Saturday, December 29, 2007

At a Theater Near You

With a few moments of time off at year end, Cath and I have been able to take in a number of films – many which we should have seen months ago.

Here are a few brief thoughts – first with those still in theatres:

I AM LEGEND: Very fun, worthy of record breaking box office. Will Smith proves his place within a handful of actors that can be the sole human on screen for extended periods of time without making the audience wonder/pray for another actor to enter.

Imperfections? Sure – mostly in a third act that is a wee bit too rushed to fully hit its impact.

I’d like to have seen more time spent with the home defenses, for example. And the relationship between the captured creature and the main antagonist seems to be a missed opportunity.

But over all? Worth the price of admission.

SWEENEY TODD: Tim Burton allays any fears that he wasn’t the right person to make this musical’s transition from the stage to the screen. The look and tone are pitch-perfect; the music a seamless blend with the action.

This production avoids all the mistakes of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, which added to the story in hope of softening the impact of its titular villain. No, Todd is here in his full protagonist-gone-bad glory; and the warning of good turning sour is visually stunning and just as strikingly twisted fun as the original.

Depp is wonderful; Rickman rightfully makes the skin crawl no matter how tight your plastic surgeon has already pulled; and for me Bonham Carter rose to the occasion quite nicely (although my viewing partner – not Cath, this is a bloody film – couldn’t quite let go of the memory of Angela Landsbury).

Imperfections? Sure. The only one that got in my way (and preventing the film from rising to “worth any price”) is the treatment of the slitting of throats. (This being a musical about the demon barber of Fleet Street, I don’t think I’ve broken any spoiler rules here – throats will be slit galore…)

The throats are slit with close-up gore, the way any slasher movie would do it. But this isn’t just any slasher movie, and Burton should have put more artistic effort into letting the gore be more than gore.

So even with that distraction, it is still: Well worth the price of admission.

BUCKET LIST: Great actors being wasted on a schmaltzy script that does a disservice to schmaltzy movies.

This one would fit nicely as a made-for-tv movie with B-level actors, which is a shame given the presence of Morgan Freeman and Sean Hayes – each doing better work than the material warrants.

There are some really nice moments in act three, such that if the whole movie were written like act three, we’d have a winner on our hands.

Imperfections? The majority of the second act has the two leads fulfilling items that are NOT on either’s bucket list. And thus we spend most of our time wandering the world, wasting time – which by the movie’s very premise should be the one commodity we dare not waste.

Over all? Not worth the price of admission.

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

What did you think of Charlie Wilson's War? We thoroughly enjoyed it but our idea of a good movie is pretty skewed. We were happy to be able to see a movie that we didn't need the credits to determine whose voice went with the characters. We also enjoyed being able to watch the whole movie uninterrupted.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you've seen the sequel to "National Treasure" (good popcorn flick) but it has one scene that reminded me of the old balance/unbalance animated feature from somewhere in Europe. The leads are stuck on a square platform balanced on a huge and crumbling wooden support pole. The whole shootin' match will tip into an abyss if the people don't counterbalance each other by where they stand.


Gaffney said...

Haven't seen Charlie Wilson -- although you know I will: I am a big fan of writer Aaron Sorkin (West Wing) and of Tom Hanks, so what's not to like?

Also haven't seen National Treasure II. The German short you are thinking of is "Balance" -- which took the short animation Oscar in 1990. Love that little flick...