Thursday, June 12, 2008

Behind Closed Doors

Author(s): Chris M.
Location: NJ

"Behind Closed Doors"

Warner Independent Pictures
Produced by Stephen Garrett
Written and Directed by Michael Haneke
Original Score by Carter Burwell
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
Editing by Craig McKay

Main Cast

John Goodman as Harold Thompson
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Emily Barnes
Chris Evans as Keith Barnes

Tagline: "It's a dangerous business going out your front door"

Synopsis: Keith and Emily Barnes (Chris Evans and Maggie Gyllenhaal), have recently moved from Washington DC into a new home in a secluded cul-de-sac in Dunkirk, Maryland. The Barnes’s are greeted by their seemingly venerable neighbor Harold (John Goodman) who lives across the street from them. Harold Thompson appears to be your normal bachelor, somewhat lonely, but harmless all the less. There is no indication that Harold is in fact a psychotic murderer who has created a family of his own out of his former victims, all of whom Harold seems to believe are fully alive. Harold dresses them in clothing, moves them around the house, and talks with them, and to Harold they can talk back. Although Harold’s drive to kill is unflinching, he is able to fake normal emotions and keep up his appearance as a socially-responsible human being. He is well-liked by members of his community, and his neighbors.

Keith and Emily Barnes are still adjusting from the loss of their five year old daughter Cecile, who passed away a year earlier. They moved as an attempt to return to the life of normalcy they once had. Keith is a practicing surgeon at Johns Hopkins hospital. Emily is a housewife; formally a lobbyist for Merck pharmaceutical. Emily has not been able to return to work since the loss of Cecile. Emily wants to try to conceive again, Keith does not, he doesn’t believe Emily is in the shape mentally or physically to have a child. The Barnes’s appear to be a happy couple, but they are on the brink of separation.

Harold develops a bond with the lonesome Emily and begins to have feelings for her. Harold determines that his love for Emily is to strong to ignore, and decides to pursue it. The next obstacle Harold must face is getting Keith out of the picture so he can give Emily the family and life she desires. Fate is on Harold’s side when Keith unexpectedly leaves during the night. Keith leaves no number or address to reach him. Harold see’s this as the opportunity to move in on the vulnerable Emily. What Harold does not know is that Emily has a secret of her own: a year ago, Harold killed Cecile, the Barnes’s daughter and they have been tracking him down since. Keith never left Emily; he has been at a medical seminar in London. Keith’s supposed disappearance was all a part of their elaborate plan for Harold Thompson. Harold has been lured into their trap and they will exact their revenge. What appears to be an ideal neighborhood is far from it. Behind closed doors lie dark secrets.

What the Press would say:

“Behind Closed Doors” is Michael Haneke’s second English-language feature, adaptation from a popular syndicated television show. Haneke has created a film out of that idea that now stands as a Hitchcockian thriller. Over the last two decades, the director has developed a reputation for stark, often brutal films that pace the viewer – sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly – in the uncomfortable role of accomplice to the crimes playing out on-screen. Haneke’s greatest success is his total manipulation of the audience. How the audience reacted to Emily and Keith’s torture and execution of Harold is quite astonishing. There was actual applause at first – then almost immediately, the audience is conscious what it’s applauding for, the audience went completely silent. There was a generalization, even though in the victim was a villain, the audience had been tricked into celebrating an act of murder. Where another director might have cut tactfully away, Haneke’s camera lingers so the audience takes in the full effect. “Behind Closed Doors” is simultaneously the most conventional and the most opaque of Haneke’s films, and arguably his most effective to date.

In “Behind Closed Doors” Michael Haneke’s characters are adrift in a profoundly dysfunctional world. The most dysfunctional and talked about character of the year belongs to veteran actor John Goodman. Goodman is Harold Thompson, an unassuming murderer. Goodman was able to achieve sympathy for an unsympathetic character, a remarkable feat few actors could make. He relishes in the witty dialog that Haneke has provided him with, displaying a knack at dark comedy. “Behind Closed Doors” provides Goodman the opportunity to display his range as an actor, as the multi-layered Harold. Haneke made a smart choice with Goodman, as he possesses an underlying menace that’s hidden well but can become almost palpable when he turns it on. “Behind Closed Doors” will be the movie that gets John Goodman his first Academy Award nomination, and quite possibly an Academy Award.

Maggie Gyllenhaal has never been better. Gyllenhaal plays Emily Barnes, a grieving mother with a dark agenda. The role of Emily Barnes has provided Gyllenhaal the strongest role of her career. In “Behind Closed Doors” Gyllenhaal takes her character Emily to extremely dark places. She has an incredible presence on screen and will be a shoo in for end of the year awards. Chris Evans is magnificent as Emily’s embattled husband Keith. Evans has been an up and coming actor for years and has finally gotten a role he can sink his teeth into. As Keith Barnes, Chris Evans gives a raw performance as a man who uses his career as an escape from his troubled marriage and tragedy. Evans displays an array of emotions and demonstrates his skill as an actor. Evans should be prepared for a busy awards season. This is the one movie you must see this year, “Behind Closed Doors” is the movie every critic is talking about.


Best Picture
Best Director - Michael Haneke
Best Actor – John Goodman
Best Supporting Actor – Chris Evans
Best Supporting Actress – Maggie Gyllenhaal
Best Adapted Screenplay - Michael Haneke
And creativity categories


Author(s): Adam
Location: TX


Written & Directed by CHRISTOPHER McQUARRIE

Main Cast

JOAQUIN PHOENIX as Joseph Taymor
ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. as Fred Kaiser
MOS DEF as Ray Sterling
STEVE BUSCEMI as Willard "The Parasite" Jenkins
GABRIEL BYRNE as Frank Voelder

Tagline: "Crime will always breed catastrophe"

Synopsis: Fred Kaiser (DOWNEY) is running from the mob. Having been a drug operations supervisor for known Los Angeles mobster Frank Voelder (BYRNE), he has just made the biggest mistake of his life. He has betrayed his boss by stealing 1 million dollars in drug money from a private plane headed to Mexico. He soon disappears.

After being tracked down by the FBI in El Paso, Texas and saved from an attempted hit by Voelder's men, Kaiser agrees to be escorted back to LA to give the feds information needed to take down the ruthless gangster. He will be escorted in secrecy under the protection of agents Joe Taymor and Ray Sterling (PHOENIX and DEF). He also stubbornly refuses to tell them the whereabouts of the money until he is safely in LA under maximum federal protection. All is going along well until a leak in the agency gives up the route the men are taking. A cat and mouse series of confrontations and shootouts ensues when Voelder hires two sadistic hitmen known as Jimmy Sosa (DEL TORO), a straight-faced, "take down anyone who gets in his way" killer, and Willard "The Parasite" Jenkins (BUSCEMI), a sadistic and sociopathic hitman who likes to sneak up on his targets silently and ruthlessly kill them before they can even react to the surprise of his presence. To make matters worse, Voelder has put up a half a million dollar bounty to be rewarded to the first man who kills Kaiser, thus ensuring that they will ruthlessly compete to get the job done. After a period of predator vs. prey hunting and defense, both hitmen are killed. But the the tables turn when it is reveled that James DeMott (KEVIN SPACEY in a cameo role), the head agent in Kaiser's case was the leak who gave up the the three men's locations, he had been playing both sides. The three men are captured upon nearing LA and taken to Voelder's mansion where a climactic shootout ensues, leaving DeMott, Voelder and Taymor dead (Taymor died protecting Kaiser). In the end, Kaiser reveals to Sterling that he's an undercover DEA agent working to bring down Voelder's operation. He also tells Sterling that the money is in a private bank vault in Phoenix, AZ. He gives him the necessary information to access it and the two part ways after a moment of respect. We then cut to Phoenix, where Sterling and a few other men open the vault to find it is empty. Sterling reacts to the fact that he has been played.

In the film's final scene, we are at an upscale bank in Austin, Texas where Kaiser (dressed very professionally) gains access to his private account under the alias "Vic Singer." He opens the deposit box and pulls out a briefcase, upon opening it,its contents are revealed to be the million dollars he stole from Voelder. He walks out of the bank with the money and into the parking lot where he gets in his car and drives off. This scene concludes the film.

What the Press would say:

"This is a clever and gritty crime drama that often plays as a dark comedy with elements of a good mystery. The script, penned by the very talented Christopher McQuarrie is smart with great characters who each bring their own unique traits to the film's story."

"Downey and Byrne play as the film's highlight characters. Their connection and chemistry without being in the same scene together is obvious and felt throughout the entire picture. Their actions and decisions are the cause and effect of the film's events. Truly smart and enjoyable in experiencing a good crime film."

"From its introduction to its conclusion, you are attentive to the film as a whole. You are curious to know what will happen next, and when the final twists and turns come about, you are left completely surprised. A winner of a movie!"

"We know McQuarrie can write a script, and we are now assured he can direct. Filmed digitally with precision, the camerawork is splendid and the angles are perfect. A gritty work of crime-based cinema very reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, and Quentin Tarantino, even holding memories of McQuarrie's breakthrough film (as a writer) The Usual Suspects. A true to form work of film."

BEST PICTURE (Drama- GG) (Ensemble- SAG)

The Cloud

Author(s): Sergio
Location: Spain

"The Cloud"

Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Eric Roth
Produced by Sam Mendes
Music by Michael Nyman
Photography by Emmanuel Lubezki
Edited by Michael Kahn

Main Cast

Shia LaBeouf (Marc Heald)
Natalie Portman (Andrea Goldman)
Diane Lane (Samantha Heald)
Sean Bean (Gregory Heald)
David Strathairn (Dr. Bernard Goldman)
Elle Fanning (Maggie Heald)

Tagline: "There are always rays of light over the darkest clouds"

Synopsis: Marc opens the nuclear refuge’s door after he hears the radio notice about the end of the quarantine. He awakes his little sister Maggie, it’s time to find the rest of his family. The big nuclear explosion forced them to stay hidden in their own refuge several weeks, separated of their parents who were in the other side of the country. The radio recommends to leave the zone and to flee to a surer place. The radio has been their only way to be communicated, it has been the only link with the outside all the time. Phones, cell phones, internet… nothing works and everybody feels lost and left.

Marc and Maggie start a hard and chaotic journey to the south. They will try to arrive to the train station but everybody has started a massive exodus and no one offers help, so their only way of transport is an old and broken bicycle. The roads and highways are collapsed and many people will try to steal their bicycle. The panic is getting bigger because the acid rain is a real threat. They arrive to the Station but Marc, inevitably, loses his sister in the crowd. People separate them without remedy when the train arrives and Marc is pushed to the train while Maggie remains in the alighting-place. He, desperate, tries to stop the train but it’s impossible and he will have to wait to the next stop. The rain has started to fall and to go outdoors is forbidden.

Andrea is a medicine student who has lost the train that should carry her to a campaign hospital, managed by her father, to help as a volunteer. She sees a little girl on the floor, absent, and she takes care of her. The little girl seems to be ill and Andrea decides to carry her to the hospital in the next train, leaving a message in the reception window. Dr. Goldman and Andrea take care of Maggie but she has leukemia, as many others in the improvised hospital. Andrea distribute Maggie’s photo everywhere to find her family. Meanwhile, Marc dedicates all his effort to find her sister, fighting the illness, the death of many of his trip’s pals, the hunger and the big cloud above him, but he has to find his family.

Senator Gregory Heald and his wife Samantha try to use their influence to take a flight to come back home, but political power is not enough to get into the contaminated area. The military don't allow them to enter the zone and they assure that there's nobody there but the dead. Greg and Samantha decide to go to their favorite places to leave messages to Marc and Maggie with an appointment in a certain place. They go to all the hospitals to check the lists of the deaths and ills and they will meet Andrea but it is too late. Marc arrives to the south, he has found one of his parents messages. They finally meet in his grandmother's home. She has Alzheimer and she is sitting in the porch, calm and absent. She is foreign to the whole disaster around her. Marc parents are in the kitchen but he can’t see Maggie anywhere.

What the Press would say:

This film is a free adaptation of an infantile book written by the German novelist Gudrun Pausewang. The original action occurs in Germany, in the 90s, when the Chernobyl tragedy was almost forgotten. In this adaptation the writer Eric Roth moves the action to north America and the real authorship of the nuclear catastrophe is not clear because, for him, the most important thing in the film are the victims, how they feel and how they solve their own chaotic situation. They don’t know if they are living a terrible accident or if they are the victims of a nuclear attack but they know that they have to fight their own war to survive. The plot is treated with sensibility and respect. The screenplay is one of the best things to remark because the election about starting the film when the catastrophe and the danger is over, turns the story into one of the most incredible experiences of the last years. It is not a movie about a catastrophe in the commercial way of the word, even showing frenetic action scenes because the emotions flow all the time.

Marc Forster knows how to transmit those emotions, the desperation of the characters and why they feel small and left. Other of the points is the fact that they are prisoners and the film shows how big is our dependency of the modern technology.

The actors and actresses show their best, being at the top of the circumstances with an amazing talent and intuition. Only a few times we can see a solid cast like this with this professionalism. Great and deep characters like Shia LaBeouf’s Marc Heald, a guy who grows in all the 120 minutes of this film showing his change from the childhood to the maturity. Natalie Portman character is a contended woman crossing a difficult situation and she is capable to control the chaos around her and to solve it. Strong characters with strong performances make this film one of the most amazing experiences in theatres in times.


Best Picture
Best Director: Marc Forster
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Roth
Best Leading Actor: Shia LaBeouf
Best Leading Actress: Natalie Portman
Best Supporting Actor: David Strathairn, Sean Bean
Best Supporting Actress: Diane Lane, Elle Fanning

Criminal Origins

Author(s): Zgamer
Location: ID

"Criminal Origins"

Directed by David Fincher
Written by James Vanderbilt
Inspired by the game “Condemned: Criminal Origins” created by Monolith Studios
Cinematography by Harris Savides
Editing by Angus Wall

Main Cast

Cheyenne Jackson as Agent Ethan Thomas
Dennis Haysbert as Detective Alan Handrick
L. Scott Caldwell as Rosa Martin
Richmond Arquette as “The Match Maker”

Tagline: "N/A"

Synopsis: The following is from the files of Alan Handrick, detective for the Baltimore Police Department, dated August 21, 2006:

This is the official report of Detective Alan Handrick on the case surrounding the murders of Officers Mark Becker and Samuel Dickenson. The case began August 19, when both officers were sent to investigate the murder of a woman named Miranda Davis. Accompanying them was FBI Agent Ethan Thomas, a head forensics investigator in the CIA’s Serial Murder Department (More information on Agent Thomas will be included following this report).

The group arrived at the location around 11:45 P.M. that night. Agent Thomas’s assistant Rosa Martin was at the station during that time, aiding the group with information through a secure cell phone link. After the cause of death was confirmed as unarmed strangling, Ms. Martin was noted to have said that her suspicions were confirmed. The abductor and murderer was identified as a wanted serial killer Thomas had been hunting for some time. Known under the pseudonym “The Match Maker”, the killer had made it a trademark to kill young women and then re-sculpt their image as department store mannequins, disfigured slightly on their cheeks as a signature. However, before Ms. Martin could bring up the official report on the suspect, radio contact was loss with the group (This was later linked to a power surge generated from an axe smashed into the circuit breakers).

When another cop car was sent to investigate the scene, Officer’s Walker and Dickenson were discovered dead on arrival and Agent Thomas was no where to be seen. The causes of the officer’s deaths were bullet shots to the aorta. However, the disturbing news of this was the source of said bullets. Agent Thomas’s gun was discovered at the scene accompanied by two discarded bullet casings. When the autopsies confirmed the bullets shot at the officers were the same as the kind from Thomas’s gun, the order went out for his arrest. It then became my responsibility to be in charge of the investigation and the hoped arrest of Thomas.

However, the most recent hour of the investigation has proved to be very trying. My men are not accustomed to the surroundings here, especially given that the main populace has since abandoned this rundown section of Baltimore. What’s more, the “resident” homeless of this area have been acting surprisingly hostile towards my men. Three officers were attacked in the last hour by a group of thugs, who were apparently hocked up on some unknown drug. The most disturbing news though is the rising suspicion and paranoia many of the officers are experiencing. Rumors have been circulating of a “Serial Killer X”, a being so ruthless that even the most deranged criminal fears his name. I had previously dismissed this as a ghost story made up by the residents, but recent events seem to hint at possibility of such an individual’s existence. Can this “Serial Killer X” somehow be linked to the investigation? And where does Agent Thomas seem to be running too? Only further investigation will confirm any of these details.

What the Press would say:

Ever get that really uncomfortable feeling when you’re walking down a dark alleyway? You know, like the walls might close in on you or someone may be waiting around the corner to mug you? Then be on guard when you experience the year’s most intense and frightening psychological thrillers. With its elaborate pacing, effective use of sound and foreboding atmosphere, David Fincher’s Criminal Origins sets the bar for what atmospheric filmmaking is all about.

Though inspired by a video game, Criminal Origins only similarities to its source are its characters, part of the title and general plot. Writer James Vanderblit has crafted a new story that takes the audience into the darkest areas of police investigations and the disturbing insanity of serial killing. The story is told from two distinct perspectives that seamlessly switch between each other. One is of main hero Agent Thomas, as he tries to prove his innocence and uncover the one responsible for the murders. The other is from the men responsible for hunting him down, who begin to uncover the truth of a horror more frightening than any simple criminal. The dialogue is intelligent, the scenes feel fresh and the progression is well plotted and carried out.

Fincher has pulled the wool over our eyes by giving us a whole new style to his approach on psychological horror. The well-shot cinematography, done by previous Fincher collaborator Savides, is effectively grainy and claustrophobic, almost like your watching actual footage from a police camera. This is aided by the great sets and art design of this rundown section of Baltimore. Also, Angus Wall’s editing is tight yet thoughtfully paced, never resorting to choppy sequences or gimmicks to substitute real terror. However, the most surprising aspect of the film is the way the sound is handled. Throughout the entire showing, there is no score playing in the background. The tension Fincher creates, aided by the editing, carries the film’s momentum so well that you forget that films ever needed music to create a mood. It also helps that Fincher’s crew have pulled off some of the most realistic sound design ever done on film. Every action and sound in the film is spot-on, feeling so real that you’re practically in the scene right then. This is a rare film that creates a new type of fourth wall while never breaking it.

Fincher seems determined to give us nightmares, as all of the suspense and fighting scenes are so well crafted and real you’ll think people are actually being killed. From the cliché-free moments of suspense to some of the most disturbingly real hand-to-hand combat ever filmed, Fincher continues to reign supreme over the wannabe directors who claim to be “masters of horror”. His cast also gets good credit for this, as they all give finely tuned performances. Though Cheyenne Jackson is the main character, his somewhat limited screen time may hurt his Oscar chances. That’s not to say he’s a slacker though, as his believability and natural reactions are stellar (particularly through a disturbing, almost un-watchable torture scene). Thank goodness he has Dennis Haysbert backing him up, who delivers a knockout performance as Detective Handrick. You never assume he’s acting in the film, as the literate, no-nonsense attitude he gives his character is done with so much ease that you’d think he was just like that. The fact he can carry so much of the film by just his mere presence is worthy of Oscar consideration.

Criminal Origins is not your average thriller. It’s not flashy, gimmicky or full of hidden political messages. It is an atmospheric work of art, which is sure to give Fincher the praise he so rightfully deserves.

Award Possibilities

Best Picture
Best Director (David Fincher)
Best Supporting Actor (Dennis Haysbert)
Best Adapted Screenplay (James Vanderbilt)
Best Cinematography
Best Art Direction
Best Sound Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Editing

The Curious Savage

Author(s): Ryan & Hugo Manso
Location: n/a / Spain

"The Curious Savage"

Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Written by Norah Ephron
Music by John Tavener

Main Cast

Queen Latifah (Mrs. Ethel Savage)
Lisa Kudrow (Florence)
Ryan Gosling (Hannibal)
America Ferrera (Fairy May)
Justin Long (Jeffery)
Melissa George (Mrs. Paddy)
Orlando Bloom (Titus)
Elijah Wood (Samuel)
Christina Ricci (Lilly Belle)
Liv Tyler (Miss. Wilhelmina)
Kate Winslet (Dr. Emmett)

Tagline: "Welcome to the Cloisters"

Synopsis: The Curious Savage is the heart-warming story of Mrs. Ethel Savage (Queen Latifah), an extremely wealthy and charitable widow worth over $10 million. After the death of her husband she realizes that she’s never been free and begins to pursue her career in acting what has been her dream for years. She begins to give away money to anybody who wants to make their dreams come true. However, Mrs. Savage’s three greedy stepchildren, Titus (Orlando Bloom), Samuel (Elijah Wood), and Lilly Belle (Natalie Portman) commit her to a mental institution, "The Cloisters" to get her money. Mrs. Savage meets a variety of quirky and hilarious characters there. Hannibal (Ryan Gosling), plays the violin but has no talent, Jeffery (Justin Long), who has an imaginary scar on his face, Florence (Lisa Kudrow), who thinks her son is still alive, carrying around a doll; Fairy May (America Ferrera), who wants to be everybody’s friend and needs to hear that she is loved, and Mrs. Paddy (Melissa George), who paints, but only says a list of what she hates.

At first Mrs. Savage is very angry and hates the place, but when she starts to know everyone, she realizes that maybe the people that are crazy, are free, something she was looking forward for a long time. With a strange curiosity, she wants to know more, she wants to hear what they’ve got to say, she listens to Hannibal music, she treats Jeffery’s scar, feeds Florence’s little doll, she tells Fairy May how much she is loved by everyone and asks Mrs. Paddy why does she hate all the things she hates? Step by step she discoveres her freedom, she’s making people happy, and that makes herself happy too.

Mrs. Savage’s presence seems to bring out the best in them all, as well as the kind staff member, Miss Wilhemina (Liv Tyler) and Dr. Emmett (Kate Winslet), who soon realizes that Mrs. Savage, is eccentric, and not insane. Mrs. Savage however learns that any of the patients can leave but that they just don’t want to, as she, they are happy where they are.

So, Mrs. Savage leads her stepchildren on a wild goose-chase for her money. And sorts out her life along with the others.

With a heart-felt ending this is one not to be missed.

Based on the play be John Patrick.

What the Press would say:

“Two thumbs up!”-Ebert & Roeper

“A Great Movie and Play.”- People

“A+! A Just Great.”-Entertainment Weekly

“Amazing and Sensational, Hilarious, a family film to see.”-Rolling Stone Magazine

The Curious Savage is a great play and an even better movie. Queen Latifah is great and so is the rest of the cast. While Latifah is eccentric and self-absorbed, she manages to help others and see a world she hadn’t before, as the great actress she is, she lets you know that world with her. Everybody is hilarious and shines with magnificence. Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom all play evil characters that will go down with some of the favorite children and adult movie villains of all time. Lisa Kudrow and Ryan Gosling, as two of the crazy people, give such incredibles performances, both are hilarious when they have to, and dramatic as well when needed. Kate Winslet is great, as always, with this movie, hopefully, she will get her first Academy Award, as well as her sixth nomination. There’s time for laughs, there’s time for tears, there are great performances and there’s a very deep message. That makes this movie a classic masterpiece for sure.


Best Picture
Best Director: Tony Goldwyn
Best Screenplay: Norah Ephron
Best Original Score: John Tavener
Best Actor: Ryan Gosling
Best Supporting Actor: Orlando Bloom
Best Actress: Queen Latifah
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa George
Best Supporting Actress: Lisa Kudrow
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

Author(s): James S.
Location: Canada

"The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger"

Directed by David Lynch
Written by David Lynch
Based on the Novel by Stephen King

Main Cast

Viggo Mortenson as The Gunslinger
Tobin Bell as The Man in Black
Alexander Michaeletos as The Boy
Anthony Hopkins as The Elder
Sigourney Weaver as The Den Mother

Tagline: "Look to the Horizon... and Beg For Sunset"

Synopsis: The Man in Black fled across the desert and The Gunslinger followed. Shots are fired, crows left dead in the chaos. The Gunslinger holstered his gun as his heart sank. Sandy winds whip across his bare face as the shadow of his enemy fades into the distance.

Many days along the roadless way, he finds himself amidst a great many buildings left for the dead. Long since have these been abandoned. The ruins of once great towers, the remaining cables of three great bridges, a woman standing many men tall, the great water creeping up to his feet. He will have to return here one day but... They're coming.

The Gunslinger flees into the depths. Many miles. The surface people are still following. They thirst for blood. He must get away. Fast. And then, with a misplaced step, he falls. Falls forever, it seems. Until finally a darkness enshrouds him even darker than his surroundings.

He wakes to the underlings; the people of UnderGround. They stare down at him. Two elders hide him deep and then extract his history from him. His days in the Old World... the train... childhood, the train.

A boy has been kidnapped by the surface people! A very special boy. A boy from a very different world. The Gunslinger leaves his confession and goes in search of the boy. But he doesn't find him. He finds the dead bodies of hundreds of surface people. The Man in Black has the boy. To draw him closer. Lead him into a trap. With the boy as bait, the Man in Black watches for The Gunslinger until a bullet comes tearing through the door.

What the Press would say:

"The Gunslinger" is classic Lynch. With no beginning and no clear end, this horrifying quasi-western quickly descends into being a nightmare. From the opening shots of two men running across a desert, to the final shot of The Gunslinger laying in the sand on a beach, we are treated to an ever darkening fantasy that begins as a question mark and ends with no questions answered but a hundred new questions asked.

Jumping into the story full force, we are introduced to The Gunslinger, a loan gunman chasing after a Man in Black. His motives are never revealed but we are privy to learning a little bit about the mysterious gunslinger's past. His ideal childhood in a small town near the Mexico boarder, a massive locomotive with a skull at its head, and the viral plague that wiped out almost everything, and left about 90% of the remaining population mutated.

Viggo Mortenson plays the gunslinger with a silent intensity reminiscent of Clint Eastwood. He is the last of the gunslingers, the others being killed off by the Surface People. He is largely an enigma in a movie full of questions. He is supported by Anthony Hopkins and Sigourney Weaver; two underlings who protect him from the Above Grounders as long as they can. They seep into his memories of the past and use them in order to help him in the present. Only when a young boy, played to perfection by Alexander Michaeletos, is kidnapped, do they allow him to leave. The boy has been kidnapped by The Man in Black, a cloaked figure with two magnums strapped to his wrists. Tobin Bell takes the roll of The Man in Black and revels in it. His chill-inducing voice and his sallow eyes bring the character to life, even under the black cloak. His performance was definitely the most memorable performance of the film. His total lack of compassion when threatening the boy's life, his determination in killing the gunslinger, his hidden agenda.

Everyone in this film has a hidden agenda and that's one of the reasons it is so interesting.

Deep characters, a story that draws you in until you can't find your way out, powerful direction, and amazing sequences make this film. The final sequence in the movie is one in which The Gunslinger and The Man in Black shoot their way out of a hoard of above-grounders and end up on an empty beach. With the Gunslinger's guns out of ammo, The Man in Black aims and fires.

Lynch creates a nightmare world where up is down and light is dark. Where the fires of hell are heaven compared to living. David Lynch adapts "The Gunslinger", the first of four parts, from Stephen King's "The Dark Tower"; an epic story of good versus evil that reaches just below four thousand pages. "The Gunslinger" leaves no hope for us in the end. Like the characters, we are left without a beginning or an end, And we haven't even reached the middle yet...

Best Picture
Best Director - David Lynch
Best adapted Screenplay - David Lynch
Best Actor - Viggo Mortenson
Best Supporting Actor - Tobin Bell

...The Journey Has Only Begun...
...Prepare For The Drawing Of The Three...

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

Author(s): James S.
Location: Canada

"The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three"

Directed by David Lynch
Written by David Lynch
Based on the Novel by Stephen King

Main Cast

Viggo Mortenson as Roland; The Gunslinger
Tobin Bell as The Man in Black
Alexander Michaeletos as The Boy
Collin Farrel as Eddie Dean
Tracie Thoms as Susanna Mia
Anthony Hopkins as The Elder

Tagline: "Forever Bound"

Synopsis: The Gunslinger wakes up on a horrid beach, with Lobstrosoties coming toward him. His weapons are out of ammo so the only way her can fight them off is with his hands. Ten minutes, and two fingers later, The Gunslinger walks away from the dead corpses that now scatter the beach.

A short journey brings him to an odd discovery. Three doors stand in the middle of the beach. Each stands perfectly atop of the sand. He stares at them for a long while before walking up to one and being sucked into a twisted vortex.

New York of 1981 brims as The Gunslinger finds himself in time square. His lost journey through Manhattan takes him to a high rise building and a shoot out between drug dealers. An addict, Eddie Dean, lies cowering naked in the corner of the room. The Gunslinger steals away to a locker and takes some weapons. Blood and bullets spatter the walls and eventually leaves The Gunslinger and Eddie Dean fleeing the building. Soon they back at the beach but another door awaits.

New York of 1968 surges with the energy of civil rights. Susanna Mia is a wheelchair bound activist lost in the crowd. Eddie and the Gunslinger spot and the Gunslinger runs for her. He doesn't know why he's doing it. All he knows is that he must. But he's being watched from somewhere up above. By a man dressed in black.

What the Press would say:

"The Drawing of the Three" picks up only hours after "The Gunslinger" but is an extremely different movie. This is no longer a dark, solitary journey through desert wastelands, but a twisty-turny time traveling tale that brings The Gunslinger to New York at two different points of the 20th century. He isn't your typical fish out of water though. He spends no time trying to get to know his new surroundings. Instead, he jumps right into the fray and a gunfight with lethal 1980's cocaine dealers. This fight is to unbelievably violent extremes, leaving many of the drug dealers in states that barely resemble human. The Gunslinger's complete lack of humanity in these scenes is more disturbing than anything else in the film.

His next entrance into the 20th century in in the late 1960's at a civil rights march. Here we meet Susanna Mia, a paraplegic, schizophrenic civil rights activist. Her only problem is that she has another personality, that just happens to be a racist white woman. Tracie Thoms delivers the best performance in the film as Susanna Mia. Her uninhibited switching between personalities would be comical in most movies, especially with to personalities that are so very different, but Lynch doesn't let it get out of control and the audience feels more uncomfortable and scared when the switches take place. Her character is very rarely funny, and never funny when switching between Susanna and Mia.

Also joining the cast, as drug addict Eddie Dean, is Collin Farrel. He gives one of the best performance of his career as the withdrawals set in and he is left as a naked, cowering, mess on the floor during the 1980's shoot out. Dean is an extremely weak person, a big departure for Farrel, who is used to playing cops and Alexander The Great.

David Lynch once again takes us to a horrifying fantasy world that is growing in scope all the time. The Man in Black is still alive as we now know, and is now chasing after his one time pursuer. It isn't clear if the Gunslinger is traveling through time or dimensions, but how much in this movie really is clear? The relationship between The Gunslinger and the Man in Black is still a question mark, Susanna Mia and Eddie Dean are now trapped in The Gunslinger's world/time, and one door still remains to be opened. Very few questions are answered in the end but one huge questions rears it's head in the final moments of the movie. This question takes the form of a skull-faced locomotive barreling through the desert.


Best Picture
Best Director - David Lynch
Best adapted Screenplay - David Lynch
Best Supporting Actress - Tracie Thoms

...They Are Now Forever Bound...
...As They Enter The Waste Lands...