John Delia

Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 11 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com

Blue Valentine, an Arrow in the Heart

Tense, convincing and hypnotic are the three words that come to mind when describing Blue Valentine.  The story is one that most everyone knows or has lived through but it’s the presentation, performances and cinematography that make it intriguing, involving and sometimes disturbing. Women will probably like the film more than most men, but Blue Valentine still makes a good date movie, just maybe not on Valentines Day. Read more

Another Year, Magnetic Performances

The film Another Year rolls out like a theatrical play or good book that’s a swift page-turner.  From the opening character introductions throughout writer/director Mike Leigh’s ‘seasons’, we are treated to blossoming relationships, seeds of life, uncertainty, and a dieing effort.  Amazing acting, direction and fascinating storyline make Another Year a great choice for the mature adult. Read more

Shake Hands with the Devil, Brilliant and Disturbing

Posted on January 11, 2011
Filed Under DVD Review, Entertainment | Leave a Comment

This gut wrenching true story, Shake Hands with the Devil, reminded me a lot of Hotel Rwanda, but that isn’t a bad thing.  The film brings to light more of the atrocities, reasons for war and the intimidation the UN peacekeepers had to face.  Incredible good filming presents the era, country and it’s people realistically both in a period of adjustment and conflict.  I liked this film very much and recommend it highly to those who want a taste of Director Roger Spottiswoode suspense filled storytelling.

The movie centers on the appointment of Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire to lead the UN forces in Rwanda during a cease-fire between the Hutu and the Tutsis following a bloody war that had a high death toll.  With the county hair trigger away from a restart of another conflict, Dallaire tries to communicate with each of the divided factions.  He starts to make headway, until greed, ego, politics and animosity strike.

Shake Hands With the Devil makes a strong statement against war and violence.  It shows how intervention by outside countries can force people to take sides against each other.  In this story we find the reason for conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis coming about with Rwanda’s Independence from Belgium.  With the overwhelming number of Hutus, the government was set up in their favor that started a battle ending up killing off a great number of Tutsis and put a lot of them in exile. This set the stage for the film and the final outcome.

The acting here is way above par, cinematography brilliant in all scenes of the production and direction impeccable. Spottiswoode gives a strong view of the lack of morality, wickedness and devastating results of the futile war. Cinematographer Miroslaw Baszak (Pontypool, Land of the Dead) makes his camera do tricks with the lighting in order to give the viewer a more suspenseful and gut wrenching view of the extreme action.  His ability to work with actors that have to act wild and scary makes the screen story very believable and terrifying.

The bonus features are good especially the Making of Shake Hands With The Devil.  Turn on the Audio Commentary and listen to Director Roger Spottiswoode and the real Lt. Dallaire comment on the production the second time you watch film.

Shake Hands With The Devil is rated R for some disturbing violent images and brief strong language.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Realism through brilliant filmmaking makes this humanity flick a hit. (A)

Starring: Roy DuPuis, Owen Sejake, Odile Katesi Gakire, Michel Mongeau and John Sibi-Okumu

Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode

MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing violent images and brief strong language.

Genre: Art/Foreign, Drama, English Subtitles

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The Mechanic, a Killer Thriller

Filed Under Entertainment, Movie Review

Explosive, vicious and thrilling, all the things that men like in a film are jammed into the 92 minutes of The Mechanic. The no-stop assassin drama kept me on the edge of my seat while bombs exploded, bullets flew, death defying stunts performed, knife fights, well you know what Crank was like, but count on double here. If you want to up your testosterone levels, then this is your kick-ass thriller.

Jason Statham as Arthur

The Mechanic’s plot surrounds Arthur Bishop (Statham), a hired assassin who makes a very good living knocking off drug lords and political dictators.  He lives a very dangerous life but the perks are great.  His hideaway in the New Orleans Bayou has all the amenities one could ask for and he manages to spend nights with some exciting girls.  One day he gets assigned a hit on his very close associate Harry (Donald Sutherland), a job he cannot refuse or put his own life in jeopardy.  At the funeral he runs into Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) who tells Arthur that he wants to get his dad’s killer.  Thus starts an unusual bond, one that takes them on a cringing death ride.

Statham plays his brilliantly usual tough guy who’s relentless on getting his score no matter what it takes.  I am a huge fan of his and he has never let me down on the screen.  Here he makes me even more devout. Ben Foster expels a nasty persona as Steve making a great sidekick to Arthur.  You can see in his face that every fight Steve gets into more fuel gets added to his hatred.

Director Simon West on the set of The Mechanic

That said how could the two stars go wrong under the direction Simon West (Con Air, Laura Croft: Tomb Raider).   The man has a mind of a maniac creating one brutal scene after the next.  I was amazed at how real the action looked, explosive the story rolled out and the intrigue that was woven within.

The Mechanic is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity.  Although the target audience is males, I could see a lot of women in the audience getting thrilled by it as well.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A killer action thriller. (B+)

[review pros=”Acting” cons=”N/A” score=87]

Starring: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn and Mini Anden

Directed by: Simon West (Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, Con Air)

MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity

Genre: Action, thriller

Running Time: 1hr 32min