17 July 2010

Far North

I've never stopped watching a film half-way through to come and write a review of it, and that should tell you just how brain-numbing this film is. What is essentially a short-story (much like Solaris) has been dragged into a full-length feature (much like Solaris). The director has gone out of his way to take advantage of big, long sweeping vistas and film the characters in pain-staking detail when they are doing nothing. And then chopping through the story when something actually, finally happens.

I'm about to go back in and wait for the big ACT 3 twist... but I can pretty much predict what it will be.

Sigh.

UPDATE: Last five minutes were brilliant. Too bad the rest of the film wasn't.

Midnight Clear

On Christmas Eve, four strangers face despair and loneliness as their lives take unexpected turns. Trite and overly sentimental, the movie is filled with Christian overtones and unrealistic pablum. However, it has a few good moments.

Stephan Baldwin steals the movie with a very smart and subtle portrayal of a man who can't get anything right, not even his own suicide.

I won't bother going into it, but I'll just say that the ending is happy, the tone is silly and glib, and it can't hold a candle to Blue Powder.

Powder Blue

An ensemble cast of characters with semi-intersecting lives must deal with despair and regret on the days leading up to Christmas eve. While some of the "heaven" and after-life scenes were a little silly, Jessica Biel, Ray Liotta, and Forrest Whitaker give outstanding performances. Really surprising work, actually.

Eddie Redmayne is the (relative) newcomer in the film, but the most interesting from a "nerd does good" point of view.

It's an ensemble piece, which I love. It's down to earth (with Hollywood sensibilities, unfortunately). And the stories of despair and the forthcoming suicidal tendencies are all believable.

Sadly, the marketing text for this film gives away a good surprise, so I recommend avoiding it and just watching the movie.

11 July 2010

7 Faces of Dr. Lao

This was on the Cinemassacre top 10 or 20 movie list. And I gave it a viewing. I was pleasantly surprised. While the 1960s film style and special effects date the picture, the non-linear, non-formulaic approach to storytelling was refreshing.

I really liked it.

Barbara Eden is hot!

This would make a great, sanitized modern remake for kids.