Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Movie Reviews - February to early April 2013

Deliverance (1972)
One of a kind - I don't think I've ever seen a film like it. Voigt was the standout. I think what made it intense and scary was how real it seemed. Disturbing and unsettling on many fronts. Canoeing down the rapids had a great authenticity about it. Banjo scene was superb. Rock climbing and the subsequent showdown was gripping. Scene in the woods was terrifying.
Another Earth
Another Earth (2011)
I made the mistake of asking the video store guy (yes, there are a few of this dying breed left in the city) - I won't tell you what he said, but it tainted my opening thoughts about the movie. But I was delighted to discover a precious gem of a movie. Sci-fi enabled thought provoking master plot with dramatic and emotional parallel plot. For such a low budget I was really impressed by the production and cinematography. Superb acting all around and massive kudos for Brit Marling, co-writer, co-producer and actor. Can't say much more, but I loved it, beautiful moments, delicate script and big idea framework.
Side Effects
Side Effects (2013)
Difficult to say much about the plot without being a spoiler. Edgy and intense with top notch performances. Not what I was expecting but it over delivered. Sold.
The Big Picture
Quirky and very dated, but quite fun. Off beat humour that is perhaps not that far from the craziness of the real Hollywood. But nice splashes of sentimentality.
Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Grand and adventurous moviemaking and storytelling. Almost didn't work, but it contained enough mystery, interesting characters and performances to make me stay with it to the end. Very violent and not as good as I expected. I'd read that it was an ambitious adaptation of a massive book - and it looked it to me. Some tempting plot elements that appealed to my views of interconnectiveness, but is was too jumbled and disjointed for me.
The Sessions
The Sessions (2012)
Great storytelling of an unusual kind. Warm, rich, real-world characters superbly acted by old favourites and new faces to pay more attention to. Mark's story reminds us of the essence of love. A beautiful film.
Upside Down
Upside Down (2013)
Bizarre sci-fi premise intros some very interesting possibilities. Love story chemistry works well (especially since I'm not a Dunst fan) and the premise gives us some structure to work through. Supporting role from Spall adds some warmth and depth. Solid FX makes the giddy world almost believable, and fantasy-heavy shots take us back into the surreal world. Found it in the Canadian section onboard an Air Canada flight.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Quite different to what I expected - the adversity had to come from somewhere I suppose. Superb complex characters delivered by top notch British actors. The joy of chaos. Sad and heartbreaking layers mixed with lots of genuine happiness and big smiles. "Everything will be alright in the end.' So if it's not alright, it is not yet the end".
Arbitrage (2012)
Oh what a tangled web we weave. Gotta love a cop like Roth - asking all the right questions. Hows he getting out of this ? He's not. How's he going to make it right ? Gripping, sparking tragedy, but an unbalanced sense of itself a bit maybe I'm not seeing it clearly - maybe he's the villain, we know who the victims are, but who's the protagonist ? Nice one... Strong ending.

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