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Directed by Clark Gregg.
Written by Clark Gregg.  Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk ("Fight Club").
Starring Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald and Brad William Henke.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  10/9/08


"Choke" is that rare find, a thrill ride of a movie that is truly unpredictable, full of flaws but still a great time at the movies.  This is mainly because I never saw the trailer.

That makes a huge difference, because outside of seeing a poster in the local indie theater, I didn't know shit about "Choke" and that made the experience fantastic.  Sam Rockwell stars as Vic, a sex-addicted colonial plantation tour guide who has a mom suffering from Alzheimer's in a local funny farm.  That should tell you that "Choke" won't be your run-of-the-mill action adventure!  (The other helpful hint--the guy that wrote the book "Fight Club" wrote the book "Choke"..."Fight Club" was kinda wacko, too, when you get right down to it.)

I'll do you the favor of not telling you more about the plot, because you owe it to yourself every so often to just take somebody's word for it when it comes to trying new things, and in between catching the big splash movies of October like "Body of Lies", or "W.", or "High School Musical 3: Senior Year", just go over to the theater and check "Choke" out.  The acting is great, thanks to great bits from character actors, much like character-actor-turned-director Clark Gregg, who plays a plantation character in "Choke" in addition to his work behind the camera.  Lead parts from our two main characters are well performed--Rockwell, great as always, and Anjelica Huston, who really does look great for a nearly-sixty-year-old and is as good as she was back in '01 in "The Royal Tenenbaums."

Yep, there's a lot of sex-related visuals and a ton of dialogue that runs the gamut, from "questionable" to "down-right nasty."  And, Kelly Macdonald isn't the best choice for the role of one of the doctors at the funny farm (were there no Americans available to play this part?).  But "Choke" is mostly good times, and here's to hoping some of you decide to take the plunge.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09