I'm Damien Riley. These are my written reviews on films.
I write movie reviews here, they are are marked when they contain spoilers. I am a big fan of Roger Ebert and the way he talks about a movie while allowing the viewer to keep her/his own impressions. With his reviews as my guide, I seek to post conversation starters about the movies. To see the full list of movies I’ve reviewed click here.
This film finds its strength in pristine cinematography of Maine and the performance of Treat Williams.
Watching “The Congressman” I was taken back by the video images of a sleepy Maine fishing town and impressed by the acting skills of Treat Williams.
There is care given to capture sunsets, active fishing expeditions, and more. There is one sunset that is unforgettable.
This film is about a Congressman named Charlie Winship, played by Treat Williams who is known for Hair and Deep Rising, among many other television and film roles. Charlie has a bad day when he is captured on iphone video sitting wile the rest of Congress is doing the pledge of allegiance. In our viral world, it gets publicizes fast and Charlie gets a lot of judgement for what he did. It gets a lot worse before it gets better and the idea presented is that we tend to worship rituals instead of concepts of freedom.
Charlie retreats to an island off the coast of Maine and while there he recovers the small town values that once made up his political his platform. He connects with a woman, Rae Blanchard, played by Elizabeth Marvel. She is very important in his return to his previous morals about Freedom. The film moves around rather quickly with not too much time on any one person. It focuses a spotlight on an issue and then moves on leaving the viewer to form her/his own opinions. This may be seen by some as a “light hearted” film that doesn’t make any grand stadium statements. The other reason to see this film is Treat Williams’ performance. He speaks with such seasoned ease in acting. He delivers his line as though he were an actual congressman. It’s a great film to watch and internalize at the theater or on Video On Demand where you can find it now. For the reasons stated above, I hope many get to see and enjoy this film.
Directors: Jared Martin, Robert Mrazek
Writer: Robert Mrazek
Stars: Treat Williams, Elizabeth Marvel, Ryan Merriman
R | 1h 38min | Drama
“The people you love, they’re the only ones who can hurt you.” -Anne Morris
According the “The Loft” movie, it’s every man’s dream to have a cave or a loft where he can do whatever he wants, including cheating on his wife (or girlfriend). I say no thanks, even in a movie. The idea of cheating is only somewhat interesting to me. “The Loft” explores it. Then again, maybe the movie is meant to show us the consequences of such actions.
The Loft (2014)
as Vincent Stevens
as Chris Vanowen
as Luke Seacord
Erik Van Looy
Bart De Pauw (based upon the film written by), Wesley Strick (screenplay)
Mystery, Romance, Thriller
My favorite aspect of this movie isn’t the subject matter but rather the mystery woven through. In the first scenes we see a body fall out of the loft onto a car. The viewer is given clues but the key to the mystery about that body takes a real sleuth.
For me, this was almost a good tv movie but it shouldn’t be a cinema film. It had all the trappings of an Zach Galafinakis/Bradley Cooper drunken comedy ony there aren’t any jokes and we certainly aren’t meant to shake our fists and say “Hell yeah, have another shot.”
While I’m on that subject of men partying, I want to share with you I feel so disenfranchised from films like this. I don’t have friends who are pouring vodka down my throat and hooking me up with centerfolds. Why do we see this so much in movies like this?
The concept here is that a group of men share the rent on a secret loft penthouse style apartment. The understanding is that they can cheat on their significant other without being caught. Well, there is a murder and seemingly another death that may be suicide (the falling body onto the car). You get a lot of clues, some are obvious the others more cryptic. Nonetheless, it is a well woven mystery and I would recommend it on that basis alone. The characters, their lines, the story besides the mystery, unbelievable for me anyway. I don’t know what kind of dudes you run with but these ‘aint my peeps. If you liked it, let me know why? Like I said, it was an alright mystery.
Anthony Hopkins plays John Clancy, a psychic Doctor. If I were psychic and could see people’s death path when I touched them, I think I would pass on being a doctor and work in a toll booth. It turns out the serial killer cop “Joe” and Clancy seek is also very psychic and quite a few steps of both of them as they try to track him down.
as John Clancy Colin Farrellas Charles Ambrose Jeffrey Dean Morganas Agent Joe Merriweather Abbie Cornishas Agent Katherine Cowles
Ted Griffin Sean Bailey
Rated R for violence
There isn’t much new here for the genre. It feels like a run-of-the-mill serial killer movie. Anthony Hopkins does a few Hannibal Lecter clone scenes. One example is when he describe Abbie Cornish’s child to her without knowing anything about her. She plays Joe’s partner on the force. Clarisse anyone?
The killer, played by Collin Farrell, doesn’t show up until past midway. When he does, he is docile and tame. In my opinion, he was a very poor casting choice. His impetus or killing is supposed to be benevolent but it’s really not. Yes, it’s that hard to divine. We have a dead victim in a bloody bath (Dexter anyone?) and a script that borrows from every serial killer more cliche but it’s “ok,” the more isn’t terrible. I hated seeing talents wasted on such nonsensical writing though.
The ending is very predictable. I read on Wikipedia that this movie was meant to be a sequel to se7en. That might explain why the borrowed so much rom that and movies like it.
I enjoyed the actors but everything else is a fail for me. I took three stars away possibly to warn people this movie doesn’t merit the actors in it. There is some action between the nonsense so if you have nothing else to watch, I might recommend it.
I almost feel like if I don’t give this film 5 stars, bad movie karma will visit me. It is mentioned in so many reviews I read as well as in interviews with directors and actors. It was released with an “X” rating which is laughable by our standards today. I think you see one female breast in about three short, clothed sex scenes. It later received an R rating.
This film is old, it came out the same year I was born.
Oldies are often goodies though and “Midnight Cowboy,” while gritty, is a drama treat with award winning actors that make the story come alive.
I love movies that show us the naked city. From the playbills stapled and frayed on side streets to the honking of taxicabs. People are trying to survive and we get to travel with the camera, taking it all in. Of course, we can pause at any time or come back to revisit another time. People in the real city can’t. Maybe that’s why we like watching what they will do, often out of desperation.
Just seeing John Voight and Dustin Hoffman in their prime is very entertaining.
These guys were showing us acting like university drama instructors here in their mid twenties. John Voight has always struck me as one dimensional and stupid. That actually works for his character here. Hoffman is a con man, a sick one at that. We get a slice on 1969 in this very well made and incredibly acted film. I recommend it.
Title: Midnight Cowboy Number of times I’ve seen it: 1 Genre: Drama MPAA Rating: R Year: 1969 Director: John Schlesinger, (“Marathon Man”) Top Billed Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
Brief Synopsis: Man moves to the big city and makes an unlikely friend.
Title: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father Genre: Documentary, Crime, Drama MPAA Rating: R Year: 2008 Director: Kurt Kuenne Top Billed Cast: N/A Brief Synopsis: The disappearance of a 28 year old man reveals dark truths. The documentary maker made this for his son and complications arose. My Word to the Wise: Fans of Dateline and 48 Hours will likely enjoy this film. It’s a gripping true story told in news footage and interviews. It will likely infuriate as well as entertain. It is a masterful telling of a story with an ending you’d never expect. As a documentary it was too long for me. They do a lot of filler scenes that repeat content. For that it lost a couple stars.