Day 145: The Battle Of Shaker Heights (2003)

the battle of shaker heightsFor today’s film, I wanted to watch something that featured Shia LaBeouf (Disturbia) who I am a huge fan of. I love his dedication to his art and I like his films. I was scrolling through the Showtime Anytime app when I saw that The Battle Of Shaker Heights was about to expire so I chose it for today’s film. Kelly Ernswiler (LaBeouf) is an War reenactor who is having some trouble in his life. He views his life as a constant battlefield whether it’s dealing with his recovering addict father, a bully at school, or trying to win the love of someone who is obviously way over his league. That is what Kelly deals with until he meet a fellow friend named Bart (Elden Henson) on the battlefield who ends up helping him with most of his troubles except for one major one which involves his sister (Amy Smart). The film also stars Billy Kay (Halloween: Resurrection) as Lance, Kathleen Quinlan (The Hills Have Eyes) as Eve, Shiri Appleby (Swimfan) as Sarah, William Sadler (Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight) as Abe, Ray Wise (Jeepers Creepers 2) as Harrison, Anson Mount (Urban Legends: Final Cut) as Miner Weber, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Tombstone) as Mathilda, and the film was directed by Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin.

battleI didn’t realize until I chose to watch the film that was a Project Greenlight film which was a series started by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The film’s script was the big winner for season two of the series and Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin were the lucky winning directors. If you ask me, the series was more interesting of a reality show than any other because it’s cool to see the process involved in making films like this one. The role that Shia had in this film was a very typical role for him back in his early days play the quick witted rebellious teenager (just like in Disturbia) who doesn’t really see the big picture. It’s a great film for teenagers because it’s exactly the way teenagers think and feel like they know everything. Amy Smart has always been one of my favorite actresses since I first saw her in Varsity Blues. She does an amazing job playing the object of Shia LaBeouf’s desire. The film isn’t that long and I think that’s perfect because anymore and it probably would have dragged. The film cuts all the fat out and makes it the perfect length giving you the right amount of comedy and drama one can take. When they pour the drama on you, they really pour it on as it seems things just get worse for our main character which kept me glued in. Is it the best Shia LaBeouf movie out there? Well after seeing some of his other films like Fury or even The Nymphomaniac films, then I would say no. On a teen scale, then it’s a maybe. I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.

Day 89: Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013)

IMG_5014I figured since I watched the first of the two films in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, I would watch and finish the second film for today. To recap what happened at the end of the previous film, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) was at the point where all of a sudden during a sexual encounter with Jerome (Shia LaBeouf), she lost the sensation to feel an orgasm. In Nymphomaniac: Vol. II, Joe is telling the rest of her story to Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) that sees her seek sexual pleasure threw some of the most desperate attempts in a darker world, the loss of Jerome and her child, and a new business that brought some gratification for her. Ultimately, she will tell him what exactly led her to be in Seligman’s care through the final chapters. The film also stars Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac: Vol. I) as Young Joe, Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Dad, Jamie Bell (The Adventures Of Tin Tin) as K, Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) as L., Mia Goth (Everest) as P., Michaël Pas (Code 37) as Older Joe, Jean-Marc Barr (Europa) as gentlemen Debtor, Udo Kier (Flesh For Frankenstein) as The Waiter, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill Vol. 1) as Mrs. H., and Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows).

IMG_5015The second of the two films is definitely darker and more sadistic than the first film, but contains the same amount of sexuality. The film definitely goes in some darker directions especially with gentlemen debtor scene or the S&M beating scene that Joe goes through. Like I said in the previous post, this film if released in theaters here in the states would have been rated NC-17 and it’s for the sexual content. Like the fact that Tarantino has been accused of focusing on feet, Lars von Trier likes to focus the camera on both the female and male organs for periods of time. The sexual intercourse scenes in these films seem so very real in my opinion which is another factor on the rating. The two films are definitely great studies on the sexual revolution and why sex shouldn’t be so taboo in today’s society. Whats crazy is that Shia LeBeouf must have met his fiance on the set of this film as Mia Goth stars in the film. She almost steals the show towards the end of the film as sort a protege/lover for Joe’s character that plays a very integral part in the later part of the story. One thing that bothered me about the film is the end of the movie. The ending was one of those that I completely saw coming and that kind of bothers me cause I just felt it was expected. Other than that, this was definitely two very interesting films. Check them out for yourself right now on Netflix if you dare, but definitely a NSFW film. I am going to give the final volume an A- for a final grade.

 

Day 88: Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (2013)

nymphoEver since the Dogme 95 movement from Denmark (which only lasted ten years in total), there is no denying that Lars von Trier (Melancholia) was the true visionary and cinematic daredevil to come out of that. The Danish director returned in 2013 with a daring vision with his next film Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (one of two released) which stars Stellan Skarsgård (Thor: Dark World) as Seligman, a regular man who while on his way home from the market finds a young woman named Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying on the ground beaten. Seligman brings the girl home and he listens to her as she recounts all of her erotic sexual encounters that have happened in her life that brought her to that point in time. The film also stars Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Father, Connie Nielsen (The Devil’s Advocate) as Joe’s Mother, Stacy Martin (Tale Of Tales) as Young Joe, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Jerome, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Vol. 1) as Mrs. H, Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows) as B, Anders Hove (Mifune) as Odin, Clayton Nemrow (Speed Racer) as Married Man, Jens Albinus (The Idiots) as S., Hugo Speer (The Full Monty) as Mr. H., and Jesper Christensen (Quantum Of Solace) as Jerome’s Uncle.

nymphomaniacFirst off, I am going to say that this is definitely a film that would have been rated NC-17 had they tried to enter this into theaters here in America. Sex is still a little taboo here in the states while it’s not in Europe. There is a lot of sex in this film and a lot of male body parts as well as the female, but the thing that got me was that in some scenes the sex looked authentic. One scene shows Joe having intercourse with a male on the train which blew my mind that it looked that real. The film is divided into five chapters with the first one being her sexual experiences being compared to fly fishing, one chapter comparing her father’s death to Edgar Allen Poe’s or how similar they were. One chapter deals with Joe being confronted with the wife of one her lovers in Mrs. H (Uma Thurman). What happens next was absolutely brilliant. Uma Thurman stood out like a champ in that chapter and was the highlight of the film in my opinion. You’re thinking the whole time that she is going to feel bad and she just carries on using sex as a way to cope with reality. The film and it’s other volume are the last films in the depression trilogy that also included Antichrist and Melancholia. I probably should have watched Antichrist first, but oh well. Lars von Trier is a true cinematic hero and visionary in my opinion and I look forward to the next volume. The film definitely ends on a cliffhanger which leaves me no choice, but to catch the next film and see Shia once again. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.