Maybe it’s just me, but Woody Allen has been slightly obsessed with death recently. Specifically, death with accents. Like his last two films, his newest effort, Cassandra’s Dream, concerns the moral and ethical choices we all face at some point in our lives. Namely, how far would you go to get what you want. And it takes place in London.
This time around, though, Allen shakes things up a bit. The most glaring difference between this and any of his other films is not only is Allen himself not in the movie, but it’s hard to picture him in any of the main roles. He’s finally made a film where not only has he stepped completely behind the camera in person, he’s back there in spirit as well, and the result is a gritty, stylized drama with bits of humanity so raw it almost hurts to watch. Continue reading
It’s a mistake to think that The Kite Runner, based on the best-selling book of the same name, is yet another entry in the current trend of setting films in the middle-east in order to give then some sort of social importance. As directed by Marc Forster, The Kite Runner is instead a rumination on friendship, loyalty and redemption which uses the background of Afghanistan to illustrate rather than define those attributes. Continue reading
Why? Why is it that because we get Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, the proverbial Hollywood Prom King and Queen, in a true story written for the screen by Tinseltown’s chess club president Aaron Sorkin, do we think it must be socially important and award worthy? Add in perennial literati favorites director Mike Nichols and Philip Seymour Hoffman and the pedigree for Charlie Wilson’s War is impeccable. You might as well send the Oscars now.
Except not. Continue reading
Look, I’m not going to sugar coat this. I hated Margot at the Wedding. From the opening, jittery, out-of-focus, poorly lit scenes which scream “I’m an independent movie” to the ending, which is so abrupt the audience is left sitting slack-jawed in their chairs long after the credits have started, this film just does not work. Now, I have nothing against indie films. I don’t mind relationship driven dramas or Nicole Kidman and I think Jennifer Jason Leigh is one of the finest actresses of her generation, but the script for this film gives them nothing to work with. Continue reading
The problem with I Am Legend is that it has no idea what kind of a film it wants to be. This isn’t to say it’s not enjoyable, just that it’s not nearly as good as it could be which is a shame because the source material, a novel by Richard Matheson and 1971’s Omega Man, are both well thought out pieces of speculative fiction. Here, though, the film never settles down into a rhythm and ends up leaving the audience unfulfilled. Continue reading
The cool kids in high school are never as cool in retrospect. When you think back on it, from an adult perspective, they were the odd-balls, the ones who did whatever they wanted, who didn’t conform to societal norms. Such is the case with Juno, the title character in the new film directed by Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking) and written by Diablo Cody. She’s cool because she isn’t a cheerleader or a bitch. She’s just this odd little girl, named after the queen of the Roman gods, with a step-mom and a half-sister and house phone that looks like a hamburger. In short, she’s cool simply because she isn’t. Continue reading