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WHAT WE DO IS SECRET and BRONSON… 2 amazing biopics! by COOP

Posted on June 17th, 2009
Posted on June 17th, 2009

Both of these deserve your intense scrutiny. They involve real-life controversial (anti-heroes, if you will) figures who set out to impact the world and did so in their unique way. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they sure are interesting:

WHAT WE DO IS SECRET ****1/2

(Originally premiered in limited release August 8, 2008) Although I admit I didn’t know much about them before, I can say with confidence I’m now a fan of The Germs. Darby Crash (Shane West), a Los Angeles sociopath and a creative genius holds a cult-like influence over people. After getting kicked out of school for apparently messing with people’s heads, he leads a group of friends into creating an impromptu band, even though they can’t play a note. Surprisingly, their silly act catches on.  A bit of practice gives them a unique sound and Crash’s self-destructive stage act develops an underground following during the late 1970’s.

After their bad reputation for stage destruction gets them banned from every club in LA, the members fall upon hard times, Crash delves heavily into heroin and goes solo. After a few more stabs at the music scene Crash gets the The Germs back together for a farewell performance, which incidentally becomes the last gig Crash will ever play. The Germs were a huge influence on the music scene of the era and even gave Belinda Carlisle her start in the biz.

I’ve terribly underestimated Shane West’s acting abilities. He becomes his character so thoroughly I hear even toured around with the original Germs for awhile after filming the movie. Since he also had a hand in the production, I suspect this was a huge labor of love for West. A terrific movie that should develop a cult following as dedicated as those who followed The Germs themselves.

4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

Trailer!

BRONSON *****

(UK release date, March 13, 2009; “Bronson” opens in October stateside) Thomas Hardy stars in the most important movie of its kind since “A Clockwork Orange.” Michael Peterson/A.K.A. Charlie Bronson is a British sociopath without any reason to be. He was born into a decent family and had plenty of advantages in life. Instead of embracing them, he rebels. After a youth full of fights and run-ins with the law, Michael finally takes the next step and robs a post office. His take: A few quid and 7 years in the slammer. It’s there that Michael finds the respect and notoriety he so desperately craves… by beating down guards so mercilessly that they eventually transfer him to a insane asylum. Thus begins Michael’s (who later changes his name to Bronson after a brief stint as an underground fighter on the outside) 30 year and counting incarceration and the reputation of being Britain’s most violent prisoner of all time. So violent in fact that they set him free for awhile just to get a break from him.

It plays out a lot like “Clockwork” and its Australian counterpart “Chopper,” except “Bronson” has two secret weapons: 1. Tom Hardy 2. Theatricality.

Hardy plays it dark and comedic, hamming it up to such zany levels that I would say he might get an Oscar nomination if he didn’t show so much full frontal nudity. When not nude and greased-up to give the prison guards the slip, Bronson monologues in front of an imaginary audience in order to feed his ego and desires for fame. His mannerisms are flat-out uproarious and his interactions with people are even more entertaining. Hardy’s performance is by far my favorite of the year. Can’t wait to see what he tackles next. I just hope he steers clear from the overrated box-office poison that is Guy Ritchie.

5 out of 5 stars

Never have I seen a trailer that so accurately conveys the actual tone of a film. Meaning: If you dig the trailer, you WILL dig the film…

-C

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