Monday, January 24, 2011
3 out of 5. THE LIMEY with Terence Stamp and Directed by Steven Soderburgh rises to the occasion through the simplicity of plot and style. It avoids the cliches of the genre and feels fresh and appealing throughout. Stamp owns the picture and maybe that's why I gave it a 3 instead of a 4. It's not groundbreaking cinema but it's still cool, stylish and worthy a watch. If you like your revenge quiet and cool...this is the movie for you.
Friday, January 21, 2011
4 out 5. The original SOLYARIS by the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky is almost what you'd call a space race of a film. Even though Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey eclipsed it by a few years it should be just as recognized as a winning film. The creativity and design of Solyaris is memorable if not familiar with the "high tech" of the time, yet it also has a timeless quality. It's creepy and cool like only the isolation of space can provide. If you like the recent indy film MOON, you will really like this. Great score too, and that ending...not much different than the weirdness of Kubrick...makes you wonder.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
4 out of 5. Ben Affleck's GONE BABY GONE is another one of those films that sneaks passed you and you wonder why you missed it. Casey Affleck is easily likable in this role but it's the very real people they use for extras that ground this film. It feels "salt of the earth" and when you're talking about a girl's kidnapping you want to feel the grit in every frame. There's a voracious energy that seers through this film as we get closer to the answer. The power is in the performances and the relationships and the direction doesn't get in the way one bit. Finally, Ben can affect us in ways his acting sometimes falls short of. If you liked Mystic River you'll surely enjoy this.
Monday, January 17, 2011
4 out of 5. Andrew Niccol and his Production Designer for GATTACA get high praise for capturing sci-fi using the strength of great architecture and simple design. GATTACA is a great achievement on many levels especially the power to evoke so much with so little without cheapening the moment. All the elements of a good cinematic experience are present and before you know it, it's over leaving you wanting more. Luckily this wasn't burdened with "franchise" possibilities. It's rare these days and movies as good as this are rarer still. If you like smartly done sci-fi you'll dig this.
Friday, January 14, 2011
3 out of 5. Mario Bava is known for horror but DANGER DIABOLIK is a very cool flick. I don't know what to say, the color the production design, the soundtrack (Ennio Morricone) is all super-spy and even superhero. It's based on an Italian comic by two sisters. The lead, John Phillip Law is a great match for Marisa Mell...beautiful people doing extraordinary things. If you like James Bond and a little Euro-camp to wash it down with you will dig this groovy spectacle.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
4 out of 5. Billy Wilder is one of the few directors whose work always has strong characterization and fresh-sounding dialogue an ACE IN THE HOLE is no different. This is a rare treat as Kirk Douglas eats up the scenery with his loud and boisterous unlikeable charm. He plays a real man's man reporter who has the world on a dangerous tether that's pulled tight to the point of snapping. There's a great undercurrent of America's love of sensationalism and his character serves it up with brace of hard liquor. There were two very surprising moments. A real joy watch. If you liked Sunset Boulevard I have no doubt you will enjoy this.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
3 out of 5. In MAN ON WIRE James Marsh delivers an exhilarating spectacle that holds your attention from the first frame. Despite it's simple subject matter and some re-staging elements this was a really well-made documentary. It builds up the same tension of a heist movie. With its colorful characters and ample beautiful footage from the central character, Philippe Petit's youth it builds to an amazing finish but not nearly as amazing as the journey there. Some touching moments are offered by friends of Philippe. Great pacing and very enjoyable.
Monday, January 3, 2011
4 out of 5. Duncan Jones' deceptively simple MOON shows a real sincerity to filmmaking. Really smart well-done sci-fi flick. The story is rich and the attention to details respects the audiences intelligence. Sam Rockwell does a great job in this difficult role. With possible nods to Tarkovsky's Solyaris and Syd Mead the production design was a real treat. There was still something about it that held it back from being a GREAT film. It might have been the lack of deep emotional ties to other characters. For fans of movies like Sunshine and Solyaris you will revel in the sights and sounds of this well-crafted film.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
5 out of 5. Juan José Campanella's Academy Award Winning THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES is a very smart and masterfully shot film. Again, actor Ricardo Darin, pulls you right into the story of an unsolved crime that he's started writing about. Like any good mystery the closer he gets to the truth, the more danger he puts himself in. The directing and cinematography is stunning and sharp. And the ending is deliciously satisfying while leaving a pit in the bottom of your stomach.