Raxivace wrote:If you liked that, Stray Dog and High & Low are also worth taking a look at if you want to see Kurosawa doing more noir.
I've seen these. Don't remember a ton about Inventing the Abbotts and Pollock. I remember thinking The Crucible was pretty silly back when I saw it. Gattaca is a good, solid sci-fi film. I thoguht I'd reviewed it, but I can't find it. Army of Darkness I liked the least out of the Evil Dead trilogy. Evil Dead II is still Raimi's masterpiece.Lord_Lyndon wrote:Inventing the Abbotts (1997; Pat O'Connor)
Pretty solid romantic drama with Joaquin Phoenix in a leading role. Film examines class relations and relationship between two brothers (brother is played by Billy Crudup) in a small American town. This film was a nice surprise.
Pollock (2000; Ed Harris)
A very good film about the life and career of the American painter, Jackson Pollock. The subject matter is not something that would interest me, but I still thought it was good. Good acting.
Army of Darkness (1992; Sam Raimi)
This is one of those special films that is purposefully ludicrous and cheesy. I really don't know why I didn't enjoy this one as much as other people did.
Gattaca (1997; Andrew Niccol)
Excellent sci-fi drama/thriller by Niccol. Discrimination is the main theme here. I'm sure I'm not spoiling much by saying that. But this film is so popular that probably everyone has seen it by now.
The Crucible (1996; Nicholas Hytner)
An entertaining and over-the-top film about witch hunt in Salem. It was my 35th Winona Ryder film. She holds the record in that regard.
I liked (didn't love) The Lovely Bones too. It's also kinda silly, but saved by the visual imagination and interesting sustained tone. We both certainly liked it more than DA (check his thread). I reviewed both Hanna and Brooklyn:Lord_Lyndon wrote:I also saw a bunch of Saoirse Ronan films.
Hanna (2011; Joe Wright)
A beautifully directed film in which she plays a super-assassin (kind of funny since she was so young and small). It needed a better screenplay, though.
Brooklyn (2015; John Crowley)
A romantic drama in which she plays an Irish immigrant trying to find a better life in 1950s Brooklyn. This is not my type of film, but I still sort of liked it.
The Lovely Bones (2009; Peter Jackson)
Now this one I liked. Even though I wasn't particularly impressed by Jackson's vision of afterlife. But everything else was pretty good. It was certainly moving. This is definitely one of Saoirse's best films.
Hanna (Joe Wright) – 7.5/10
Hanna is a fascinating hodgepodge of a film that presents a real challenge in trying to catalogue the kaleidoscope of genres it runs through. It opens as a survival film, with 15-year-old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) living in isolation with father, Erik (Eric Bana), who’s trained her from birth to survive on her own; develops into a CIA action/thriller when Hanna is ready to go out into the world, but finds herself hunted by Marissa (Cate Blanchett), A CIA officer with a sordid history with Erik; and becomes a strange coming-of-age buddy film when Hanna meets a family on vacation and befriends Sophie, a girl her own age. Throughout it develops the air of a fairy tale courtesy of the Brothers Grimm book motif, all set to a distinctively futuristic, pulsing (and room-rattling) electronica score by The Chemical Brothers
I’d be lying if I said all of it works and gels into a coherent whole, but I’d be lying even more if I said it wasn’t thoroughly intriguing, if only because of its utter lack of predictability.
Director Joe Wright has quietly become one of the more accomplished cinematic stylists alive today, and his beautifully elegant but versatile craftsmanship is all over Hanna. When Hanna finally enters into the chaos and newness (to her) of the real world, Wright’s impressionistic images and montage achieves the kind of subjective narrative effect that Lenny Abramson fell short of in Room.
The cast is equally accomplished, with Saoirse Ronan giving more evidence that she’s one of the most gifted young actresses out there, while Bana and Blanchett provide a solid yin and yang to her story.
Perhaps Hanna is one of those films that’s more interesting than great—there’s just too many weird tonal leaps that the ending can’t resolve—but in an age of ever-blander, formulaic blockbusters, it’s a nice antidote.
Brooklyn (John Crowley) – 7/10
Brooklyn is an oldschool romantic period dramacomedy about a young woman named Eilis (Saoirse Ronan)
who immigrants to Amerca from Ireland in hopes of finding a better life. She does, primarily in the form of a
young Italian named Tony (Emory Cohen), but when tragedy strikes she’s torn between staying or returning
Remarkably, the film is played straight without a hint of the quirks and ironies that pervades most hipsterish
indie romance films these days. As such, it’s the kind of film that can’t help but remind you of the genre’s
classics like Casablanca and Roman Holiday. Brooklyn even shares the latter’s visual lushness, courtesy of
cinematographer Yves Belanger, previously best known for lensing Dallas Byer’s Club. The film is consistently
gorgeously lit, typically with soft, diffused light, but with enough shading to add mood.
Director John Crowley has a classical sense of economic pacing as well. In the first 20 minutes the film
sprightly moves from Eilis’s deadend life in Ireland, to her unpleasant boat ride to America, to her first days
in Brooklyn at her new job and new home. Finally, the film settles down as the romance is introduced and
Crowley is free to linger over the burgeoning love between the couple.
Really, though, this is Saoirse Rona’s film, and she carries it, seemingly effortlessly, from beginning to end.
Her character is not overwritten, so much of her performance is in reacting to what happens around her, such
as her giddy, gossiping roommates in the Brooklyn boarding house.
Perhaps the film’s only flaw is that there’s nothing new or original here, and the film feels a bit too predictable
at times. Still, it’s refreshing to see a modern romantic film with such a classical sensibility, wellcrafted and
played by everyone involved.
Didn't care much for Take Shelter. I think DeRider and I had a pretty long discussion about on IMDb. Crimson Peak I loved. Here's my reviews for both:Lord_Lyndon wrote:Take Shelter (2011; Jeff Nichols)
Interesting film by Nichols which addresses the issue of mental illness. I thought it was better than 'Shotgun Stories'. Michael Shannon is excellent in a leading role.
Crimson Peak (2015; Guillermo del Toro)
Great visuals. Solid acting. But a very uninspired story. It is a horror/mystery that is not particularly scary. Definitely not one of del Toro's better films.
Crimson Peak (Guillermo Del Toro) – 8.5/10
Del Toro’s best film since Pan’s Labyrinth is also one of the most visually sumptuous, if not downright decadent, films of this century. The plot involves the romance between a young, wannabe author, Edith (Mia Wasikowska) who falls in love with a down-on-his-luck inventor and baronet, Thomas (Tom Hiddleston). They marry, and after the death of Edith’s father, she moves into Thomas’s decaying estate with his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), while frequently being visited and warned by gruesome ghosts.
Del Toro has clearly absorbed into his soul the look and feel of Victorian Gothic Romances and Horrors—think Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Edgar Allan Poe—as it drips from every frame of the film, from the ridiculously lavish production design to the lighting that’s so richly luminous it looks like technicolor. Rather than resorting to the contemporary and cloying teal/blue color-scheme trend, this film makes refreshing use of a complete tonal palette, with greens and reds being especially vivid during the chiaroscuro scenes.
Though the characters aren’t complex or original, the actors bring enough charisma to sell it. Wasikowska had previously played Jane Eyre and she has the perfect look for the naïve and nubile love-struck victim, while Hiddleston and Chastain continue to impress in far darker, more ambiguous, and interesting roles.
If forced to pick flaws I’d focus on the jerky narrative, which shifts focus too many times and probably would’ve been better if tied to Edith’s perspective; and Del Toro’s “concession” to certain contemporary style trends of keeping the camera moving with frequent cuts: though nowhere near as egregious as most, this is a film that screams for a more classical approach.
That said, I do think the flaws pale in comparison to the visionary splendor of the imagery and atmosphere. This is one of those films that will divide viewers who demand rich or original characters and plot-driven films from viewers capable of luxuriating in filmic aesthetics; those capable of the latter are in for one of the most glorious films of this century: essentially a film by a cinema aesthete for cinema aesthetes.
Take Shelter - Jeff Nichols - 6.0/10
Like with Mud, Nichols's follow-up to this film, Take Shelter isn't so much bad as it is utterly formulaic, lacking
in any real "wow" moments. However, this one feels more solidly sculpted from numerous angles: the premise
more interesting (schizophrenia dealing with delusions of an apocalyptic storm), the acting more compelling,
the pacing more measured, the shots better composed. The problem is that once we understand the tell-tale
signs of the schizophrenia, it becomes rather easy to separate reality from the illness. I do give the film
credit for dealing with the illness with serious, subtlety, and realism without overplaying it for melodrama (A
Beautiful Mind) or underplaying it for comedy (Benny & Joon). The final scene also ends things with a nice
touch of ambiguity, suggesting that there is no way to overcome such an illness by sheer will, and I can
appreciate that Nichols finally decides to leave the audience as unsure as his protagonist.
Raxivace wrote:Lyndon, I don't know the specifics in your struggles but I wish you the best with them. We'll always be here no matter what happens.
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