Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekly Round-Up (3/24/13 - 3/30/13)

The Croods (Kirk DeMicco/Chris Sanders) *** - This is a fun, entertaining 3D animated feature film about a family of cavemen. The story is somewhat just okay but what makes this film work are the eye-popping visuals and the inventive, fun creatures that the animators come up with. I saw it in 3D and it's pretty damn good looking in 3D as well. It's good fun. But it's a bit generic, really. Nicolas Cage is surprisingly really good as a caveman.

Mother (Bong Joon-ho) **** - Yikes! Bong Joon-ho is DEFINITELY one of my favorite directors. 3-for-3 so far based on the ones I've seen. This film about an over-protective mother of a mentally-challenged young man trying his innocence when a teenage girl is murdered and he's the principal suspect. Hye-ja Kim plays the title character and she's SUPERB. The film often changes tone from comedy to serious drama to procedural mystery-thriller without feeling the least bit jarring. The less you know about the film, the better. Great, great film!

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold) *** - A teenage girl who's an aspiring hip-hop dancer from a troubled home becomes enamored of her mother's newest boyfriend. Though I wasn't blown away by the film as a whole, I was impressed that the two of the main characters played by Katie Jarvis (in a startling debut) and Michael Fassbender. In hands of lesser actors and lesser filmmakers, these two characters would absolutely infuriate me to no end but they manage to maintain some level interest, understanding and sympathy althroughout. It's a nice quiet solid film. I'll be watching out for more from Andrea Arnold.

A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger) **** - Quite possibly one of, if not, the best film about love, death and the afterlife ever made. David Niven is a World War II RAF pilot who falls in love with an American service woman moments before he's supposed to die finds himself fighting for his life. It's extremely intelligent, sweet, funny and moving, no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs are. It also helps that the Archers' vision of Heaven and the Afterlife is among the best I've ever seen helped by Jack Cardiff's fantastic cinematography which alternates black & white and technicolor (The way they switch around is also similarly breathtaking).

The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjostrom) ***1/2 - The one thing that surprised me most about this film is that it's not really much of a horror film like I previously thought. It has creepy imagery and supernatural elements, sure, but it's more of a drama than anything else. I can see how Ingmar Bergman was heavily influenced by it. It's a stunningly made meditation on mortality and life and death disguised as a horror film. The ghost effects, though, looks great and is quite spooky.

Sweet Sweetback's Baaaadasssss Song (Melvin Van Peebles) ***1/2 - I hope I spelled that right. LOL. I like to pride myself as having seen a wide range of films however I'm embarrassed to admit that one subgenre of film that is my complete spot was blaxploitation. Well, not anymore. Despite being very obviously a product of its time, this film is still very much fun to watch. It's very well crafted (despite the rough around the edges quality) and its daring content still packs a punch. Add to that the really cool soundtrack. The third act feels a bit padded out but apart from that, it's one really cool movie.

2 comments:

YeamieWaffles said...

Out of all of these "Mother," is the film that I really want to check out first, sounds so intense yet so good, I have to see it! Great round-up as per usual buddy, you got a good shift of films in this week for sure!

Adam said...

Glad to hear croods is good