Monday, July 28, 2008


Another batch of increasingly less succinct reviews - The Babysitters is definitely worth checking out.

Cocaine Cowboys 2 (***)
continues where CC1 leaves off; we get a more detailed and intimate insight into the mad world of Griselda Blanco aka La Madrina ('The Godmother'), the ruthless Colombian drugs trafficker, mostly as told by her Oakland cohort Charles Crosby; can we take his remarkable testimony at face value? I guess so, but often he comes across as a gangsta/thug fantasist in the mold of Tupac Shakur; curious to see sub-GTAIV animation incorporated into the storytelling

The Dark Knight (**)
how did the once-great Christopher Nolan get this bad? other than Ledger's consistently brilliant turn as The Joker, the movie is but a dreary formulaic Hollywood blockbuster action thriller with an over-familiar cast of journeyman actors which is all dressed up with scavenged bits of lite contemporary morality themes (more neocon than Dirty Harry) and a few contrasting moments of faux transgressiveness welded on to compensate for its little suspense... (pause for breath)... furthermore, it's just way too long, and has a soundtrack by numbers to boot; just like the removal of nipples from 'The' Batman's costume (reputedly at Bale's request), the harder The Dark Knight tries to be 'dark' and 'serious', the more daft and lightweight it becomes

Black Wine (**)
a watchable no-budget STV thriller

The Babysitters (****)
a dark comedy whose subversive sexual themes have, predictably, invoked many US critics' deepseated puritanism - Katherine Waterston is brilliant in the lead role of a slightly gangly but pretty 16-year-old accidentally embarking on a lucrative career of pimping herself and her schoolfriends under the subterfuge of babysitting

Dark City (director's cut) (**)
not seen the original to compare this with yet I can't imagine there's that much to choose between the two: stylish and ambitious, but too many directorial flaws to suspend your threshold of disbelief for very long


Sypha said...

Yeah, those are some of the more common critiques I've seen of "The Dark Knight" and I do agree with most of them, though I still enjoyed the film quite a bit. I wouldn't have minded how long the film I been had I not been right at the front and to the side of the screen, which killed my neck after 2 and a half hours (crowded theater), and Nolan does seem to have developed an obsession with car chases and blowing things up, which I wouldn't mind so much if his action scenes were a bit more coherent (too often to me it was difficult to tell what the hell was going on). I don't mind that Nolan is trying to add a bit of seriousness to the Batman mythos (as opposed to Joel Schumacher who took the total opposite approach) but I do agree that he overdoes the gritty aspect a bit... Burton's Batman films had their flaws but they did kind of capture the dark gothic weirdness/surreality of the original comics, especially "Batman Returns."

William Bennett said...

I totally agree the dark gothic weirdness is an important ingredient, I also think a bit of camp is also good, and a healthy bit of S&M for heaven's sake - only Ledger seems to get the fine balance right in this new movie, Batman himself and the other support characters are crashing bores

Wrongly Wired said...

I have always been a sucker for the summer blockbuster and this years synthetic, empty attempts have been especially disappointing. The Dark Knight certainly was overlong and the Harvey Dent/Two Face character was a missed opportunity. I prefer the campier Batman and hope the next outing has The Dark Night partner with the wonderful Bat-Mite.

When I saw The Dark Knight they showed the trailer for WATCHMEN. Oh fuck, my worst fears are being realized. It looks utterly horrible. Another movie that looks like it has raped the original story is ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’. I have a feeling that this may be David Fincher’s downfall.

Wrongly Wired said...

I have just watched Stuart Gordon's last movie 'Stuck'
An extremely black comedy based on the case of Chante Mallard who left a dying man lodged, head first, in the windshield of her car for two days.

It is really stands out from the usual formulaic horror. Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea are fantastic.

David Cotner said...

I can't believe you didn't enjoy Maggie Gyllenhaal's stellar turn as Clayface in "The Dark Knight".

Bringing saggy back, indeed!

William Bennett said...

Is Gyllenhaal in the new Batman film? Damn, I must have blinked and missed her.

Odile Lee said...

I couldn't bear Batman, but I am ever in love with the you tube clip, of heath ledger in a nurses uniform- blowing up the hospital. its priceless.