Sunday, November 13, 2011
Weekly Round-Up (11/6/11 - 11/12/11)
Tower Heist (Brett Ratner) **1/2 - Like any self-respecting cinephile, I'm not much of a fan of Brett Ratner but I will say this is probably Brett Ratner's best work to date. This is thanks to a very solid script from Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson, two screenwriters who know how to make the heist formula work and the strong supporting cast. My biggest complaint is actually the lead Ben Stiller who's only barely competent in the lead role. He isn't horrible but a better actor could've made that role sing. Still, this is slickly made entertaining inoffensive Hollywood fluff.
Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (Rodman Flender) *** - Upfront, I will say that I am definitely Team CoCo all the way! I'm a fan of Conan O'Brien, one of the funniest late night comics around. This documentary is actually a behind-the-scenes look at his music/comedy tour he did in between late-night hosting jobs. It's pretty standard and your enjoyment of this truly depends on how much you love Conan O'Brien. It is however well-made and offers a fascinating look into Conan behind-the-scenes. It isn't always flattering, suprisingly but for me, it did nothing to tarnish his reputation in my eyes.
Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn) **** - This is a near-perfect stylish neo-noir film that is quite reminiscent of thrillers from the 1970's when filmmakers actually took the time to build character and tell a story rather than trying to dazzle us with eye candy and stunts. There are some car chases here but they take a backseat to the tense story of a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a crime getaway car. The film's slow pace actually makes the sudden burst of shocking violence even more intense and effective. Ryan Gosling does what he does best and makes you feel for a man who barely speaks and doesn't even have a name. Albert Brooks is chilling as the villain. Why isn't he in more character roles like this? This is one of the best of the year.
Pina (Wim Wenders) **** - (See review below)
Nanga Parbat (Joseph Vilsmaer) **1/2 - (See review below)
13 Assassins (Takashi Miike) **** - (See review below)