The Woodsman

Based on a play of the same name, The Woodsman is a moving tale of a man’s attempt to re-enter society. Walter (Kevin Bacon), a convicted child molester, returns to his hometown after a 12 year in prison, moves into a small apartment across the street from a grade school, gets a job at a lumberyard, and mostly keeps to himself. A quiet, guarded man, Walter finds unexpected solace from Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick), a tough-talking woman who promises not to judge him for his history. But he cannot escape his past; he is warily eyed by his brother-in-law – Carlos (Benjamin Bratt) -, shunned by his sister, lives in fear of being discovered at work, and is hounded by a suspicious, verbally abusive local police officer, Detective Lucas (Mos Def), whose role is to make sure Walter is staying away from children. In the movie, Walter must deal with the temptations around him, including the nearby grade school and a young bird-watcher, who he realizes is being abused at home and who helps him understand the damage he has done in the past. He also comes to suspect that a man he has seen watching children near his apartment building is also a child molester.

The movie was shot in Philadelphia, was nominated for the “Grand Jury Prize” award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, won the “Jury Special Prize” at the Deauville Film Festival, and was a featured film at the 2005 Traverse City Film Festival.

What to say of this movie? It is disturbing and unsettling, but it is brilliant, solid, thought-provoking. Kevin Bacon adopts a minimalist acting style, his performance is mesmerizing. Benjamin is characteristically superb and intense.

Traffic

I went to my local library last to look for books for summer reading and came home with Traffic, instead, that I had not watched for a while.

Don’t watch this film just because there is Benjamin in it because he doesn’t have much screen time, but I think it is a good film, acted brilliantly, from which no character gets away clean.

The central focus of the film is the drug epidemic in the US and Mexico. It tells three separate stories that are each distinct unto themselves, yet interwoven into a common thread. One story takes place in Mexico and revolves around a cop with a conscience (Javier Rodriguez/Benicio Del Toro), the second story takes place in Ohio and Washington and involves the country’s new drug czar (Robert Wakefield/Michael Douglas) and the troubles he faces on the job and with his daughter who is a drug addict, and the third story takes place in San Diego and involves DEA agents (Montel Gordon/Don Cheadle and Ray Castro/Luis Guzman) trying to take down a big drug trafficker (Carlos Ayala/Stephen Bauer) whose wife (Helena/Catherine Zeta-Jones) learns the drug trade while he’s detained. Each story is shot in a different colour filter with the Mexico scenes being bright but grainy, the Ohio and Washington scenes in a moody indigo and the San Diego scenes in a sunny, vivid illumination. There are several other subplots that are also of note and move the story along. All of these vignettes interlock with one another somehow, serving to bring the story full circle.

It is a complex film that should be given repeated viewing to understand…  if you blink, you’ll miss a vital part.

The Cleaner finally premiered

I missed The Cleaner premiere on Tuesday because thought I can get the channel it airs on on cable, because – due to my living in Europe – it would have meant for me to be up till very late at night (or very early in the morning ;) ) to watch it and it is not really doable on a weekday. I plan to catch one of the re-runs of the Pilot on Saturday or Sunday.

I’ll wait till I’ve seen two or three episodes before I share my views about the series, but comments are welcome, if anyone has any to share already.

Meanwhile, here is a blog of a viewer sharing her views on The Cleaner:

Angelika: The Cleaner

Trucker

Diane Ford (Michelle Monaghan), a vivacious and successful independent truck driver, leads a carefree life of long-haul trucking, one night stands and all-night drinking until the evening her estranged 11-year-old son (Jimmy Bennett) shows up at her door.

Peter hasn’t seen his mother since he was a baby and wants Diane as little as she wants him; but with his father Leonard Bonner (Benjamin Bratt) in the hospital, Diane and Peter are stuck with each other – at least for a while.

Burdened with this new responsibility and seeing the life of freedom she’s fought for jeopardized, Diane steps reluctantly into her past and looks sidelong at a future that is not as simple or straightforward as she had once believed.

Directed and written by James Mottern, Trucker premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24 and is awaiting further release.

News, reviews and interviews can the found at the the movie official fan site.

The Cleaner on TV

I’d like to remind everyone that The Cleaner will premiere tomorrow, Tuesday, 15 July 2008, on A&E.

Those who can’t catch the first episode (Pilot) tomorrow night and yet wish to see it can catch one of the re-runs scheduled over the following week till the second episode (Rag Dolls) airs on Tuesday, 22 July 2008.

A&E schedule for The Cleaner

Meanwhile, here are some more articles about the series:


Complex role hooked Benjamin Bratt immediately

Star couldn’t believe it, but it’s true

A Messy Benjamin Bratt Insists on Cleaning Up Others

A&E’s ‘Cleaner’ saves druggies

Catwoman

Yesterday night, I was in the mood for some light-hearted entertainment and re-watched Catwoman.

Benjamin-wise, Tom Lone is not my favorite performance of his, but the movie itself is not as bad as many make it out to be and I found myself enjoying it from beginning to end.

Ok, the storyline is not the best, but, honestly, I think that great storylines seldom belong to superhero movies. However, one-liners, the moody, over-drenched colors, and the twisty camera moves and stroboscopic editing all contribute to the create a cartoonish, playful atmosphere.

So Catwoman may be silly, but it is lot of fun.

Mission Street Rhapsody

I’m taking a break from the news about The Cleaner that abound at the moment, and I thought I can share some info about a movie that will be out next year, Mission Street Rhapsody.

AKA as Mission Street Love and filmed last Spring on San Francisco’s Valencia – roughly between 19th and 21st Streets-, it features Benjamin as Che and was written and directed by Benjamin’s brother, Peter.

Che – Benjamin’s character – is a humble bus driver in San Francisco’s Mission District, but in el barrio, he is “EL MERO CHINGON” — the baddest Chicano on the block. Raised on tough breaks, disappointment, and time in jail, he renounced his life of drugs and crime to raise his teenage son. Che’s world is now his son, Jesse, his lifelong friends (the Mission Boyz), and his devotion to lowrider cars.  At “church” in his garage, his gospel follows the Chicano tradition of salvaging junked cars and baptizing them into “classics”.  But Che’s real faith is in Jesse.  Charming and intelligent, Jesse is an honors student bound for college.  Che works feverishly to ready a “to-the-bone” lowrider for Jesse, a symbolic rite of passage. It is also a reminder to Jesse that no matter how far he travels in life, he will always stay connected to his roots. But this connection is shattered when Che discovers that Jesse is gay. In a homophobic rage, Che violently beats his son – “the best friend he’s got” – for being who he is. Che struggles with his reaction to Jesse’s revelation.  In his anger, he loses his son. He loses his faith. He, once again, loses himself.  Enter Lena, his new neighbor. A social activist with bohemian sensibilities, Lena has dedicated her life to ending violence against women.  The two fiery souls could not be more different, yet their mutual attraction is undeniable. A possible bridge to his enlightenment, Lena’s wisdom and strength may be the virtues to help Che find a way back to his son.

Posting Links in Comments

Following Kati’s request, I’ll try to explain how you can post links in your comments so that a name shows instead of the actual url – that is the address of the page you want to link -, which can be useful to know, if the url you wish to post is long and there is the risk that it breaks over several lines (and paragraphs, actually) when your comment is displayed on the site and, therefore, the link won’t work properly for readers when they click on it.

Ok, here we go. If you want a name to show instead of the actual url when you post a link, you need to use html code, that you have to type something like

<a href=”URL here”>text here</a>

For instance, if I want to post a link to www.benbratt.com and I want ‘Ben Bratt site’ to show instead of the actual url, I’ll put http://www.benbratt.com in the “URL here” section (between “” ) and replace ‘text here with ‘Ben Bratt site’, like this <a href=”http://www.benbratt.com”>Ben Bratt site</a> (please, include the ‘http://’ ).

If you don’t mind the address of the page you want to link to show, you can obviously just copy your url and copy it as is in the body of your comment.