Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Round-Up (9/16/12 - 9/22/12)

Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard) *** - Okay. I'm not a fan of the directorial work of Ron "Opie" Howard. He's such a dull connect-the-dots, perfunctory director that it's occasionally even offensive. But surprise, surprise, I have to say this film is his best film work since Apollo 13. It's almost as if the talky nature of the material has probably forced him to be more cinematic. But what makes this film pretty damn good is not Opie's direction but rather the stunning performance of Frank Langella who, in real life, doesn't look anything like Richard Nixon and barely resembles him even in prosthetics but his performance is quite convincing and he creates a well-rounded human character, beyond just a caricature. Michael Sheen is likewise also fantastic as David Frost and matches him. It's not a cinematic landmark but it's a surprisingly solid film.

Hero (Zhang Yimou) **** - Revisited this earlier in the week. It's still a visually sumptuous martial arts flick. On Blu-Ray, it loses very little of its majesty from the big screen. It's highly recommended. 

Ruby Sparks (Jonathan Dayton/Valerie Faris) ** - Quirky indie dramedies are strictly a hit or miss for me. For every (500) Days of Summer (which I love), there's a Garden State (which I loathe). Unfortunately for this film, it's more the latter rather than the former. It's quite a novel idea: A blocked neurotic one-hit wunderkind writer dreams up a fictitious girl and she materializes in real life. Lots of potential for greatness in the idea but could go wrong in many different ways. And it does despite a few good moments. The film starts off rather Woody Allen-esque in its magic realism conceit but it goes off the rails when it tries for something unique and some depth, it results in a scene which comes off as borderline distasteful and jarring. Paul Dano tries his best and is rather good. I don't buy Zoe Kazan as a "dream girl" and the strong supporting cast is wasted.


YeamieWaffles said...

Great round-up as always man, the last film doesn't sound great to me but the other two sound pretty good, I've never seen Hero before.

Mark said...

I love Hero, and I've heard good things about Frost/Nixon.

MRanthrope said...

I really liked Ruby Sparks. I couldn't help but compare it to 500 Days of Summer also when I reviewed it on my blog. Only a bit darker and deranged.