The Counselor (Ridley Scott) **1/2 - I'm guessing my low expectations made me like this film more than I should but yeah, I did. I think the film's huge expectations: The combination of an acclaimed cast, the debut screenplay of Cormac McCarthy, a great novelist and of course to a lesser extent Ridley Scott (who's been hit & miss). I love Cormac McCarthy and his style is prevalent throughout this film but it fails to translate cinematically. The film is often hard to follow and goes on tangents that would work in a novel but NOT a screenplay. That said, the film looks great and the cast delivers. My favorite performance is, surprisingly, Cameron Diaz's who gives her best performance since Being John Malkovich.. It's a deeply flawed, rather unsatisfactory film but not awful.
Three Outlaw Samurai (Hideo
Gosha) ***1/2 - A wandering samurai stumbles upon three men who has
kidnapped a young woman. It turns out they're peasants who are desperate
to make the ruthless administrator listen to them. He takes up their
cause. It's no Seven Samurai
(but then again, few things are) but the film still is simply a lean,
mean, exciting samurai flick (of the samurai-helping-underdog subgenre).
If you love samurai movies, this is a wonderful solid entry to the
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence) ***1/2 - I liked the first Hunger Games
just fine. It didn't make me want to read the books but I enjoyed it
mostly due to Jennifer Lawrence's terrific performance. But this one.
Oh, boy. Had the first one been as good as this, I would have bought and
read all of it. Coming into this largely not knowing what's going to
happen, I thought it was absolutely terrific. Jennifer Lawrence is
fantastic but she is complimented by a very strong supporting cast who
ALMOST steal the show. The film is also very well-paced. Even though
it's almost 2.5 hours long, it just breezed by. NOW, I fully and
completely get why The Hunger Games is so popular.
Eating Raoul (Paul Bartel)
***1/2 - A sexually repressed/very prudish married couple trying to buy a
restaurant start killing off sex perverts/swingers in order to get the
money to do so. This was a wonderfully sick, twisted, really goofy black
comedy which, on paper, could have gone woefully wrong in a lot of ways
but co-writer-director-star Paul Bartel manage to maintain the right
level of goofiness and heightened reality enough to make the audience go
along for the ride. It's the type of comedy which will make you think,
"This is so wrong" while laughing at the same time.