All posts tagged: Susan Sarandon

DVD Reviews: A Couple of SOBs — “Harry Brown” and “Solitary Man”

Film legends Michael Caine and Michael Douglas return with two diversely different films. Both men, each two-time Academy Award winners, no longer have anything to prove and could easily rest on their laurels and fade from view, or churn out the same supporting roles time and again. However, both Caine and Douglas show a need to be challenged, a need to keep their muses alive, as the lead roles offered to them become fewer and fewer, particularly in a youth obsessed movie culture that cares more about effects and numbers of screens rather than story and content. Michael Caine stars in Harry Brown, a tense English thriller written by Gary Young and directed by Daniel Barber released earlier this year (and reviewed by our esteemed Mr. Cashill).  Caine is the titular character, a quiet man suffering from emphysema, living in a run down apartment complex in South London. From his window he watches youths terrorize the neighborhood, yet he does nothing. He appears resigned to live out his days without getting involved. Each day, Brown …

DVD Review: An “Owl” and a “Peacock”

Birds of a feather flock together this week, as I pull from the stacks two recent releases that a) have our feathered friends in their titles, b) are psychological thrillers, and c) went straight to DVD. (For reasons that soon become obvious.) The Cry of the Owl has the pedigree, based as it is on a 1962 novel by Patricia Highsmith that was previously filmed by Claude Chabrol in 1987. Highsmith’s macabre novels were the basis of the Hitchcock classic Strangers on a Train (1951) and a number of films featuring her amoral con man Tom Ripley, including Purple Noon (1960), which was remade as The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), and The American Friend (1977), which was revamped as Ripley’s Game (2002). If Chabrol couldn’t put it across (it’s one of the French master’s more obscure movies) I can’t quite figure out why anyone would want to redo The Cry of the Owl, the sort of book that I imagine clings stubbornly to the page. Paddy Considine and Julia Stiles, supporting players in The Bourne …

Film Review: “Jennifer’s Body”

To Hollywood’s credit, there’ve been a lot of female-focused thriller/horror films coming out lately. It’s almost as if production studios in La-La Land have suddenly realized there’s a feminine demographic they could cater to/exploit. Unfortunately for the ladies, studios still think that they can just throw anything at audiences and get away with it, which is why so many of the recent “girl power”-type films have been lousy. The new horror/comedy Jennifer’s Body, written by Diablo Cody (instantly famous for penning the brilliant Juno) and directed by Karyn Kusama (AEon Flux and Girlfight, the latter of which bestowed upon the world the dubious gift of Michelle Rodriguez) is without a doubt the best of the bunch to come along thus far, although given its surprisingly uneven narrative, that’s not saying much. First off, for those of you who are wondering: yes, Kusama kept in the scene where the two leads Jennifer (Megan Fox) and her oddly named best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) share a “controversial” lesbian kiss. It’s in close-up, it’s almost two minutes long, …