Wednesday, November 27, 2013
4 out of 5. Thomas McCarthy is a really fantastic director and THE VISITOR is just as good if not better than his other works. I think being an actor really helps if one sets out to direct. I generally see better performances overall and Richard Jenkins does great as the lead. Usually I find a lot of unique story situations come out of South East Asia or especially when they are culturally specific. This is a unique story where the recently widowed main character finds illegal immigrants living in his apartment. The setup is great and possibilities keep you guessing, making this film feel fresh and believable as everyone finds their way. It's a great film with deep repercussions.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
3 out of 5. David Frankel's THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA is an infectious comedy that you can't stop thinking about. Maybe it's because of the under-dog lead played by Anne Hathaway that most people can identify with. Or it's her high-status boss played by Meryl Streep who's performance seems to diminish everyone under her affecting gaze. Plus, Stanley Tucci is always fun to watch. Overall it's a fairly predictable storyline but the journey is what makes it fun. By the third act it does lose a little bit of the snap and bite of the opening but it's because the character arcs are converging. Great fun.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
3 out of 5. Hong jin-Na's THE YELLOW SEA is a crazy, violent ride taken by a former taxi driver looking for his wife. The directing is really good and the stakes just keep piling on top of each other until they reach a very crazy apex. The lead, Jung woo-Ha plays a great everyman character whose mission is believable and who continues to surprise by his choices. Yun seok-Kim is also great to see as he brings real weight to the screen. He was great in The Chaser and is always fun to watch. South Korea has had a lot of violent films come out on Netflix, this one is little less violent and maybe not as pretty but it's still quite good.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
4 out of 5. Wolfgang Petersen's DAS BOOT should also be called a psychological thriller as it messes with your aural senses the entire time. This WWII film has a unique perspective of taking place for the most part in a German submarine. The claustrophobia and grime of living and making choices in close quarters grips you the entire time. Relief doesn't come until near the end where things open up and without warning the real Hell breaks loose. The cinematography choices were excellent all around especially in the sub. The detail could have easily overwhelmed the frame but choosing to use atmospheric fog and variations in saturated and desaturated lights to evoke mood was smart.