Monday, September 3, 2007

September Viewing Log

03/09: The Prestige (Nolan, 2006) - [** 1/2]

It was okay. The twisting plot is compelling but strays almost into self-parody as Nolan tries to outsmart the audience with double-crosses and various acts of deception. The whole film unfolding like that of a magic trick is a nice touch but the story then becomes way too calculated. As clever and cunning as Nolan's film is, it seems to outsmart itself in the final act revealing a twist that is downright silly and completely undermines the rivalry between the two magicans. Other than Scarlett Johannsen, the cast is perfect (even David Bowie makes a memorable appearance) and the production values are top notch. I only wished by the end when all the cards and layed on the table, that I actually cared about what had transpired.

03/09: Brick (Johnson, 2006) - [****]
04/09: Saved! (Dannelly, 2004) - [***]

Saved! is one of the smarter high-school satirical offerings of recent memory and succeeds laregely on the fact that it manages to walk a tight rope in dealing with Christianity without being offensive. In lesser hands, it could have easily exploited the Christian faith to generate laughs but the filmmakers decide to take a more informal approach with sprinkles of light humor and well-drawn characters. It wasn't pro-Christian either as it clearly questions God's existence. If anything, the film is more about 'faith' and what it means to be a good person. Or at least, that's what I took from the film.It can also be appreciated as a great high-school comedy with the whole social cliques and observant teenage behaviour. Mandy Moore really surprised me with her sinister performance as the 'Queen Bee', similar to the Rachael McAdam's character in Mean Girls. Overall, the film was a charmingly witty take on Christian virtues via a high school setting that took a major risk that paid off in spades.

04/09: Little Children (Field, 2006) - [**]
05/09: Dead Man's Shoes (Meadows, 2004) - [***1/2]
05/09: The Hudsucker Proxy (Coen, 1994) - [**** (M)]
08/09: Black Snake Moan (Brewer, 2007) - [**]
11/09: Spider (Cronenberg, 2002) - [*** 1/2]
11/09: I Heart Huckabees (Russell, 2004) - [*]
12/09: In American (Sheridan, 2002) - [****]
12/09: The Station Agent (McCarthy, 2003) - [***1/2]
12/09: The Passion of the Christ (Gibson, 2004) - [*]
13/09: Knocked Up (Aptow, 2007) - [***1/2]
13/09: Bloody Sunday (Greengrass, 2002) - [***1/2]
13/09: Little Manhattan (Levin, 2005) - [***]
14/09: The Squid and the Whale (Baumbach, 2005) - [***1/2]
15/09: Far From Heaven (Haynes, 2002) - [****]
15/09: The Black Book (Verhoeven, 2006) - [***1/2]
16/09: The Piano Teacher (Haneke, 2001) - [**]
17/09: Red Road (Arnold, 2006) - [*1/2]
18/09: Dancer in the Dark (Trier, 2001) - [****]
18/09: Junebug (Morrison, 2005) - [***1/2]
18/09: The New World (Malick, 2005) - [****]
18/09: Marie Antoinette (Coppola, 2006) - [***1/2]
18/09: Maria Full of Grace (Marston, 2004) - [***1/2]
19/09: Morvern Callar (Ramsay, 2002) - [1/2]
19/09: Away From Her (Polly, 2007) - [***1/2]
19/09: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Yates, 2007) - [***1/2]
23/09: Kings and Queen (Desplechin, 2004) - [**]
25/09: Vera Drake (Leigh, 2004) - [***1/2]
25/09: Oasis (Lee, 2002) - [**1/2]
26/09: Once (Carney, 2006) - [***1/2]
27/09: The House of Mirth (Davies, 2002) - [***]
27/09: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Park, 2005) - [**]
29/09: Lilja 4-ever (Moodysson, 2002) - [****]
29/09: The Departed (Scorsese, 2006) - [****]

4 comments:

Krissie said...

Another one on my to see list.
So, what was wrong with Johansson?

Jason said...

Seriously miscast and wooden. In a cast of strong actors, she sticks out like a sore thumb.

Ramses said...

I'm happy to see that you liked Dead Man's Shoes and The Hudsucker Proxy.

Jason said...

Yeah, both were excellent. I'll be writing a review of Hudsucker Proxy sometime soon.