Sunday, December 6, 2009

Torrent Picks 12/06/09

Ok so we're gonna go abit different ths week with my movie picks, for the first time, we're going to do all recent films, because i was recently told via email that I seem to only favor older films, and act as if modern film making doesn't really matter in my eyes, and though i was confused with this by the simple fact that my site states, and i many times have stated as well that i am the master of the grindhouse film, its not that i don't like modern films, I do, very much, but i always tried to keep this as older and rare as possible, but, just this once, I shall go against that rule and do a list of five modern recent films that i enjoy, and feel you all shall as well.

So, here we go....

Taking Woodstock: Set in 1969, the film follows the true story of Elliot Tiber, an aspiring Greenwich Village interior designer whose parents own the small dilapidated El Monaco Motel in White Lake, in the town of Bethel, New York. The hippie theater troupe The Earthlight Players rents the barn, but can hardly pay any rent. They sometimes run around naked outside, but are then chased back into the barn by Elliot's mother. Due to supposed financial trouble the motel may have to be closed, but Elliot assists in trying to avoid that. Elliot plans to hold a small musical festival, and has, for one dollar, obtained a permit from the town of Bethel. When he hears that the organizers of the Woodstock Festival face opposition against the originally planned location, he offers his permit and the motel accommodations. Max Yasgur provides his nearby farm land; first they agree on a fee of $ 5,000, but after realizing how many people will come Yasgur demands $75,000, which the organizers reluctantly accept. Elliot comes to agreement about the fee for the motel more smoothly. Initial objections by his mother quickly disappear when she sees the cash paid in advance. A veteran transvestite is hired as security guard. Elliot and Yasgur encounter a little bit of expected opposition. The local diner refuses to serve Elliot anymore, inspectors target the hotel (and only his) for building code violations, and some local boys paint a swastika and hate words on the hotel. However, these things are quickly squelched, and Yasgur doesn't care because he's gotten more politeness from everybody that came then he ever got from the locals who oppose it. The Tiber family works hard and makes much money. Elliot and the viewer do not see the musical performances; on his way to them Elliot makes an LSD-trip with a couple, in their Volkswagen Bus. When back Elliot suggests to his mother that they have now money to hire a worker, so that he can leave, but his greedy mother prefers Elliot's free services. However, it turns out that Elliot's mother secretly (without even her husband knowing) saved $ 97,000, so that even before the festival they were financially fine. Elliot hates it that his mother pretended financial trouble and requested him to help out. With his father's blessing he leaves to live his own life. This is one of those films that you just love, but gets overlooked by the masses, its kinda like the old tv show The Wonder Years, but just different enough to make you not think its based on that. Its a touching at times, funny at others hidden gem, that honestly, if you can, you should have a look at you won't regret it.

2012: In 2009, American geologist Adrian Helmsley meets his friend, Doctor Santam Tsurutani, in India. Santam has discovered that neutrinos from a massive solar flare are acting as microwaves, causing the temperature of the Earth's core to increase rapidly. Adrian informs White House Chief of Staff Carl Anheuser and US President Thomas Wilson that this will instigate a catastrophic chain of natural disasters. At the G8 summit in 2010, other heads of state and heads of government are made aware of the situation. They begin a secret project intended to ensure humanity survives, choosing 400,000 people to board a series of gigantic ships to be constructed in the Himalayas. To help fund the venture, additional individuals are allowed to purchase tickets for one billion euros apiece. In 2012, Jackson Curtis is a writer in Los Angeles who works part-time as a limousine driver for wealthy Russian businessman Yuri Karpov. Jackson's ex-wife Kate and their children Noah and Lily live with her boyfriend, plastic surgeon and amateur pilot Gordon Silberman. Jackson takes Noah and Lily on a camping trip to Yellowstone National Park, where they meet Charlie Frost, a conspiracy theorist living as a hermit and hosting a radio show from the park. Charlie believes a theory that suggests the Mayans predicted the world would come to an end in 2012, and claims he has knowledge of a secret "space ship" project and possesses a map of their location. The family returns home as cracks develop along the San Andreas Fault in California and earthquakes occur in the San Francisco Bay area. Jackson grows suspicious and rents a plane to rescue his family. He collects his family and Gordon when the Earth's crust displacement begins and they escape Los Angeles as it collapses into the Pacific Ocean. As millions die in earthquakes worldwide, the group flies to Yellowstone to retrieve Charlie's map. The group narrowly escapes as the Yellowstone Caldera erupts. Charlie, who stayed behind to broadcast the eruption, is killed by the blast. Learning the ships are in China, the group lands in Las Vegas, where they meet Yuri, his sons, girlfriend Tamara, and pilot Sasha. They join the group and secure an Antonov An-225, fleeing Las Vegas as it is destroyed. The group flies to China, passing Hawaii as it is obliterated by volcanic eruptions. Also bound for the ships aboard Air Force One are Anheuser, Adrian, and First Daughter Laura Wilson. President Wilson chooses to remain in Washington D.C. to address the world about the coming disasters. After surviving the collapse of the Washington Monument, he is then killed by a giant tsunami that sends the USS John F. Kennedy crashing into the White House. With the Vice President dead and the Speaker of the House missing, Anheuser appoints himself acting president. Arriving in China in a crash-landing that kills Sasha, Yuri and his sons are taken to the ships, stranding the Curtis family, Gordon, and Tamara, who do not possess tickets. The group is picked up by Nima, a Buddhist monk. They sneak into an ark through its hydraulics chamber with the help of Nima's brother Tenzin, a welder for the ark project. Meanwhile, Satnam calls Adrian to inform him that an uncharted tsunami is engulfing India and heading towards the arks. Anheuser orders the arks sealed, trapping thousands outside. Adrian convinces the G8 leaders to let the remaining people board. As the ark's boarding gate is lowered and then raised, Yuri falls to his death getting his two sons aboard, and Gordon falls between the gears and dies. A large drill then falls and becomes lodged between the gears, preventing the gate from closing and rendering the ship unable to start its engines. The tsunami begins flooding the ark, drowning Tamara and setting the ark adrift. Jackson and Noah free the drill from the closing mechanism. The crew regains control of the ark, preventing a fatal collision with Mount Everest. When the floodwater from the tsunamis recedes after 1 month and 27 days, satellite data shows that Africa rose in relation to sea level, and the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu Natal are now the highest on the planet. As three arks (ark 04, the American ark, 06 and 07) set sail for the Cape of Good Hope, Jackson reconciles with his family and Adrian starts a relationship with Laura. The movie ends with a view of the Earth and a geographically different landscape. Ok seriously this by far the hottest movie on the planet right now, and i gotta tell you, its well with it, sure the disaster film is a staple of the Grindhouse era, and it has risen out of it to become a staple of the blockbuster era, and though i don't agree with alot of them, i do agree with this film, well worth the look if you haven't seen it yet.

Law Abiding Citizen: After a home invasion leaves his wife and daughter dead, engineer Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is told that one of the criminals responsible will not be convicted, as much of the evidence against that criminal was compromised by a bungled forensic investigation. Shelton pleads for the prosecutor, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), to take the case to court. However, Rice is mostly interested in maintaining his 96% conviction rate, and tells Shelton that it does not matter what is right, but what can be proven in court, stating that it's how the justice system works. Rice then makes a deal with Clarence Darby (Christian Stolte), the actual criminal who murdered Shelton's wife and daughter, for third-degree murder; his accomplice, Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart), is sent to death row on what is essentially a theft charge. Shelton later sees Rice shaking hands with Darby as if they had just finished a deal, feeling betrayed. Ten years later, Ames is executed by lethal injection; due to a chemical alteration, he dies an agonizing death. Initial evidence leads to Darby, who is alerted to the presence of police by a stranger who calls Darby's phone, helping him escape. The stranger orders Darby to throw away his gun and get in a cop car. He says that he will find a cop in the car sleeping. The caller tells Darby to make the cop drive to an abandoned warehouse. Once at the warehouse, Darby forces the cop out of the car and, with the cop's gun, gets ready to execute him. However, the cop is revealed to be Shelton in disguise, who reveals that he's also the stranger who called Darby in; when Darby attempts to shoot him, the gun handle injects him with tetrodotoxin, paralyzing him. Shelton proceeds to lead Darby into the warehouse, where he straps him to an operating table, confessing that he had caused the chemical alteration that killed Ames. At that point, Shelton systematically dismembers Darby alive in revenge of his family's demise. The police come upon Darby's remains, and they quickly arrest Shelton, who allows them to do so. Rice arrives to interrogate Shelton and congratulate him on removing Darby from society. While he's doing so, Shelton initially confesses to the crime, and Rice begins to depart, but Shelton points out that his statement is not legally admissible evidence. During this time, Rice's family, whom Rice cannot spend enough time with due to the nature of his work (for example, he is unable attend his daughter's cello recitals), receives a DVD of Shelton torturing Darby to his death. Shelton agrees to make a real confession in exchange for an expensive mattress in his prison cell. Rice agrees after his superior orders him to, as there is virtually no real evidence connecting Shelton to the murder. At his hearing, Shelton opposes Rice's motion to deny him bail, citing obscure legal precedents. After Judge Laura Burch (Annie Corley), who also presided at Darby's trial, agrees, Shelton begins a tirade, railing against the judge's myopia for the law versus justice, and is removed for contempt of court. Rice delivers Shelton's mattress and receives his confession of the murders of Darby and Ames. However, Shelton bargains to make another confession for the life of Bill Reynolds (Richard Portnow), Darby's attorney. Shelton claims that Reynolds is alive, and will give his location in exchange for an expensive steak dinner delivered at precisely 1 p.m., along with music from his iPod. Despite repeating that the time must be exact, Warden Inger (Gregory Itzin) forces multiple searches, resulting in Shelton receiving his lunch eight minutes late. After finally getting Reynolds' location, Rice and Detective Dunnigan (Colm Meaney) take a helicopter to it, only to find Reynolds buried alive and only minutes dead, with Inger's delay causing him to suffocate. Shelton, after finishing lunch and sharing with his cell mate, brutally murders him using the bone from the steak. Shelton is then put into a solitary confinement cell underground. After Rice's assistant, Sarah Lowell (Leslie Bibb), finds evidence of contract payments to Shelton from the Department of Defense, district attorney Jonas Cantrell (Bruce McGill) takes Rice to meet a CIA operative (Michael Kelly) who worked with Shelton. The operative tells them that Shelton was a "brain" for the CIA, working in a black ops think tank, that he was the best in the field until he retired, and that if Shelton wants them dead, he'll succeed in it unless they kill him first. The following day, Rice and Cantrell convince Judge Burch to sign an order restricting Shelton's privileges, despite the fact that this might violate his civil rights. Moments later, the judge answers her cell phone and is killed by a bomb placed in it. Rice confronts Shelton, who says the killings are not about revenge, but about the failure of the justice system, and Rice's personal failure to keep his word to place the criminals convicted in the first place. He then claims that, unless he is released with all charges dropped by 6 A.M., he will kill everyone in the DA's office. The office workers congregate at the prison, they once again to do not listen to Shelton and 6 A.M. pass by. Rice sends them all home to rest. As they enter their cars, bombs go off from underneath each vehicle, killing six, including Rice's protege Sarah. Realizing that Shelton is keeping good to his word, Rice becomes puzzled over Shelton's spree of murders on the outside while he's behind bars, leaving him to speculate that Shelton has an accomplice. At Sarah's funeral, a remote drone slaughters several attendees, including Cantrell. Rice is appointed acting DA by the mayor (Viola Davis), and a massive meeting is called to determine a way to remove Shelton. Rice, via Sarah's computer, receives some information that points to Shelton owning a garage right next to the prison. He and Dunnigan examine the garage, finding a tunnel system leading to every solitary cell underground, including Shelton's, which can explain how Shelton solely does his dirty work to commit the murders. Upon entering Shelton's cell, Rice finds it empty. Shelton, dressed as a custodian, plants a napalm bomb in City Hall, planning to kill the mayor and most of the senior staff of the Philadelphia emergency services as the final cog of his master plan; however, Rice finds it just in time. Upon his return to his cell, Shelton is confronted by Rice. Shelton offers one final deal which Rice refuses, stating that he no longer makes deals with murderers (the origin of Shelton's anger). Rice calmly tells Shelton that if he attempts to detonate the bomb, he'll have to live with the consequences of that action for the rest of his life. Shelton, after considering for a long moment, does so anyway, and Rice locks shut Shelton's cell, while Dunnigan locks his escape route. Shelton quickly realizes the bomb was placed under his cot, but nevertheless, doesn't care about that anymore, as he calmly looks at a bracelet made by his daughter just before the home invasion. At that time, the bomb goes off, killing Shelton and blowing part of the prison off. The film ends with Rice finally joining his wife for his daughter's recital. This is a modern take on the old school bad ass / revenge film concept, that genre that made people like Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris famous, and though most would argue this isn't the best recent example, but i rather enjoyed this film, and hopefully you will as well.

Astro Boy: Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a futuristic world wherein androids co-exist with humans. Its focus is on the adventures of the titular "Astro Boy" (sometimes called simply "Astro"), a powerful robot created by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma, to replace his son Tobio, who died in a car accident. Dr. Tenma built Astro in Tobio's image and treated him as lovingly as if he were the real Tobio, but soon realized that the little android could not fill the void of his lost son, especially given that Astro could not grow older or express human aesthetics (in one set of panels, Astro is shown preferring the mechanical shapes of cubes over the organic shapes of flowers). In the original 1960 edition, Tenma rejected Astro and sold him to a cruel circus owner, Hamegg. After some time, Professor Ochanomizu, the new head of the Ministry of Science, noticed Astro Boy performing in the circus and convinced Hamegg to turn Astro over to him. He then took Astro as his own and treated him gently and warmly, becoming his legal guardian. He soon realized that Astro was gifted with superior powers and skills, as well as the ability to experience human emotions. Astro then is shown fighting crime, evil, and injustice. Most of his enemies were robot-hating humans, robots gone berserk, or alien invaders. Almost every story included a battle involving Astro and other robots. This is a favorite of mine, I grew up watching the old dubbed version of Astro Boy, which I just loved so very very much, sure it was campy, sure it was silly, sure it didn't really have the same feel as other early anime, or even recent anime, but it doesn't matter, its astro boy, and thats all i care about honestly, the awesome that is nostalgia, plus its pretty cute over all, and we all need to stop and take a moment for cute at some point in our lives.

Samson And Delilah: Samson and Delilah is the first feature film directed by Warwick Thornton. It stars Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson, both young first time actors. It was filmed in and around Alice Springs. Described as a “survival love story” by the director, the film depicts two indigenous Australian 14 year olds living in a remote Aboriginal community who steal a car and escape their difficult lives by going to Alice Springs.[1] The film competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival,[2] winning the Caméra d'Or ('Gold Camera Award' for best first feature film) at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.[3][4] Screen Australia anounced on 29 September 2009 that the film has been nominated as Australia's official entry in the Academy Awards best foreign language film category. This is one of the films that makes me question my love/hate with Aussie films honestly, the story is both fresh and new, and different, and the acting is actually alot better then you would expect from two unknowns that have never starred in so much as a tv add spot for anything, its a great film with a great story and a great great cast, and is truly a hidden gem that will get passed over by many sadly, so if you can, give it a look, you won't be let down at all.

Well thats it for this week, I hope all of you enjoy these as much as i do, and maybe i'll do a different theme next week, maybe foreign films, i'm not sure yet, but i'll think about it.

So until then, enjoy...




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