protagonist’s actions and experiences.
Mary Harron utilizes the satirical facets of the novel, and essentially uses satire as a device of ridiculing yuppie culture. Nevertheless, the component which is best suited is that this image of an alpha-male dominated society, which is directed from a female standpoint, but not an overtly feminist one. More than anything, American Psycho is a critique of ignorance, materialism and self-infatuation.

The cast play it cool throughout the feature, concurrently sinking their teeth into the bitter irony of cultural stereotypes.

For those of you who might be put off by the sardonic title, don’t be. This is a twisted and intelligent take on cultural archetypes, with much prominence being placed on whether the viewer deems Patrick Bateman’s sociopath alter-ego a manifestation of sub-conscious monotony or that he is genuinely committing the murderous, masochistic acts shown on screen.

Whichever way you look at it, there is no definitive answer, but one thing is for sure, that this cinematic assertion is a strong sentiment of yuppie narcissism. As dark as it may seem, there is no denying the indisputable entertaining quality of a film crammed with meaningful malevolence. This is a film which unsympathetically attacks the business world, implying that dumb people from wealthy backgrounds are groomed for slacker success. These white collar machines are not savvy, nor do they even so much as turn a blind-eye to anyone other than their materialistic statements of self-worth. In a way, this is their only means of clinging onto reality, for they hide behind their denial, with a reputable image of self-worth.

My favourite scenes are numerous including Bale’s rivalistic business card scene being better than everyone else’s to shooting an old lady after trying to feed the cat to an ATM.

Made me burst the reference to Phil Collins too, so crazy it will make you laugh for all the wrong reasons but you will love it.

The ending left me thinking which was also of note, it lingers, it resides in your mind,

As Michael Douglas once said:

”Greed is Good…”

American Psycho is an assault on the senses. A classic.

serialthrillerinspiration:

Never sleep again.

Perfume

"Perfume" is a terrifying story of murder and obsession set in 18th-century France. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille has a unique talent for discerning the scents and smells that swirl around him, which he uses to create the world’s finest perfumes. Strangely lacking any scent of his own, he becomes obsessed with capturing the irresistible but elusive aroma of young womanhood. As Grenouille’s obsession turns deadly, 12 young girls are found murdered. Panic breaks out as people rush to protect their daughters, while an unrepentant and unrelenting Grenouille still lacks the final ingredient to complete his quest.

The tale of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was considered unfilmable, untill now. Tom Tykwer brings the serial killer to life in such a gorgeous and stylish fashion. Wonderfully dark and at 140 minutes, surprisingly captivating. The support cast of Hoffman and Rickman are at their usual greatness, but it’s Whishaw’s performance that gives you the willies.

La Vie en Rose (La Mome)

Writer/director Olivier Dahan (Crimson Rivers II) helmed La Vie en Rose, the screen biopic of tragic French songstress Edith Piaf. Marion Cotillard portrays Piaf, the superstar once raised as a young girl by her grandmother in a Normandy bordello, then discovered on a French street corner — as a complete unknown — by cabaret proprietor Louis Leplée (Gérard Depardieu). The film segues breezily between various episodes from Piaf’s life — such as her lover, French boxer Marcel Cerdan’s (Jean-Pierre Martins) championship bout in mid-’40s New York; her period in Hollywood during the ’50s; Piaf’s abandonment as a young girl by her contortionist father (and earlier by her mother, a street singer); her brushes with the law as an adult; and her 1951 car accident and subsequent morphine addiction that caused her to age well beyond her years and left her barely mobile; and, through it all, her ability (like Billie Holiday) to funnel personal tragedy and emotional struggles into her vocalizations — dazzling audiences in the process.

Midnight in Paris

This is a romantic comedy set in Paris about a family that goes there because of business, and two young people who are engaged to be married in the fall have experiences there that change their lives. It’s about a young man’s great love for a city, Paris, and the illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better. It stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Carla Bruni, among others.

Midnight in Paris, is a charming, frothy confection, for fans of Woody Allen, 20th century American literature and Paris. It’s the story of Gil, a time travelling Paris-o-phile author played by Owen Wilson, who for unexplained reasons, travels back to the 1920s and meets every famous artist by sheer luck (Hemmingway, the Fitzgeralds, Cole Porter, PIcasso, Dali, Gertrude Stein, and many others. Wilson is uhappily engaged to shallow harpy Inez, (Rachel McAdams, playing an uncharacteristic return to her mean girl, all grown up and 30 something) In the 20s, he falls in love with PIcasso’s girlfriend (Marion Cotillard). It’s fun, full of terrific comic turns, looks wonderful (Paris as an HD picture postcard) has some very amusing little impersonations of iconic artists (look for the scene stealing Cory Stoll as Hemingway, and hammy Adrien Brody as Dali). Look for France’s first lady Carla Bruni as the guide at the Rodin museum. Midnight…. is ultimately about very little of substance except one interesting point: why are we all nostalgic for an idealized past that was never really ideal? That point, tackled with imagination and wit, is thin, and not enough to give this movie gravitas and purpose. Woody won a best original screenplay Oscar for his efforts, but the writing is self-conciously chatty and the characters all seem to speak in Woody’s voice, especially Owen Wilson, California surfer drawl and all. He’s fun to watch, though a bit of a one trick pony, his iconic character works well in this role and has the audience’s sympathies. Cotillard plays a more complex character, but the movie cheats her of a real pay off, stranding her in the belle epoque 1890’s (her dream nostalgia period) with no real resolution. Still for me, and of my fascination of great artists of the past, it was a delightful and tasty romp, and well worth a look.

Little Ashes

For years, scholars have debated the nature of the relationship between surrealist painter Salvador Dali and poet Federico Garcia Lorca; director Paul Morrison’s Little Ashes delves into their personal interaction and their acquaintanceship with Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, with whom Dali made L’Age d’Or and Un Chien Andalou. In 1922 Madrid, bohemian lifestyles are flourishing — from the arrival of jazz music to the en vogue teachings of Sigmund Freud. As the tale opens, Salvador Dali (Robert Pattinson) is only 18, but his dreams of artistic glory lie poised in front of him; his outré personality and social attitudes soon draw the full-fledged attention of two from the in-crowd — Lorca (Javier Beltrán) and Buñuel (Matthew McNulty). For a temporary period, the three become the most “in” clique in all of Spain and find themselves virtually defining the currents of modernism; however, Buñuel then leaves for Paris, and Salvador and Federico are thrust together even closer than before — so close that one night, their relations suddenly cross the line from platonic friendship to something far more intimate.

Donnie Darko

Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high-school student who also has a dark and willfully eccentric side; he does little to mask his contempt for many of his peers and enjoys challenging the authority of the adults around him. Donnie is also visited on occasion by Frank, a monstrous six-foot rabbit that only Donnie can see who often urges him to perform dangerous and destructive pranks. Late one night, Frank leads Donnie out of his home to inform him that the world will come to an end in less than a month; moments later, the engine of a jet aircraft comes crashing through the ceiling of Donnie’s room, making him think there might be something to Frank’s prophesies after all. The rest of Donnie’s world is only marginally less bizarre, as he finds himself dealing with his confused parents (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne), his college-age sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal), his perplexed analyst (Katherine Ross), a rebellious English teacher (Drew Barrymore), a sleazy self-help expert (Patrick Swayze), and the new girl at school who is attracted by Donnie’s quirks (Jena Malone). 

The story, the acting by the entire cast (Jake Gyllenhaal in particular), and the dialogue is absolutely mesmerizing. The film is told through present time, past time, and a time that is left up to you to decipher. This is a story that follows a troubled young boy as he imagines creatures and has a very two-sided perspective on life. There are moments that will have you chuckling, moments that will have you star-struck in fear, and moments that are just too strange and over-intense to handle.

Remarkably brilliant and mind boggling but the intelligent premise of the plot itself would only strike interest to those who tend to do more than just watch the film itself. This movie is cleverly original full of random concepts that’ll leave you thinking which is probably the problem to it. There’s too much going on all at the same time, but nonetheless, this movie is worth watching and going the extra mile in researching.