Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette) **** - I didn't know much about this film going in. I've heard of it. I knew of its reputation. I knew it was gonna be kind of a strange film. I'm glad I didn't know because part of the joy of this film is letting its strange narrative structure to unfold before your eyes. What goes on is alternately confounding, disturbing, shocking, surprising and even hilarious. The three-hour running may be intimidating and indeed as the film progresses, you may feel that the film is going off the rails but believe me when I say that the final 20 minutes that it all builds up to and it all comes together, it is pure cinematic joy. An astounding piece of work.
Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey)
*** - I had a mini-Ray Harryhausen marathon today to commemorate his recent
passing. I know I've seen these films, or at least part of these part of these
films when I was younger. Now it's time I review them with adult, critical eyes.
Jason and the Argonauts is undeniably a
fun adventure and the skeleton fight-scene, courtesy of the aforementioned
Harryhausen, is a highlight as well as the giant moving bronze statue. The
acting is so-so but you don't watch these for the acting anyway.
Clash of the Titans (Desmond Davis) ***1/2 -
Now this one I enjoyed quite a bit more. Maggie Smith and Laurence Olivier are
part of the cast so you KNOW the acting department is well taken-cared of. And
watching this really highlights how lame the 2010 remake is. Sure, the CGI
effects look more polished and "realistic" but Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion
animation still is more fun to watch especially if it's on the small screen. I
mean, the Medusa in this one is far more effective than the CGI Medusa. There's
also a lot more story, depth, character and imagination in there as well. Hell,
Bubo the Owl alone kicks most CGI character's asses.
Star Trek: Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams)
***1/2 - I intentionally avoided spoilers and trailers for this movie so color
me surprised. As it turns out, the second film from the Abrams-verse alternate
Star Trek timeline is actually a
pseudo-remake of (SPOILER ALERT!!!) Wrath of
Khan. Although it does not follow the exact same story, the story beats
and structure of the film felt familiar. It also helps that Benedict Cumberbatch
delivers an outstanding performance as the main villain. He is absolutely
riveting when he's on screen. That, coupled with an extremely well-crafted and
exciting action picture makes this film probably my favorite summer movie so