Film Reviews by Richie Werner

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January 3, 2013 by rmwerner

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BLOG FILM REVIEW SAMPLE                                                                                         RICHARD WERNER

Lies My Father Told Me

Richie rated this movie: 5

Just caught this on TCM haven’t seen this film in over 30 years. Saw it as a little boy. Never realized the impact it had on me. This is a beautiful and devastating film about growing up, changing times, life death and faith. The moments between the little boy and his Grandfather are such a celebration to me. Grown ups do suck in so many ways. This movie doesn’t soften that blow. Movie is not unlike Robert Duval’s directorial Debut, a film called ANGELO MY LOVE about a little boy in NY’s Gypsy community. Also it is a hard film to find.  I am sad this film is not recognized as the classic it is. One of my all time faves!

The Dark Knight Rises

Richie rated this movie: 4

I liked it. The thing I love about the Nolan Batman films is the same thing I don’t love about them. Nolan has done an operatic adaptation of a comic book. Largest scale one can imagine. This film is like an opera—Very serious with very little camp at all. Complete with a cast of excellent actors who know how to bring reality to a hyper-fantastical world. This adaptation is empathetic to both the villains and heroes. Numerous characters express both revolutionary and counter revolutionary ideas as well as Eastern philosophy at times. Also some political statements regarding the “99 percent” A city once again under siege Very tragic in tone. Again, just like an opera.

Also very bloated almost pompas style to the trilogy, which works for and against it. One would think the ground cracks with every step that is taken by any character in this film.  All 3 of these films are told in 3 acts each. By the time we get to the third and final act I am worn out. Every time. Average length of a comic book read is usually less than an hour for good reason. Though it may be hard to stay in a formulated super hero world for three hours, it becomes redundant, a little boring and even a little unintentionally silly. Don’t want to show the card trick close up for too long or too many times in a row because it will sabotage itself with it’s own awesomeness. It is still a cinematic event to witness on a big screen.

The Grey

Richie rated this movie: 4

I really enjoyed this. It was not at all as tongue in cheek as I thought it would be. Runs very deep. All the scarier because of it. Very metaphoric, the landscape itself is definitely one of the most frightening characters in the film. This film is more similar to DELIVERENCE, or even SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION than the campier THE EDGE. I am still curious about the last frame of film seen after the credits.

Check it out and make a guess. Excellent flick!

5 Fingers of Death

Richie rated this movie: 3

Enjoyed this classic fight flick very much. Haven’t seen this in close to 30 years. Some of the images never left me. Glad it is finally available on DVD. I think this movie is very heavy handed compared to other popular, campier, Martial Arts films that made it to the states in the early 70s. Many of the fights (gruesome and mean spirited) take place in murky allies and dimly lit rooms. As a kid I never forgot the literal, nasty eye for an eye thing that happens in the film. Leih Lo was also great in a martial arts western with Lee Van Cleef called BLOOD MONEY or STRANGER AND THE GUN FIGHTER.

Eric Bogosian: Wake Up

Richie rated this movie: 5

Eric has been an enormous inspiration to me over the years. Today, its strange seeing him listed here as a stand up comedian. Yes, he is very funny, but there is a different kind of arc to each of his solo pieces. Bogosian is very disturbing. Very ‘punk’ albeit the old punk he now is. It is so great to see a live performance like this videotaped. It still retains some of the intense intimacy he brings to the stage. I used to see him throughout the eighties at a place in NYC called PS122. Some of the most compelling work I’ve ever seen happened in that space and Eric was a big part of that for me. Even by his own word, Lenny Bruce is the closest “stand up” type of comedy he does. Like Bruce’s, Bogosian’s works are influenced by music. Lenny was JAZZ. Eric is sex, drugs, ROCK AND ROLL. Some other reviewers say they enjoy his work on Law and Order. If you want to hunt down some of his earlier TV work, look for a TV adaptation of THE CAINE MUTINY COURT MARSHALL with he and a great ensemble of actors including the immortal Brad Davis. Also, he had a recurring role on a hard-boiled detective show called CRIME STORY, with a very young Eric as well as Dennis Farina and a very young David Caruso. I could say much more because as an actor and performance artist, he is one of my all time heroes.

Sucker Punch

Richie rated this movie: 1

A metaphorically inane overlong music video. I like Snyder’s other films. This one felt like watching SOMEONE ELSE play a video game for 2 hours. It was kind of awkward and tacky as well. This movie has more in common with the film adaptation of LOVELY BONES than any Sci-fi film. I’ve seen Star Trek episodes from the 60s handle similar concepts in stylistically superior ways. Classically horrific images of Burning Hindenburg and Willow brook’s abuse of mentally ill patients is used flippantly and tastelessly. All and all the effect of the film is boring and stupid.

I’m Still Here

Richie rated this movie: 2

Doc, Shock, Mocumentary. Who cares?  Another example of Guerrilla film making by the not so young Hollywood- Douchoisie.  Joaquin Phoenix has always been an actor of great talent. Talent is not something he can claim responsibility for. Talent is something you have or don’t have. Though I’ve always been compelled by his work throughout his career, there was a part of me that felt that he wasn’t having much fun. Ever. In I’m Still Here when he attends a reading with many other great film actors, Phoenix breaks down in front of his friends and colleagues because he knows these are people who love their craft and have been serving it for decades longer than he. We know it too. I always liked Joaquin Phoenix and I can’t stand to watch him be so hateful to his craft. As a rapper as well, I felt he was disrespectful to the craft. Sean Combs let him know that. Maybe his gift was a curse he never asked for. He is very whiny about it. Everything involving his older brother—also a great young actor cut short in his prime—by exercising the very same kind of self- destructive behavior we see him Phoenix do in this film, hung over him in the public eye for years. Was he playing River in this film? To me, the best part of the film was the end when he returns to his Dad’s home. His Dad is the one person in the film who truly seems to love or give a crap about him. He is a pretty lonely fellow. Come back to us Joaquin. Or don’t.

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