Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekly Round-Up (2/24/13 - 3/2/13)

5 Broken Cameras (Emad Burnat/Guy Davidi) **** - A harrowing documentary from the point of view (for most of the film, LITERALLY) of a Palestinian family man turned documentarian living in a village in the West Bank. Though it at times feels repetitive, there's no denying the power of the images that somehow were managed to be captured by the "title characters" (so to speak). It is a shocking, disturbing and heartbreaking inside look into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Anna Karenina (Joe Wright) *** - Director Joe Wright's very unique adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel is, for me, very much a mixed result. But there's too much in there to admire and I can't help but feel this is a definitely a work of a talented filmmaker. Framing the story as a theatrical performance makes for a very interesting, experimental take on the story but I think it would have worked better if they had committed to it a lot more instead cutting into sequences that's a straight-forward, conventional adaptation. It's almost distracting. But what holds it together are the performances of Keira Knightley and Jude Law and they're finely supported by Alicia Vikander and Domhnall Gleeson. Aaron Taylor-Johnson though is a bit miscast.

Come and See (Elem Klimov) **** - I've seen tons of World War II movies and a whole bunch of the subgenre of World War II films from the point of view of children and adolescents. This one ranks as one of the best. The plot is simple: An eager beaver teenage boy from a small village in Russia volunteers for the army during the war and witnesses first hand the true horrors of war. I've heard this film's reputation for being bleak. It is. Very. But also it has moments of beautiful imagery that almost borders on dark fantasy/horror/surrealism especially on the first half. I thought I've seen everything but this managed to still shock and horrify me despite seeing and knowing all that I know about World War II. It hammers the point too hard just a tad at the end but it's still a stunning piece of cinema.

Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell) *** - I liked this film. It's a good film. But I didn't LOVE it and I don't think it's a particularly GREAT film. First off the first two acts are a tonal mess. The balance between the dead serious themes and the comedy are all over place, only held together by the terrific performances of Bradley Cooper, who gives his career-best performance and Robert De Niro who gives his best performance in a long, long, long, long time. Jacki Weaver is terrific but wasted in an underwritten role (she makes the best of it though). And now let's go to Jennifer Lawrence: I think she gives a great performance, she hits all the right notes but unfortunately, she is AT LEAST five years too young for the role. I wasn't buying she was this widow with a possible sex addiction. Despite the fact that they clearly tried to age her up a bit, it felt way too dress-up for me. It hurts to write this about her because I really do love her as an actress and like most of the male population, I want her to be my girlfriend but I gotta play the critic. Sorry. But that said, the last half hour is where the film actually comes together and I was won over. Not enough to significantly increase my rating of the film though.


Adam said...

I never heard of Silver Linings Playbook until Lawrence won that oscar

YeamieWaffles said...

Great round up as usual man, some of these films sound so interesting, I kind of want to check them all out to be honest.

Francis Lee said...

Come and See is summed up with that one word....bleak but still has to be seen by everyone at least once!