Tag: JR bourne

Everything’s Gone Green

Everything’s Gone Green (2006)
★ / ★★★★

Ryan (Paulo Costanzo) was dumped by his girlfriend because she felt she needed to revamp her life starting with getting rid of things that made her unhappy. The very same day, Ryan quits his job because his superior has stumbled across his poetry which he has foolishly saved in the company computer. His boss recommends that Ryan sees a counselor due to some of the more disturbing elements of the poems.

A couple of days later, while on his way for a job interview, Ryan meets Ming (Steph Song), a Chinese woman in her thirties with a boyfriend, Bryce (JR Bourne), who makes a living through scams. Ming is fully aware of Bryce’ illegal activities. Because Ryan hopes to impress Ming by having money, wearing expensive clothes, and owning a nice car, he agrees to be a part of Bryce’ money laundering scheme.

Written by Douglas Coupland, “Everything’s Gone Green” might have worked better as novel due to its many subplots but it does not work as a movie because not only are the subplots very undeveloped, they are not particularly funny. In fact, a few of its Asian stereotypes are actually quite offensive.

Perhaps the film’s lackadaisical nature, despite being a comedy, can be attributed to the characters’ lack of inner monologues. Aside from Bryce who seems like the kind of person who will not think twice to allow someone else to get hurt for the sake of putting additional money to his bank account, the movie is almost boring because the rest of the characters are all so safe and nice. Even though Ryan eventually begins to question whether making a quick buck is worth all the trouble he has come across since, the conflict unfolds without intensity, almost lethargically.

There are times when one is led to believe that the screenplay will finally allow Ryan to get his comeuppance, only to shy away in the last second. For example, when our protagonist enters his work place and his co-workers gather around his computer, we assume that his illicit activities are out in the open. Instead, the screenplay goes for a cheesy, would-be amusing angle. It turns out that Marcia (Tara Wilson), a girl so impressed with Ryan’s car that the two decide to get intimate, works for a pornographic website.

I understood that there is supposed to be a recurring theme about people in Ryan’s life feeling like they must turn to schemes in order to get by financially or be reminded, through excitement and risk, that life is worth living. But does it constantly need to inch toward real insight only to run away from it when the mood hints at a more serious overtone? Because I argue that living is also about consequences. Since the material consistently ignores the issue of taking real responsibilities, it remains in La La Land, creating a stagnancy in its pacing and already thin plot.

Furthermore, I had the impression that the filmmakers do not know how to present or execute different styles of comedy and connect them in such a way that the film functions as a mirror of our own insecurities and things we are currently working on to better ourselves. “Everything’s Gone Green,” directed by Paul Fox, is arguably targeted toward late twenty- or early thirty-somethings, an age range where society expects a person to have a career. But since the material fails to focus on the real issues as well as the small victories that come across as genuine within that age group, then what is the movie trying to say exactly?

Thir13en Ghosts

Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
★ / ★★★★

I decided to revisit this movie because it scared me when I saw it back in middle school. Directed by Steve Beck, “Thir13en Ghosts” was a mess in every sense of the word. A father (Tony Shalhoub), his two kids and the nanny (Rah Digga) were invited to visit a home they inherited from an uncle (F. Murray Abraham) who dedicated his life collecting spirits. Not knowing that there were ghosts locked up in a basement of a mansion made out of glass, the family decided to visit, along with a psychic (Matthew Lillard) and a man (JR Bourne) who let the family know about the inheritance. This movie did not make sense to me. It spent about half of its running time showing the characters walking around the place and arguing. It quickly got annoying because it didn’t help the story to get anywhere near interesting. In fact, I really wanted the ghosts to escape their respective cells and start killing off the characters because maybe then they’d stop arguing and finally face the mission at hand. I was astounded that there were twelve very interesting ghosts (various methods of scaring and killing their victims, for instance) but the audiences never really get to know them other than their names. Some of them were obviously angry and were prone to attack anyone, while some of them looked more sad and just stayed in one corner. It made me wonder about their varying reactions to their visitors. The “scary” scenes were aided by a booming soundtrack so I didn’t find it to be truly scary. The violent scenes might have been gory and kinetic but my actions of flinching and looking away had nothing to do with genuine fear that is requisite of truly chilling horror pictures. If the movie didn’t take itself too seriously, it might have worked in some angle. There were some lines voiced out by the nanny that were very amusing but none of it was enough to save this sinking ship. If Beck spent more of his time actually helming the suspense instead of the violence and loud sountrack, this definitely would have been a rewarding experience. Instead, the audiences unjustly got a movie with loud barks and no bite.