KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Poffy The Cucumber

The Capitalism of Killing. KILLING THEM SOFTLY opens with scarring sound design and disturbing images of debris-strewn streets, and then launches into the poetry of small time hood-speak. (Mobalogue? Gangsternacular?) Writer-director Andrew Dominik (ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES, 2007) approaches an excellence in his writing and direction that is the closest thing to Tarantino without actually lazily copying him, as this … Read More

THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

Poffy The Cucumber

The Incredible Jim Carrey (and the Soporific Steve Carell). Steve Carell is not a terrible comedian. Yet I still wonder how he gets starring roles as a comedian. Carell is THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE, a successful – yet boring – entertainer (much like Steve Carell), who must get his magician’s tricks and personal licks up to speed, to stave off … Read More

ZERO DARK THIRTY

Poffy The Cucumber

Zero Dork Skirty. Not exactly propaganda, not exactly lies, not exactly conspiracy theory. ZERO DARK THIRTY, the story about the American hunt for Osama bin Laden, is maybe a touch of all three… According to real life grunts, the title ZERO DARK THIRTY is bollocks. The military pronounce the “zero” as “oh”; and it doesn’t mean 12:30 a.m. (as the … Read More

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS

Poffy The Cucumber

When damaged souls collide. A married businessman spends his money on a prostitute. (And right now you’re thinking: ‘So what’s new?’) WELCOME TO THE RILEYS follows married Indianapolis businessman Douglas Riley (James Gandolfini) to New Orleans for a conference. While out on the town that night, he befriends 20-year-old stripper, Allison (Kristen Stewart) – no, not in that way. He … Read More

IN THE LOOP

Poffy The Cucumber

So you like a little politics with your swearing… IN THE LOOP is a thunder-paced, dialogue-driven British comedy with corruption more insidious than SYRIANA and dialogue more fierce than PULP FICTION. Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) is a small-thinking, mealy-mouthed, indecisive, powerless British politician (i.e. your average politician, British or otherwise), craving to be taken seriously in the worst way. After … Read More

A CIVIL ACTION

Poffy The Cucumber

Justice IS blind – so can’t see Truth. In movies, the good guys always seem to win court cases. Over an ingratiating orchestra swell, no less. But in reality, good or bad has nothing to do with the outcome of court cases. It’s how you play the game. If you can afford to be in the game in the first … Read More

TRUE ROMANCE

Poffy The Cucumber

Delicious Vicious, Frantic Romantic. A brazen thug-fest, played like an adventure story for boys. Tony Scott (TOP GUN, DAYS OF THUNDER) directs TRUE ROMANCE, but it’s got Quentin Tarantino‘s stank all over it – delicious dialogue juggled with vicious gun play. Though Tarantino is listed only as “writer,” TRUE ROMANCE seems to be the middle child of what could be … Read More

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 2009

Poffy The Cucumber

Rocking the remake rails. An organized gang of criminals led by Ryder (John Travolta) takes hostage a New York subway train, and train dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) must talk them down. Brian Helgeland screenwrites and Tony Scott (TOP GUN, TRUE ROMANCE, MAN ON FIRE) directs this remake of the 1974 film of the same name, THE TAKING OF PELHAM … Read More

ALL THE KING’S MEN 2006

Poffy The Cucumber

…couldn’t put this movie together again. At least Sean Penn doesn’t use ALL THE KING’S MEN as another vehicle to showcase his talent for crying on cue. With a down-home accent that needs subtitles more desperately than Mel Gibson’s ocker in MAD MAX needed overdubbing, Penn plays Louisiana politician Willie Stark, a rambunctious gadfly who attempts to usurp power from … Read More

SURVIVING CHRISTMAS

Poffy The Cucumber

Surviving Affleck. There is one great moment in SURVIVING CHRISTMAS that almost makes it worth the pain: James Gandolfini cracks a shovel over Ben Affleck‘s stupid head. This movie serves as yet another unfortunate example of James Gandolfini proving what a great actor he is whilst simultaneously besmirching his career by acting in this film. Young, wealthy ad exec, Drew … Read More

THE SOPRANOS – SEASON 3-38: AMOUR FOU

Poffy The Cucumber

Women Be Crazy. O god, why hast thou made this gleaming snare Woman, to dog us on the happy earth? — Euripides, Hippolytus 428 BC. Amour Fou – love so intense it drives one to madness. Mad love. Gloria Trillo (Annabella Sciorra, filling the TV screen more than lusciously), the latest in a long line of Tony’s mistresses, who would … Read More

THE SOPRANOS – SEASON 3-32: UNIVERSITY

Poffy The Cucumber

Bringing True Violence to the Simulated Screen. Once again, THE SOPRANOS explores the nature of True Violence, impacting our atrophied sensibilities with its directness. But how is the beating to death of a stripper so disturbing to our supposedly hardened psyches? Surely what we have seen over the years on our cathode-ray tubes and in darkened theaters has prepared us … Read More

THE SOPRANOS – SEASON 3-30: EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Poffy The Cucumber

The Antisocial Truth behind the Socially-Acceptable Fiction. THE SOPRANOS leans heavily on Freud. And I’m a Freud kinda guy (over a Jung kinda guy – as I am a Nietzsche Kinda Guy over a Kant Kinda Guy – and no, I did not appreciate the shot at Nietzsche in Episode 20 (“D-Girl”), “Nietzsche wound up talkin’ to his horse”). Freud … Read More

THE LAST CASTLE

Poffy The Cucumber

Farcical Castle. THE LAST CASTLE was a good movie…until it got stupid. Then it was a stupid movie… until it got pillow-fartingly ridiculous. A military prison. Warden: Tony Soprano. New inmate: highly respected and profusely-decorated 3-star general Robert Redford. Theme: Battle Theorist (Tony, who sports a collection of battle memorabilia, weapons, literature) versus Battle Veteran (Redford, whose field credits include … Read More