Monday, December 22, 2008


A mixed bag here, JCVD and VCB both definite recommendations. I was going to also include The Wackness and Blindness but will leave them for the next set. What a tease.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (****)
thank heavens Woody Allen has finally stopped making those dreadful clunky movies set in London: the photogenic climes of Spain, specifically the city of Barcelona, are a marvellous backdrop to an extremely welcome return of form for the director, aided by the awesome Javier Bardem, and Penelope Cruz, who is a revelation here as la bella (pero loca) ex-wife

Gran Torino (**)
Gran Torino does have its moments, but the script, storyline, and characterisations are all far too contrived and overplayed; worse still is the atrociously poor cast with the exception of Eastwood (and his trusty pooch)

La Fille Coupée En Deux (A Girl Cut In Two) (*)
trademark tale of obsession from Claude Chabrol - this time that of an attractive young TV weather girl who, whilst becoming the object of attention of a sociopathic young heir, falls head over heels for an uncharismatic ageing writer who possesses the kissing skills of a malformed toothless dogfish; the film is deeply disappointing: there is virtually no chemistry on display, let alone eroticism; the relationships at no point ring true, nor make sense; the weight of the drama clearly far too great for the director, scriptwriter, and the amateurish cast - as a bonus punishment, the two long hours culminate in an excruciatingly corny ending

JCVD (****)
fascinatingly enigmatic film that blurs the lines between reality and metaphor with effortless originality and invention - within the framework of a rather comic plot of a failed heist at a Brussels post office, it proceeds to deconstruct the mask of the celebrity action hero, in addition to the genre itself, so effectively that by the time of the movie's final frames, the broken pieces you are left with can no longer be rebuilt - as a human being, you understand Van Damme less, but you understand him better; and understanding this lack of understanding is profoundly transcendent far beyond its subject matter; contemporary arthouse cinema at its best

Suchwiin Bulmyeong (Address Unknown) (****)
relentlessly bleak and shocking Korean drama with occasional relief in the form of incongruent moments of pitch black humour - low budget, high ambitions: a treat for the cinephile


Thomas Bey William Bailey said...

JCVD was just all-around entertaining, and also succeeds in that I never thought I'd find myself re-considering the multi-dimensionality of the "Muscles from Brussels"...the scene where the post office hostages watch him on television, being mocked for his goofy aphorisms (I guess he's infamous throughout the French-speaking world for these) was great, as was the unexpectedly emotional tearing-down-the-fourth-wall soliloquy, and much more besides.

Haven't seen anything by Woody Allen in ages, but I guess now may be the time for rediscovery...

Mark said...

The scenes in Gran Torino where that kid had to speak or try to act emotional were cringe-inducing. Watch it a second time & you realize the cigarette to the face is the climax.