Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Threefer and More Criticism

The following are my reviews of the three most recent movies I have watched. Enjoy.

The Ladykillers- A Coen Brothers, not quite classic but still dark, fun filled, yarn.

If you enjoy Tom Hanks as a southern gentleman criminal reading the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe, then you will enjoy this movie. Meaning? You'd be hard pressed to find any by the end of this film, but the simple story fills the movie's time surprisingly well and I was never caught wondering how much longer I had to go. I must say though, that the only thing that allows it to carry itself so well is the characters and their quarks.

Cassandra's Dream- A Woody Allen thriller/brothers film, weird.

Alright, let's try and look at this movie objectively. It's a hard thing, for me at least, to do with any Woody Allen film. The plot is basically a character study of two brothers who get themselves into a dark and messy situation and how they separately react to the events that follow.

The best thing to be said of the film is that it builds tension throughout the first half better than almost any movie I've seen, but about two-thirds the way into the film I was beginning to wonder when it was all going to end--at this point the film had reached an odd sort of "dragging tension." Also, it lacked much insight into the relationship between brothers, which was disappointing because his insights into different relationships is  Woody Allen's foremost quality (in my opinion).

in all, worth watching if you love seeing Woody Allen movies for the sake of seeing Woody Allen movies.

The Fountain- A humorless quasi-meta triptych of a movie.
 This film is notorious for lacking any sort of middle ground for critics. They either love it or hate it. Oddly, I find myself able to see the movie from both points of view, which is a bit crippling.
Anyways, the general idea of the film consists of a mish-mash of Christian/Mayan/Taoist myth and ideology that interweaves itself throughout three separate story-lines going on, which all (it could be argued) consist of the same two characters, but never quite "touch."

It is--like it sounds--a pretty precariously balanced story, fraught with all sorts of potential pitfalls. However, is this not always the case when a movie enters new territory? And, for all that could have gone so horribly wrong, they maneuver the film with excellence through the dark clouds.

One thing you may notice in the movie is that it is completely humorless. Not a single funny moment story-wise, not even one joke that breaks the seriousness of the mood for even a moment. Now, usually I would hate this in a film, but here it works well. In fact, had they tried some comic relief it would have just been awful. All this isn't to say there isn't happy moments in the movie, certainly much of it is touching and here in it lies the films secret strength: it moves you emotionally, in many directions.

So, overall I give this film the thumbs-up. Not because it was flawless, but because it ventured into new territory which is something that so few films do today. Along with that, Hugh Jackman doesn't hurt anything either.

Well, kids! That was fun, so until next time, I bid you farewell,

Film Critic #1313

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