Movie Reviews: Encounters at the End of the World, Finding Amanda, Wanted | Film Reviews | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Movie Reviews: Encounters at the End of the World, Finding Amanda, Wanted 

Also, The Unknown Woman, Expired and more

Wednesday, Jun 25 2008

Page 3 of 3


THE UNKNOWN WOMAN Remember Giuseppe Tornatore, who made the overrated but harmlessly cute Cinema Paradiso, about the grumpy projectionist who made him the fabulous filmmaker he is today? Meet the filmmaker that he is today — sadomasochistic fantasist, exploiter of women and cheesy Hitchcock imitator. It doesn’t help that The Unknown Woman, which traffics (I use the term in its precise sense) in hot-button topics like forced prostitution and baby-making for profit, comes sanctimoniously wrapped in a twisted tale of feminist revenge. Or that the lead actress, Russian film and television star Xenia Rappoport, is terrific as a Ukrainian ex-hooker who insinuates herself into an Italian family and gradually reveals herself as the housekeeper from hell. Pretentiously framed as a woo-woo thriller complete with aerial shots of desperate deeds on spiral staircases and the requisite surreal circus scene, The Unknown Woman is liberally sprinkled with softcore bondage sequences and dappled with sunlit flashbacks to happier-hooker days. Extravagantly vulgar psychology about evil rebounding to haunt both victim and oppressor offers still more opportunities for scenes of torture, this time with a defenseless little girl in the victim seat. Tornatore has the unspeakable nerve to present this as character building, which leaves us to wonder not only what the parents of child actress Clara Dossena were thinking but also how this repellent piece of garbage managed to win no less than five Italian Oscars. (Music Hall; Playhouse 7; Town Center 5) (Ella Taylor)


Related Stories

  • Creative Town

    Forbes magazine this month put its stamp of approval on on L.A.'s role as one of the world's foremost providers of popular culture. The problem is that the publication didn't give us nearly enough credit.  Forbes ranked the 50 largest American metropolitan areas based on how well locals did with...
  • Poor You 7

    We recently told you that California is America's "richest state," which is true. Now we're telling you that, for the third year in a row, California has been named as America's poorest state. That's also true. See also: California Is America's Richest State How can both statements be accurate? Well, unfortunately,...
  • Porn Shuts Down 2

    While the world frets over Ebola, the porn business continues to confront the scourge of STDs. The industry trade group known as the Free Speech Coalition yesterday called for a three-day production shut down after learning from a public health official that a performer possibly contracted HIV on-set. The Canoga...
  • DJ Carisma Is L.A. Radio's Biggest Champion of West Coast Hip-Hop

    could stroll back and forth down this blah stretch of Burbank and never realize that you’d passed one of the most influential corners of West Coast hip-hop. The nerve center of Young California can’t be seen from the street. The only signage attached to the sunbaked taupe building belongs to...
  • SoCal Meets Old World: Stone Brewing Co. and Green Flash Announce Plans to Brew in Europe

    This summer has been full of interesting expansion news from several California breweries, including Lagunitas in Petaluma — which recently opened a Chicago tasting room — and Sierra Nevada, which has an expansive North Carolina brewery that is already releasing product. But none of the announcements made in the last...

WANTED  Of the summer’s many revenge-of-the-nerd fulfillment fantasies — from The Incredible Hulk to The Foot Fist WayWanted stands the best chance of dislodging Fight Club from fanboys’ Facebook pages. It has the same dizzying flipbook style, the same kicky ultraviolence, the same undeniable appeal of punch-clock payback — and best of all, no irony! Fed up with your shit job, your slut girlfriend, your shriveled manhood? Do what Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) does: Get inducted into The Fraternity, a secret society of assassins who preserve order (and apparently do a lousy job) by snuffing undesirables. Even with a well-deserved R rating, Wanted is the most juvenile of the summer’s comic book movies, and in some ways the most up-front about its stunted playground machismo. This is a boy’s, boy’s world, where the battle cry is, “Grow a pair!” and no more blood-boiling insult exists than being called a pussy. (Which is bizarre, because its most lethal ass-kicker is Fraternal member Angelina Jolie, whose dehumanized take-no-prisoners sexuality transcends gender the way a thermonuclear warhead overrides boundaries.) The director, Timur Bekmambetov (Day Watch), thrives on kinetic hyperbole: Cars flip like flapjacks, a speeding train plunges down a 1,000-foot gorge only to go faster. But the appeal of Bekmambetov’s style — that everything exists for sensation; logic and natural law be damned — is also its limitation. Even this Grand Theft Auto admirer can watch blood slung across the screen in fetishized slow-motion globules only so many times. (Citywide) (Jim Ridley)

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Sun 19
  2. Mon 20
  3. Tue 21
  4. Wed 22
  5. Thu 23
  6. Fri 24
  7. Sat 25

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office Report

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending