Psychological Thriller

The Butterfly Effect

Year: 2004
Directed By: Eric Brees and J. Mackye Gruber
Written By: J. Mackye Gruber and Eric Brees

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have always been a fan of clever psychological thrillers, and this one really surprised me when I saw it for the first time.  This movie not only stars Ashton Kutcher but he served as executive producer as well.  I detest Kutcher, and especially in 2004 when he was popular to the point of being annoying, and for doing nothing.  However, I do like to give credit where it is due and Kutcher did a good job with this film.  The story is interesting and some of the performances are really exceptional.

Movies that are written and directed by the same person, or persons in this case, are usually rare gems in the movie world when they are successful. I can think of several examples by both one hit wonders and by men who went on to make a career of their talent.  I think it is the best directors who write the movies they make actually.  While I may not know the two guys who made this movie I do think it is a better movie because it was directed by the guys that wrote it.  This movie only got made because Ashton Kutcher got on board as Executive Producer and cast in the lead role.  I think Kutcher is a talentless hack, but he carries a lot of weight in the media world despite what I think.  I’m not sure why he is famous, I liked him on That 70s Show but he wasn’t anything special.  I may not remember correctly but he seemed to only be famous for the people he hung out with and for being in a relationship with a woman twice his age and I don’t get that. I get why people liked Punk’d so much but I always thought it was cheap and immature. I think his Harold and Maude thing with Demi Moore is gross, and over publicized. To this day I still don’t think he has done much to explain his popularity, even his role in this film isn’t exceptional.  It’s the other performances and the story that make this film worth wild. I may not like him but I know many people do, and he will only become more popular now that he has been cast in Two and a Half Men.

I would have to say the greatest performance in this film was Jesse James playing the part of the wild and crazy 13-year-old Tommy.  He was so sadistic and violent when he got angry that he actually scared me.  It was a very impressive performance coming from an actor so young.  I like Ethan Suplee as the gothic roommate, and I liked Amy Smart but she really disappeared after this movie.  This movie was made better by these performances but it was already a good movie because it is a clever idea. Clever movies have been made less and less over the last 10 years in favor of more recognizable and rebooted movies that will make more money. We have to appreciate the clever ideas because they are scarcer now more than ever. This is a good movie and it is worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is very interesting. I really like the concept of the film and the people who are in it. This movie revolves around the childhood of this kid (the older version played by Ashton Kutcher) that constantly blocks things out. Some of them make sense as to why he blacked out and others are more vague. When he is older he realizes he has this ability to recall the past and change it. He got the ability from his father who ultimately ended up in a mental institution. The guy that plays the super crazy and demented Tommy (Jesse James) is probably the most outstanding actor in this film. I feel like I am actually, very terrified of him and the others that are around him.

I really recommend this film if you haven’t seen it. It is interesting what he tries to accomplish in order to change the lives of the characters involved, and while he wants everyone’s life to be perfect, he soon realizes that life isn’t like that. You can’t make everything perfect for everyone.

NEXT MOVIE: The Cable Guy (1996)

Basic Instinct

Year: 1992
Directed By: Paul Verhoven
Written By: Joe Eszterhas

RYAN’S REVIEW

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  Mix in murder, mystery, and psychology and you have made something people will definitely like.  It’s hard to narrow down movies you love the most when you love a lot of movies but this one falls within my top ten of all time. It is high up in my favorites, and has been for many years.  This movie is mysterious, it’s well made and acted, and it’s sexually charged in a way that gets everyone’s attention.  Some might call this a guilty pleasure but I don’t see the point in feeling guilty about something so good, it’s a great movie.

I like a few Paul Verhoven films but I think this was by far his best. He has a deliberately graphic style that I appreciate, especially today when so many sell out to make more money with a PG-13 rating.  Sharon Stone became a sex symbol with this film, and she deserved that status.  She was incredibly sexy and seductive as Catherine Tramell, she was bold and daring with the character. I am a big fan of Michael Douglas, I think he has made many great movies, but I think this one was his best as well.  He is ultra cool as Nick Curran, he keeps up with Sharon Stone which is a feat all by itself, and he was seeing his old flame on the side too.  Jeanne Tripplehorn, as the complete opposite of Sharon Stone brings her own sexual charge into the film and does it well.

This movie will keep you guessing and keep you interested with danger (and nudity) around every corner. I have heard there are controversies surrounding this film.  One being the way it portrays homosexual relationships, and the other being how it glorifies smoking.  As to the first criticism I don’t think it holds water.  Yeah Sharon Stone’s relationship with her girlfriend may not have been a peachy one but no relationship in the film was.  I don’t think that the fact that Tramell and her girlfriend were crazy says anything about homosexual relationships, those two characters are just wild and crazy in general. As to the other controversy I would ask you to excuse a vulgar gesture simulating masturbation. Smoking was something people did and do.  It shouldn’t be a problem that Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone happen to look especially cool doing it.  Smoking may be unhealthy, we should not do it, but it is still cool all the same.  I dare you to watch the characters in this film smoking and tell me they don’t look good doing it.  As I have said before, looking cool is important to any film no matter what the genre is.  I am a non smoker now, and feel much better living a smoke free life but I really hate the way society has turned on tobacco all the same, it’s unjust.  That product helped build this country, and has a long history in North America.

If you haven’t seen this movie then I think you should see it, and I hope you enjoy it.  It earned its R rating and was lucky that it wasn’t banned all together so understand that going in.  Don’t be surprised by sudden and overwhelming sexuality.  This movie is one of my favorites of all time, it’s dangerous, exciting, and unpredictable. It might not be for everyone, but I hope that you enjoy it if you take the time to see it.  Let me know what you think about this one, I would really appreciate your thoughts on this film specifically.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I remember the first time I watched this movie. It was with Ryan, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable. We were pretty young when we first started dating and now the memory makes me chuckle a little, considering the types of movies we have watched together since then. Having said all that, I really like this movie. I love it. If you haven’t seen it you are missing out on something really intriguing and thought provoking. It is such a thriller because you almost never know what is around the corner. Both Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas look so young and vivacious in this film. You get to see a lot of their bodies, so be prepared for that. There is a lot of sex in this movie, so if you are squeamish about that kind of thing, maybe this isn’t the movie for you, but it adds a lot to the movie, however and makes it that much better. It is suspenseful and thrilling and the ending is just perfect. A must see in my book.

NEXT MOVIE: Batman: The Movie (1966)