The Gift (2000)

Directed By – Sam Raimi

Screenplay By – Billy Bob Thornton & Tom Epperson

Cinematography By – Jamie Anderson

Starring Cate Blanchett 

111 min.

Let me start out with KATIE HOLMES’S BOOBS! Now that’s not the only reason you should watch The Gift but they’re pretty big ones.

As the movie right before Raimi went off to make the highest grossing movie in its opening weekend ever at the time with Spider-Man, The Gift is a super strange blend of genres including old school Raimi horror, southern drama, courtroom drama, a mystery movie, a murder movie, and a ghost story. And it is all tied together in a single story co-written by Billy Bob Thornton?! Like what the hell is Billy Bob doing here, but it’s actually a good and (most importantly) an original story and Raimi brings it to life successfully. The sound design is top notch.

The cast is terrific and Blanchett does an good enough job with the southern accent. Besides Blanchett the cast includes Giovanni Ribisi (you might know him as Nicolas Cage’s fuck up brother in Gone In 60 Seconds or Phoebe’s half brother in the hit show Friends, or a series of other things), Keanu Reeves (this guy is in a little known movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure but I think that’s it), Katie Holmes (see opening statement), Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, and J.K. Simmons (who I only mention because I’m super excited about his new movie Whiplash).

This movie has a lot of things to offer (like KATIE HOLMES’S BOOBS) and is worth a watch.

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

Directed By – Jim Jarmusch

Screenplay By – Jim Jarmusch

Cinematography By – Tom DiCillo, Frederick Elmes, Ellen Kuras, & Robby Müller

Starring Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, Jack White, Meg White, Alfred Molina, Steve Coogan, The GZA, RZA, & Bill Murray

95 min.

Well well well, what to say about Coffee and Cigarettes. For any viewer who has never seen a Jim Jarmusch movie, I wouldn’t suggest this a first film into the Jarmoosh world. The idea of this film is great, a series of conversational vignettes set around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Like all Jarmusch films this one challenges the standard American movie format, and I would say with a good amount of success.

I did find it unusual as to how often in this movie Jarmusch decided to have the actors play themselves in their specific scene (i.e. Iggy Pop as Iggy Pop and Alfred Molina as Alfred Molina, etc.) Of course these actors were just playing characterizations of themselves, but the frequency of this technique was surprising as I found that the movie got less and less interesting as the vignettes continued to use this characterization technique. Needless to say, this is a Jarmusch movie so all the interactions were in fact intriguing with all different flows of conversation woven into each scene and relationship, with moments of brilliant acting mixed in with novice actors.

I was also slightly surprised that he chose to shoot in black and white for every vignette. Because he was doing so many I thought he would switch it up and play around with color but I am also not too surprised because it is Jarmusch I’m talking about. It was also such a quiet film which always slows down the pace.

Don’t watch this as your first Jarmusch movie but it is worth a view if you are experience with the director.

Bill Murray is fucking hilarious, but know that he is in only one vignette.