Thursday, March 25, 2010
3 out of 5. Antonio Bird's RAVENOUS was a surprising treat if you like horror films. This was smart, darkly funny at times with great cast that included GUY PEARCE and ROBERT CARLYLE. I don't watch horror films like I used to but if they were as well done as this I would. The horror in this shifts from situational to one of acceptance by the characters. It's when they cross the line that things really get interesting. If you liked THE PROPOSITION for it's left of center western themes you'll like Ravenous just the same.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
4 out of 5. It's worth mentioning the terrific tale of TOGETHER WITH YOU by Kaige Chen as well. Again he cements relationships and characters with real purpose and heartbreak. The seemingly colorless despair of poverty just makes this piece shine even more as a father does everything he can to help his son survive.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
3 out of 5. Stacy Peralta's CRIPS AND BLOODS: MADE IN AMERICA is a tour-de-force of directing and editing. Beautifully shot and incredibly educational. If you like Gangland this is by far a slicker rendered version of L.A.'s gang history. The story is less shocking but really educational.
4 out of 5. Based on a Joseph March poem, THE SET UP is a film that could have easily been a play. It's one of those films whose narrative has a real earthy feel, much like High Noon, making it very original for its time. It's a simple story told really well, with compelling characters all in high stakes situations. Robert Ryan plays an over-the-hill boxer (35) at the end of his career. He's expected to fall and everyone bets against him. It's a simple story but a gem of a film with great performances and a really rough ending. Feels like something Hemingway might have written.
Monday, March 8, 2010
4 out of 5. Melville's ARMY OF SHADOWS is an intriguing approach to storytelling that challenges convention. The POVs shift from character to character as we become familiar with the ranks of the French Resistance. Melville uses a lot of push-in/pull back focusing which was prevalent for the time. The cinematography is stunning.
Friday, March 5, 2010
4 out of 5. Ted Demme's film, BLOW was a stylish and intriguing. It had the sass of Soderburgh but with a soft, less intrusive approach. Ted Demme's use of various film stock and processing along with a great costume designer really brought this intriguing story through the decades with an easy aesthetic. Johnny Depp does a great job for the most part too capturing the real life character of George Jung. Highly entertaining and highly recommended. If you liked Scarface but wouldn't mind a lot less violence or if you liked Donnie Brasco, you will not be disappointed with this.