Name: Neals_reviews

Most Recent Reviews by Neals_reviews

The Wrestler

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Reviewed by Neals_reviews

Mickey Rourke returns back to Hollywood with the highly praised The Wrestler. Darren Aronofsky took a big chance casting Rourke in this role but anything worth of interest was built on chance. Aronofsky took the timeless & ever strong Champ formula combined with an amazing cast. The down & out has been makes a comeback we have seen it before with the Rocky series etc. But Rourke’s vulnerbility which we ever hardly see is captivating.
Randy “The Ram” Robinson knows nothing more in life but wrestling. A fallen has been wrestler from the 80’s glory days now lives in a trailer & doing his performances in second rate venues. His regular life is falling apart as he tries to romance a local stripper, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) along with his bitter angry aloof lesbian daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). His fighting days are coming to an end after a savage match that brings on a heart attack. But he feels there is still one last desperate fight in him.
You can gather from the plot the script is not very original but this film does an excellent job of capturing the grimey authentic feel in the world of pro wrestling & Aronofsky’s desirous direction. Rourke’s performance is phenominal you literally can’t help but watch him. I would not be surprised if he took home the oscar for this.

Neal Damiano
Film Journalist

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Milk

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Reviewed by Neals_reviews

Gus Vant Sant has become the film making crusader for gay rights over the years with his films. He returns with Milk the story of Harvey Milk, a gay man who moves to San Francisco & experiences bigotry due to his sexual preferences. Driven by a passion to provoke societal change & acceptance, Milk becomes the first openly gay man ever appointed to public office in 1978. In the span of his career, he fights a group of conservatives who try to enact a California referendum which would rob homosexuals of civil rights. Van Sant does a great job of capturing the times of the seventies the cinematography is done quite well. But he does lack on centering on the main theme there seems to be many subplots going on as each character is introduced. The acting is amazing every one put on a stellar performance. Emile Hirsch is almost unrecongnizable as Cleve Jones an activist & Milk’s colleague. James Franco does an excellent heart felt performance as Milk’s early on boyfriend. Penn is phenominal as Harvy Milk definitely should be up with an oscar for this one. Great story about the underdog never giving up for what he believes.

Neal Damiano
Film Journalist

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Changeling

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Reviewed by Neals_reviews

Christine Collins, a single mother who lost her son & then was victimized by the police, reopens a sore wound in the chronicle of LA. Officials affirmed the case closed when they gave Collins an imposter child. When Christine complained at first she was ignored & then thrown in a mental institution. With the help of a brave minister the case gains national attention resulting in suspension or dismissal of several civic figures.
The real - life crime becomes comparable to a Mickey Spillane novel, one filled with crooked cops, pyscho killers, & hapless innocents. Even tempered from the start it evolves into somewhat a horror film then into a courtroom drama each part a little more implausable, a little less gratyfing. The one thing that remains the same is Angelina Jolie who manages to cry out every tear from her eyes throughout the whole film. It is a time period peice that takes place in 1928 Jolie's costumes are a little unflattering & her acting seems forced at times in this. The relationship between Collins & her nine year old son seems cool, but at times distant even when her son goes missing her demeaner is calm & reserved.
For most of the movie Clint Eastwood maintains the straight from the hip style that has become his signature tradmark. adopting an objective viewpoint but also collaborating cinematic devices. But unfortunetly I feel he gets to confined in the somewhat facts of the case which can seem absurd to today's beliefs. The thin plot of the Changeling doesn't make a good argument against injustices in the legal system rather the capabilities of a immoral cop. Despite all the talent here the Changeling comes off more of a period version of a Lifetime movie.

Neal Damiano
Film Journalist

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Burn After Reading

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Reviewed by Neals_reviews

Coen brothers follow up to their award winning No Country for Old Men is no surprise for this left of center filmmaking duo - its complete opposite. A sort of Fargo on speed. Burn is a crazed crime caper about two dim witted gym employees (Pitt & McDormand) who try to extort a disgruntled CIA agent (Malkovich). When they come across a CD - Rom with important classified information on it.
All sorts of hijinks ensue in this dark comedy a modern day cat & mouse chase when intelligence meets absurd stupidity fueled by greed. Malkovich steals the show with severe anger managment issues dropping the F word every five minutes in the film. It's a nonstop laugh ride McDormand proves she can play comedy. Pitt out does himself in this role almost cartoon like with the dumbness.
This film is a nonstop ride you won't want to end but what would you expect from the Coen brothers, the masters of quirky storytelling.

Neal Damiano
Film Journalist

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Lakeview Terrace

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Reviewed by Neals_reviews

Notable similarity to an actual case that was publicized quite a bit in Los Angeles where a police officer was accused of harassing an interacial married couple that were his neighbors. Lakeview delivers the darkside of humanity in this thriller. Samual L Jackson plays Abel Turner the neighbor from hell that no one wants to have living next to them. Jackson is a well respected veteran on the Los Angeles police force who gets some unwanted neighbors moving in to the neighborhood. Chris & Lisa are an interracial married couple who move right next door to the racially charged cop. Jackson at first greets the couple with a sick sense of humor pretending to car jack them as they pull up. But it soon takes a sick turn as Jackson's discontent for the couple builds he becomes quite a nuisance flashing his security lights into their bedroom window every night & breaking their air conditioning system.
The final straw hits when Abel breaks into the garage & slashes the car tires. Very similiar to the film Unlawful Entry, where is this couple to turn to as they go to the police none of the officers believe Abel would conduct this type of behavior.Tensions flare between the two households throughout the whole film. Jackson seems to want justice to take hold on his end but were not really sure for what. Labute displays the classic abuse of power type film but does it with such suspense & style. Samual Jackson is so convincing it's scary.

Neal Damiano
Film Journalist

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