Movies Movies MOVIES
RED STATE: Kevin Smith's latest revolves around a controversial ultra-convervative religious group that has taken their hatred of all things homosexual to a whole new level. Led by a charismatic Michael Parks, the group lures/kidnaps and then murders assorted "sinners" who cross their path. When three teenagers are lured into the woods looking for (straight) sex, they land in the Preacher's clutches. You can kind of see the wheels turning in Smith's story, which starts off like some twisted "Hostel" riff but then suddenly left-turns into a bloody Waco-esque stand-off managed by ATF Agent John Goodman. As the "Waco" reference suggests, things don't go all that well, and then there's a truly weird "twist." Revealing the "twist" is definitely a spoiler, and for a minute I thought Smith was REALLY taking this to a truly unique and jaw-dropping place. Alas, things get (over) explained... all that said, I liked this. There are some genuinely creepy moments, and Parks is pretty convincing as the Preacher.
One thing that surprised me, watching the "Making of" documentary, is that some members of the cast thought the movie was actually quite funny. I'm not sure which cut they saw, but except for some early teenager banter between our future victims, I'm not seeing the humor...
KILL THE IRISHMAN: Any movie with Christopher Walken, Vincent D'Onofrio and Val Kilmer in supporting roles has to have something going for it, but this is really a little gem. Ray Stevenson (who's great) plays Danny Greene, a real life Irish gangster who went to war with the Cleveland-based Italian mob in the 70's. The weapon of choice for these sociopaths was the car bomb, and goon after goon was blown to bits when things reached a boil. I have zero sympathy for gangsters and was grateful that while the movie tries to understand Greene, it doesn't excuse his violence. What I liked best is how this felt like a classic 70's gritty gangster movie, but totally modern too. The blu-ray comes with an interesting documentary on Greene that vividly shows what happens when you detonate bombs next to people; as in, pieces of them fly everywhere. Anyway, I think this is an under-appreciated effort and well worth checking out.