Black Snake Moan

Review by Ty McLemore


Craig Brewer

Lead Actors

Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake


Stephanie Allain, John Singleton and Ron Schmidt

Plot synopsis

Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) is an honest, bible-fearing, crop growing man who is currently estranged from his wife amidst a sea of marital problems. On a routine trip to empty his trash, he encounters the town tramp, Rae, (Christina Ricci) who is badly beaten, half-naked and barely conscious on a dirt road near his property.

 He whisks her inside and over the next several days nurses her back to health. Once awake and well, Rae thanks him for the hospitality and attempts to leave – only to discover that she has been chained to a radiator heater in his home. Lazarus, in his own twisted way, attempts to save her and put an end to her nympho-maniacal tendencies.

While in captivity over the next several weeks, Rae develops a father-daughter relationship with him. She was raised by a non-caring mother and a stepfather who sexually abused her as a child. In the end, they both help each other repair their souls and their lives.

Who Would Like It

Anyone who is a fan of Jackson, Ricci, or Timberlake or who desires to see Ms. Ricci topless or scantily dressed throughout most of the movie. This is actually my FAVORITE Jackson film in that he isn’t the tough guy here, but rather a simple, kind-hearted man trying to navigate a world that he often doesn’t understand.

Who Might Not Like It

Those who have sensitivity toward people being held in captivity or dislike violence or profanity.  


Rae’s utter shock as she stands and discovers that a chain has been wrapped around her waist is priceless – as is Jackson’s attempt to explain her predicament.


In another, Rae’s “Sickness” as it is often referred to, reaches its threshold as she has now been without sex for quite some time. A teenage friend of Lazarus comes calling to his home. Unsure whether Lazarus is inside, he knocks at the door. Rae, in anticipation of easy prey, anxiously awaits his entrance. The youngster turns the handle and the moment he enters, Rae pounces on him like a panther in heat.

Lazarus returns to find the two in mid-act and verbally scolds them. Later in the garage, he confesses to the teen that he lost HIS virginity to his second cousin.


In another, Lazarus retrieves his electric guitar during a stormy night. Rae, who has now been freed, willfully lays at his feet while he belts out a soulful, gut-wrenching blues song. Jackson, who is an accomplished musician, actually wrote and performed the song. 

Snow White and the Huntsmen

Directed By:
Rupert Sanders

Produced By:
Laurie Boccaccio

Who? Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Bob Hoskins

WHAT: A fierce reinterpretation of the Snow White Fairy Tale - with a kingdom under fierce magical suppression and Snow White the one thing standing between the kingdom and complete spiritual and emotional defeat.

I really enjoyed watching Kristen Stewart, a trained method actress, not be in love with a stupid vampire for once. Under an actual director, she seemed to bring through some of her method training - which I think was evident in the first scene of the movie.

Also, Charlize Theron, arguably one of the most beautiful women of her time, playing an aging queen who is obsessed with keeping her beauty alive by any means necessary, and at all costs. Hers was a delicate and complex performance. There were many opportunities for her to be campy in this performance, and she didn't take any of them. This was a real character and a real performance!

A rising star, Chris Hemsworth, the same guy who played Thor, plays the huntsman, a true-to-life drunk who exhibits some fighting skill once he sobers up a little bit. And then, of course, the dwarves played by the likes of Bob Hoskins and other famous actors. My favorite part with them is when they are all around a camp fire after they first meet. After gazing upon Snow White, one even alludes to being aroused- that is something that was definitely NOT in the cartoon.

The best part of this movie, though, to me, was the art direction and the costuming. Theron makes a statement in every scene with her lavishly royal garb meant to accentuate both her beauty and her power, which it does very well. Theron, who sometimes plays ordinary or ugly characters, like in the movie "Monster", has not been this "fair" in a movie role in a while . .One costume piece has multiple chains coming down from a crown. Very creative and alluring!

Also, the whole sequence when Snow White trips into the dark forest - that was very convincing, and well done, and scary.

Snow White's progression is from being locked away in her old kingdom to an eventful escape, thus becoming a symbol of hope for the entire kingdom, and she leads troops towards conquering the evil queen.

For some brief moments, I felt pangs of hope and saw traces of political symbolism allegoy as Snow White began to rally her troops, but they were drowned by poor editing and a lack of pace on behalf of the director. And many of ther performances were a bit botched or wasted because of poor editing as well.

Snow White's relationship with the degenerate, yet heroic huntsman, reminiscent of Han Solo, was smoldering - and it could have been developed a little more.

Overall, this film stays with the viewer long after it is over, as a sort of brave celebration of one of our society's favorite fairy tales . . . now . . . is it the fairest interpretation of all time ?. . .that is not mine to say, for I am not the mirror on the wall and I haven't seen the one with Julia Roberts!

Rating: 3 Mike and Ikes

Hunger Games

WHO: Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci and Wes Bentley.

Director: Gary Ross

Diana Alvarez.... co-producer
Robin Bissell.... executive producer
Suzanne Collins.... executive producer
Chantal Feghali.... co-executive producer
Nina Jacobson.... producer
Jon Kilik.... producer
Louis Phillips.... co-producer
Aldric La'auli Porter.... co-producer
Louise Rosner.... executive producer
.... Plot Synopsis: Set in futuristic times, teens are sent from all districts of America to fight in the Hunger games - a survival game that lasts . . . to the death and til the last man is standing.

Who Would Like It
Anyone who is a fan of the adult actors involved, like Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks. Woody Harrelson, who I thought seemed like he was a former competitor in the games, from the same district as Katniss, and his job was to help guide her through. I thought his mixture of nonchalance in the beginning and later on he began to root for her, I thought that was nice.

Who Might Not Like It
People who are not fans of teenager on teenager violence. This movie made Menace to Society look like Nickelodeon programming. It doesn't start right away but when it does it is brutal and frequent! With the comparison of Menace to Society, one nice thing about this movie, which was mostly white (maybe because the protagonists were from West Virginia), but the two black characters in the movie were NOT the first to go, as is the case in most action/adventure/horror movies in the eighties and nineties. In fact, it's such a strong theme that there was a joke about it in the movie Canadian Bacon. Not that the black characters in this movie were very developped, but at least they didn't die right away.

Jennifer Lawrence, who is a rare beauty. I read she was cast in "Winter's Bone", which i think put her on the map as an actress, because she didn't have to say anything and could just look at the camera and tell the whole story with her eyes. Well, that same stoicism is put to good use in this movie as Katniss, her character, eventually wins over not only Woody Harrelson's character, but also the "sponsors" who help her along the way and then of course the audience at home watching the games from the comforts of their proletariat work camps.

Also, Lenny Kravitz as the effeminate hair dresser and set designer for Katniss, who is just a good ole girl from the 12th district and who would no likely have been kicked out of the stores on Rodeo Drive initially if she had lived in our time - just like Pretty Woman. In fact, in one scene one of the people in charge of cleaning and preparing the contestants to the Hunger Games suggests that they "wash (Katniss) twice". Lenny Kravitz' character serves as an immediate friend and confidant for Katniss during dark times, but he also gives her one hot outfit . . literally! Is she going to your way, Lenny. Not in this movie Lenny, but that's what makes you guys such good buddies!

Anyway, suffice it to say that Kravitz' character was just a bigger part of a very accomplished and dilligent art team that brought this strange novel to life.

This review comes well after the Hunger Games' glory days at the American Box office, but just in time for you to watch it right before the Olympic games start and to see which style you prefer, battle to the death or simply battle until the finish line