8 posts categorized "True-Crime"

September 26, 2010

THE SOCIAL NETWORK

Fincher's Tech-Wave Feast:
A Movie More Entertaining Than Facebook
By Cole Smithey

Social_networkBoy tech geeks won't be able to prevent themselves from outbursts of clapping, laughter, and bladder leaks while watching David Fincher's fast-paced drama about the meteoric rise of Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook.

Zuckerberg has, of course, famously derided this quasi-biopic as a piece of fiction. Perhaps he needn't worry. Napster co-founder Sean Parker (played dynamically by Justin Timberlake) comes across as a much bigger genius-idiot-douchebag than Zuckerberg does in the film.

The Social Network Sequel Is Being Considered by Aaron Sorkin | IndieWire

Jesse Eisenberg does a better job than expected as Zuckerberg, portraying him as an acid-tongued, fast-twitch cyberpunk who wilts every lesser intellect around him. The movie kicks off with Zuckerberg on a stormy date with girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara). The future mogul confronts, condescends, accuses, and changes subjects like an ADD/OCD speed junkie on a tear.

Binge Blog: All creation myths need a devil | Arts and Entertainment | Your  Observer

After Erica hands him his walking papers Zuckerberg rushes back to his Harvard dorm room to get drunk and blog about Erica's intimate failings. Then he cobbles together a which-girl-is-hotter comparison website called "Facemash" that invites every frat house tool to humiliate their female classmates by rating their attractiveness (or lack thereof). One hour and 20,000 viewers later, the site crashes Harvard's mainframe — and turns Zuckerberg into a big man on campus.

The Social Network Blu-ray (DigiPack)

Rowing crew twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss approach the genius coder to build them a Harvard social network site. Zuckerberg agrees, only to blow them off for the next six –weeks. Instead he cooks up his own soon-to-be-spectacularly-popular networking site with the help of best friend and newly appointed CFO Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield).

Socialnetwork

Aaron Sorkin's dazzling script toggles between knee-slapping law office depositions of Zuckerberg and the litigious Winklevoss twins (who are out to sue him), and flashback sequences that tell the back story. Eduardo Saverin is also there, demanding 600 million dollars in punitive damages. Context and tone are everything in this pitch-perfect drama, anchored in the mishandled friendship between the cold-blooded Zuckerberg and his disrespected business partner Eduardo.

The Social Network Predicted The 2010s | Screen Rant

"The Social Network" arrives at an unprecedented time in modern history when the inertia of the internet zeitgeist can be encapsulated in one word, Facebook.

The Film Sufi: “The Social Network” - David Fincher (2010)

The filmmakers wisely stay away from explicating how people use Facebook or in any nitty-gritty details about the application itself. Fincher and Sorkin utilize a compressed communicative shorthand to tap into a coded tempo of frenzied energy that people use when engaging on Facebook. These are characters that think and talk fast. Very fast. The way the filmmakers and actors grab the audience by the lapels and pull you up to speed with them, is more than a little arresting. 

Socialnetwork

It's telling that we're introduced to Sean Parker in the bed of an impossibly nubile Stanford college student in the morning after a night of sex. She is as shocked to discover his affluent identity as he is to be introduced to Facebook for the first time.

The Social Network Picture 10

Sean Parker recognizes the "coolness" element that makes Facebook a much sexier medium than something like Craigslist. Zuckerberg's execution of "taking the entire social experience of college and putting it all online" is an iceberg tip that the narcissistic and "paranoid" Parker appreciates as just the thing to turbo charge the economically flagging silicon valley region of Palo Alto.  

Socialnetwork

Some critics have fallen all over themselves comparing "The Social Network" to "Citizen Kane" for their thematic similarities of emotionally slighted young media mavericks who took advantage of the people closest to them to accomplish their macro-macro goals. But it's a quicksand trap to make such a comparison. Critics panned "Citizen Kane" when it came out as a "labyrinth without a center."

Influencing People | The New Yorker

However, it's clear that the economic center that has made Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire in history is a young-minded public of internet users hungry for attention and safe interaction. There's an undercurrent of sadness to the film's scale and techo-laced musical score that recognizes its subject's frat boy logic and sorority girl gamesmanship. The tragedy here isn't personal; it's public.

In 2010, The Social Network was searing — now it looks quaint - The Verge

Rated R. 120 mins.

5 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

February 09, 2009

GOMORRAH

Mafia Rules
Neapolitan Crime Syndicate Comes Up for Inspection
By Cole Smithey

Colesmithey.comRoberto Saviano’s tell-all mafia expose provides rich narrative soil for director Matteo Garrone ("The Embalmer" - 2002) to weave together five stories of mob-related corruption sucking dry the Italian industrial province of Naples and its squalid suburbs and infecting the entire financial landscape of the European economy.

A master tailor — enslaved to his occupation since childhood — two would-be teenaged gangsters, a pair of illicit toxic-waste disposal contractors, and a 13-year-old mafia recruit living in a drug-infested housing project, make up the unforgettable characters in this devastating picture of social collapse. The clan's corrupt system, or "Camorra," that pulls the social strings of the region makes the Sicilian Cosa Nostra look like nice guys by comparison. You may never want to visit southern Italy after seeing this film.

Gomorra

It is said that if you throw a rock from a Naples hotel room, a gang war could ignite. Since writing "Gomorrah" Roberto Saviano has had to live under police protection in secret military barracks. The Camorra has placed a permanent death sentence on his head for exposing their multinational activities that include drug-dealing on a massive level, laundering money through diamonds, clothing stores, and tourism businesses all over Europe. It is estimated that the Camorra's annual profits exceed $233 billion. The agile crime syndicate's improper disposal of toxic waste in the Campania region has resulted in a spike of cancer-related illnesses in the area.

Colesmithey.com

The personalized effect that director Matteo Garrone achieves in collapsing the extent of the Camorra's far-reaching crimes into a fictional narrative form derives from the collaborative effort of six screenwriters, of which he himself is one.
Two charismatic but woefully foolish boys, Marco (Marco Macor) and Ciro (Ciro Petrone) hang out in a disused building acting out scenes from Brian De Palma's "Scarface," and dreaming of creating their own two-man crime syndicate. The duo's discovery of a Camorra arms stash gives way to one of the film's most indelible sequences in which the boys indulge in some impromptu assault rifle target practice, dressed only in tennis shoes and underwear, along the squalid muddy shore of a river that runs through town.

Gomorrah

They will not be forgiven for their immaturity and ignorance of the crime world that they flirt with, and their story provides a crucial segment to the film's soup-to-nuts encapsulation of the way the Naples society is inducted through the Camorra's system of corruption from an early age.

Gomorrah

The inner-workings of one way the mafia enslaves its workers comes across in the storyline of the haute couture tailor Pasquale (Salvatore Cantalupo) whose Camorra-supported clothing business produces dresses that will be worn on red-carpet events in Cannes and at the Oscars by the likes of Angelina Jolie. Pasquale has worked under the Camorra from dawn to dusk since his youth, and yet he has little to show for his contributions. So it is that Pasquale decides to risk his life to sell his skills to a competing Asian manufacturer for which he makes cloaked nocturnal excursions to instruct its staff of seamstresses. Pasquale's mastery of his craft is persuasively exhibited in Salvatore Cantalupo's expressive performance in keeping with the solid work of the film's ensemble.

Colesmithey.com

"Gomorrah" is a virtuosic example of modern neo-realistic filmmaking that briefly plays into expectations of the mafia crime genre before flipping the vernacular on its head through timing, framing, and performances. Matteo Garrone's all-encompassing vision allows the film to be read on manifold levels that reach beyond the psyche of a singular generation. It is a reluctantly compelling film that fulfills a cinematic gap in the way it approaches its subject and fulfills the author's passion for what amounts to a martyr's effort at rescuing his homeland and incidentally a much broader spectrum of political and economic influence.

Gomorrah (2008) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

Rated R. 137 mins. (IFC Films)

5 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

April 28, 2008

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEEDURE

Standard_operating_procedureGetting to Know Our Captors
Errol Morris Connects the Pictures to Their Takers
By Cole Smithey

Documentarian Errol Morris effectively takes the viewer inside the atmosphere of psychological and physical abuse doled out by American military personnel at Abu Ghraib by connecting the hundreds of damning photos taken by soldiers to their context. And he doesn't stop there, but rather shows the judicially perceived differences between which abuses were considered criminal acts and which were determined to be merely acts of "standard operating procedure."

Movie Review: Standard Operating Procedure | LAist

With his signature use of slow-motion microscopic images and direct-to-camera interviews, Errol Morris spells out in no uncertain terms the extent of one of the biggest cover-ups in modern U.S. history. Morris correctly calls his investigative documentary a "nonfiction horror movie," but it is also an essential window into the depths of depravity that the Bush administration instilled in its lower ranks. You could very easily walk away from this film convinced that the fall of Western civilization is already upon us. Once again, Errol Morris confirms his status as the greatest documentarian working today.

Standard Operating Procedure | 2008 Tribeca Festival | Tribeca

Audiences familiar with the documentaries of Errol Morris ("The Thin Blue Line" and "The Fog of War" being his most famous) know how he methodically dissects subjects with a formulaic approach that benefits from his self-devised "Interrotron" camera that enables interviewees to speak directly to a video image of Morris instead of a camera lens.

Standard Operating Procedure - Reading The Pictures

Because some of the people he interviews are soldiers dubbed by the Bush Administration as "a few bad apples," there’s an immediate preconception that melts away as the accused describe their experiences. Where the media portrayed Lynndie England as a mentally challenged MP of limited education, we discover an articulate individual seething at circumstances carefully orchestrated by White House officials. Of the seven MPs implicated in the scandal (Sabrina Harman, Megan Ambuhl, Lynndie England, Charles Graner, Ivan Frederick, Jeremy Sivitz, and Jamal Davis), Morris interviews all except Graner and Frederick, who were in prison when the film was made.

Blog Archive » Standard Operating Procedure

Especially telling are letters that Sabrina Harman wrote home to her domestic partner Kelly, describing the prison’s bizarre atmosphere that led her to photographing the corpse of taxi driver al-Jamadi; an act of documentation that the Bush administration believed was more objectionable than al-Jamadi’s murder and subsequent attempted cover-up. Morris and his production team of consultants and designers went to great lengths to build a sound stage replica of Abu Ghraib’s puke green hallways and claustrophobic cells in order to create re-enacted scenes staged with actors. The sequences resonate with verite electricity that underscores Morris’ clinical treatment of facts.

FILM REVIEW: Standard Operating Procedure | www.splicetoday.com

There is no shortage of graphics and skillfully interwoven camera angles to divulge unique visual details that lend a organic understanding of the experience of both inmates and their captors. But it’s in its final moments that the film achieves a macro-micro significance as the sheer number of damning pictures receives a court-approved rating. An inmate handcuffed in a stress position with underwear pulled over his head is given an acceptable rating under the military’s "standard operating procedure," which also condones smearing prisoners with their own feces, or forcing them to masturbate.

Fort Bragg divided over Iraq abuse charges

It is as Hollywood’s torture porn films consciously acknowledge. Killing an enemy isn’t enough. The West demands that in the modern age victims must be sexually molested and humiliated into complete psychological submission before being exterminated. It’s hard to imagine what form of invulnerability such a decadent abuse of power will eventually incite. The Clash sang, "Know your rights." In this day and age, it seems more important to know your country’s wrongs.

Rated R. 117 mins.

5 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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