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.