Review: Glass Chin

Variety called this film “Pure Pulp Poetry” and that about sums up this film. This has a lot in common with classic film noir B-films, it was shot over only 18 days on a small modern budget of around $1,000,000. This film is written and directed by Noah Buschel about a down on his luck prize-fighter looking to turn his luck around.   We have a great cast which is allowed to flex their acting talent. The scenes are sparse and not over edited or much background music.  This is a new film recently released on a number of formats, I watched the DVD.

Glass Chin revolves around a fighter who is broke and looking for a way to get back on top. He has lost everything including his fan base and a restaurant he put the last of his money into. We find him in a modest apartment with his girlfriend played by Marin Ireland. He goes out to meet with his old gym owner about helping train an up and coming boxer who is about to get a title fight at Madison Square Garden. He says he will, but he is also having dinner with J.J., played by Billy Crudup later that night to look at a job. The meeting goes well where we meet J.J. who is a gangster and wants to help our hero reopen his restaurant if he goes into business with him. It sounds like he just wants the boxer on his side and use him for muscle. We also meet the bartender played by Kelly Lynch who our hero has eyes for, and the muscle he will be working with played by Yul Vazquez. The first night working for J.J. seems to go pretty smooth, until our hero reads the paper the next day and finds he is in big trouble with no way out.

I really loved this little film and it looks like the critics have too. The general public isn’t taking to it like they should…yet. I really hope this film finds an audience, because it has a lot to offer. This doesn’t have a lot of violence or a big car chase or much action at all, and that maybe what people watching this are looking for. It doesn’t need all of that with great acting, well written dialog, and the struggle of the fallen hero in today’s society. There is a very big fight within our hero, after being a star in the boxing world and everybody loving him, can he go to an ordinary life or is it worth doing what you have to, to get back on top? The acting is top-notch and the washed out neo noir style of filming is visually stunning. New York is a character in this film like a lot of classic films noir, and makes for a great backdrop for both the haves and the have-nots. I highly recommend this film.

Favorite Tidbits: I caught two meta moments in this film, that maybe meant as inside jokes or Easter Eggs.

  1. In the boxing gym the owner tells our hero that H.B.O. wanted to come in and film their fighter training, but declined the offer. Our hero mentions how do you turn down H.B.O.? the H.B.O. of Boardwalk Empire and Girls? Co-star Marin Ireland has appeared on Girls.
  2. One of the people who owes money to J.J., that our hero has to go put pressure on is played by David Johansen, lead singer of the New York Dolls. The Dolls song Trash plays prominently on the soundtrack for the film.

Review: Dark Places

Dark Places is a neo noir written for the screen and directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Paquet-Brenner shot this in only 25 days, reminding me what some of the directors did in the classic film noir days for B-movies. Charlize Theron is the producer and star of this film. This is based on the book written by Gillian Flynn.

I read this book awhile ago, but found the movie followed the book pretty well from what I remember. Sure a few things are missing and shortened up for sake of time, but overall felt the movie is a nice companion to the book.

The story starts with a down and out Libby Day played by Theron. She is the survivor of a massacre when she was a child. The rest of her family was killed and her brother put in prison for the crime. Her brother is played by Corey Stoll in the present day and by Tye Sheridan in the flashback scenes. Libby, desperate for money goes to an event where people try to solve past crimes. This meeting is called the Kill Club. The group is fascinated with her families case and feel her brother is innocent. Nicholas Hoult plays the main member of the Kill Club interested in Libby’s case. The story continues as Libby goes to see her brother in prison and starts to look into the case herself with the Kill Club’s help. We get half the story in flashbacks as we learn what Libby’s brother was doing the day of the murders. The flashbacks have Christina Hendricks as Libby’s mom and Chloë Grace Moretz as the brother’s girlfriend.

This film has a lot of twists and turns as new discoveries are made and finishes with an ending hard to see coming. I liked the way they used 1980’s heavy metal music and the public’s growing fear of its influence on youth and the satanic symbolism that it used. I’m not sure if Flynn was inspired by the case of The West Memphis Three when she wrote this book, but it seems to have similarities to that case.

This film is very noir in story but Paquet-Brenner also used a lot of film noir technique in this film, one scene is even in black and white! The filming at night with the use of shadow and light are very film noir in style through most of the flashback scenes.

I really liked this book, maybe even more then Gone Girl, and found the film very well done and I enjoyed it a lot. I think fans of the book will find the movie worth seeing. I also think neo-noir and mystery lovers will enjoy it too. If you are lucky enough to have DirecTV you can watch it now on pay per view, if you don’t, it will be in theaters in August.

Favorite Tidbit: Look for the author of the book Gillian Flynn in a cameo as Lizzy Borden in the Kill Club scene.

New Movie Preview: The Glass Chin Trailer

The Glass Chin is a new film from Noah Buschel, that Variety called “Pure Pulp Poetry.” Sounds like something fans will love. This film stars Corey Stoll who you may recognize from House of Cards, but will also be appearing in a few other big neo noir films coming out later in the year. Including Dark Places based on Gillian Flynn’s book by the same name and Black Mass about Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. Billy Crudup who has been in a string of great small independent films with a handful of big budget films mixed in. Kelly Lynch from Roadhouse fame as well as recently appearing in a small part in the short-lived Starz original series Magic City also stars. This film will be out on VOD and in theaters on June 26th. Looks like a very good little neo noir worth checking out later this month. Here is the trailer: