Tuesday, August 24, 2010
4 out 5. Michael Hoffman's THE LAST STATION overflows with excellent acting and a real solid story. It makes one wonder how this slipped by so easily without much notice. Maybe the subject of Tolstoy is over everyone's heads and seems daunting. But truth be told it's about the beginning and ending of love and relationships. I wouldn't call it a chick flick, but the subject matter contrasts nicely between serious drama and some rather amusing scenes. I'd call out Helen Mirren as having done an exceptional job but really everyone played with the perfect pitch of sincerity that I'd hate for her performance to shadow anyone else. If you like well-photographed, well-acted films that look like impressionist paintings at times, you should definitely check this one out.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
4 out of 5. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO is a very creative endeavor from Gus Van Sant. From what I've read about the film I'm kind of glad the investors made him pull back on the Shakespearean dialogue. It was mildly effective in some ways but pulled us away from the emotional state we experienced with the "real" dialogue. High marks for the look and feel of this film though. It was nearly perfect. You can see what a lot of people were talking about in regards to River Phoenix. He embodies his character wholly and always looks like he's having conversations in his head about his next move or motivation. Great if not a safe way to deal with the subject matter. If you liked the Basketball Diaries and Stanley Kubrick films...you'll probably like this.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
4 out of 5. Marc Forster captured the ethereal in his FINDING NEVERLAND. This is probably the closest thing to Johnny Depp playing a fairly straight-forward character. Full of life and whimsy, this piece captures the imagination and pulls you in for a fun ride. I like how this really didn't get a lot of play; a real sleeper hit if there ever was one. Kate Winslet is particularly good as is always Julie Christie. If you want good-hearted film then this might be for you.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
4 out of 5. In Robinson Devor's THE WOMAN CHASER, Patrick Warburton tears up the screen in such an absurd role that you can't help but get sucked in. It has a similar degradation of humanity that Gummo displayed yet it's title character keeps it tongue-in-cheek. Stylized directing and great script make this a joy ride through a 50s era David Lynchian dark comedy. It's not your mainstream kind of comedy...it's actually funny, sincere and clever without grabbing for the jokes or insulting your intelligence.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
3 out of 5. Michelangelo Antonioni's first color feature, RED DESERT is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Often it reminded me of HERO in terms of shot choices and cinematography. It even felt a bit sci-fi like the ANDROMEDA STRAIN at times. A woman who suffers from PTSD is suppressed by an industrial environment that is a metaphor for her suffering. The sound design is intrinsic in this piece as well. Not for casual viewers as the abstraction of storyline does not feed the soul. It's an excellent study for those who love film, unbelievable color usage, and composition.