Monday, 16 February 2009

Recent movie reviews

OK, here's a quick sum up of stuff I've recently seen and is either still about and you may want to check out or is on DVD.

The Wrestler.
Wonderful understated drama that avoids most of the cliches and avoids any cloying sentiment. The climax is particularly cheese-lite. Rourke is phenomenal and should be walking away with every acting award under the sun.

Che part 1.
I really liked Che, but I'm not quite sure why. It has a great story, but it's told with no momentum. It has a great central character, but we gain no real understanding of him.

Slumdog Millionaire.
Almost as good as everyone says. Due to the nature of the concept it is at times very contrived, but it just doesn't matter. You forgive it all. Superb editing.

An odd mix of a movie. It could (should?) have been a challenging, serious drama about the German resistance; a story we've not really seen on screen before. Instead it's played as an edge of the seat thriller. This works great up to and including the bomb going off, but after that, when larger political ideas come in, it seems to undermine the film. Had the end timescale been trimmed from reality into a last act "escape" it would've satisified as a thriller much more. Still, as a movie for idiots it was decent enough.

Revolutionary Road.
Really bloody good, really bloody serious drama from Sam Mendes. Di Caprio and Winslet are exceptional. And the final 20 minutes is really difficult and harrowing. Probably my least favourite Mendes movie though.

Benjamin Button.
I was really looking forward to this. Fincher's one of the very best director's working now. And I really, really liked BB, yet felt disappointed by it. The first hour, which old looking child Button, is fantastic. Lots of interesting ideas. And the love story is handled really well, never becoming twee and always having an air of melancholy to it. But the final era of BB's life, old man in childs body, is all too brief. I wanted to see more of a child losing his mind. Instead there was a, admittedly well handled, framing story with Cate Blanchett dying while Hurricane Katrina approaches. It just felt unnecessary and 20 minutes of old BB would've been more satisfying. But an extremely good film with a lot of ideas none-the-less.

The Fall.
Gilliam in HD. Looks devine. Probably would've been better as a PG as the more brutal and violent elements don't quite sit with the fantasticalness of the rest.

The kind of movie that in most director's hands would be horribly manipulative and sentimental; a true chick flick. But in the hands of Eastwood it's a surpringly good, serious drama. Jolie's excellent too.

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