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Posted: Friday, January 30, 2009 10:00 pm

"The Wrestler"


I watched a movie called "91/2 Weeks" for the first time the other day. It's a "sex flick," but a great one, and a stark reminder of why I've always considered Mickey Rourke to be one of cinema's most appealing leading men, and perhaps - just perhaps - the sexist bastard to ever flash his mug on a movie screen. But that was long ago. He could have been his generation's Brando, but a string of bad choices both onand off-screen (including a brief, devastating stint as a boxer) led Rourke down a bad path that ended with him existing on the margins of the movie industry, beaten down to a pulp on the outside and scarred internally by the knowledge that all of it was nobody's fault but his own. He'll never be handsome again, but thanks to Darren Aronofsky's wholly remarkable "The Wrestler," Rourke has at least gotten one last shot at stardom. And he makes the most of the opportunity with his Oscar-worthy turn as Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a big-time pro wrestler who peaked in the late 1980s but, 20 years later, finds himself broke and alone.

"Tell No One"


Even the title is alluring, which befits this thoroughly titillating Hitchcockian thriller about a man who begins receiving ominous e-mails from his wife eight years after she was supposedly murdered by a serial killer. (Among her instructions: "Tell no one. They're watching.") The set-up is as simple as can be, but from there things get complicated pretty quickly. An hour in, the plot gets so mind-bendingly complex that it seems there couldn't possibly be a reasonable explanation for everything that the man learns as he works to unravel the mysteries behind his wife's disappearance. However, by the end of this incredibly dense, rich and amazingly literary character-based story, all loose ends are tied up without the filmmakers ever having to resort to cheap tricks (e.g., he's crazy and killed her himself; it's all a dream; etc.).

Movies are reviewed by News-Sentinel movie reviewer Jason Wallis every Saturday.



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