Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, second to Charles Manson, committing a series of grisly murders of thirty plus women in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Florida, Colorado, and Utah. His crimes were described by Judge Edward Cowart as “Extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile, and the product of design to inflict a high degree of pain”, and he was executed in the Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Though he was a despicable human being with no regard of human life, what sort of separated him from other serial killers was how charismatic he was; no other person could take on the persona of Bundy like Zac Efron, an actor with enough charisma to carry a movie, which is exactly what he does in this scatterbrained biopic based on the memoir ‘The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy’ by his former girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall (Portrayed by Lily Collins).
Continue reading “‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ Film Review”
There is no denying that musical biopics are making a comeback. With the success of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, and the upcoming ‘Rocketman’ set to hit theaters this summer. It is even more prevalent with the new Netflix film, ‘The Dirt’, which is based on the best-selling autobiographical novel of nearly the same name (subtitled ‘Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band’) by the members of Mötley Crüe, consisting of Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx. You would expect the story of one of the most controversial hard rock bands of the 80’s to be fodder for a documentary about the band itself (which was what I expected at first), yet screenwriter Rich Wilkes, and director Jeff Tremaine could not help but ride off the success of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
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In recent years, Tom Cruise has been labeled by people as “crazy”; whether it be his real life behavior, (Jumping on Oprah’s couch to declare his love for actress Katie Holmes, joining the church of Scientology) or becoming the American Jackie Chan by performing death-defying stunts in his action movies. (The ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise, ‘The Last Samurai’) Here, in ‘American Made’, Cruise further cements that label as real life American pilot Barry Seal; who became a drug mule for the Medellin Cartel in the early 80’s. Yet, his performance is not as over-the-top as I am making it out to be, instead, it is a bit restrained, and is more of a chance for Cruise to relive his glory days when he played the rebellious jet pilot, Maverick, in ‘Top Gun’. However, instead of fighting enemy pilots in a jet, Cruise plays your average everyday airline pilot who eventually gets an offer that leads to the smuggling of guns and drugs.
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The year was 1941, and two films came out that year that changed film forever; ‘Citizen Kane’, and ‘Sergeant York’. Both films are considered to be not only “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” by the American Film Institute (AFI, for short), but were also Oscar nominees running in nearly every one of the same category (Except ‘Supporting Actor and Actress’, which the latter was nominated for). Sadly, both films lost the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar to a lesser-known film called ‘How Green Was My Valley’. (I am still interested in viewing the film for that reason alone.) Despite both films being important to the film industry, only one received more box-office attention than the other. That film was ‘Sergeant York’. While ‘Citizen Kane’ went on to be shown in film schools (and high school classes) in later years as a tool for how to make a great film, ‘Sergeant York’ became the BIGGER deal. Not only was it a major Oscar nominee (winning only two for Gary Cooper’s performance as the real-life Alvin C. York, but for William Holmes’ editing as well.), it also became the highest-grossing film of that year. (Which, if adjusted for inflation, is still one of the highest grossing movies of all time)
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Martin Luther King Jr. day is coming, so it only seemed right for the Pix Theater to show Ava DuVernay’s biopic of the amazing preacher/civil rights leader/public speaker, Martin Luther King Jr. Although it doesn’t show his life from birth (which thank God, it doesn’t), it still manages to capture a time in his life when racism was still relevant and people of color didn’t fully get the rights they needed, which lead Martin to fight for equal rights by marching from Selma to Montgomery with tons of people who joined in, making history with each step. They can vote now, but are still faced with prejudice and hate crimes, including violence. That alone makes ‘Selma’ relevant to today’s world of cinema. It came out in late 2014 (just in time for the 2015 Oscars), but its relevancy and social commentary still hold up today when crime and racial issues are heavily on the rise.
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After all the flak Mel Gibson has been getting for his drunk angry outbursts including Anti-Semitic and racial insults, it is finally a relief to see him back in the director’s chair; one of the few times he has tried to redeem himself as an actor was with the Jodie Foster directed drama, ‘The Beaver’, where he played a family man using a Beaver hand puppet as a way of communicating with his estranged family. It was a good movie, but there was something dark and dull about it that caused it to be a bit of a letdown. It looks like Gibson has nowhere to go, but back behind the camera; cross in his hand and a prayer in his heart that he can truly gain celebrity status again in the form of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’.
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Tom Hanks wears white makeup on his hair and even his mustache (for some reason) to take the part of real life airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who made a critical decision by crash-landing a plane in the Hudson River – where a reported 155 people, including Sullenberger survived on January 15, 2009. It is a very miraculous story and feels like a sign of God, but what was the result of the aftermath and what went on in the mind of this man a day after?
Continue reading “‘Sully’ Film Review.”