Julia (2014) A young plastic surgeon assistant has a date with a client. Unknowing to her, the client has brought 3 men with him to his home to rape her. Left for dead, she somehow gets home and tries over the next few days to get her life back to normal. Not happening of course and after hanging out in a local NYC dive bar, she meets a lady who takes her to a psychiatrist to help sort things out. It seems it goes deeper than this and she is introduced into a revenge cult, who seeks out predatory men and teaches them lessons before they can harm women. There is one catch though…she cannot seek revenge on her attackers.
Interesting concept on the rape-revenge film is hampered by a weird script and odd pacing. Surprisingly, not very gory or violent. The filmmakers have obvious talent as the film looks great and the actors are also very good. I want to recommend because there are some visually cool moments but most are going to be befuddled on what is actually going on. Toss up for sure.
99 Homes (2016) Recommended by my buddy Philip of Dark Discussions, 99 Homes is an off shoot of the mentor/trainee genre but done is such an insane way. Andrew Garfield plays a single father who is about to lose his home. The day of his eviction comes and he meets Michael Shannon (who seriously deserves some kind awards for Best Actor here), a unscrupulous real estate person, who deals with flipping foreclosures. A few days later, through chance he ends up accepting work from this guy, which leads him deeper and deeper into a web of corruption and gaining money from others misery. Over time, the riches come, he gets his home back but at what cost?
Thematically, I’m not all in on this one. You really don’t know who the filmmakers “blame” for the real estate “problems” of the past decade: is it the people, who want the American Dream and were deceived by the bank with bad loans or the banks who gave the loans to people they knew couldn’t handle it? It’s all about money in the end. Well acted & written though, I was glued to the screen. My little issues aside, it’s a high recommend.
Mystery Train (1989) Ah, I finally pulled this one out of my DVD collection to watch. I have become a big fan of Jim Jarmusch films and my friend Michael did tell me about this one. Three different sets of characters (who never meet) all have interesting & weird things going on one day/night in Memphis, TN. Two young Japanese travelers roll in on a train, mainly to see Sun Studios and other odd things happen due to the language/culture barrier. A lady who is sending her dead husband corpse back to Rome has a layover, so is forced to stay in Memphis. A group of men have a large set of problems after one of them shoots a liquor store owner in a botched robbery. All end up at the same hotel.
I absolutely loved this film, Jarmusch’s first color picture and the images he gets are amazing. The color itself is vibrant even though the landscape he is filming in (run down Memphis, TN circa 1989) is flat and bleak. The framing of scenes is perfect. The writing and the performance of everyone is top notch. Since the three stories are all happening at the same time, keep your eyes and ears open for clues. This is definitely one film I will re watch in the near future because I know I missed things. I am pretty sure this is on Criterion now, so gifts are welcome!