May 2007

Mr. Brooks

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

Mr. Brooks is one of those films which makes me a little crazy.  On one hand you’ve got a pretty darn good character study of the mind of a serial killer and the look at his struggle for a normal existence.  On the other hand, however, you’ve got a bland and laughable film about the millionaire cop trying (quite unsuccessfully) to bring him down.  The result is a flawed film which is still very much worth watching.

Mr. Brooks
3 & 1/2 Stars

Have you ever wanted to kill someone?  What would happen if you acted on that impulse and it became an addiction that effected your otherwise normal life?  Mr. Brooks examines these issues through the mind and eyes of a loving father and husband who has the rather unusual hobby of killing people.

Earl Brooks (Kevin Costner) is a successful businessman, a loving husband, and a devoted father.  Mr. Brooks however has a dark side which he hides from the world.

Daily he is forced to deal with a schizophrenic personality disorder and an evil alter-ego called Marshall (William Hurt) who only Earl can see and hear.  It seems Marshall, and therefore Earl as well, enjoys the thrill of stalking and killing random strangers.  This has been going on for many years, and although Earl understands and detests this addiction he can’t seem to stop.

Mr. Brooks has three other problems.  The first occurs when he is caught in the act by a amateur photographer (Dane Cook) who wants only to blackmail him and tag-along on his next killing.  The second is an obsessed millionaire cop (Demi Moore) stuck in a messy divorce who wants to track down the serial killer.  And the third is his loving daughter Jane (Danielle Panabaker) who just may be more like her father than he’s willing to admit.

In terms of performance and tone the film works quite well, especially if you ignore most of Moore’s subplot.  In fact her character isn’t really necessary in the film as Brooks is dealing with his own demons he doesn’t really need someone breathing down his neck (not that Moore’s character gets anywhere near that close).  There’s also a subplot about another killer (Matt Schulze) with a grudge which doesn’t go anywhere.  In fact the only reasons for these loosely tied subplots is to show how cleverly writer/director Bruce A. Evans can bring them together at the right moment.  Which when you get down to it, really is not such a great reason for including them in the fim.

The scenes between Costner and Hurt are the best in the film dealing with who this character really is and, despite understanding how wrong it is, showing how much he both hates and enjoys killing.  Added to this is his fear that he has passed on his condition to the next generation; how he deals with these issues leads to some unique and thrilling storytelling.  Then Demi Moore shows up and you groan and wait for the director to get back to the good part of the film.  Well, at least there are plenty of times to get up and go to the restroom or get more popcorn.

There are also a couple of real head-scratching moments including an unnecessary “shock” scene late in the movie which is so disturbing it comes close to being the final straw that ruins the picture.  I won’t spoil the ending by telling you about it other than to say I found it ill-conceived.

Saddled with a ridiculous subplot the film still succeeds in giving a unique look into the life of a killer.  The movie never excuses his killings or apologizes for them, but it also shows the other sides of his personality which are frighteningly normal compared to his “condition.”  For me it’s not as good as 2000’s American Psycho, but it is a unique film experience with a compelling storyline and strong performances from most of the lead actors – that’s more than you get from most summer films.

Shout Out

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2007

in Uncategorized

A big RF Shout Out to our pals Eric and JD from Scene Stealers.  A few weeks back the pair took part in the World Series of Pop Culture, a game show featuring teams of three competing against each other, answering questions about pop culture, and trying to win the $250,000 prize.  Here’s the commercial promoting JD and Eric’s team – Westerburg High; the show premieres on VH1 July 9.

World Series of Pop Culture
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More Star Wars Fun

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2007

in Uncategorized

A friend sent me this, sadly not in time for Star Wars Week, but I thought it deserved a posting.  Here’s an artist’s rendition of the Last Supper, Star Wars Style (the full image is available in the Full Diagnosis).  Bonus conspiracy nut-job points for anybody who goes all Di Vinci Code.  Thanks to Jeffe for sending this one on by.

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Comic Movie News

by Alan Rapp on May 30, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Fresh off the financial disappointment of Grindhouse (read that review) Robert Rodriguez has decided to team with producer Dano De Laurentiis to make a new film version of Barbarella.  The 1968 sexscapade starred Jane Fonda in the title role as the sci-fi/comic book siren which was taken from the French comic book by Jean-Cluaude Forest.

Rodriguez was anxious to get his hand on the character, “I love this iconic character and all that she represents, and I’m truly excited by the challenge of inviting a new audience into her universe.”  No word yet on who will fill Fonda’s, um…shoes, but early gossip seems to like Rose McGowan in to title role.  You’ll know more when we do!

Barbarella
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Comic Rack

by Alan Rapp on May 30, 2007

in Comics

Hmm, we’re about to talk about comics so it must be Wednesday!  Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls.  Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at the master as we look at the new comics set to hit comic shops and bookstores today from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Wildstorm, Vertigo, Dynamite Entertainment, IPW Publishing, and Image Comics.

This week includes Action Comics, The Boys, Green Lantern, Invincible, Silver Surfer: Requiem, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and Usagi Yojimbo.  Also don’t forget the truckload of new graphic novels including 52 Vol. 1, Civil War Companion, Fantastic Four: The End, Star Wars: Panel to Panel Vol. 2, Transformers Spotlight, and much, much more.

Enjoy issue #23

[click to continue…]

Waitress Interview

by Alan Rapp on May 29, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Sometimes the little guy does okay.  Even with PotC: At World’s End dominating the box office Memorial Day weekend the little film that could, Waitress (read the review), managed to break into the top five by pulling in more than $6,000 a screen!  In honor of its achievement here’s a short video interview with the film’s star Keri Russell and the late director Adrienne Shelly.

Waitress
4 Stars

This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on May 28, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

From writer/director Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin) comes a tale about a successful woman (Katherine Heigl) and a loveable loser (Seth Rogen) who have a one-night stand and then try to make a relationship work when she turns up pregnant.  Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jay Baruchel, Alan Tudyk, and Harold Ramis also star.  If you prefer, here’s a HD trailer.  We’ve seen it, and we’ll have the review when the film opens in theaters everywhere on Friday.

Knocked Up
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This Week in Independent Film

by Alan Rapp on May 28, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Based on the true story, a young girl named Gracie (Carly Schroeder) takes her brother’s place on the soccer team after his unexpected death, to the displeasure of the other players and her own family.  Elizbeth Shue and Andrew Shue co-star and also produce the film.  Check out the official site for the film and the MySpace page.  The film opens in wide release on Friday and we’ll have the review!

Gracie
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This Week in Documentary Film

by Alan Rapp on May 28, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Often love is much stranger than what’s portrayed on screen.  Examine one of the most bizarre love stories ever that involves adultery, violence, jail time, acid, and, somehow, a long lasting marriage.  The shenanigans of craziness of one couple, Burt and Lind Pugach, are the focus of this new documentary that opens exclusively in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.

Crazy Love
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This Week in Foreign Film

by Alan Rapp on May 28, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

The second part of the Russian trilogy about a centuries-old battle between the forces of Light and Dark centers around Anton (Konstantin Khabensky) who comes into possession of an artifact that can remake the world.  Here’s a HD trailer if you prefer, and you can also check out the official site.  The film hits New York and Los Angeles exclusively on Friday.

Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor)
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