Sunday, August 2, 2009

Torrent Picks 8/2/09

Well its that time of week again, for me to put out some torrents that I think everyone might enjoy, or atleast give a look too.. anyway with that said, i'll just get right into it...

Gran Torino: I'm going to say what I've said all along about this film, this film is the best ending to the story of "Dirty Harry" Callahan, the tough as nails cop that Clint Eastwood is known for playing. Ofcourse anyone thats heard of this film knows that Gran Torino isn't really the final film of the Harry Callahan series, but its written as if it is. Clint Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski, a widower who holds onto his prejudices despite the changes in his Michigan neighborhood and the world around him. Kowalski is a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Tao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Tao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that infest their neighborhood. Its just an amazing film from start to end, will have you sitting there in awe of it, and all that it is. Its moving, its beautiful and its very much the kind of film you don't want to miss out on. Just simply amazing.

Suburban Mayhem: I talk alot about how with the internet there really is no boundary for films, and no real excuse to not find or see something extraordinary that the world is buzzing about do to lack of it being in your local theater or rental store. There is no excuse anymore, between downloadable films and online specialty dvd shops. One of those films that people have been buzzing about was 2006's "Suburban Mayhem", an ambitious aussie film set in Golden Grove, a suburb of the city of Adelaide, South Australia. It tells the story of Katrina, a teenage mother who sleeps around with various men, when her father threatens to call social services to take her daughter away from her, she hatches a plan to murder her father, believing that she can't live with out her daughter and she decides to not even consider the idea of ever working for a living, and that the money she would gain from his death would keep her going for many years. After deciding this is her only course of action, Katrina takes it onto herself to travel from one of her many lovers to another to find someone that will do the job for her, and with out telling you much of what happens, because I do hate spoilers ever so, Katrina becomes infamous in Golden Grove for more then just her habit of sleeping around. This film is great, its an awesome snapshot of what we call a "black comedy", meaning a film thats darkly funny, which this film definitely is. Plus I just loved the print add campaign for it, giving it that old 1940s pulp comic book feel, just the right touch for the right film. If you've not seen it, and I'm betting alot of you haven't, you really should, its just perfectly done dark fun. Oh and if you are paying attention, you'll see Mia Wasikowska in the film as Layla, for those of you that don't yet know, Mia Wasikowska is set to make her big star breakthrough in Tim Burton's soon to be released Alice In Wonderland as Alice.

A Bronx Tale: This is one of those films that you forget about until you find it years later on weekend afternoon television, and the memory of just how awesome it is sticks with you, this is one of the lesser known De Niro films, but to me, its probably one of his best. He still is playing the loud guy from The Bronx role, but this time, he's not playing it as a cop trying to clean up the streets or a gangster who runs them, this time he's playing a father who just wants his son to grow up and be a better man then he is, to rise above all the crime on the streets and make something of himself, when watching it I often wonder if he's channeling his own father when playing the role, given that De Niro's own upbringing was somewhat similar. Set first in 1960 De Niro plays Lorenzo Anello, a bus driver who works hard to get by, alot of times working himself to the point of exhaustion, but he's honest, he works a good job and is living above all the crime in the neighborhood he's lived his whole life in, at the age of nine, his son Calogero witnesses a crime done by local mobster Sonny and his crew, after keeping quiet and not telling the police what he'd seen, Sonny takes a liking to Cal, who starts to visit Sonny and his men at the bar below where Cal and his father lives. This doesn't sit well with his father obviously, the film jumps ahead to 1968, Cal is 17 years old and is forced to choose between his two mentors, Sonny and his Father, he also starts dating a young black girl, much tot he dislike of his racist friends, who beat up her brother and plan a raid of sorts on the mostly back neighborhood where Cal's girlfriend lives. The film tells the story of how Cal learns to do the right thing, and eventually chooses his side, and which of his mentor's paths to follow. For all its brilliance and seemingly prefect depiction of life in The Bronx in the 1960s, there are some rather violent scenes, the scene where Cal's friends raid the black neighborhood being probably the most violent in the film, followed by the scene where a gang of bikers get decimated by the local mafia to the song "The 10 Commandments of Love" by The Moonglows, but I don't believe any of the violence actually takes away from the film and the story, it tries to show that life in the 1960s in The Bronx, New York wasn't exactly safe and carefree. If you've not seen this, you really should, Its just so well made and touching in a way I personally wasn't expecting it to be. I love when a film does that, makes you have hope for the film industry in a way it does.

Candy: This film has to be one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies of all time. On paper Candy looks like it should be a hit, it has an all star cast of who's who in the late 1960s; Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn, Walter Matthau, Ringo Starr, John Astin (Gomez of TV's The Addam's Family), and Ewa Aulin as the title role are among the many stars that appear in the film. You would think that with a cast like that, a film would be an instant hit, well, it wasn't. Loosely based off the novel "Candy" by Maxwell Kenton, a modernization of the 1759 french satire "Candide" written by Voltaire, it tells the story of Candy Christian, a beautiful young girl in the late 1960s who's young and beautiful and blond in the world where being blond beautiful and wearing go-go boots with a mini skirt will get you anywhere, Candy is rather naive and trusting, and is completely clueless in the fact that most people seem to want to use her curious and trusting nature for their own, normally perverted needs. The opening sequence shows a ball of light we assume is Candy (Ewa Aulin) descending to Earth from outer space. In the next scene, she is in school, where her father (John Astin) is also her teacher. She attends a poetry recital by eccentric poet MacPhisto (Richard Burton), who offers her a ride home in his limousine. At her home, MacPhisto gets increasingly drunk and continues to recite poems, inspiring Candy and the Mexican gardener Emanuel (Ringo Starr) to have sex. After this scandal, the family decides to send her off to a private school, and she embarks on a psychedelic journey during which she meets a number of strange people, including a sex starved military general (Walter Matthau), a doctor who performs public operations (James Coburn), a hunchback (Charles Aznavour) and a fake Indian guru (Marlon Brando). The film is one of those films that is so bad it swings all the way back around to incredible, simply on the fact its just so hilariously done. John Astin plays two roles, T.H Christian, an uptight repressive super straight and narrow teacher, and his brother, Jack Christian who's an active swinger who openly lives a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll with his girlfriend, and I think for the first 30 or so minutes at times steals the show in these roles, delivering one of the best lines in the whole film during the confrontation with Emanuel's family, "This isn't some Boarder town with no laws where you can come and go as you please..... doing.... Mexican things!", the whole film is full of lines that are just as funny, its just the way Astin delivers the line is so perfect. So if you're up for, or need a really good laugh, give this film a look, sure Candy isn't by any means an incredible film, and sure its funny to laugh at good actors in roles that don't really fit them, but thats the fun of it, the whole completely shlock feel of it, sure its bad, we all know its bad, it knows its bad, and laughter is the way it gets spanked for being so bad. So give it a look if you haven't seen it yet, you won't be let down, or need anti-depressant drugs for awhile after seeing it.

10 Things I Hate About You: With my recently reviewing the television series based on this film, and with me being such a big fan of it, I felt the need to add the film to my picks for this week, sure, some call it lazy, others call it great, me, I don't really care, i just love the film and wanted to share it, and I figured friday's review was the perfect opening for me to put it in the list. So, for those of you who don't know, let me break this film down for you. Its a modernization of the play The Taming Of The Shrew, released in 1999 and considered by many to be the definitive movie of that era, though some still argue "can't hardly wait" should hold that title, but we'll get to that movie next week. The main plot of 10 things is as follows: popular girl in school Bianca Stratford can't date until her older sister Kat has a boyfriend of her own, its some strange rule that their over protective father has instilled in the household, a generic looking male model who goes to their school decides he wants to get Bianca to date him, so he enlists the help of a kid named Patrick, who everyone fears and shys away from to take out Kat so him and Bianca can date, he also enlists the help of new to their school Cam to be the "cover date" believing that if once they were able too, Bianca's dad wouldn't allow her to date a guy who was a male model, Cam agrees to help because he really likes Bianca, and Patrick agrees to get Kat to date him because he's getting paid to. The film really tells the story of Kat and Patrick and how even though he was to be paid to date her, he falls in love with Kat, who also falls in love with him, when word gets out that he was paid at first to date her, Kat is hurt, and for the rest of the film Patrick spends his time trying to win her back, while Bianca discovers he would rather be with Cam then the other guy, near the end of the film Kat reads the poem she wrote for which the film is named. Its a great film that is just so enjoyable and fun to watch, and really hits the core of the 1990s perfectly. If you've not seen it you really need to give it a look, you won't be sorry.

Well thats it for now, I'll be back with more torrents next week.....



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