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Directed by Patty Jenkins.
Written by Patty Jenkins. 
Starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci.
Release Year:  2003 
Review Date:  1/22/04 

Speaking of monsters, we here at Bellview love to pump sites developed by list members, so when my man Rich “Bacon Tastes Good” Wysocki sent me a link to his new site today, I had to push it out to the loyal fans.  Check it out, and be sure to leave some feedback for Rich so he can make changes to his site:

Also, thanks for the tons of responses from “The Kill List”; man, I need to do these surveys more often.  There seems to be a dead heat amongst the most popular list, but “Mustache...fucking shave, bitch!”, the back fat description, the diatribe about “The Simpsons” and those damned Terp graduates all got a lot of love from you people.


Those backwoods Florida hicks are just glorious, aren’t they?  In “Monster”, Charlize Theron is fantastic as Aileen, a career hooker that is just about to stick the gun in her mouth when she meets Selby (Christina Ricci), a college student from Ohio that has been disowned by her family and sent to Florida to spend some time figuring out why being a lesbian is such a stain on the family.  Sometimes “Monster” is a love story, sometimes it’s “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”, sometimes it is just a freakin’ hoot.

This makes the movie feel a bit long, but it is entertaining throughout thanks to the tireless heavy lifting by Theron, a career supporting dame that is so heavy on makeup and prosthetics that when she first appears, you don’t really believe it is the same woman who appeared in “The Italian Job” just six months ago.  A virtual shoe-in for an Oscar nomination, this is the kind of dramatic breakthrough that I didn’t think was possible from Theron given her former work:  “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (ugh), “Reindeer Games” (ugh), and “Sweet November” (you guessed it...ugh!).  She was just eye candy before, but she is so good in “Monster” that you really get to thinking that maybe life after death could be a reality.  It’s tough picking my favorite Aileen moment, but Mike “Yac” Iacovone and I both loved the scene where Aileen and Selby are living it up at a local restaurant, and in a thick accent she mispronounces her beverage by yelling

“Hey waiter...lemme get another bottle a dat chaBLISS!!”

while throwing money up in the air like she has a billion dollars to blow, but instead it’s just the money she earned turning tricks earlier that day.  Theron really is genius in this part.  From struggling to understand why whoring comes so naturally to Aileen, to giving you that feeling that she is blind to the realities of everyday life, Ricci once again is solid, even IF I don’t feel comfortable watching her make out with the Theron character at numerous points in the film.  How old is Ricci?  The indie queen’s bio says she is almost 24, but damned if she has looked 13 years old for her entire film career.  It’s just kind of dirty, you know?

You can feel the film fading late as we begin to find out why Aileen keeps coming home to Selby with a load of cash and a new car each night, but by then, “Monster” is just playing out the reality behind the true events that land Aileen in her final state.  A documentary is premiering soon that sheds light on this story, by the director of “Kurt and Courtney”; the timing of all of this is intriguing, to say the least.  But, since Theron will contend for the Best Actress Oscar next month, you oughta check “Monster” out just to see what all of the hype is about.

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