Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Round-Up (2/10/13 - 2/16/13)

Mama (Andres Muschietti) *** - I came into this with low expectations. After all, it is a PG-13-rated horror film released in January and is of the horror subgenre (which I noticed has been rather popular in recent years) of the creepy ghosts/ghouls tormenting/possessing/collaborating with children. Though it's far from being a masterpiece, it's actually a pretty darn good horror film with some nice atmospheric scares. Executive producer Guillermo Del Toro's influence is all over this film, almost as if he co-directed it himself. Jessica Chastain is good but it's the two little girls who shine. It's a nice, solid genre piece.

Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul) ***1/2 - A fascinating documentary about a failed musician whose music finds itself a vast audience in South Africa and helped with the revolution and change within the country. The film starts out as a sort of "unsolved" mystery type of investigation of this musician, rumored to have committed suicide but in reality is living anonymously in Detroit oblivious to the popularity of his music in another part of the world. Then it turns into this rather beautiful, moving statement on the power of music and art and of course second chances. His music is pretty darn good too.

Winter's Bone (Debra Granik) ***1/2 - Well, better late than never. I finally caught up with Jennifer Lawrence's breakout performance. She is simply wonderful as a teenage girl fighting to take care of her siblings and keep her house as tries to find her missing father in the run from the law. This film feels a bit like a European film but set in rural America. Director Debra Granik does a great job of maintaining tension and atmosphere throughout the film. One of the unique things about this film, I find, is that there's a sense of a bigger story going on but you only get to see a sliver of it from the point of view of Lawrence's character. Definitely a solid piece of filmmaking.

Flight (Robert Zemeckis) **1/2 - After years of toiling in mo-cap animated features, Robert Zemeckis returns to directing real people in this drama about an alcoholic pilot who manages to save a lot of people from a plane crash. First off, the first half-hour or so of this film is quite great. The crash scene is quite suspenseful and extremely well-done and it ends on a relatively good note. In the middle though, it gets highly problematic and flawed and it's buoyed only by the excellent performances.

1 comment:

YeamieWaffles said...

Flight sounds pretty flawed but the rest of these sound decent, a PG-13 horror film might be pretty bizarre though.