Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reviews

As a way to make up for breaking my "review a week promise" I'm just going to condense four movies in four paragraphs. Also, all of them are positive reviews! Yay! :3. Everyone's a winner.

First off...

Little Children (2006)
Directed by Todd Field
Starring Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connolley, and Jackie Earle Haley

In drama, there's a post-American Beauty sub-genre where suburbia comes apart. Little Children is an excellent addition to the deconstructionism of suburbia genre. Directed by Todd Field and excellently photographed by Antonio Calvache, Little Children is a gorgeous film, and thanks to an excellent script by Field and Tom Perrotta, is humorously tense film, filled with sex and deception. Kate Winslet is great as Sarah Price, a former feminist unceremoniously living in a Massachusetts suburb, trapped in a sexless marriage and without any connection to her young daughter. Pressured on a bet by the local Stepford wives, she meets Brad, the so called "Prom King" of the playground. He's trapped in a loveless marriage with a controlling documentary filmmaker, and while Sarah does get his number, she also manages to get a kiss from him. And the plot is set in motion. Other plotlines include Larry, a disgraced former cop who frequently bullies Ronnie, a sex offender living with his mother, play excellently by Jackie Earle Haley. While I did enjoy this film from start to finish, the film ain't perfect. I loved the narration in the film, which is reminiscent of the Danish short, The Perfect Human, as it turns suburbia into the Serengeti. Perfect example of this animal theme: when Ronnie makes his first appearance, it's at the community pool, and the minute people realize who's in the pool with, they scour like animal running away from a lion. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the plot is full of twist and turns that it'll make your head spin. However, I felt the movie was a little long, and could have cut some fat off the script. I'm mixed with the character of Ronnie, who, as mentioned before, is played excellently by Haley, but I feel his presence as a character is rather unnecessary until the third act, and works better as a mysterious, never-seen character in the first half of the film. Overall, it's a terrific film nonetheless.

***1/2
3 1/2 out of 4 stars

Next...

Dark City (1998)
Directed by Alex Proyas
Starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Jennifer Connolley and Kiefer Sutherland


Before there was The Matrix and The Dark Knight, there was Dark City, a Blade Runner for the 90s. Waking up in a bath tub without an ounce of memory and a dead woman in his hotel room, John Murdoch tries to piece his life together, and then, saves humanity from the mysterious Strangers. While a sci-fi noir film with a twisting plot and wonderful effects and cinematography, Dark City at it's core is a film full of existential themes. Entertaining at every minute, Dark City feels incredibly grand for an 100 minute film that cost $27 mil (cheap, considering the effects, sets, etc.). It's truly an experience that everyone must experience.

****

4 out of 4 stars


Roadgames (1981)
Directed by Richard Franklin
Starring Stacey Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis

My friends referred to it as "Osploitation", but it really isn't. Sure, it's from Down Under, but there's nothing 'ploitation about it. Instead we have Stacey Keach one-lining his way on the Australian highway in this tense psychological thriller about sanity. Keach is Quid, an American working as a freelance truck driver. Carrying meat across Australia, encounters strange Aussie characters, Jamie Lee Curtis as an ambassador's daughter and a mysterious man in a green van, burying something in the middle of nowhere. While the film is tense, it does have a tendency to rely too much on Keach's lonely riffing, so that's kind of a put off. But it's still a fun film to watch anyways.

***
3 out of 4 Stars.


and last, but not least...


Cache (2005)
Directed by Michael Haneke
Starring Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche

A chilling film from the Austrian master Haneke, Cache is a deceptively simple film about the complexity of post-colonial guilt. Really. Georges Laurent is a TV presenter in France, and starts getting mysterious videos his home. Just a single shot of his suave, bourgeois home. Accompanied with unsettling drawings, we learn that Georges has a secret, that threatens to tear his family apart. What that secret is, I won't tell. This film is too intense and captivating to miss. A terrific film from a true film genius.

****

4 out of 4 Stars.

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