16 January 2010

Book of Eli

First off. Wow.

Second off. Very interesting choices.

Third off. This is not so much a post-apocalyptic movie, as it is a religious film, shrouded in post-rapture themes. None of that really matters, though, because it's super good. Double super good, in fact.

Denzel Washington plays a lone wanderer, who carries a book that he reads every night and quotes from, with preacher-like charisma. Gary Oldman plays someone who wants the book. Mila Kunis plays a half-annoying after-thought. The film has very little talking, lots of great visuals, a few fights (to break the tempo up), and so many cool themes you can't see straight.

This movie is not for everyone and while I was enthralled all movie long — despite one or two plot hic-cups — most of the audience didn't know what they were looking at. Most expected an action film. Others a typical Denzel Washington drama. This movie is neither.

It is, however, in theatres now.

14 January 2010

The Madness of King George

I couldn't finish it.

It was flippant and almost insulting to the brain. What exactly were they trying to make?

A Man for All Seasons

Based on the play, and turned into a G-Rated film in 1966 (the movie ends with a beheading), this is among one of the best stories around. Fans of the Tudors TV Show should take a gander at the play based on the author of Utopia and whom science fiction author R.A. Lafferty refers:
He had one completely honest moment right at the end. I cannot think of anyone else who ever had one.
More is perfectly played by Paul Scofield, an actor I've never seen in anything else (although he apparently was the ghost in Mel Gibson's Hamlet). But the rest of the cast, as expert as they are, cannot touch his performance. Just amazing. Unwavering. Intelligent.

If ever there was evidence of the plague that was Thomas Cromwell, it is his unholy crusade to have Sir Thomas More tried, convicted, and executed for his own political agenda. Cromwell's toady, Sir Richard Rich makes an appearance as well. Both of them are a cancer.

If you like good movies, check this one out. But if you hate it when bad guys win, I recommend staying away from most historical biopics.

10 January 2010

Ji jie hao (Assembly)

Be prepared for misery.
That would have been a good caption on the DVD cover.

While the Chinese are masters at tragic dramatic tales, this movie makes the grade of being among the saddest I've ever seen. While To Live and Joy Luck Club (an American film, I know) make the top of the list of saddest Chinese stories ever, Assembly should be just as gut-wrenching, especially to those who can appreciate excellent films about war, revolution, sacrifice, and duty.

Assembly is baed on real-life events and follows the life Gu Zidi during the Chinese revolution as a member of the PLR (People's Liberation Army). Without giving too much away, Gu Zidi and his men are ordered to defend an important mine and intercept the advancing Nationalist Army (better equipped with American equipment and so on — these guys did their homework — the production value is top-notch). And after about 60 minutes, the film turns into something you wouldn't expect.

Expertly made and crafted, this movie received many awards and accolades. It deserves them all. I'm very pleased that I purchased this movie sight unseen.

Some idiot at UGO thought it was too "slick and fashionable." I'm not sure we watched the same film.