Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Facebook uses up more time than I'm totally happy about, however here's a small collection of a few of my movie mini-reviews there (since, neglectfully, I haven't posted any here for a while). Most concern recent releases, some are ones that I've just got around to writing.

The Assassination Of Jesse James (*****)
another high quality drama from 2007, a vintage year

Day Of The Dead (2008)(*)
my adage that a bad zombie movie is always better than a good vampire moivie is blown out of the water - absolutely and unremittingly atrocious

The Dreamers (***)
certainly has its moments, lacks mystery however

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (*)
a familiarly appalling Tim Burton exercise in cynical nepotism, bad accents, and false marketing - Depp is a prize ham once again

Rambo IV (****)
quite a surprise how good this is especially after the jingoistic 2nd and 3rd entries in the series - the 90 minutes seem to go past amazingly quickly (and the credits seem to last an eternity), in fact I only deduct a star for the story's puzzling underdevelopment and lack of a third act

Into The Wild (*****)
the more you find yourself staring in awe of nature, the further and more clearly you see inside your own troubled and perhaps tissue-soft soul

Hitman (*)
beyond mindless, even a video game deserves more than this

Love Lies Bleeding (*)
Slater has never made a decent film and this is no exception

Ghost World (*****)
what can I say? a perfect perfect movie

Persepolis (****)
worth removing the veil of scepticism to give this a go

No Country For Old Men (*****)
Coen brothers back to their very best

The Invasion (*)
I was praying that an alien invasion was going to save me from having to see this dreary nonsense through to the end

Gone Baby Gone (*****)
high quality drama with minor flaws that have little effect on the overall impact - more satisfying resolution than the book's

The Serpent And The Rainbow (***)
some nice scenes in Haiti ruined by the silly finale - better to read the fascinating book

The Pillow Book (***)
2 stars deducted for the wanton idiocy of casting a muppet like Ewan McGregor as the main protagonist

In Between Days (***)
quite touching (if you can stand its glacial pace)

Lost In Translation (*)
one of the most despicably awful movies in recent memory - a patchwork compilation of painfully unfunny skits dressed up as arthouse clever - I'll slap the next person to say how well it portrays Japanese culture

Broken Flowers (**)
it seems American movies just can't do existential, maybe it's just Jim Jarmusch that can't - I hated this only marginally less than I did Lost In Translation - all the oh-so-corny referenced 'clues', yuk; the wooden uninventive dialogue, yuk; Bill Murray, yuk - Mulatu Astatke's soundtrack is sadly wasted on this contrived nonsense

Last Seduction (****)
Fiorentino is a fantastic femme fatale

Vampire's Kiss
Nick 'Daddy's Boy' Coppola (oops, I mean Cage) in a vampire film - the omens couldn't be worse


SYpHA_69 said...

Ah, "Ghost World," brilliant movie, I wonder what ever came about re: Thora Birch's career. I should check IMDB. It seemed at one point she was going to become pretty big but it didn't seem to happen.

"Lost in Translation" is one of those films that almost everyone around me seems to love but just left me feeling very cold (I could say the same thing for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"). I just didn't see what the big deal was. My three younger brothers all saw Sweeney Todd recently and they've become very obsessed with it, to the point of calling it the best film ever and playing the damn soundtrack every damn day, which is driving me crazy.

I gave up on the Coen Brothers years ago so I'm very jaded about seeing another of their films, and I've been resisting "No Country For Old Men" because it seems like another of those films everyone is going nuts over (well, the critics at least) and a jaded part of me wonders if it's a desperate attempt by the Coens to regain some lost sense of artistic integrity. IMO their best three films were "Miller's Crossing," "Barton Fink," and the very underrated "Hudsucker Proxy" (which I think is one of the most beautiful films visually I've ever seen), and there's something to be said for "Blood Simple" also. But I've had little interest in their career post "Big-Lebowski."

Walter Peck said...

No Country For Old Men isn't a desperate attempt at anything, it's a masterful adaptation of a great story. Being a Coen Brothers film, there is some quirkiness involved, so be warned if that's what puts you off their movies. But it's definitely worth catching in the cinema while you can.

There is also got a great big satisfying "fuck you" moment near the end of the film that alone is almost worth the price of admission.

Luke McElroy said...

I also need to mention how much I love Ghost World, I can't help myself

John McAndrew said...

This is a great year for cinema so far. No Country For Old Men, Juno, Cloverfield etc. all sublime. Jut what I needed after the dire last few months of 2007. I've heard so many good things about Rambo, quite surprising really after seeing the trailer! Can't wait for the general release in the UK. Not long til There Will Be Blood comes out properly too!

Re: Facebook, sigh, don't get me started with how much that site once frustratingly consumed my time and patience! All those superpokes and "you've been bitten by a vampire!" bacn messages made the pleasure of having friends in life almost regretful. Why does every networking site strive to become a microcosmic swiss army knife filled with useless shiny objects, where we're willing to reduce ourselves and others to the status of Tamagotchis?

If the government ever wants people to willingly accept the proposition for UK identity cards, I think all they would need to do is combine it with some sort of interactive community game, like a Facebook application or group.

Thomas Transparent said...

THANK YOU William for failing to be impressed by "Lost in Translation's" lame ethno-centric portrayal of Japanese "exoticism" as a passable story. I remember Michael Gira also called it a 'piece of crap', and beyond that there was a pretty disappointing surfeit of otherwise knowledgeable people who were seduced by that one.

"Demon Barber..." is an annoyance as well, although you'll be amused to know that
this Christian movie review site agrees with you that it is "abhorrent" (although they're going, obviously, from a moral angle.)

Anonymous said...

What I like about Lost In Translation is how well it portrays Japanese culture.

Jeff said...

Good call on Bill Murray. What possible usage is there for this knobbly pockmarked coke burn-out lurching smugly about the ruins of his artificial life, attempting to impose his arbitrary "likability" in your face like a moldy convulsing otter.

Walter Peck said...

And he was mean to me once.

Richo said...

With you on 'Ghost World' completely. In fact, can sadly even relate to Buscemi's character to a certain degree but, really, beyond this, it's simply a superb film that's well scripted, well acted and functions on several levels. Never read the graphic novels that I understand it is based on, however. Just not enough time to soak up everything these days, unfortunately.

Jack Sargeant said...

The Assasination of Jesse James was possibly the best film released last year. Truly cinematic in its vision, great to watch, beautiful.

There Will Be Blood - while not the epic the media gush fest has had us believe - is also incredible.

Miss Kerry said...

being forced to sit thru lost in translation ( cant recall why, but i must have done something VERY bad to deserve this karma )- brought me closer to suicide than anything else recently.
In fact, it made suicide seem like a delightful alternative to this pretentious, unfunny, plot-less, excuse to show scarlet johannsons tits