Tuesday, June 8, 2010
3 out 5. Ridley Scott's first feature, THE DUELLISTS was surprisingly entertaining and touched with an experienced hand. The cinematography and costumes really stand out as does the shooting style. Scott often opens up scenes with close-ups and then pulls back to reveal the scene creating a nice abstract tableau for the scene to build from. His compositions are graphically balanced and confident in their framing and blocking of actors. The story and script were interesting if a bit outlandish but I think people like Harvey Keitel's character kept it grounded. For me it fell down with Carradine's performance and character choices. I wasn't convinced what his character said or did until maybe the ending sequences which was really great. If you're a Ridley Scott fan or enjoy period pieces like Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON, you'll enjoy this mostly solid film.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
3 out of 5. Sergey Bodrov's MONGOL harkens back to an era of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA but without the centerpiece ebullience of Peter O'Toole. Still the acting is quite good and the story is boundlessly epic and heartbreaking at times. This is the first part of a planned trilogy about Genghis Khan's rise to power. I hope they finish it because it's a terribly fascinating cultural and historical journey. If you like BRAVEHEART, CONAN, and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA this is definitely worth a look.