Loft

YEAR: 2008

WRITER: Bart De Pauw

DIRECTOR: Erik Van Looy

BUDGET: €3,200,000 (estimated)

GROSS: $7,075,161 (Belgium)

i found Loft during one of my browsing-through-netflix movie days. Except for the very brief synopsis i knew nothing about the movie besides the fact that it was a dutch-language belgium film. then it started playing and although there were subtitles, i understood what the characters were saying. did i speak dutch all of a sudden? was i like george in that episode of Sienfeld when he stops having sex and becomes a genius and is able to learn portuguese in a few minutes? nope, i hadn't somehow osmosised the dutch language into my vocabulary... they were speaking french. for some reason, netflix is presenting this dutch-language film, dubbed in french with english subtitles. go figure.

now back to Loft...

Loft is a mystery/crime/thriller about five married friends who share a loft that they use as a place to take their mistresses and female encounters. one day they find a dead women in the loft... what happened? well, i could tell you, but i won't.

the story is told mostly through flashbacks as the men are questioned by the police and the film does a nice job of revealing enough, but not too much too soon. and i will admit that i had certain suspicions, but until all was revealed, i wasn't able to figure out how it had played out. you will be trying to figure it out though.

the story is well put together and it isn't, as is sometimes the case with mystery/thrillers, so convoluted that when certain things are revealed you feel cheated. although, i wasn't sure who had done it, or why, as the pieces came together, i saw that the clues had been there and i had ignored them (actually, i had picked up on a few of them, but then dismissed them and allowed myself to be misdirected). the film builds nicely and the director does a good job of creating an ambience of tension with the score, the editing and the cinematography.

ridiculous language/dubbing issues aside, Loft is worth a look next time you are browsing through netflix wondering what to watch. although, if you could find it in it's original language with subtitles than of course go for that one.

p.s. it looks like there was a 2010 remake of the film made in the netherlands. and an upcomming, 2012, american remake that is being directed by the director of the original film, erik van looy

The Ides Of March

YEAR: 2011

WRITER:George Clooney

DIRECTOR:George Clooney

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: $3,450,000 (as of October 7th, 2011)

 

a couple years ago, after the box office failure of a few films, all the talk was about the death of smart, adult fare. how, no one was going to see these movies and studios were going to stop making them. well, i guess george clooney didn't get the memo, because The Ides Of March is a smart, adult film and a really good one at that!

while i wouldn't call myself a political junkie (what's a step below "junkie?"), i do enjoy politics. actually, i enjoy it and am often very frustrated by it as well. but all that to say a good political thriller is always something that will intrigue me. but notice the word "good" in that last sentence.

the problem with some political thrillers is that they feel the need to really push the "thrill" part and to do so they end up getting convoluted and going to far: a murder and a cover-up and then a leak leads to another murder which brings in a secret uncovered from many years ago, etc... The Ides Of March doesn't fall into that trap.

the film takes us into the world of this campaign and in there we understand how high the stakes are and how important everything is to those involved. and given that, even a small (and believable) transgression can take on large importance and thrills and cause characters to change their views of things and act in ways they might not have otherwise (we don't need two murders and a secret organization to keep us interested or believing).

it also helps that the film is populated by great performances from all involved (clooney, gosling, giamatti, seymour hoffman, evan rachel wood, jeffrey wright marisa tomei). the film is filled with about six or seven one-on-one scenes between these various actors/actresses that had me transfixed to the screen. the performances and the writing create a palpable tension whether it be flirty or suspenseful or confrontational.

and let us not forget the direction here. clooney is quietly becoming on of the better directors out there. with this film, Good Night And Good Luck and Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (i haven't seen Leatherheads) clooney has shows a real vision specific to each film in how he wants to tell the story and how he wants it to look. and with The Ides Of March he found in phedon papmichael a cinematographer to realize it beautifully.

i know the political thing will turn some people off. but, just to say... you dont have to be a political junkie or even a step below junkie to understand or enjoy this movie. so, don't let that hold you back.

Drive

YEAR: 2011

WRITER: Hossein Amini (screenplay), James Sallis (book)

DIRECTOR: Nicolas Winding Refn

BUDGET: $15,000,000 (estimated)

GROSS: $21,417,373 (as of September 25th, 2011)

i'll admit that i haven't been as frequent a visitor to the local cineplexes this year as i was, say, last year. i say that because that might help explain why it has taken till now to find a film that has definite "top 10 of the year" potential. sure, anything is possible - and i do plan on catching up on movies i missed via the dvd route, but if Drive doesn't make my "best of the year" list this year i will be very surprised.

ryan gosling plays a nameless hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for hire. he is a man without a past (at least not a past that we are ever told about). he is quiet and a loner. and then he meets his neighbor, carey mulligan, and her son. a bond begins to grow and when her husband gets out of jail and an event occurs that could threaten carey and her son, the driver must take matters into his own hands to protect them.

if the story and the characters sound simple and archetypal, that's cause they are. this is a "super hero" story. and it's funny (not funny ha ha, funny interesting) because just a day or so after i wrote this discussion i heard an interview with the director nicolas winding refn, in which he called the film a super hero story and a fairy tale.

while i get what he was saying about the "fairy tale" i personally kept coming back to the "super hero" thing. and even Unbreakable. now, while Drive doesn't take the same ode to comic books approach that Unbreakable does, both films are playing in that obvious and archetypal playground and doing it really well.

both films are genuine and earnest about it also. they aren't doing the ironic, winking or self-referential regular-guy-turns-super-hero thing like Kick Ass, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World or Super (all films that i like by the way).

i didn't think of it till a few days after i saw the film, but as the whole super hero thing and Unbreakable connection continued to play in my head another moment stuck out. in Drive's final act, as he goes after one of the bad men, he does so wearing this full prosthetic, pull-over face that he had used for some driving scene in a movie he was working on. you with me here? a MASK of course! this "ah ha" moment lead back to unbreakable and the poncho/CAPE that bruce willis is wearing when he finally realizes his climactic hero moment.

it's funny (again, not ha ha!) cause in the interview winding refn talks about his love for john hughes and such films from the 80s that were able to pull of corny and sweet. now, i wasn't thinking john hughes or pretty woman or any such films watching Drive. But it is impossible to miss the 80s reverence in the film. from the bright pink and cursive writing of the credits to the casio keyboard pop music of the soundtrack. ya, it is a little corny at times but winding refn knows it and owns it and is able to make it work.

if i was going to make any director comparisons it would have been michael mann. but not for the Miami Vice-like music and pink writing (actually, doing some web surfing made me realize that Miami Vice didn't have the cursive writing, but GTA: Vice City did - which is an ode to the 80s and Miami Vice so it counts right?). the mann comparison is most evident in how the film is able to capture l.a. at night and winding refn's use of quiet and his ability, one minute, to slow the pace of the film within an action movie and then, the next minute, create intense action and/or tension.

Drive is a film that, not only rises above the "action" genre, but above most other films you will probably see this year.

The Final Destination Series

FINAL DESTINATION: 2000, BUDGET: $23 million GROSS: $53,302,314

FINAL DESTINATION 2: 2003, BUDGET: $26 million GROSS: $46,455,802

FINAL DESTINATION 3: 2006, BUDGET: $34 million GROSS: $54,098,051

THE FINAL DESTINATION: 2009, BUDGET: $43 million GROSS: $66,436,248

FINAL DESTINATION 5: 2011, BUDGET: $47 million GROSS: ?

 

WRITERS:

1: Glen Morgan/James Wong (screenplay), Jeffrey Reddick (screenplay & story)

2: J. Mackye Gruber/Eric Bress (screenplay & story), Jeffrey Reddick (story & characters)

3: Glen Morgan/James Wong, Jeffrey Reddick (characters)

4: Eric Bress, Jeffrey Reddick (characters)

5: Eric Heisserer, Jeffrey Reddick (characters)

 

DIRECTORS:

1,3: James Wong / 2,4: David R. Ellis / 5: Steven Quale

 

up until a couple weeks ago i hadn't seen any of the Final Destination films, but with the fifth one on the horizon i decided this was going to be my next series discussion so i started watching them all leading up to number fives release.

i remember when the first one came out in 2000 and i saw the trailer and i thought, "huh, that looks like a kinda interesting premise, maybe i'll check that out." well, i didn't, but why that is important is that skip ahead to 2002 and the release of the second film and there i am watching the trailer for that one and thinking, "hold on a second. isn't that the exact same premise/story/idea as the first film?"

the same thing happened with the release and trailer of the third, fourth and fifth films, but i didn't believe my eyes. as much as each film, based on the trailers, appeared to be the exact same thing, just with different actors/characters, i couldn't imagine that was actually the case. as lazy as hollywood is and as unoriginal as much of what they give us is, this seemed to take it to a whole other level. so i went in to this marathon viewing of the entire series really curious to see how different the films actually were and how wrong my trailer assumptions had been. now, having seen all five films i can tell you that i was soooo NOT wrong! and when trying to think about how to discuss the films, the first thing that came to mind was mad libs!

the film Final Destination __(film number)__, begins with a __(type of huge accident)___. after witnessing the accident we are brought back to the present moment and see that it was all just a premonition seen/felt by the main character __(name of premonition-having main character)____. however, as the their premonition begin to occur for real they start to freak out and warn people what is about to happen. no one believes them, but in their freak-out they end up saving a few of the others from certain death.

in the days that follow the first couple of survivors end up getting killed by some pretty random chains of events, like ___(random chain of events, another random chain of events)___. at this point the remaining survivors figure out that death is coming after them in the order in which they were supposed to have died in the __(type of huge accident)___. the rest of the film is them racing around trying to stop it from happening while figuring out how to get around deaths plan as more of them are killed in even more random and gruesome chains of events, like __(random and gruesome chain of event, another random and gruesome chain of events)___.

as i watched all five films i had taken notes about things to talk about. things like how the second film makes reference to the accident in the first one. and how, the way the characters figure out how to get around death's plan isn't the same in all the films. also, in some of the films the "premonition" character gets clues as to who the next victim will be and how they will die, but in the other films there are no hints at all. i was also going to mention that the fourth film, called The Final Destination seemed very much like it had been set-up as the last film in the series (the opening credits recap all the various ways people had died in the previous three films. the use of "The" in the title The Final Destination). and there was some more. but to be honest after watching all five movies i couldn't get over how they were basically all the same film.

i talk sometimes about "big cojones" film making. the idea of a film maker taking some real risks with story or characters or style. and how they trust the intelligence of the audience to go with them, when it's done well, and appreciate not being talked down. well the makers of the Final Destination series have shown big cojones, but in the complete opposite way!

rather than do something new or different or go against the grain in some way, they gave us the same film five times! actually, that is going against the grain. i can't think of any other film series that has produced such replica films. they made one movie five times and what makes me even angrier is that it worked. none of the movies were huge hits, but they all made a profit - obviously enough of one that they kept making them.

and its not like they tried to hide what they were doing either. The trailers put it all out there. like i said earlier, i hadn't seen any of them and yet i knew, based on the trailers, that the films were all copies of each other. they were brazen and incredibly obvious about it. now that takes balls!

i picture the film makers/producers/studio like the two old guys from Trading Places making a bet over how many of these Final Destination movies they can make before people realize what they are doing and stop going. then when we, the audience, have wasted our money and time watching the same thing for the fifth time we overhear them talking and laughing about it as one of them hands the other a one dollar bill! (if anything, this should make you want to avoid seeing anymore Final Destination movies and should make you want to go watch Trading Places again).

El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill)

YEAR: 2007

WRITER: Gonzalo López-Gallego (screenplay), Javier Gullón (screenplay & story)

DIRECTOR: Gonzalo López-Gallego

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: ?

nope, this isn't a spanish live action movie based on the animated tv series. There is no football or chubby little kids or neighbors who talk in a mumbled speech. however, what happens to the characters in the film, while it might seem very surprising to most everyone, would probably not come as a shock to dale gribble - the most paranoid character on the show - who always thinks people are after him.

El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill) begins with a man stopping to get gas. he goes to the bathroom while he is filling up his car and in the bathroom he meets an attractive woman and they have sex. i know, it sounds like a good thing right? well, in this case it begins a chain of events that lead to him, and said woman, running through the woods being stalked by unknown snipers.

who are these snipers and why are they after them? we don't know (i guess calling them "unknown" snipers in the previous statement kind of implied that didn't it?). eventually we get a little info about what is going on, but it really is just cursory. and that's enough.

this is a thriller that gets its thrills from throwing these characters into a very scary situation and putting us there with them. until near the end of the movie we are just as scared and confused as they are. where do we run, how can we hide, what do we do? that is what creates the tension and it works.

for awhile i thought that maybe we would never know who the snipers were or why they were doing what they were doing. and part of me was kinda hoping that was the case.

many times films spend the bulk of their time building questions and giving away very little, only to throw it all at you near the end. i just find that, often, when not done properly, this leads to disappointment when the explained is bigger than the movie or when the explanation seems to negate a lot of what we had seen throughout the film and looking back it feels like they were even hiding the clues from us and the big "surprise" was all that mattered.

however, in the final act of El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill), we do get a look at it from the sniper's side - and while this threatened to diminish the movie for me, it ended up being alright. just like the rest of the film that was simple and didn't rely on lots of back story or character development beyond what they go through because of the situation they are in, so too is the "sniper's story/explanation."

once you see the film you will probably immediately recognize the scenario/story from a number of other films that have done it (i would name them, but in so doing it would be a little spoiler). and i would have to say that El Rey De La Montaña (King Of The Hill) is the one that has done it best!

2011 Oscar Predictions

 

WILL WIN are in bold

DID WIN are  big

MY SCORE: 18/24

despite anne hathaway's efforts and enthusiasm, the 2011 academy awards will go down as one of the worst i have ever seen. not because of who won or lost, but i'm talking the show itself.

besides the funny put-the-hosts-in-the-movies opening, there was barely a laugh or moment of excitement to be found (except when i won the pool i was in of course). the remixed songs was fun and the bob hope part was nice (although, seeing billy crystal out there to introduce it just made it more obvious what a great host he was and how anne and james just couldn't match up). but other than that the show was pretty dull.

as for my predictions: i did ok this year. 18/24 isn't bad and i did get 2/3 in the shorts categories which is where many pools are often won or lost. however, there were a few categories that, looking back, i'm not sure what i was thinking. i think i got a little too into the idea that The King's Speech wave would sweep up other categories that i missed, the now-obvious, Alice In Wonderland in art direction and costume design. and those of you who listened to the prediction episode of the podcast know how close i was to going with the winners in editing, documentary feature and foreign film (but, alas i didn't). so 18/24 it is. one better than last year and my second best showing since i started doing the podcast. how did you all do?

 

BEST PICTURE
The King's Speech
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The Fighter

 

 BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams , The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Christian Bale , The Fighter
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo , The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

BEST ACTRESS
Natalie Portman , Black Swan
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Nicole Kidman , Rabbit Hole
Michelle Williams , Blue Valentine

BEST ACTOR
Javier Bardem , Biutiful
Jeff Bridges , True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth , The King's Speech
James Franco , 127 Hours

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Another Year , Mike Leigh
The Fighter , Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Keith Dorrington
Inception , Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right , Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
The King's Speech , David Seidler

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
127 Hours , Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network , Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 , Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich
True Grit , Joel and Ethan Coen
Winter's Bone , Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Biutiful
Dogtooth
In a Better World
Incendies
Outside the Law

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Inception
The King's Speech
True Grit

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Alice in Wonderland
I Am Love
The King's Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Gasland
Inside Job
Restrepo
Waste Land

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan
Pamela Martin, The Fighter
Tariq Anwar, The King's Speech
Jon Harris, 127 Hours
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
Adrien Morot, Barney's Version
Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng, The Way Back
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey, The Wolfman

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon
Hans Zimmer, Inception
Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Coming Home” from Country Strong, Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from Tangled, Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from 127 Hours, Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let's Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
The Confession
The Crush
God of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Inception
Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit
Unstoppable

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Inception
The King’s Speech
Salt
The Social Network
True Grit

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Hereafter
Inception
Iron Man 2

Runaway Train

YEAR: 1985

WRITER: Djordje Milicevic & Paul Zindel & Edward Bunker (screenplay), Akira Kurosawa (based on a screenplay by), Ryûzô Kikushima & Hideo Oguni (story)

DIRECTOR: Andrey Konchalovskiy

BUDGET: $9 million (estimated)

GROSS: $7,936,012

 

Runaway Train is one-third prison escape movie and two-thirds runaway train movie. after busting out of an alaskan maximum-security prison, manny (jon voight) and buck (eric roberts) cross a frozen wasteland and hop on a train. but, the engineer has a heart attack the train becomes a runaway train...

both voight and roberts were nominated for academy awards and golden globes and director konchalovskiy was nominated for a palm d'or at cannes. also, the film is based on a screenplay by the great akira kurusawa. given those last two sentences - how can you not be curious to see this film? i know i sure was. so how was it you ask? well, it was really good. but, it was good partly because of, but also, in spite of itself. allow me to explain...

the film plays big and in so doing it tries to walk that line of grand vs. over the top. but it keeps taking steps over that line. beginning with the performances. i honestly have no idea how roberts and voight got nominations.

i will say that i think jon voight is a great actor, but in this film i don't know if most of the time he can even see the line from where he is. his performance, and roberts' as well, is so big and theatrical - like he is playing to the back of a crowded theatre. sometimes he rains it in to "good big" levels, but then in the next scene there he goes again. and his performance is kind of a metaphor for the film itself. konchalovskiy seems to have a solid vision for the movie that sometimes gets away from him.

this inconsistency can also be heard in the films score. while some action moments were backed up with this typical 80s synth score, others were brought to life with a beautiful heavy dramatic sound that really brought the grand weight of the drama to life. there is definitely a shakespearian element to the script and the characters, highlighted by the quote from Richard III that closes the film.

Runaway Train deserves credit as a good thriller/action film. the train sequences are good (it looks like they did a lot of stuff with real trains), the film moves at a nice pace and the script provides us with enough information to care and understand what's going on without feeling the need for loads of exposition. and i gotta say that i really liked the ending - which is often where many of these types of movies end up failing. the big dramatic finale is an example of konchalovskiy walking right up to that "over the top" line but not crossing it.

Exam

YEAR: 2009

WRITER: Stuart Hazeldine & Simon Garrity(story)

DIRECTOR: Stuart Hazeldine

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: ?

 

recently netflix made its way across the border to canada with its one-monthly-fee-stream-all-you-want service and i immediately singed up only to find that the selection was not even close to what it is for my neighbors to the south. however, there is still some good stuff and a few weeks ago i decided to let netflix pick a movie for me.

i have rated over a hundred films and checked off how much i like certain genres and based on all those criteria netflix provided me with some suggestions of movies i might like. one of which was Exam. now, generally i am not impressed with these suggestion services, but in the case of Exam, netflix did good.

the film begins with eight strangers competing for a job, entering a windowless room and sitting at their assigned desks. then an invigilator enters the room, tells them the rules of the exam, puts 80 minutes on the clock and walks out, leaving behind the eight applicants and an armed guard.

the movie brought to mind a film called Cube, which had strangers waking up in a cube and trying to figure out why they were there and how to get out. in the case of Exam, they know why they are there, but figuring out how to answer the exam isn't easy. and with the various personality types brought together in the room, working together will be even harder.

for much of the film it all feels pretty detached from reality. not that it isn't believable, but in that it is all very self contained within the exam room without any idea of the world outside. i really liked this and it kept it very psychologically thrilling - kind of like in a horror film where you never see the monster.

however, that changes as the film progresses and the specifics of the company they are trying to work for and what is going on in the world are discussed. while at first it worried me that this would cause the film to lose its edge and the originality of the world it had created in the room, it really didn't.

i wonder what netflix will suggest to me next.

Catfish

YEAR: 2010

DIRECTOR: Ariel Schulman & Henry Joost

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: $2,236,110 (as of October 10th, 2010)

it says it right there in all capital letters (so you know it has to be important) on the film's poster, "don't let anyone tell you what it is." so i won't. but, that doesn't mean i can't tell you that Catfish is a "must see film" - i love using standard film reviewer pull quotes sometimes (now, if only this was a film that would make you "laugh and cry" or take you on a "roller coaster thrill ride").

in 2007 (don't worry, i'm not gonna "tell you what it is") photographer nev schulman received a painting in the mail. it was from an 8-year-old girl who had done a painting of one of his photographs. this was the first of many paintings to come and began a correspondence with said girl, her mom and her very hot 19-year old sister via facebook, email, phone calls, text messages, etc.... a few months in, nev's brother ariel and their friend henry joost decide to start documenting the story and so begins Catfish.

the film is very relevant in how so much of the story plays out online, with facebook kind of at the centre of it all. i really do want to tell you more, but i won't. i want you to see this film with as little knowledge about it as possible. personally, once i read the tagline on the poster (i happened by it on my way between screenings at the toronto film festival) i avoided any information about the film. i didn't even read the the small write-up on my flixster phone app when i checked into the times it was playing at my local cinema.

ok, i am maybe a little over-geeky when it comes to movies and such. but there really is something nice about seeing a film fresh and without any knowledge of what it is about (which is in complete contrast to how we usually go into a film - after having watched the give-away-too-much trailer).

now, it should be noted that there is quite a bit of controversy over the film (i just spent the last 20 minutes reading message board arguments - and surprisingly most of them were actually pretty coherent and didn't involve swearing and mother jokes). i am not going to even tell you what the arguments are about.

so watch the film and then lets make the comments section for this post a spoilers-allowed zone where you can tell me and others what you think about the film and the controversy surrounding it.

i know Social Network came out a couple weeks ago, but given all the historical inaccuracies in that story, it could be argued that Catfish (depending on where you come down on the controversy) is the "real" facebook movie out now.

44 Inch Chest

YEAR: 2009

WRITER: Louis Mellis & David Scinto

DIRECTOR: Malcolm Venville

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: £152,171 (UK)

when colin (ray winstone) finds out his wife has been unfaithful, his friends kidnap the wife's lover and hold him captive so that the colin can get his revenge. so is the story of 44 Inch Chest. the film stars ray winstone, john hurt, tom wilkinson, stephen dillane and ian mcshane and they are all in top form here.

there are flashbacks and some "dream" sequences, but other than that the film all takes place in, and just outside, the room where they are holding the wife's lover - who they refer to as loverboy. the film isn't based on a play, but it really feels like it could be in how simple the locations are and how wonderfully talky it is.

what was funny (not funny ha ha, but funny interesting), was that after having watched the movie i read what some critics had said about it at the time and two of the most popular negative comments towards the movie were that it was talky and stagey. some even referred to it as, and i'm paraphrasing here, a group of brilliant actors trying to one-up each other and an actor's workshop...

do i disagree with those comments? not really. the difference is that for me they didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film, nor did i even see them as negatives that the film had to overcome to be good. i really enjoyed watching these guys act and listening to them talk. and the script (from the same two guys that wrote Sexy Beast) is worth listening to. it definitely wasn't perfect though. the dream/fantasy elements of the third act felt like they were a little out of place. i get why they were there, but it didn't feel like it completely worked.

i also read some complaints about the ending, but i have to say i really appreciated it. yes it is almost anti-climactic, but for me it was very satisfying.