Wednesday, 14 May 2014

New Movie Review

So i'm going to do a movie review right now and let's just pretend that it's a late review and I actually watched it yesterday because of course I was busy watching my local sports team beat those pesky adversaries tonight and certainly not watching a movie.

Runoff sentences aside..

I watch a lot of movies.  Like way too many movies and, as a result, I'm usually pretty hard pressed to come up with a movie choice when my wife demands I select a movie to watch together.

Unfortunately neither of us are movie aficionados and so are unable to settle for, or appreciate, some new independent film or documentary that has been released.

Instead I'm reduced to scrounging in the far off reaches within the bowels of my phone where I occasionally write down a movie title that I'll probably have heard either from somebody mentioning in passing or on The Film Vault podcast.

These movies notes are often from at least 6 months ago and are only still on my phone because I haven't been desperate enough to resort to checking them out.

Well tonight last night was one of those nights with no other options.

I'm not selling this, so far unnamed, movie too hard am I?  Because despite what my current preamble suggests I'm actually really glad I watched this film.

And, without further ado, the movie in question is the 1996 film directed and written by Matthew Bright who you may have heard from such movies as....ok nothing.  His filmography on Wikipedia is so light they had to add this line for padding :

"He grew up with writer/director Richard Elfman and his brother, composer Danny Elfman."

So There's that.

Hmm I'm still not selling this movie very well, oh and gosh darn it I still haven't mentioned the title yet!

But if you read that gosh darn it line in a southern accent you would be right to do so because the always loveable southern beauty Reese Witherspoon stars in this film.

Now I have to be honest.  After seeing the trailer, I really wasn't very interested in seeing this film.  It's the reason its title was sitting on my phone in a note document for so long.  However because Reese was involved (and I'd like to think we'd be on a first name basis if we met) it was the tipping point for me to take the plunge and give this movie a chance.

For, as I'm sure we'd all agree, Reese's acting ability is really top notch grade A material. 

The way she portrayed her character Elle Woods in Legally blonde really made me believe that a blonde sorority girl could really earn a law degree in the hopes of winning back her ex boyfriend.

Her acting is second to none and it's no wonder that her performance spawned two sequels as well as a musical that opened on Broadway...wait really?  Let me check that again..Hmm well look at that.  Atta girl Reese.

What those pictures?  I have no idea how they got there and this is the first I'm seeing them and really don't understand how they pertain to this current movie review and in no way reflect my motives in watching this film.

Jokes aside I actually do enjoy Reese Witherspoon every time she is on camera (even when yelling at cops) and many of her films I truly adore.  Actually i'll list a few of my favorites that everyone should have seen by now :

-Cruel Intentions
-Sweet Home Alabama
-Walk the Line

Now my darling Reese isn't the only noteworthy cast member in this film.  In fact this movie is chalk full of talent and includes Kiefer Sutherland (24), Dan Hedaya (too many films to mention but the dad in Clueless), Amanda Plummer (played crazy really well in So I Married an Axe Murderer and does so again in this film), Brooke Shields (Blue Lagoon), and Brittany Murphy (many critically acclaimed roles and also in Clueless).

This is an oddly sizable concentration of notable actors in a film that, halfway through, I believed to have achieved cult status purely because of how bad this movie is along the same vein as The Room,

Troll 2, and Howard the Duck.

The acting was awful, the plot unreasonable (let alone believable), at times contained unnecessary gore (not quite there but nearly reminiscent of Quinten Tarantinos staple overuse) and chalk full of technical errors that included awful sound and scene editing.  For just one example there was a scene with Kiefer Sutherland driving a car while engaging in conversation with Reese Witherspoon where his hands on the steering wheel where jerking back and forth so much he should have crashed multiple times into the super clearly green screened cars in the background.

So far still so bad.  How did I come around?

Well, at about halfway through, I realized that with a cast like this it really couldn't be bad as I thought it was and it must be being awful for irony sake.  A quick check of reviews later on confirmed these suspicions and luckily I realized this halfway through so I could at least appreciate the second half for the satire it was.

The same thing occurred to me in the film Drag Me To Hell.  However in that film I got all the way to the end thinking it was a terrible horror movie full of clich├ęs, gore and general terribleness.  It wasn't until the actual final scene that I actually starting laughing (because the ending was so terrible) and realized that the film was entirely satire and poking fun at the horror genre and did so very skillfully.

This film should also be treated as such.

Now for the plot.

The movie begins with the opening credits accompanied by sexual graphic cartoons of little red riding hood being stalked by the wolf.  This is to set you up with the basic plot centering around a young girl trying to make it to her grandmother's house and being constantly hindered along the way by outside forces.  And as the provocative cartoons in the beginning suggest this will be a heavily twisted version of little red riding hood.

Now the trailer attempts to give you a better idea of what this movie is about which is along the lines of a redemption story but really trying to figure this movie out is not the point.

The reason this movie is so fun is because, in all its satire, it comes off as incredibly whimsical (like a fairy tale) and you are often left wondering where the story is going next.  Not because it's so superbly written but because if you have to suspend belief, as fairy tales require, then the writer is given free reign to take us wherever his imagination goes.

And unfortunately Matthew Bright's imagination takes us to a very dark place.

Which leads me to my conclusion.

In short: I liked this film, but you probably won't.
If you are over 40, you probably won't like this.
If you are under 15, you probably shouldn't watch this.
If you stick mainly to mainstream movies, you probably won't like this.
If you like to come out of a movie not feeling dirty, you probably won't like this.

Thing is this movie gives off a crazy vibe to it.  If you have seen the movies Requiem of a Dream, or Natural Born Killers, then you will have an idea of what I'm talking about it.

 This movie delves slightly into the more evil and dirty side of humanity and you can't help getting a dusting of this dirtiness on you that leaves you feeling a little gross.

However, if you are like me and have been desensitized over the years from an overindulgence of movies and want to see something kinda new, albeit an older film, then Freeway might be to your liking.

Ya that's right.  I didn't mention the title of the movie till the very end of my movie review.  Why?  Because I go against the curve.  Just like skipping out on watching the Canadians beat the Bruins in game 7 of the second round of the playoffs to instead watch a pretty god awful movie that I actually enjoyed.

So check it out.

And if you must see the trailer (please don't):

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