Monday, April 29, 2013

The Company You Keep (2013) and Upstream Color (2013)

The Company You Keep (2013)

-I lifted my self imposed ban of all Shia LaFu*k films because he just didn't appear to be such a douche in this one, and I was right... he was decent enough. His character is ok, I guess, but far from believable in the way he gets so much information the FBI apparently could never get over 30 years.

-It was pretty good and worth seeing, but it falls short of being anything special, probably because the overall theme of the movie is a little too left wing nutjob radical or whatever you want to say about it, and it is a tad distracting in parts, but also because it just simply lacks the 'it' factor that can take a decent movie and put it over the top.

-The over abundance of well known actors is rarely a good thing in serious movies... It is simply weird to always have a new character introduced and you sit there thinking of who they are and what else you've seen them in and what awards they have won etc etc etc... Some nice supporting roles throughout, no doubt, but it is overkill - 3 top actors, maybe 4, is ok usually, but throwing about 10 well knowns together... not for me.

-Compared to a lot of the early year movies, this one stands out as probably one of the better ones, but that's really just a comparison to the hand we've been dealt so far. I enjoyed watching it and I think I liked it more than I'm getting across with these complaints - I just thought (and wanted) to enjoy it much more.

Upstream Color (2013)

This movie sums up exactly why I don't like giving a movie a rating on a scale of whatever to whatever.  Films are very subjective, though I do feel you can spend a few seconds of thought to determine if one is 'good' or not.  This film is neither good nor bad, it simply is.  I could probably write something about it that would sound ok, but it was really strange and I think if you are the type of person who would enjoy this one you will find it on your own.  Shane Carruth made Primer (2004) 9 years ago, a film that challenged us to work out so much without quite enough details to actually do so, and here he does it again, though I'm not sure we're given enough at all (I'm digging around the internet for answers).  The film is beautiful, haunting, creepy and, ultimately, satisfying, though it surely falls into the category of art-house with little dialogue and if you aren't into that, stay away.

Monday, April 22, 2013

4 Quick reviews: 42; Oblivion; To The Wonder; The Gatekeepers

42 (2013): Schmaltzy telling of the Jackie Robinson story but still entertaining. You can skip it for sure, but you could also see it.  Harrison Ford turns in one of his better performances in a long time as Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, the man most responsible for breaking the MLB color barrier.

Oblivion (2013): A Tom Cruise Sci-Fi film that was much better than I expected. Very derivative of other sci fi films but not in a way that distracted me much. A few of the action scenes just a tad over the top but actually the overall film was well done.  Suggest you see it in IMAX - thankfully no 3D exists of this one.


To The Wonder (2013): A new Terrence Malick film - Always beautifully shot. Did you see The Tree of Life? Did you enjoy that experience? If your answer is yes, then you will probably like this one too.  I assume most people will not enjoy this artsy piece of work that is basically a realistic love story of 3 people told through a hazy, dream like state with little important dialogue.  Just as The Tree of Life told the history of everything in one incredible scene, this film seeks to tell the history of a few people's love over the course of a lifetime, in just about 2 hours.

The Gatekeepers (2013): Solid doc interviewing 6 former heads of the Israeli security force known as Shin Bet. For the first time ever they talked on camera about major events over decades of their work. Mostly real footage is used to portray bombings, assassinations and other terrors. Subtitled in English and a must see for people who love historical documentaries.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

3 brief movie reviews: Spring Breakers; The Place Beyond the Pines; Trance

Spring Breakers (2013): I mean, I don't know. Lots of great T&A but does that make it good? Yes, it does. But it doesn't make it a good movie. I'm not sure if was supposed to be real or some sort of fable. I don't care either. A whole lot of skin, drugs and violence. Hearing Franco's "Spraaaang breeeeak y'all" over and over and over was just too much when coupled with the ridiculous last 20 minutes.

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013): I only knew one main thing about this movie before I saw it: people were giving it anywhere from 1.5-4 stars and everywhere in between. Also, it was being called a bit long. So I really tried to go in with a blank slate of opinion. I think I liked this one waaay more than most people I know who have seen it (4) and the only thing I could think of when I was walking out was that it combined elements of Crash (which I don't like) and LA Confidential (which I love) with a little Drive (which I liked a lot)... You have 3 major story lines that each take up about 1/3 of the film and each are connected, and though the last 1/3 does feel a little bit drawn out I actually enjoyed it because it brought everything together so well.

Trance (2013): A Danny Boyle film. Who knows what you'll get? Well, you get some hot ass Rosario Dawson so that made it...better? I have no concept of what other people think of James McAvoy, but he annoys me. I don't particularly like his delivery or his voice or his look, so it's hard for me to get past that, but I did enjoy the first half of the movie enough. A little too much voice over for me, but that's the way it is. It jumps over some plot points way way too quickly way way too early so that I was shaking my head (I mean, Rosario's character joining their group soooo soon with almost no explanation?) - the film turns into a deeply contorted mess where the only way out for the director is to turn it into a final act that has to blatantly explain everything to you, because face it, no way you're gonna know what the fuck is happening in all the rapid fire, color coded quick shots which serve only the purpose of disorienting you with the hope that you'll forget that the movie isn't all that good.