Comedy, Conspiracy and Charity

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The month of June (ahh Juuuune!)  has for me been an exceptional one. All thanks to a bunch of great films that seem to be popping up out of nowhere. I feel the need to explain the buzzed feeling I get after watching an amazing film. Its like falling in love (unapologetic of the mush) it really is. I want to burst out with giddiness. OK! so cut to the chase. Here are a few flicks you will most definitely enjoy. :))

City Island. 1 FACT: stars Andy Garcia. If that’s not enough to sway you I don’t know what will. Now this came out a while back, 2009 to be precise. But if like me you don’t mind watching something that’s been around for a while this will be great!

Andy Garcia takes on the role of Vince Rizzo; family man and prison guard. I know what you’re thinking not a great departure from his role as Vincent Corleone, besides they have the same first name. Coincidence? Not sure, satire probably… But for me that’s where the similarities end. As the head of an averagely dysfunctional family, (with some memorable characters) Vince Rizzo’s story takes on plenty of surprising and humorous turns and finally reveals itself like a well thought out dream or fairy tale. Its great!

As you’re watching you effortlessly give up all hope of guessing what’s going to happen, sit back and enjoy. Even though some of the scenes may seem absurd its extremely heartfelt. This movie ticked most boxes for me. Something I really admire of director Raymond De Fellita who is able to create a truly impressive product with minimal special effects and bits flying around. Good story and characters, great acting, funny, real, entertaining..no overselling, this film was wonderful. If you haven’t seen it already, please do!

Now to cut through to the seriousness of life I give you Puncture. I think I saw this last week. I stumbled on it while I was looking for something to watch with my dinner. With pretty sensitive content I had to wolf down my meal quick and concentrate! Its got to be said a bit of energy has to be exercised to really understand the dialogue. So if you do watch it, make sure there are no talkers around or else you’ll lose the plot.

The film based on real events deals with pharmaceutical corruption. There is something about films based on real life that makes me pay attention (i.e Exorcism of Emily Rose but that’s another story). Truth is i’m usually stunned by the knowledge that this crazy stuff really happened and is not just fiction. Released last year, Puncture features Captain America star Chris Evans before he swapped into red and blue. Playing an unconventional super hero Evans portrays Mike Weiss an enthused lawyer looking for his big break if it kills him. Instead he dives into a huge corporate scandal that gives off a David and Goliath like image.

However its not all business. The film explores many human aspects: the only real friendship Weiss has with his partner and drug addiction even though that does not take a major claim on the film e.t.c

After watching Puncture I immediately tried find out everything about syringes and their impact on the the spread of HIV and other diseases. Quite enlightening. I appreciate a film that introduces me to something new and this a lesson to those who think films and TV are just for brainless zombies – not always yeah… Anyway if you do enjoy some conspiracy (even though pharmaceutical corruption is hardly a conspiracy) you will definitely enjoy this film. I can draw similarities to The Constant Gardener. If you liked it you will definitely like Puncture.

On a lighter note (thank God!) my final movie for this entry drum rollsssssss… Please Give (released 2010) To describe how I came about this film I would compare myself to a bag lady who trolls through markets looking for “good” finds. I am that bag lady, except I troll through TV stations. However because I live in China and my TV only receives 3/4 English channels this process can be extremly distressing. So you can imagine my excitement when I caught this starting on HBO 8am in the morning! (not even a retake) I was very pleased.

At first sight it seemed like there were a few unknowns in the film. Not unknown as such but no major Hollywood stars if you get what I mean. I don’t mind either way. But WOW, I was hooked. Partly cause I was desperate for something good, but like City Island this film right from the start – a great story. Starring a really talented cast who I felt wore their characters like a well fit suit, this film explores so much of being human.

Catherine Keener’s character a mother of one feels guilty of her job which she feels manipulates others for huge profits. In return she is constantly trying to balance this guilt with some good ol charity, which serves up a few dark but humorous situations. And then there is LOVE. Just a little bit of it among other things. All around a great film.

So here they are:

  • City Island
  • Puncture
  • Please Give

If you do get to watch them please let me know what you thought! And feel free to suggest some films I can watch.

Jo

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