Acronym Update 01/05/08

Dear Readers,

It doesn’t feel like 2008 and it’s impossible that today is Saturday — but my cell phone, clocks, and calendars all say that it is.  And so it is….

Today’s topic:  Mini Movie Reviews.

As you probably know, I watch a lot of movies.   Here are three that I watched over the New Year’s Weekend…

Isolation (2005)

Directed and written by Billy O’Brien

The main actors are not household names in the U.S.A. so I won’t bore you there.  This film was found in the HORROR section at a local Blockbuster by my daughter and her friends.  They were under the impression that it was a “major motion picture” and was in the lineup at multiplexes all over the country.   The reality is that Isolation was an independent production, released primarily in Ireland (where it was filmed) and the UK.  Although I’ve never been a fan of horror flicks, I do appreciate the low budget / non-corporate spirit that this work brought to my 27 inch TV screen.

The story unfolds on a farm in County Wicklow, Ireland where Dan (the owner) primarily raises cattle.  He had taken a payoff from a scientist, John, to allow genetic experiments on the herd.    When the mother cow, whose fetus was altered, gives birth — Dan realizes that he has been a victim of “mad science.”  Not only does the baby calf emerge with an extremely disturbed temperament, it is also found to be pregnant — and not with the offspring you’d expect — but flesh eating monsters.  The monsters reek havoc on life at this farm.  Dan and the other leading characters’ main objective is to eradicate this plague in spite of fierce resistance from John, the corrupt scientist.

This movie is violent and gruesome.  It is not very realistic, so at times the bloody elements may seem a bit humorous and unbelievable.    A few of the guests at our party were disappointed by the ending, but didn’t realize that it was meant to be open ended and provoke thought from the viewers.   **Really Honest Review Score:  6 out of 10.  Quite Average, F-word overused (though not uncommon in Northern England, Scotland, Ireland), unique but unbelievable storyline, incomplete character development, filmed on location.**

The Hawk Is Dying (2006)

George Gattling (Paul Giamatti) is quite a peculiar gentleman.  Queer would be an appropriate word and I’m not referring to his sexual preference.   He owns an auto detailing business that employs his childhood friend “Billy Bob.”  George lives with his sister Precious and her autistic son Fred.  Fred’s father abandoned him shortly after birth because he knew his boy would not be “normal.”  George helped to raise his nephew in his Gainesville, FL home as if he were his own son.   Although Fred did not speak, he and his uncle were able to to bond through their common love of nature and red-tailed hawks.

George lives an uninspired life, but takes up the hobby (bordering on obsession) of catching and training hawks.  At the beginning of the film,  you see that one bird he attempted to train did not survive.  This loss, coupled with the accidental death of family member break George’s heart — but drive him to master the art of hawk training.  His mission may seem insane and larger than life itself, but one cannot deny the passion Paul Giamatti demonstrates in his role.  The emotions displayed were so real and because of this, I think many people can relate to the character of George Gattling.

For you baseball fans who are stumbling on the name Giamatti…. yes Paul Giamatti is the son of the late, former President of Yale University and Commissioner of Major League Baseball — A. Bartlett Giamatti.

**Really Honest Review Score:  8 out of 10.  An excellent movie for men!!   Could be enjoyed by anyone who loves wildlife.   Main character is very insensitive to women and family, although he gives lifelike portrayal of a man in the midst of a mid-life crisis.  Brilliant acting.  A very different film….you have to use your imagination to understand it.**

Bring It On:  In It To Win It (2007)

This will be a very short review.    This is one of the lamest movies I have ever seen in my life.  Some teenagers and college students may appreciate this film which focuses on an intense rivalry at at summer cheerleading camp — but the acting simply reinforces the negativity and perversity rampant in today’s youth culture.   This film is the fourth in the “Bring It On” series that premiered in 2000. 

The film was full of jokes that were risque and full of innuendo.  At times, I was the only one in the room laughing because my daughter and her friends (being immigrants) don’t fully comprehend all pop culture idioms.   Actually, I think that’s a good thing.  The less they understand about “trash culture” the better.

**Really Honest Review Score:  1 out of 10.  No need to watch this disaster on disc.   If someone gives you the movie as a gift, use the DVD as a coaster.**

Cinematically yours,