Jean-louis Piel

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Birth Review


Bad
Jonathan Glazer's stylish debut Sexy Beast stood out for the uncharacteristically explosive and vicious performance the director coaxed out of stately Ben Kingsley. Evidence of any such energy all but escapes Birth, Glazer's anticipated follow-up to his kinetic gangster picture. A plodding and pretentious thriller, this beyond-the-grave affair ends up being too art-house for the mainstream crowd and too mainstream for the art-house crowd. Loosely translated, that means it doesn't work for anyone.

Birth hangs its hat on a delicate premise that demands kid gloves if it seriously hopes to sustain the already shaky credibility. An elegant transition of life forces starts the film. Physician Sean dies while jogging. Simultaneously, a baby is born. Fast forward 10 years, where a cave-eyed child coincidentally named Sean (Cameron Bright) claims to Upper West Side basket case Anna (Nicole Kidman) that he is her reincarnated ex-husband. Anna's humorless fiancée (Danny Huston) scoffs at the idea. Her mother (a neglected Lauren Bacall) displays indifference. ("I never liked Sean, anyway," she articulates.) But Anna's not so quick to write the boy off.

Continue reading: Birth Review

Ken Park Review


Good
Admired by some, reviled by many, Larry Clark and his films range from frighteningly honest to quizzically gratuitous. With Kids, he shocked moviegoers (especially parents) with his group of smooth-skinned city teens humping like mad, partying to disgusting excess, and spreading death. In last year's explosive drama Bully, Clark adapted a true-life tale to illustrate a microcosm of violent peer pressure. With Ken Park, the movie Larry Clark has wanted to make since the late 1980s, the to-hell-with-it-all filmmaker gives us more screwed-up kids, equally deranged parents, and sexual acts teetering on the precipice of boring pornography. Ken Park has something to say -- it just doesn't say it too clearly.

Clark teams up with co-director Ed Lachman (lauded cinematographer of Far From Heaven) and his bad-boy Kids screenwriter Harmony Korine to tell us that young people are the most tension-filled, powder keg group in the country. Witness the film's opening credits: the title teen (red-haired Adam Chubbuck) skateboards through a suburban town, enters his local skate park, and puts a bullet through his own head. Roll movie.

Continue reading: Ken Park Review

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Jean-Louis Piel Movies

Birth Movie Review

Birth Movie Review

Jonathan Glazer's stylish debut Sexy Beast stood out for the uncharacteristically explosive and vicious performance...

Ken Park Movie Review

Ken Park Movie Review

Admired by some, reviled by many, Larry Clark and his films range from frighteningly honest...

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