Epic (Chris Wedge) **1/2 - First the positives: The film has GORGEOUS animation and eye-popping production design and character design. The concept of the film had potential despite the fact that it IS essentially Fern Gully meets The Borrowers. However, the film never really tries to do anything special with the concept and instead goes for something just a tad generic. It also doesn't help that some of the dialogue is kind of atrocious and the attempts at humor fall mostly flat despite the talents of Chris O'Dowd and Aziz Ansari. It's nothing offensive or horrible about it and kids will find it entertaining enough but it won't be too impressive for anyone over 12.
La Notte (Michelangelo
Antonioni) **** - This is the only film from an unofficial trilogy of films
writer-director Michelangelo Antonioni did in a certain period of time which I
haven't seen until now. The other two, L'Avventura and L'Eclisse are both masterpieces and this is no
different. A couple visits their dying friend at the same day the husband's, a
rather famous author, latest book gets released. The film follows them around
for this one day. As with the two other films, this film is slow, ponderous and
haunting and actually carries some similarities in terms of style and themes but
each film manages to impart something different. I would have to rewatch all of
them to write something more substantial than that. That aside, the film
features stunning cinematography and great performances from Marcello
Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau and Monica Vitti.
Now You See Me (Louis Letterier) **1/2 -
The concept is fun: A quartet of magicians pull off elaborate illusions and rob
banks of corrupt business men and give it away to their audiences. It has a
fantastic ensemble cast. Though, I have to admit, the director, Louis Letterier,
made me cast doubts concerning this film. Having now seen it, I have to say the
first two thirds of the film is undeniably fun. The ensemble of actors grab the
material and seem to actually have fun with it. The third act, however,
stretches believability a bit. Though I was willing to forgive it at first and
suspend my disbelief and logic, then came the final reveal and the film pretty
much lost me. It does not COMPLETELY ruin the film but it was bad enough for me
to knock down my rating a couple of notches.
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalyspe
(Fax Bahr/George Hickenlooper) **** - I'm a huge fan of Francis Ford Coppola's
film Apocalypse Now and I was aware of
the fact that it was a troubled production and he went through almost literal
hell to get it made. Having seen this brilliant documentary, which is about
almost as great as the film it was documenting, I have to say it's a miracle
that it got completed and turned out to be both critical and commercial success.
It's an endlessly fascinating and compelling documentary.