“Ghost in the Shell” opened this weekend and is the live action version of the anime (for those of you who do not speak pop culture, anime refers to a Japanese cartoon usually for adults but there are some geared towards children), movie of the same name and Japanese manga (comic book) written and illustrated by Masamene Shirow. To put it in an understandable terms for those of us who are not into post-apocalyptic Japanese futurism, its like if the movies “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix” had a bastard child.
The movie stars Scarlett Johansson as “the Major” a sort of riot police
officer working for the government agency “Section 9” but funded by Hanka Robotics Corperation. The Major is a human brain that has been transplanted in a robot body. She can turn invisible, log into a computer networks, and has “enhanced” abilities, yet she has no memory of her past life or when her gray matter was transplanted into a department store mannequin. The major leads her team of augmented humans such as her partner Batou who, after the loss of his sight, receives prosthetic eyes that can see through things as well as using the spectrum of sight previously only available to dogs or sea life living at the bottom of the ocean.
The movie itself is visually stunning and that is probably the single most redeeming quality of the film. Johansson acting falls flat, and being somewhat familiar the character of the Major the casting called for more of a gritty performance. In a way it seemed hard for Johansson to move the plot forward without the rest to the Avengers along to carry her. The movie itself is true to the source material and I think the fans of the manga and the original anime will be pleased overall.
The plot finds the Major and her team looking for a killer that is murdering all the scientists who were involved the original project that created the Major and put her ghost or soul into a robotic shell. Over all the movies is a good way to kill time on a Sunday afternoon and although the special effects are amazing, especially in 3D I would save your money and wait for iTunes.
“Ghost in the Shell,” is directed by Rupert Sanders and stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Pilou Asbeak, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, and NgChin Han and is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America.
I give “Ghost in the Shell” two and a half poppers out of five.
For my first movie review for The Beacon I choose the movie about the real life adventures of gay porn ‘legend,’ Sean Paul Lockhart a.k.a. Brent Corrigan, played by actor Garrett Clayton, and how he became Cobra Videos biggest ‘star.’ And let’s face it, out of all the LGBT people in the world who have done great and positive things Brent Corrigan is the most deserving of a bio-pic.
King Cobra stars Christian Slater as Brent’s movie producer/ sugar daddy, Stephen. As with his other movies Slater plays the same part, a poor mans Jack Nicholson, only this time his portrayal is little more creepy and a lot more gay. Molly Ringwald as Stephen’s sister Amy, who despite the fact that Stephen is in his mid-50s, unmarried, has camera equipment in the basement, and half naked twinks running around does not know he’s gay. I’m glad to see since director John Hughes’ death at least some of the members to the ’80s ‘brat pack’ are finding work, even if it is the equivalent of soft core gay porn. And kudos to Christian Slater for going all out in the sex scenes, rumor has it he’s been method acting that role for years.
Alicia Silverstone stars as Brent’s over protective MILF mom Janette. I was ‘clueless’ as to what happened to Silverstone’s once promising career. Now I know, it died. Janette thinks that her 17 year old son accepted a job as a movie studio intern from some guy he met on the internet and allowed him to take a bus from San Diego to Dallas Township Pennsylvania. There has not been a mom this naive since Kitty Menendez.
Rounding out the cast is Keegan Allen as Harlow Cuadra and of course James Franco as Joe Kerekes. Yes the same James Franco that recreated the 40 minutes of lost footage for the controversial Al Pacino Movie Cruising. Cruising is about a cop that has gone deep undercover in New York’s gay leather bar scene of the 1970s. The short film entitled Interior Leather Bar recreated 40 minutes of deleted and lost footage from Cruising. This includes actual sex acts on film. When I saw this I didn’t know if it was art or James Franco’s cry for help. Franco also acted as producer for King Cobra, color me shocked.
Harlow Cuadra is a paid escort, Joe Kerekes is his pimp/lover. As the couple tries to break into the adult film business Keegan develops a very unhealthy infatuation with Brent Corrigan. So unhealthy that Cuadra is constantly comparing himself to Corrigan and obsessing about Corrigan’s ‘rise to fame’ in the gay porn industry. The film starts out leading the audience to the conclusion that Joe Kerekes is somewhat ‘unstable’ but as it turns out by the end of the film we find out the it is Harlow Cuadra who is the one that is truly cray cray.
When Corrigan starts wanting to spend more of his free time playing video games and fucking his on-screen co-stars, who are around his age, than his sugar daddy Steve, things start to get a little tense between the two. Then when Corrigan realizes just how much cash Steve is bringing in and how little of it he is getting for all his ‘hard’ work thing get a lot more tense. Corrigan asks for a ‘raise’ in his percentage as the couple has dinner at a fancy restaurant. Not wanting to seem like a dirty old man that is trying to exploit an 18 year old, Steve tries to buy Corrigan off with a new Rolex watch. When that doesn’t work Corrigan refuses to make anymore films until he gets a raise. As Corrigan is still under contract and as punishment for not doing porn Corrigan is made to clean the bathroom. While Brent is cleaning Steve leaves the suburban home/state of the art porn studio to run an errand and tells Corrigan not to go anywhere. With Steve out of the house Corrigan rebels and stops cleaning the bathroom. He heads into Steve’s business office to rummage through his paper, hard copy files to see exactly how much money is being made off Corrigan’s movies, it’s a good thing that his financials were not on a password protected hard drive or else Corrigan would not have figured out just how much into six figures that Steve was making on the account of Corrigan’s ‘acting’ ability.
Upon Steve’s arrival home from running errands Corrigan already has his things packed and is going back home to his MILF…um I mean mom. Steve threatens Corrigan, telling him under contract. Corrigan then threatens Steve and tells him that his lied about his age and he is not yet 18 but 17 and that he faked his I. D. After Corrigan gets home he informs the authorities of his age and what he’s been doing for Steve these past few months. Steve’s sister finds out he’s gay and a porn producer. Corrigan’s mother finds out that she raised a ‘whore,’ her words not mine. But if the glass slipper fits….
After the dust settles and after the F. B. I. confiscates all of Steve’s computers and camera equipment, Corrigan finally turns 18 and tries to find work in the porn industry but can’t because Steve took the name ‘Brent Corrigan’ and had it copy written behind Corrigan back. No movie producer would touch him using that name and no one wanted a new unknown kid, they wanted Brent Corrigan. After a few frustrating few weeks of having every reputable gay porn producer in Southern California slamming the door on our hero, Brent calls Steve makes up with him and Steve agrees to release the copy write.
Still looking for fame and work Harlow Cuadra and Joe Kerekes make contact with Corrigan, hoping to bring him into their fledgling porn business. Corrigan informs the couple that Steve still owns the copy write to his name, but things are being worked out the two decide to kill Steve and murder ensues.
King Cobra is released by IFC Midnight and is directed by Justin Kelly based on the book Cobra Killer and stars Garrett Clayton, Keegan Allen, Alicia Silverstone, James Franco, Christian Slater, Molly Ringwald, Sean Grandillo, and Spencer Lofranco and is streaming right now on Netflix. King Cobra is an entertaining movie if you have an hour and half to kill and you want to know whats going on in James Franco’s head at any given time. I give it two and a half poppers out of five.