John Robinson

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Elephant Review


Very Good
Gus Van Sant has made an eclectic career out of portraying vastly different avenues that adolescents use to focus the anxieties they grapple with. From the strangely compelling My Own Private Idaho to the more mainstream Good Will Hunting, he remains consciously aware of the often erratic motives of youth while creating an effective story.

With Elephant, he takes a more documentarian approach, shooting seemingly handheld style right up in the faces of the teens he is following, or right above the back of their shoulders. He follows a wide range of clichéd characters, from jock to nerd to slacker, up until the moment two of them go haywire on their fellow schoolmates with weapons purchased off of the Internet. And, yes, it is fairly obvious who the troublemakers will be as soon as they appear on camera.

Continue reading: Elephant Review

Lords Of Dogtown Review


Weak
"Lords of Dogtown" is a fictionalized accountof the birth of modern skateboarding that doesn't have half the spontaneityand maverick spirit of the vivid, kinetic, crowd-pleasing documentary thatinspired it.

2002's "Dogtownand Z-Boys" (now available in an excellentDVD) was an adrenaline-rush history of the Zephyr Skateboarding Team, adaredevil band of teenage surf bums who were the first to take wave-ridingmoves to the streets and empty swimming pools of drought-stricken SantaMonica in the early 1970s.

This handful of young turks (oneof whom became the director of that film andthe writer of this one) invented the board-gripping, back-scratching, wall-climbingstyle that launched the entire rebel culture of extreme sports -- but youwouldn't know it from "Lords of Dogtown," which concerns itselfmore with fabricated love triangles, unhappy home lives and rivalries thatformed when fame came calling.

While the performances of the young cast members -- keyZ-Boys are played by John Robinson from "Elephant,"Emile Hirsch from "TheGirl Next Door" and Victor Rasuk from "RaisingVictor Vargas" -- are multifaceted, they sometimes have the under-rehearsedfeel of a bawdier after-school special. Or maybe that's just the clumsyexpository dialogue: "Hey, I think we should start a skateboard team,man," says one shirtless, long-haired dude to another. "There'smoney in this!"

Continue reading: Lords Of Dogtown Review

John Robinson

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John Robinson Movies

Elephant Movie Review

Elephant Movie Review

Gus Van Sant has made an eclectic career out of portraying vastly different avenues that...

Lords of Dogtown Movie Review

Lords of Dogtown Movie Review

"Lords of Dogtown" is a fictionalized accountof the birth of modern skateboarding that doesn't have...

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