Friday, April 17, 2009


generous loyal readers:
Insider Film Review is now a KDworld enterprise!

~ it's like the truth, only real.

hope to see you there even More often than you've been here. thanks for your support!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

fool me once....

while superstars clive owen and julia roberts prove capable sparring partners in central dance of lust and mistrust, pic is all about setup. and writer/director tony gilroy (michael clayton) knows a thing or three about Smart dramatic tension. wordless slo-mo clash of titans paul giamatti and tom wilkinson serves as perfect prologue--epic feel, hilarious, brilliant. script continues cracking along briskly, cleverly flashing back & forth to reveal depth of complex cons and twists, well played. lets itself down mightily in endgame, however, when all comes revealed a la perry mason mysteries: smug victors gather around to retrace their steps of genius for apparently less intelligent audience. plus, all that fancy footwork and our heroes come up short? where's the payoff for Us?
setup: B

Sunday, March 15, 2009

nightmare reality show

an in-depth, from all angles look at one of contemporary italy's most dangerous mafia families. based on novel that apparently hit so close to home, author and contributors were/are targeted with death threats. pic boasts documentary-style immediacy. cast comprised of primarily non-professional actors, locals hired for authenticity. end credits even feature statistics decrying camorra crime clan's most vile perpetrations, ranging from environmental pollution to mass murder. winner of cannes 2008 grand prize of the festival and nominated for 2009 golden globe for best foreign language film.
immediacy: B+

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

who's watching...?

first, if you're upset pic is not enough like the source material, quit your bitching. author alan moore refused to attach his own name to film, suggesting no movie version could do justice to his work! was that not enough of a clue for you? if you're such a rabid fan, you shouldn't have even Gone (the more contemptible complaint), and thus have only yourself to blame whichever way you whine. besides, truth be told, Only film to cling tighter to graphic novel roots was sin city--nothing to be righteous about.
brightest aspect of 150 min. geekapalooza is director zack snyder's already evident (too early to call Signature?) visual style. he also definitely knows comics, reveres his players and shows them off well, delivers kick-ass seamless sfx, and won't skimp on graphic sex & violence. heck, he frames fights and fornicating Brilliantly. political themes certainly are outdated, and many characters standard comic fare, so although moore's warning may appear prescient, don't shoot the director.
geekapalooza: B

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

anybody order the underwhelm?

the international--
feels, in every way, like your average james bond film. haven't seen naomi watts in such a thankless role in years, certainly not since she became a star. clive owen does what we'll call the heavy lifting, yet in such thriller-by-numbers material, it's very often the bad guys (read: character actors) who stand out. here it's broadway star brian f. o'bryne who comes off looking like a (most unassuming) badass. director tom (run, lola, run) tykwer's one slick shoot-em-up not enough to lift pic out of big budget mediocrity. he could use some help staging intimate talking (non-action) scenes. we're set up to be frightened by premise--who controls the Debt is in control; i.e., omnipotent financial power structure--yet resolution sure proves awfully simplistic.
bond: C+

crossing over
oo, this one had me cringing from the get-go. writer/director wayne kramer somehow assembled a generous cast of A-list actors--harrison ford, ashley judd, ray liotta--to have a go at his passion project. no amount of star power, however, can rescue pic from such stock direction and rubbish diaolgue. when these venerable thesps are not looking wooden, they're certainly sounding ridiculous. ambitious? sure; connect-the-dots stylings of Crash. comparisons end there.
rubbish: D

Friday, February 20, 2009


i am heartbroken, and i can barely stand it. yes, it sounds And feels awfully melodramatic. i'll be brief:

i worked for more than 10hrs, easily, on my oscar breakdown & predictions--had it finished and polished, even--and now the text is forever lost. all of it. irretrievable.
it was almost certainly my best academy award piece ever, undoubtedly my most extensive.
i will not be writing another one for sunday's ceremony. it just takes too much time, and i have lost my drive.
i will list my forecast here, below. although there will be no big surprises this year (ah, but isn't this very attitude what enables a true surprise...?), i expect you'll do very well in your office pool if you copy my picks. if you want to Win your office pool, you May want to switch a select few. i will even suggest which ones might be smartest to switch (read: if i Don't mention it, don't switch). if you have a weighted scoring system and/or if you're interested in further breakdown, have Any questions/comments, etc., you are welcome to contact me directly. i Luv talking about this silliness.

not-so-subtle reminder lessons: copy & paste material periodically In Addition to auto save procedure; more importantly, enjoy this life of easy unattachment.
hope you have a Great oscar night. more soon (when i get my drive back)....

in order (hopefully):

supporting actress--penelope cruz

supporting actor--heath ledger (absolute #1 lock of the year)

animated feature--wall-e (high value certainty for weighted system)

costume design--the duchess (also high)

film editing--slumdog millionaire (darkhorse--i.e., Could win--the dark knight)

makeup--benjamin button (bank on it)

sound editing--the dark knight (darkhorse = wall-e)

sound mixing--the dark knight (ditto)

documentary feature--man on wire (longshot--i.e., only if there's no justice in the world--trouble the water)

foreign language film--waltz with bashir (darkhorse = the class)

original score--slumdog millionaire (high)

original song--"jai ho" from slumdog

visual effects--benjamin button (high)

art direction--benjamin button (darkhorse = dark knight; [paints an appropriate picture, eh?])


original screenplay--milk (longshot = wall-e)

adapted screenplay--slumdog (longshot = ben button)

live action short film--spielzeugland (toyland), (low); Should Win = auf der Strecke (longshot = new boy)

animated short film--presto (darkhorse = this way up)

documentary short--didn't see Any of them. pundits claim the witness = Will Win. my educated guess says Should Win = the conscience of nhem en

actress--kate winslet (contender = meryl streep), (low)

actor--sean penn (darkhorse = mickey rourke), (low)

director--danny boyle

picture--slumdog millionaire (longshot = ben button)

feels less melodramatic now that i've done That. and i obviously had to have Some drive to crank even That out. humph.

Monday, February 16, 2009

what you see is what you get

nobody does international action thriller like producer luc besson. this one's as tidy as they come, no fluff, and thankfully not begging--like most within the genre--to be cool. clocks in at 93min and feels even quicker. star liam neeson's smarts, size, and composure make him easy sell as retired CIA badass. he's jason bourne 25 years down the line. maggie grace does a perfectly bouncy 17 as well. a pair of truly indelible scenes more than make up for a couple that take the easy way out.
tidy: B+

another animated gem from stop-motion wizard, director henry selick (the nightmare before christmas, james and the giant peach). another dark, magical realm, somewhere very far from land of shiny happy kiddie flicks. really must be seen in 3-D to be fully appreciated, as nuances of the painstaking handicraft don't fully translate to flat bigscreen medium. not the wild-ride, involved Adventure i hoped for, yet wondrous and full of imagination just the same.
imagination: B