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Movie Review: Green Zone
Cinema Junkie   |  

Green Zone movie posterGreen Zone
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Antoni Corone, Nicoye Banks
Rated R
Release date: March 12, 2010

“Someday this war’s gonna end…”
— Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore from Apocalypse Now

“You know they’re all kids in Washington? It’s like Bugsy Malone, but with real guns.”
— Judy Molloy from In The Loop

“The reasons we go to war always matter. They always matter.”
— Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller from Green Zone

Green Zone: The Truth Ultimatum

The front between myth and reality evaporates as the search for the truth rages on in Paul Greengrass‘ Iraq War thriller, Green Zone.

In Green Zone, Greengrass has decided to merge his serious political films, such as Bloody Sunday and United 93, with the wildly entertaining Jason Bourne films he has directed: The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. At first, the result is one of supreme imperfection, but I have come to the conclusion that Greengrass has directed the first truly great thriller with the Iraq War as background. I have to remember that this is Greengrass’ version of the truth that he has taken from Brian Helgeland‘s screenplay. Helgeland’s screenplay is adapted from Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life In The Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. Chandrasekaran is a reporter and editor for The Washington Post. The screenplay is more inspired from his wonderfully insightful book than a straight adaptation.

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Movie Review: The Ghost Writer
Cinema Junkie   |  

The Ghost WriterThe Ghost Writer
Directed by Roman Polanski
Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall
Release date: February 19, 2010

“I’ve been having this nightmare. A real swinger of a nightmare, too.”
— Major Bennett Marco from The Manchurian Candidate

“Have you ever heard the expression “Let sleeping dogs lie”? Sometimes you’re better off not knowing.”
— Jake Gittes from Chinatown

“Sorry, I’ve just got one question: Whose map is Britain using when it completely ignores the United Nations and decides to invade Iraq? Or do you think it’s more diplomatic to bend the will of a superpower and politely take part in Vietnam the Sequel?”
— Tessa Quayle from The Constant Gardner

The Ghost Writer: Prisoner Of Convictions

The consequences of our transgressions are the stains that cannot be cleansed away. The past is the vessel that we cherish and regret with equal measure. Art can be the ultimate catharsis when dealing with the past or attempting to get through the present depending on what one’s situation is. Imagine what life would be like if we could write are our memoirs with the aid of a ghost writer who believes everything we say. Unfortunately, what would happen if the ghost writer goes to check all the information you provide? Your life would take on different meaning — more honesty might expose you to disgrace or more ridicule.

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Movie Review: Up In The Air
Cinema Junkie   |  

up in the airUp In The Air
Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring George Clooney, Jason Bateman, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Release date: December 4, 2009 (limited)

“Everywhere I travel, tiny life. Single-serving sugar, single-serving cream, single pat of butter. The microwave Cordon Bleu hobby kit. Shampoo-conditioner combos, sample-packaged mouthwash, tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight? They’re single-serving friends.”
— Narrator from Fight Club

“Few people on this planet know what it is to be truly despised. Can you blame them? I earn a living fronting an organization that kills 1200 people a day.”
— Nick Naylor from Thank You For Smoking

“Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises. The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.”
— Ryan Bingham from Up In The Air

Up In The Air: Life In The Descent

The beauty of getting lost at the movies is that it allows us to visit worlds vastly different from our own. It is the greatest exercise in being a fly on the wall. It is the ultimate act of voyeurism. Going to the movies, listening to an album or reading a book are some of the greatest trips we will ever take in our lives. Jason Reitman’s Up In The Air is one of those experiences. Before I go any further, it must be stated that Jason Reitman is his own man. He stepped out of his father’s shadow as soon his first feature, Thank You For Smoking, was released in 2006. He followed that with Juno in 2007 and the rest, as they say, is history. While it helps to be Ivan Reitman’s son in order to have a shot in this business, you have to have talent and hunger to survive in this industry; Jason Reitman has both in spades. He is three for three as far as directing films is concerned. The nepotism claim can be thrown away. He, like Nick Cassavetes, Jake Kasdan, and especially Sofia Coppola have forged their identities in the entertainment business. A famous last name can only get one so far, you have to have the talent and skills to truly survive and endure in the film business.

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Confessions Of A Cinema Junkie: The Art Of The Mixtape, Coming Of Age Films And Drew Barrymore’s Whip It
Cinema Junkie   |  

“All right, let’s show ’em what we got, guys! Get out there on the ice and let ’em know you’re there. Get that fuckin’ stick in their side. Let ’em know you’re there! Get that lumber in his teeth. Let ’em know you’re there!”
— Reggie Dunlop from Slap Shot

“Now that I’ve got school covered, I’ve only have the world outside these walls to fuck up.”
— Diana Guzman from Girlfight

“Well, put on some skates and be your own hero.”
— Maggie Mayhem from Whip It

The sonic fury of a film’s soundtrack is integral to its lasting presence. The soundtrack to Drew Barrymore‘s Whip It is a furiously beautiful compliment to this potent and rousing coming of age film. Barrymore understands the importance of a film’s soundtrack. She understands how vital the musical component is to the film. All one has to do is read her note that she wrote for the soundtrack album:

“Music is the soundtrack to our lives, and when you put music and film together, it is a powerful combination.”

“I have always been someone that had a great appreciation for the art of the mix tape.”

“This soundtrack is my mix tape for you.”

Drew Barrymore gets it. She understands the relationship between music and film. While watching the film, I would crack a smile as songs by The Breeders, Tilly And The Wall, The Ramones, The Chordettes, Dolly Parton, Peaches, and many others would blare out during the film’s many magical and cathartic moments. A good soundtrack is essentially an awesome mix tape. Drew Barrymore understands this all too well for her directorial debut.

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Movie Review: Funny People
Cinema Junkie   |  

Funny People
Directed by Judd Apatow
Starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill
Rated R
Release Date: July 31, 2009

“The whole place seemed to have been stricken with a kind of creeping paralysis – out of beat with the rest of the world, crumbling apart in slow motion.”
— Joe Gillis from Sunset Blvd.

“I don’t know if there is anything wrong because I don’t know how other people are.”
— Barry Egan from Punch-Drunk Love

“You’re my best friend, and I don’t even like you.”
— George Simmons from Funny People

Funny People: Bringing The Nasty Pain

Los Angeles, the bitch of desire, takes no prisoners. Hollywood may be her enchanted vagina, but the rest of her is a ferocious dominatrix ready to force everyone to fall under her demented spell. It is a city with an infinite supply of Sammy Glick’s ready to pleasure the bitch at whatever cost.

Judd Apatow‘s third film, Funny People, is a departure for him; it is supposed to show him as a more mature filmmaker. It certainly has many of the raunchy elements that made The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up so memorable. Judd Apatow is trying to move beyond the myth of adulthood in this film. Adulthood seems to be the Holy Grail that his characters can never quite find in his films or even the films of Wes Anderson. Adulthood is out of reach for the so-called adults as well as the younger generations who are stuck in eternal adolescent purgatory. Funny People certainly fits this vital characteristic of what makes a Judd Apatow film, but he has gone further with this film in that he deals with the show business angle — the world of stand-up comedians.

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