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Saturday, February 26, 2011

I SAW THE DEVIL

By D.E.Levine

Director: Ji-woon Kim
Writer: Hoon-jung Park
Cast: Byung-hun Lee, Gook-hwan Jeon, Ho-jin Jeon, San-ha Oh, Yoon-seo Kim et al.
Producer: Hyun-woo Kim
Executive Producers: Hun-you Jeong and Greg Moom
Co-executive Producers: Kee-young Cheong, Hyung-cho II, Yeong-chin Kang, Byung-ki Kim, Kil-soo Kim, Jae-sik Moon, Bryan Song and Youngjoo Suh
Co-producer: Seong-weon Jo
Associate Producers: Jae-young Kim and Jung-hwa Kim
Cast: Min-ski Choi,
Original Music: Mowg
Running Time: 141 Minutes
Country of Origin: South Korea
Language: with English subtitles
Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror

People walked out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival screening because they thought I Saw the Devil was too brutal and horrifying, but it's actually a well-done revenge film, made in true Korean style.

The legendary actor Min-ski Choi, who played Oldboy, is cast as a ruthless, demented, serial killer.

After raping and murdering the daughter of the chief of police, the killer continues to rape and murder without remorse.

However, in addition to being the daughter of the chief of police, the young girl he murdered at the opening of the film, was engaged to a secret service agent who vows vengeance and starts tracking the serial killer.

Thus begins a tale of cat and mouse with the secret agent stalking the serial killer and the serial killer choosing victims that are explicitly hurtful to the secret agent.

The tension keeps building as the action keeps barreling along. Whenever it seems things can't get any more horrifying and crazier, they do.

The performances are really superb and the intensity builds. I did think that at a certain point the film could have been cut and that it went on longer than necessary, but it was filled with unexpected twists and turns and the suspense kept building.

It's true some people don't feel a film of this type particularly appealing, but others find it curiously satisfying

Monday, February 21, 2011

KILL THE IRISHMAN

By D.E.Levine

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh and Jeremy Walters (screenplay); Rick Porrello (book "To Kill the Irishman")
Cast: Val Kilmer, Linda Cardellini, Christopher Walken, Laura Ramsey, Ray Stevenson, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio, Bob Gunton, Paul Sorvino, Robert Davi, et al.
Producers: Al Corley, Eugene Musso, Tommy Reid and Bart Rosenblatt
Executive Producers: Jonathan Dana, Peter Miller and Tara Reid
Co-producer: John Leonetti, Kim Olsen, George Perez, Tom Reid Jr., Jeff Spilman and Jeff Stern
Original Music: Patrick Cassidy
Running Time: 106 Minutes
Country of Origin:
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Action, Adventure, Mystery, Suspense

I learned a lot of history from this film. For instance, I never knew there was a huge turf war between the Italian mafia and the Irish mobsters in Cleveland, Ohio during the summer of 1976.

History, upon which this film is based, shows that during the summer of 1976 36 bombs were detonated in Cleveland.

The story is about Greene, an Irish touch working on the docks and his rise to enforcer for the local mob.

Turning on his benefactor, a loan shark, and allying himself with a local gangster, Greene stops following mafia orders and pursues his own path to power.

It seems that everyone tried to kill Greene and he kept surviving their assassination attempts. His fearlessness in taking on the mafia eventually led to the mafia's collapse throughout the United States.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PEEP WORLD

By D.E.Levine

Director: Barry W. Blaustein
Writer: Peter Himmelstein
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverstein, Rainn Wilson, Ben Schwartz, Judy Greer, Kate Mara, Taraji P. Henson, Ron Rifkin, Lesley Anne Warren et al.
Producers: Keith Calder, Felipe Marino and Joe Neurauter
Co-producer: Paul O. Davis
Original Music: Jeff Cardoni
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Comedy

Peep World centers around the 70th birthday of a family patriarch when his four children come together with their respective spouses and significant others to throw their father a birthday dinner.

Also at the dinner is the ex-wife and her second husband, the young girlfriend of the father, and the publicist of the youngest son.

While the family is highly dysfunctional in many ways, in the forefront is the unseemly success of the youngest son because of his tell-all book entitled Peep World.

Based on the most intimate family secrets, Peep World is a tremendous success and has thrown the family members into total chaos.

Add to that the fact that the family daughter has to daily look out at the Peep World movie set, located directly across the street from her apartment. To add pain to insult, the actress playing the daughter in the movie, is the current girlfriend and future wife of the patriarchal father.

What a conundrum! In a low key way, the film is extremely funny and the casting is stellar.