Blue Ruin vs Under the Skin vs Case of The Missing Dog

After a day of NFL Playoff football (Go Home Cowboys) I took in some of the Golden Globes last night. I'm a tiny bit baffled as to.... well... I'm not baffled really... not surprised really....

BOYHOOD won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress.... and I couldn't disagree more. Like I said before... I thought BOYHOOD was good. An impressive achievement in filmmaking. But many of the performances, I felt, were flat... Ethan Hawke was good... But I just didn't think Patricia Arquette was that great. I can appreciate the attempt to create a compelling and strong female character... but I don't think she excelled in that role.

ANYWAY... its just MY opinion... and I know plenty of people who LOVED this movie. I think sometimes people get charmed by a film and/or jump on a bandwagon and help build something up to be better than it really is.  

I have two more movies to write about.... BLUE RUIN and UNDER THE SKIN... #45 and #4 on the Paste Magazine Top 50 of 2014.

One interesting little side note nugget about BLUE RUIN... I worked with actor Macon Blair quite a few years ago on a 48 hour Film Project called "Case of the Missing Dog."

When I started watching BLUE RUIN, I kept asking myself "Why does this actor look so familiar?" I finished the film. Still couldn't place him. Then I saw my friend Jeff had posted something about the film on Facebook... congratulating his friend Macon... and BOOM.... I put it all together. The whole REASON I was worked on that 48 Hour film project back in 06 was BECAUSE of Jeff.  He has worked with Macon the year before and they had some success but Jeff had to back out last minute and he asked if me if I would be willing/able to take his place.

Pretty damn cool that Macon Blair... my old "Case of the Missing Dog" buddy was starring in this dark indie film that is now on Paste Magazines Top 50. 

So BLUE RUIN.... rock on....

Written and Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin stars Macon Blair as a mysterious outsider whose quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.  

I liked it... Partly because its this quirky, cool, off-the-radar film that engaged and entertained.... and partly because every moment feeling so unconventional and unexpected. Macon's personality and physical presence fits this character perfectly.... or is it the other way around?

I like what I read in a different list about movies from 2014... "24 Movies You Probably Missed This Year, But Should Totally See"

like most humans, he’s not a natural killing machine. Blue Ruin’s well-staged action pile-up ends up being as believable, surprising, and occasionally as funny as it is tragic.

That about sums it up. You should see this one.

UNDER THE SKIN.... a very different movie...

This is one of those films that may mean something different... depending on who you ask.... and much of it might go right over your head. It's intriguing. It's creepy. It also has some disturbing, tragic moments... sounds like a lot of fun... right?

Under the Skin is a 2013 science fiction thriller art film directed by Jonathan Glazer, and written by Glazer and Walter Campbell as a loose adaptation of Michel Faber's 2000 novel of the same name. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland.

OK... so I... KIND OF know what this movie was about. It was interesting enough to keep my attention for 2 hours... but I don't know if I care enough to really spend the time and energy to digest and sort out the story and how I feel about it (Actually I think that's what I'm doing right now). The ONE thing that really grabbed me about this film is a heartbreaking scene that involves a family visiting an isolated rocky beach in Scotland. The family dog jumps in to the water to fetch a tennis ball and gets swept out by the rough tide. The WIFE wades out to try and help the dog and SHE gets pulled in by the dangerous rip current. The HUSBAND subsequently dives in to try and save his wife, but he can only get so close. The water very quickly sends the woman.. and the dog... further away from shore and into this REALLY sinister surf. A bystander notices what is going on and tries to help the husband. The bystander jumps in and manages to get his hands on the Husband and rescue him, pulling him back to shore... which is a visibly exhausting experience. Both men lay on the rocks, just out of reach of the undertow, struggling to recover... and after hearing another cry from his wife offshore... the husband stands up and runs back in to the water. Man, Wife and Dog... all disappear into the sea. The bystander manages to pull himself together enough to stand up.... only to be knocked out and kidnapped by the alien seductress (Scarlett Johansson), who was standing there, watching the whole thing unfold... doing nothing.... because she is an alien seductress. When The alien and her victim leave the scene, the camera pulls out to see the drowned couples' crying toddler sitting on a blanket, alone at this desolate dangerous, cold rocky beach.

The image of that baby sitting there alone... crying at the edge of the rising tide... is friggin brutal, man. Sheesh.... but... THAT is some damn compelling cinema right there.

I can't recommend this movie. It will punch you in the gut and laugh in your face.


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