Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recently viewed films (though not all recent) and thoughts

Just some random films I've watched on Netflix lately with some thoughts:

Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? (2006): A pretty out there doc detailing the amazing discovery that a woman may have purchased an authentic Jackson Pollock work of art valued up to 50 million dollars at a thrift store for the bargain basement deal of $5. The film details the woman's crusade to prove that it is authentic while the elitist art world snubs her time and time again. Her hard talking former truck driving uncouth style contrasts so greatly with the snobbish art workd connoseurs that it is hard not to enjoy this piece. 4/5

Rachel Getting Married (2008): A wedding that brings all the family together isn't a wedding without the alcoholic outcast daughter making a speech. Anne Hathway gives her best Anjelina jolie impression and actually pulls it off well. The film does not beat us over the head with the issues at hand but it also doesn't let is completely flow over us - I would have liked to not feel preached to a bit too much in the third act - overall a success. 3.5/5

The King of Kong (2007): To be the best in the world at something is an accomplishment, but to be the best in the world at scoring high points in the classic arcade Donkey Kong is simply the peak of the mountain for anyone who has ever plucked a quarter into a machine. This doc follows one man's obsession to defeat the 20+ year reigning champion's mark and along the way we are privy to some very entertaining characters - some feverishly attempting to break the elusive 1,000,000 mark and some just as passionately doing whatever they can to defend the title and lifestyle associated with it. I just really wish the film could have captured more points of view. 4/5

Big Fan (2009): An obsessed sports fan (NY) who lives with his mother and spends his days in a parking garage cube and nights calling into sports talk radio finds himself face to face with his athletic hero only to realize he is caught up in an incredibly difficult position. The film has much potential but loses itself mid way through and ultimately can't pull it back in. Skip it. 2/5

Man on Wire (2008): One man's passionate need to go where no one has gone before, this true story doc of the man who walked a tight rope across the Twin Towers is powerful, amazing, incredible, and many many many more buzz words of which it is truly worthy. This is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen and I cannot say in words how much I think you should see it. 5/5

The Thin Blue Line (1988) I've heard the hype and was expecting something beyond magnificent. Well, there is a reason I hate hype with a passion. The doc is compelling, for sure, but why it wasn't done in a more conventional style is beyond me. There is plenty of amazing material dealing with teh who did and who didn't crime of a murdered police officer, but the filmmakers decided to take this in a more sensationalized and sometimes even dramatized fashion when all I wanted was to the who/what/where/when/why - please see Man on Wire (2008) for the way a documentary is supposed to be made. 3/5

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Mini-Documentary Review: Oceans (2010)

Oceans (2010)
Jacques Cluzaud (co-director)
Release Date: 22 April 2010
USA; 86 min

Narrator - Pierce Brosnan

As the film title implies this is a documentary on 'oceans' - well, that is what we would and should believe based on the advertising and title. However, what we are given is a pretty discombobulated film that jumps from South African killer whales to Australian reefs to Galapagos sea creatures and back again. At no point did I feel like I was watching a cohesive piece of art.

This is all unfortunate because the film has some amazing shots of nature. Some scenes have never been filmed before and it was certainly awe-inspiring to watch, but a lot of you who seek out nature programs already will be disappointed. Television already has wonderful programs such about the planet and the animals and the water, and the more recent film EARTH was significantly better made than this. With Pierce Brosnan narrating you would think it would be somewhat neutral, but this Disney film never takes off and we almost start to feel like we are being lectured to in a classroom.

** out of 5

A Mini-Movie Review: The Losers (2010)

The Losers (2010)
Director - Sylvain White
Release date: 23 April 2010
PG-13; 98 min

Zoe Saldana - Aisha
Chris Evans - Jensen
Idris Elba - Roque

I spent more time copy/pasting the credits from than I am going to spend with this review.

The "Losers" are a band of American operatives caught up in a lame conflict with a rogue CIA employee named Max (Jason Patric) that results in their unfounded deaths and self imposed exile in Bolivia while they work to get themselves home under the radar.

The movie is filled from start to finish with typical genre generalities that cannot be ignored for the sake of 'just enjoying the movie.' I suppose if you have never once seen a film about a band of outcasts out for revenge then maybe this will hold your attention, but not mine.

** out of 5