The Purge (2013)

The Purge

(R) 1h 25 min

Plot Summary: In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.

Director & Writer: James DeMonaco

Stars: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder

Serious Jest: animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd) (Must See) From a strictly artistic standpoint, this is not a great movie.  Some of the scenes are hokey, and the character development lacks enough depth to inspire your investment in the protagonists. However,  its plot is pretty unique, the socioeconomic conversations it inspires could go on for days, and, frankly, it’s a pop culture icon (as we discussed in Episode 19 of the podcast, and as further detailed in IMDB’s The Purge trivia page, this film has inspired a few major horror maze/experience productions). Hawke manages to transcend the script with his usual intensity, and it’s pretty different to see Headey in such a morally upright and vulnerable role.

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City of God (2002)

(R) 129 mins

(R) 129 mins

Plot Summary: Growing up in a Rio de Janeiro slum, Rocket is able to avoid being drawn into a life of drugs and crime by having a passion for photography.

Director: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund

Cast: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Jonathan Haagensen, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Daniel Zettel

Serious Jest: animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd) (Must Own)  I kept hearing that this movie was good, but I never got around to watching it.  Having glanced at its cover before, I was expecting something different…more of a sappy romantic tale.  Instead, I discovered one of most poignant, suspenseful, exciting, and action-packed tales of a place that I’ve only heard stories about.  It catapulted me through a wide range of emotions.  Watch this and then try to complain about your “first-world problems.”  The City of God is shockingly poor and frighteningly dangerous, yet culturally rich and unexpectedly beautiful.

Meirelles and Lund manage to convey a stark realism through a cast made up largely of actors from Rio favelas who had never acted before, but who stepped up to the task in an amazing way with some intense coaching.  The film even features some takes which were not scripted, as well as real coverage from true events.  The music masterfully complemented the mood of each scene, while staying true to the beauty of Brazil.  The camera work was top-notch (especially for 2002), both in César Charlone‘s skillful employment of the equipment and in the scenery that he captured.  Daniel Rezende, the film editor, presented Charlone’s vision at a wonderful intersection of deliberate and thrilling, ensuring that the viewer’s attention stayed captive throughout.

This flick is so good, I wanted to watch it again immediately after the credits rolled the first time around.  You will be hooked from the moment the chicken starts running for its life.  Make this film the next one you watch.

Bad Ass (2012)

(R) 90 mins

Plot Summary: A Vietnam veteran who becomes a local hero after saving a man from attackers on a city bus decides to take action when his best friend is murdered and the police show little interest in solving the crime.

Director: Craig Moss

Writers: Craig MossElliot Tishman

Stars: Danny TrejoCharles S. Dutton and Ron Perlman

Serious Jest:  (Worth Watching)  This is a straightforward OG-shows-these-young-bucks-what’s-up flick, but it’s pretty entertaining.  Although some of the events are cheesy and/or ridiculous, they seem to be deliberate camp.  Trejo is extremely likeable, and this is one of those times that you can actually root for his character instead of just admire how thorough he is.  In contrast to the rest of the dialogue, which is so corny it’s actually funny (again, I suspect it’s purposefully campy), the insults hurled between Trejo and John Duffy are conventionally witty and hilarious.  This is a good movie to throw in during a hurricane party–assuming your power’s not out–like I did during Sandy.