Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Deja Vu

Movie: Deja Vu

I thought this was a murder-mystery of some kind and it is, but it's really about time travel, not that the trailers give you any hint of that. Once you figure that out the story's really fairly standard. The time travel aspect is given short shrift and is a bit clunky in how it's presented -- all the technical mumbo jumbo is glossed over in about thirty seconds -- and it feels completely improbable. But somehow it still manages to work, mostly because of decent acting from Denzel Washington and others, and the film's pace -- non-stop action -- also helps. Unfortunately the premise of the film is such a gimmick this isn't a classic or even a film you'd want to watch a second time. I'd give it a B for first-time viewing and maybe a C for subsequent views in which all the drama and excitement is gone.


Friday, November 24, 2006

The Fountain

Movie: The Fountain

Odd movie. Difficult to explain. Definitely science fiction, perhaps too much so, so that it's a bit alienating. I liked it overall, but it felt like it missed the mark. The ending was anticlimactic and didn't satsify me completely, but it was more than just that -- the entire film felt like it didn't quite reach the heights it was aiming for. The mystery of the Tree (the tree that gives eternal life) was never explained, but that wouldn't have bothered if there weren't so many other loose ends left dangling. It's definitely a movie I want to see a second time before I really judge it.


Friday, November 24, 2006

For Your Consideration

Movie: For Your Consideration

Another pretty cool documentary parody from the people who did Best in Show, Spinal Tap, and other films. Like those others, this misses the mark in some areas, and it's never laugh-out-loud funny, but has a lot of in-jokes for those who know the entertainment industry (I'm sure I missed a lot). This film's about a low-budget family drama with young unknowns and older has-beens who suddenly get an Oscar buzz going which dramatically changes the way the film's made and the actors and writers see themselves. Unfortunately, there were some odd aspects I didn't understand: the buzz starting while the film was filming, the Oscar nominations coming out before the film's release in January (film eligible for Oscars are supposed to be released before the end of the year); that didn't make much sense. But I give it literary license and go along with the gag, but overall the film's too uneven for true brilliance, but it is a fun, decent movie.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Casino Royale

Movie: Casino Royale

This is definitely a different Bond. My feelings are mixed: there are things I liked and things I didn't. Daniel Craig is fine, and I like the "reboot" of the Bond franchise, but Craig's grittier Bond isn't carried through all the way leaving us with a fractured, mixed-bag Bond that is quite like the old Bonds yet isn't new enough to be his own. I was also somewhat disappointed with the rather ordinary plot; while there are some action scenes, they feel inserted rather than part of the story, and much of the talky scenes go on way too long to the point of ponderousness. Craig is also given exhorbitant highlight scenes (him coming up dripping wet out of the water, etc.) which feel like silly Baywatch style slow-mo. There are a few sparkling moments: the super-human acrobatics on the cranes at the construction site, the delightful repartie Bond shares with his female love interest, and some of the poker scenes. But too much feels too ordinary; I wanted either the glamour and pizzaz of the splashier Bonds, or gritty realism. Instead I got this awkward mix. Note that this isn't Craig's fault and we can't judge his Bond on this one script; I'd give him one more shot and see what he can do with the role. I suspect that the series will only get better (new Bonds are always a slightly awkward fit at first, Pierce Brosnan being the exception). All that said, this is definitely worth seeing. People have different tastes and you need to judge for yourself. I should also add that there wasn't enough of the Bond theme music. Why was that? That great theme totally sets the tone and gets you in the mood. Without it the film just didn't feel like a 077 movie.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

Movie: Stranger Than Fiction

I've been looking forward to this for ages since the trailer premiered many months ago (it seems like years), but while I Iiked it, the long anticipation made it somewhat of a disappointment. It has a number of aspects to it that weren't clear in the trailer (such as the romance), but the setup of the premise -- established in 30 seconds in the trailer -- takes a long time to get going, and the resolution doesn't quite hit the mark. It's good, but somehow not totally satisfying. It feels a bit like a cop-out, as though we, the viewer, were cheated or not given a clever enough ending. It's not that the ending's not good, it is; it's just that the setup is so long and complicated and we expect a bigger payoff and the ending sort of trickles. It's got a lot of excellent moments, however, including much that's not in the trailer (good), but in the end it gets a B instead of an A.


Thursday, November 9, 2006

Flushed Away

Movie: Flushed Away

I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by this gem: I didn't know much about it going in, but it was quite fun with unique characters and humor, and an excellent story. Two thumbs way up!


Friday, November 3, 2006


Movie: Borat

Not as good as I'd hoped; the premise is brilliant and at times the movie's subtle and hilarious with unexpected humor, but far too much of the film is gross out humor (which I was not expecting) or one-joke premises that go on much too long (the endless gay jokes got tiring). Could have been so much better.