A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone) ***1/2 - Had a mini-marathon of the first two films of Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy that I still haven't seen a.k.a. films I should have seen by now. The first one is a Western remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo and pretty much follows the same plot. It's my least favorite of the trilogy but that's not to say it isn't a pretty great film. It takes a while to get going and could have used a bit more of the black humor of the original but when it gets going, it never lets up. Extra points for the great Ennio Morricone score.
For a Few Dollars More (Sergio Leone) **** -
Now THIS film I loved. The second in the Dollars trilogy is a thrilling, classic
Sergio Leone spaghetti Western, almost as great as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Clint Eastwood
and Lee Van Cleef are marvelous together as a pair of bounty hunters trying to
bring down a gang of murderous bank robbers. It's fun, it's thrilling and even
though it's well over two hours, the time seems to just fly by. It's everything
I want in a great Western. Again, extra points for the great Ennio Morricone
Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)
***1/2 - I must say it is VERY refreshing to see a nice, intelligent grown-up
film for a change. Which is what this is. It's not perfect. But I'll take it. At
first, I thought it would be about the pharmaceutical industry and how people
are over-medicating themselves but as it turns out, it's about something else
entirely. The big twist is KIND OF problematic but Soderbergh's direction and
the great cast, especially Rooney Mara, keeps things credible and gripping.
The Hangover Part III (Todd
Phillips) **1/2 - First, the positives: I like the fact that this is NOT so much
of a remake of the first film like the second film was and this makes it a notch
above Part II. There are a few laughs to be had but it's nowhere near as funny
as the first one. This one suffers from being a tonal mess. It seems to want to
be an action-thriller-comedy but it does not seem to find the right tone in
order to blend those elements together in something consistent and cohesive
since the darker elements often jar the wacky, broad humor.