Posts Tagged ‘Milo Ventimiglia’

Gamer

September 9, 2009

gamer_poster_33

I’m going to guess that the film company sat down with Neveldine and Taylor and asked them to make something “not so crazy”. So the guys gave them Gamer, which is just as wacked out as anything else they’ve done, but no one has public sex. Crank and Crank: High Voltage play like untainted id pieces, where everything Neveldine and Taylor wanted to happen happened. Gamer is fairly conventional in comparison, yet still features a character named Rick Rape. You can’t rein these horses.

You might have heard that Gamer is a ripoff of The Running Man. Sure, fine. Steal from the best I always say. The twist is that this time people actually control the players. The game is called Slayers and it features death row inmates who are remotely controlled by players. Live action video game basically, with live ammo and all that. Michael C. Hall is Ken Castle, the creator of the game and its predecessor, Society. In both games, people control other people. In Slayers, you control a killer in a game of kill or be killed on the way to the checkpoint. In Society, you control a person and basically make them do whatever you want. Gerard Butler is Kable, the best player in Slayers and the closest to winning his 30 games to freedom. The plot features plenty of familiar elements that has put off some people, but I enjoyed Neveldine and Taylor’s various tweaks.

Those tweaks include but are not limited to; villains who break out into song and dance, a child services worker who can’t contain his laughter, jokes about Barbara Walters being dead, and a steadfast refusal to not have the camera positioned in any typical way. There is a touch of Bay-ian style here, but with too many details and entirely too much wit. I particularly enjoyed the character of Simon, Kable’s seventeen year old controller. Actually played by a seventeen year old, I’d like to engage in hyperbole and say he’s the most realistic teenage boy to ever appear in a film. His use of slang is pretty accurate, his choice of video games over sex is so very very true, and he’s kinda funny without being that funny.

Gamer (Simon & Kable)

Michael C. Hall steals the show as Ken Castle, a sort of good ol’ boy Bill Gates with a jocular demeanor that is a perfect accompaniment to his less than savory goals. He’s the kind of guy who’ll give you a big hug just to stab you in the back. For all the Pathology fans out there, many of its cast members have small roles in Gamer, most notably Milo Ventimiglia as the aforementioned Rick Rape. I gotta admit, it showed some range from a guy I figured had none.

I think some were expecting Neveldine and Taylor to rewrite the action movie template with this one, which is silly since they already did that twice already with the Crank franchise. Gamer is more of a lark, with Neveldine/Taylor indulging in their love of video games and getting a chance to blow up some cars. I’d like to guess what their next thing will be, but I couldn’t even begin to predict it. Well, except that it’ll be great.

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Pathology (or Neveldine & Taylor Cannot Lose)

July 31, 2009

Neveldine and Taylor are the writing and directing team behind the Crank franchise. They are brilliant. They could hang it up right now and be assured of their legacy. But great minds cannot be caged, so they continue to create. They wrote Pathology in between Crank‘s and while it lacks their fast and loose directing and cinematography, it fits snugly within their body of work.

For the poster, they made Alyssa Milano's lawyer a doctor. Also, Milo appears to be cradling the same woman who is standing on the left.

Pathology follows Ted (Milo Ventimiglia), top of his medical class at Harvard(probably in the same graduating class as Silas and Jamal!) and now a resident at a Washington D.C. hospital. He meets a crew of brash pathology residents who suffer from a combination of god complex and plain old crazy. How crazy? One of their less shocking antics is reenacting the Katz’s Deli scene from When Harry Met Sally with cadavers. You know, med school. The other crazy thing they get up to is killing people and then having the rest of their group guess how they did the killing. Which is kinda neat. I could see how you could get caught up in that. Well, no, I can’t. But Ted falls in with this completely insane group of people because OH THE POWER A DOCTOR WIELDS, IT CAN WARP YOUR MIND! Also, the redhead in their group is Ready To Go, if you pick up what I’m putting down(if she isn’t eye-fucking you, then she’s fucking you). The film stumbles on this one aspect, for while the redhead is indeed fetching, Ted is engaged to the very rich Gwen. It’s indicated at one point that he can’t be honest with Gwen and is only marrying her because her family is loaded. Fair enough, the guy joined a murder club, what’s one more prick move on his part, right? But Gwen is played by Alyssa Milano, who is very hot. If she were dirt poor, men would be lining up to make her rich. A super rich Alyssa Milano? Don’t tease me, movie. I will admit that the redhead(Lauren Lee Smith) has to hit quite few different levels of crazy, sad, and naked fucking while Milano mostly just looks concerned or sleepy, so they cast for skill. Also, Milano’s character has sex with her bra on. I know. The redhead indulges in some lipstick lesbianism and has some acupuncture sex, amongst other things I’ll get to.

Pathology is a sneakier effort from Neveldine and Taylor. It slowly moves for the first half hour or so and then BOOM, insane sex/autopsy montage. Open chest cavities to go with exposed chests and asses. Pathologists smoking crack(This was my favorite)! It’s hilariously over the top, especially when Ted and the redhead kill a man, and then immediately fuck on the floor. Nothing gets the ladies hot and bothered like killing Durant. Milo Ventimiglia gives a performance at the intersection of Keanu and Stallone. He tends to be stone faced whether he’s having a friendly beer or having sex on an morgue slab. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I haven’t done the latter, so perhaps the two situations are surprisingly similar. At one point he has to express fear, guilt and regret, which involved plenty of huffing, sighing, gritted teeth and literal hand wringing.   The villain of the piece, Jake Gallo (Michael Weston) has the right kind of creepy to him, and he pretty much owns every scene he’s in. His drunk act at a cocktail party is perfectly awkward, topped off by smashing a tray of champagne flutes off a waiter’s tray, catching one, attempting to drink out of it, finding it empty, and appearing even more pissed, now at himself. I clapped. Pathology did have one scene that felt completely true to life. The redhead surprises Ted in the lobby of his apartment building and attempts to blow him. In the lobby. Ted takes a moment, notices that he is in full view of cars and pedestrians passing the doorway of his building and says, “No go.” He’ll have sex with you in front of a dead body, but there are some things a man just won’t do. Justin knows what I’m talking about.

Have some crack!

Have some crack!

The big finale is actually three parts, which I won’t spoil here. I will mention that the economy of characters is something that people should always remember and that nods to Mission Impossible 2, intentional or otherwise, are always welcome in this house.

While not a Crank level success, Pathology succeeds as a sleazy thriller. A little more humor never hurt anybody, but I was never bored(did I mention the hooker grandma? No? There is a hooker grandma), and by the time you get to the film’s final moments, Ted’s stoic demeanor becomes morbidly humorous. Pathology also fits well with the Neveldine/Taylor template of loathsome protagonist who must fight even more loathsome antagonists. College.

Make a wish!

"Make a wish!"