Friday, August 28, 2009

Samurai Cop

This now rockets to the upper echelons of my must-see list.
Also, I hope to go on a blogging spree soon and write up my thoughts on a bunch of movies, including Whatever Works (6/10), The Hurt Locker (8/10), Orphan (7/10), Thirst (8/10), Taxidermia (8/10) and Inglourious Basterds (9/10). Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Avatar Trailer

Wow, this goes way beyond what I was expecting. Looking forward to it now a lot more.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lorna's Silence (2008)

Good stuff, in general from the Dardenne brothers, but I fear that their formulas may be beginning to yield diminishing returns. Specifically in this movie, we once again have a movie about the plight of immigrants in scuzzy modern Belgium (just like La Promesse) and a feisty young woman trying to own a cafe (just like Rosetta) and dealing with an acute moral crisis (just like all of them) which is fine - the acting is perfect, the narrative is compelling, the moral issue is suitably drastic - but there's a whiff of been-there-seen-that. And this time, as if in order to juice things up a bit, the Dardennes have given their lead actress a scene or three where she gets (SPOILERS) to go crazy and have delusions, and I don't think this kind of internalized psychology seems to be their strong point. It feels a little contrived and inorganic when Lorna (Arta Dobroshi), the movie's Albanian immigrant, decides to have a hysterical pregnancy in order to deal with her complicity in the death of a Belgian junkie (Jeremie Renier, wraithlike), it doesn't really work - the movie takes on a melodramatic, sentimental quality that doesn't fit.

Of course, let me be clear that the movie is still excellent and better than 90% of what's out there right now - it's just no Rosetta, or even L'Enfant.


Monday, August 17, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

This is just a quick little ramble so as to maintain some presence on this thing. Basically, the G.I. Joe movie was tolerable. It's watchable in that hit-your-head-enough-time-and-eventually-it-feels-okay kind of way that's increasingly dominating American movies. It's certainly better than Transformers 2, and there are big parts of it that I enjoyed, including the bad guy performances of Sienna Miller, the Asian guy playing Storm Shadow, and the crazy chaos of the Paris chase sequence. I also appreciated that the formerly all-American squad is now an international, NATO-based force, which I know irritates the purists but I'm not one of them.

All that said, it's still probably Stephen Sommers's worst movie that I've seen. Unlike most people, I didn't hate his last movie, Van Helsing - it was overstuffed and had a dumb ending, but you could tell it was being made by a guy who had a real joy in playing with that particular toy box of Universal monsters and expensive CGI and so on. G.I. Joe, on the other hand, feels like a case of pure corporate synergistic hackery, down to the needless addition of shots of aircraft carriers and exosuits and stuff that's basically only in the movie in order for Hasbro to sell more toys. A lot of the movie feels impersonal and pointlessly commercial in order to set up the sequel and so on, and if Stephen Sommers doesn't care about whether or not it makes sense for the Baroness to be good or just misunderstood, or for Cobra Commander's character to make any sense whatsoever, why should I? Also, Channing Tatum is hilariously awful as the alleged lead character - guy, this is the biggest movie you've ever done - you could pretend like you actually want to earn a couple more of these paychecks, at least.

Still, less offensively ludicrous than a lot of this Summer's other movies.