Tripp Review: Dead or Alive

{Me after the first 4 1/2 minutes} “Oh my god this movie is 100% montage and it’s going to be GREAT!” Sadly the montage only lasted another 60 seconds(!), but the film as a whole was still a blast. After the bonkers opening, the story settles into somewhat standard cops-vs.-Yakuza fare, but with plenty of Miike’s depraved flourishes to remind you where you are. (Remind me to leave any nightclub with a kiddie pool on the premises.)

This middle portion (aka the plot) will inevitably be given short shrift in capsule reviews because it can’t possibly live up to the hype of the first 10 minutes without the audience’s hearts exploding. But it does have plenty to offer even if you have seen every other east-Asian gangster picture to cross the Pacific.
That said, the crime drama in Dead Or Alive is pretty much like the love story in Audition: you’re going to forget all about it once it pays off with the final set piece. The last ten minutes are so hilariously over the top, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at bloody violence since Meet The Feebles. I hope one day to see this in a theater full of people who don’t know what’s coming.

four stars


Tripp Review: Mute

Rudd was excellent, as was his mustache. Theroux was also good, and it made me wish the entire film was about the two of them. Skarsgård was adequate, though it really could have been pretty much anyone in the role; an actor with no lines needs to convey his character physically, and I don’t think he quite pulled it off. Sheehan was terrible. I cringed with every line reading.

All in all the redeeming qualities of the movie were Paul Rudd and the word “tech-tard”, but that’s not enough to recommend.

two stars

Skarsgarded Again! Erin Fitzgerald, Alexander Skarsgard, and Amy at San Diego Comic Con 2012. Photo by Amy Lordan, who will watch anything with a Skarsgard in it.

Tripp Review: Loving Vincent

vincent_van_gogh_-_self-portrait_-_google_art_project_454045“Every frame a painting,” indeed. An absolute feast for art-lovers and animation enthusiasts alike. Some reviewers have complained that the story is too slight, but I found it to be compelling enough. O’Dowd’s performance was particularly moving; however, I found Ronan’s segment to be lackluster (possibly because she was hiding her natural voice that I enjoy so much?).

Between this and The Breadwinner … If Boss Baby wins Best Animated Feature I’m burning AMPAS to the ground.

four stars

Tripp Review: Detroit

The standoff at the Algiers hotel is as tense as anything in The Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty; the team of Boal & Bigelow knows how to ratchet up the tension (and how to get the best performances out of Anthony Mackie). That said, the scenes before and after the cops control the motel just seem to drag. First I thought I wouldn’t like it, then I loved it, then I was wondering how long until it’s over. Shave ten minutes off each end, and this would be a great movie.

three and a half stars

Tripp Review: A Sound of Thunder

I had convinced myself that this was direct-to-video fare, possibly part of the After Dark line, but no; apparently, this saw actual theatrical release. Wow. It’s not very good, at all. I mean, it would have been a top-notch SyFy Original, but… That’s Ben Kingsley there. Oh well, I guess losing your director, star, and 60% of your budget will do that.

Then again, you do have a character claim to be a physicist and then in the same sentence completely misinterpret the Heisenberg principle, so you can’t blame that on production woes.

one and half stars

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her

Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Viola Davis, William Hurt, and Isabelle Huppert all in the same flick. What’s not to love? Unfortunately, Ned Benson’s The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her suffers from a weak and hackneyed plot.

I really wanted to like Eleanor Rigby: Her because it’s one of three films that tell the same story. Its companions are The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Cool concept, right?

There were some great scenes featuring Chastain/Davis and Chastain/Hurt, but otherwise, I was bored. I found myself paying more attention to Chastain’s swell wardrobe and fantastic hair cut. [She was making me miss my red hair!]

Maybe I’ll enjoy The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him more? Maybe I would have liked Her if McAvoy had his Scottish accent? Or at least an English one? Alas, alack.


I recently re-watched The Accidental Tourist, starting Hurt and Geena Davis. I saw it at least a couple of times when I was a kid and became emotionally attached to the score by John Williams. I even learned some of it by ear and would play it on the piano. Anyhow, I digress. Back on track now!

While watching Eleanor Rigby: Her, I thought it was interesting to see Hurt playing the grieving grandfather rather than the grieving father. And then I thought, “I wish I was watching The Accidental Tourist instead!”


Verdict: Watch the first season of The Affair and The Accidental Tourist instead. Though I might soldier through Eleanor Rigby: Him because I quite like that McAvoy chap.