Timothy Wayne Peternel

Timothy Wayne Peternel

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Small Apartments Review


Good

Relentlessly quirky and strange, this pitch black comedy manages to combine its outrageous silliness with some surprising emotional resonance. Swedish filmmaker Akerlund (who directed Lady Gaga's Telephone) keeps the film's pace snappy as it lurches through a series of crazy situations that aren't remotely believable. But the starry cast manages to hold our interest.

Everything centres on a run-down apartment complex in Los Angeles, where Franklin (Lucas) lives in his dumpy flat, dreaming of someday moving to Switzerland to play his alpine horn in the mountains. Clearly unhinged, Franklin desperately misses his brother Bernard (Marsden), who went away but still sends him a daily audio-tape message. Then on the first day a tape fails to turn up, Franklin's whole life starts to unravel, starting with the fact that his landlord (Stormare) is lying dead on his kitchen floor. Franklin's attempt to get rid of the body draws the attention of two detectives (Crystal and Koechner), who start quizzing the neighbours (Knoxville and Caan). But this is only the start of Franklin's big adventure.

The story is structured as a series of wacky set-pieces set apart by luridly colourful flashbacks and fantasy sequences that fill in the back-stories for each of the characters. As a result, everyone on screen bursts with personality as well as motivations for everything they do, which makes watching them a lot more interesting than we expect. Crystal and Caan emerge as the most engaging people on screen, but even nuttier characters like Lundgren's "Brain Brawn" pop psychologist are fun to watch. By contrast, Lucas gives Franklin an eerily blank face: this is a man who still hasn't figured out who he is.

Continue reading: Small Apartments Review

Dirty Review


Bad
That's "dirty" as in cops. And that's "cops" as in LAPD. If you wanted to depict this stained organization in the worst possible light, don't bother, it's been done -- to death. And here it is again, rising up like a ghoul from the grave -- from the pen of Chris Fisher and Gil Reavill, directed by the former. The picture they give us of this organization is that there's no hope Chief Bratton's corps will ever clean up its act.

We follow the frantic, out-of-control maneuvers of two cops in particular, Salim Adel (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Armando Sancho (Clifton Collins Jr.). These are two law enforcement officers out of the barrio, familiar with its culture and the scummy men who run it. But paragons of law they are not, and they have about as much resistance to corruption as a tin badge in seawater.

Continue reading: Dirty Review

Spun Review


OK
Wes Anderson fans will barely recognize Spun protagonist, if you can call him that, Jason Schwartzman. Though he's been in a handful of forgettable roles since claiming cult status with his breakthrough in 1998's Rushmore, he's back to center frame as a speed-addicted, goalless youngster. Though this time around he somehow manages to snag a buxom blonde dancer and tie her to a bed for a few days instead of merely pining away for the older woman.

But with an eclectic cast that includes John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, and Mickey Rourke, Spun is more about exuberant editing providing a humorous glimpse into a small, bored, drug community than a focus on any particular acting or writing talent. Once the pizzazz of quick cuts and graphic novel touches has washed over the normal tell-tale signs of substance abuse by all the characters, you're left with another drug movie that feels as if it's trying too hard to be Trainspotting, without the spiffy production design.

Continue reading: Spun Review

Timothy Wayne Peternel

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Timothy Wayne Peternel Movies

Small Apartments Movie Review

Small Apartments Movie Review

Relentlessly quirky and strange, this pitch black comedy manages to combine its outrageous silliness with...

Spun Movie Review

Spun Movie Review

Wes Anderson fans will barely recognize Spun protagonist, if you can call him that, Jason...

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