20 August 2009

The Class

Filmed in a documentary style, this movie is about a teacher in France and the annoying pain in the ass students who argue about every little f****** thing with him. At least that's what the liner notes should say.

After two hours of this, you wonder how many more stereotypes the film is going to dredge up. Seriously, there are about five kids in the class you need a punch in the head — no one should be that good at acting smug — but because the main star is a big sissy, no one ever gets called out on their nonsense.

Rather than reveal the weaknesses of the education system and the failings of parents to encourage their children, the movie really just shows you people are jerks... and it does it for about 120 minutes.

Reminds me a lot of Kids, which was another unresolved piece of nonsense that glorified adolescent misconduct.

Sigh.

Slippery Slope

Low-budget indie comedy mixes feminist messages with sub-understanding of Adult industry.

The neurotic female lead is funny to watch, if you like laughing AT the lead character. Otherwise, you'll be disappointed that there's no one to root for in this movie.

Dan Fogler plays a small bit as the Crafts Services guy on the set. He's perhaps the highlight of the movie, with his 2.5 minutes of screen time.

Lowest point of the film was just how sadly liberal and narrow-minded the main characters are.

19 August 2009

12

In embattled Chechnya, 12 people weigh the fate of a teenager (Apti Magamaev) accused of murdering his stepfather. The jurors represent a cross-section of modern Russia's fractured society: a mealy-mouthed television producer, a flashy musician, a bigoted cabbie, a holocaust survivor. Inside this room, as in the streets, the battle for peace and tolerance plays out. Co-writer Nikita Mikhalkov directs this Oscar-nominated twist on 12 Angry Men.
If I had never seen 12 Angry Men (either version), this would have been great. Instead, it's a gorgeous, but laborious attempt at revealing Moscow and Chechnya through the eyes (and stories) of twelve very angry people.

Very little "logic." Mostly impassioned pleas for "attention" from each of the characters.

I would not be surprised if most of these actors were improving.

Following

Part Strangers on a Train, Part Three Iron, and Part David Mamet this 1998 film looks like a 1960s French psychological thriller (even though it's British). At only 70 minutes, this movie is as lean as they come. There's no down time, no "what's going on?", and no clutter.

Awesome, brainy film where the writer is king.

18 August 2009

The Edge of Love

Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller give amazing performances in an otherwise dreary film. It starts strong and drags about 20 minutes too long. Near the end, there's a shooting and the "stand off" is intense, but by that time, we're asleep.

If you're not a Dylan Thomas fan, or if you hate British period pieces (even though this is WWII), avoid this film.

And if you're looking for a story with two strong female leads, turn the movie off about 90 minutes.

Quid Pro Quo

A little short, but wow... what a brain-scrambler this little drama is. If you haven't heard of it, this is a story of Nick Stahl (Issac Knott) as a paraplegic and Vera Farmiga (Fiona) who wishes she was.

You might need to read that sentence again.

This film is strong. Very strong.

I hope it surprises you.

Doomsday

I thought this movie was going to be stupid and poorly scripted. But instead, it had about 50% of quality content, 25% of gratuitousness, and 25% of huh?!?!

Solid acting, amazing camera work, and an eye for detail make this movie better than a senseless action movie could be.

Opening is slow, knights on horseback makes no sense, and constant decapitations desensitize you, but that's movie-making, I guess.

I can't complain too much.

Rhona Mitra is strong as the lead too. She plays the first "feminine" action star in a long time. She's a little UMA Thurman and a little Signorney Weaver.