Dir: Matteo Garrone
Gomorrah, or alternatively Gomorra, is based on Robert Saviano’s book of the same name, which tells the true story of the Sicilian mob. The book’s publication has spurred Saviano, who is only 30 years old, into hiding with police protection for the rest of his life because he has received so many death threats. The film version is in the vein of Scarface and The Departed, and, perhaps not surprisingly, is produced by Martin Scorsese.
Gomorrah is a thrilling inside look at Sicilian mob life with a secondary storyline about the underground world of couture fashion. Packed with characters, the film shows the many different faces of the mafia. While the film raises adrenaline and inspires sadness concurrently, the truth behind the story is what is most amazing. Viewers can never forget that this is really happening, and even the stylish touch of the silver screen cannot make the underlying story any less powerful.
Dir: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
Party Monster is a hidden independent gem released six years ago to little response. The film is based on the book Disco Bloodbath by James St. James, which told the real life story of Michael Alig, a famous New York club kid-turned-murderer. The film doesn’t simply follow Alig as he rises to the top of the club world but, rather, the writer of the book, St. James, as well.
Party Monster revolves around the real-life relationship between Alig and St. James and the true club kid obsession with fame. Macaulay Culkin gives one of the best performances of his career paired with an equally impressive Seth Green. Despite the decidedly B-list status of the actors involved, the film carries an impressive talent, an amazing story line and skillful dialogue. This is truly a film to watch over and over again.
Dir: Derick Martini
With a plot line resembling Augusten Burrough’s Running with Scissors, there is a presupposed skepticism when sitting down to watch Lymelife. While Burrough’s childhood memoirs were intriguing on paper, when commited to celluloid, they were dry, wry and outrageously depressing. Lymelife is based on the childhood memoirs of writers Derick and Steven Martini, so a similar outcome could loom. On a trivia note, Alec Baldwin stars as the father in both films!
Fortunately, the film circumvents the predictable “tainted American dream” plot and tries to inject as much humour as possible. The film does fall into some of the same cracks as other suburban nightmare films, but it is ultimately more relatable. The performances are what make the film worthy though. With both Keiran and Rory Culkin (yes, Macaulay Culkin’s siblings) leading the pack, the film is riddled with honest performances.