A Serious Man (Joel Coen/Ethan Coen) ***1/2 - Now I know what it must feel like to watch Dogma as a non-Catholic (a little bit at least). But even as a non-Jew, this is still quite a wonderfully twisted comedy, a sort of loose adaptation of the Book of Job reset in the 1960's. A physics professor meets one misfortune after another (his wife leaves him, he has an awful neighbor, his student is threatening to sue, etc.) and it all plays out in darkly funny and absurd heights that only the Coen Brothers can do. I saw Precious last week and this could make for a nice double feature. Michael Stuhlbarg and the ensemble supporting cast are fantastic.
After the Wedding (Susanne Bier) *** - A
Danish man running an orphanage in India gets a call from a wealthy
philanthropist to go back to his home country then invites him to a wedding.
That's all one has to know going to really fully get the dramatic impact of the
film and the twists and turns the film takes. To be honest, I wasn't really
expecting all that much from this but the dramatic road it took hit me quite
hard. Though after the twists, it follows the expected dramatic beats, the
performances are more than enough to carry it through.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
(Nicholas Meyer) *** - Finally caught up with this one. I don't know what to say
about this. I liked it a lot. I enjoyed it. It's a good movie, very
entertaining. Perhaps it was overhyped for me. Perhaps it's because I'm not that
big of a Trekkie but despite the fact that I enjoyed it and I think it's overall
a really good movie, I can't help but feel disappointed because for me, this is
only qualifies as "good" not GREAT as many people have said. Frankly, I prefer
First Contact and the Abrams reboot over
Warm Bodies (Jonathan Levine) **1/2 -
It's time for the zombie to get the Twilight treatment but...it's really not that
bad. The concept is actually kind of a fresh take on the zombie lore, sort of
like expounding on the "Bub" character from Day
of the Dead. Unfortunately, the filmmakers didn't really challenge
themselves with it. The concept is full of potential and there are flashes of it
here and there but overall, it's simply just a fluffy romantic comedy with
zombies toned down for a PG-13. In fact, it's probably the least violent and
gory zombie movie I've ever seen. It's fine enough for what it is but it's
disappointing because of squandered potential.
The Man With The Iron Fists (RZA) **1/2 - This
is a pulpy, bloody tribute to kung fu movies by RZA, Eli Roth and Quentin
Tarantino. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. There are lots of really
good things in this movie. RZA, in his directorial debut, shows off a
surprisingly decent visual sense. I'm lying if I said that there weren't moments
when I was impressed and wowed by the action sequences which are often
wonderfully over-the-top. Unfortunately, the film suffers from RZA' s decision
to cast himself as the title character. He's deadly dull as an actor especially
since the character he's portraying is supposed to be enigmatic and interesting.
Instead, he comes off as a mere afterthought and because of this, the film
doesn't quite reach the heights it's supposed to reach. It's too bad because the
ingredients are all there.