Saturday, January 03, 2009


Brief-ish update.

Ip Man (***)
rather enjoyable kung fu romp based on a true story of Yip Man, who would eventually become teacher to Bruce Lee

Frost/Nixon (**)
how about calling it 'Partridge/Brezhnev'? was anyone else as distracted by Langella's uncanny resemblance to Leonid Brezhnev (bizarrely matched with an Ian Paisley accent), and Sheen's spot-on Alan Partridge impersonation? overall, not a bad retelling of the events, such as they're worth retelling (which is debatable)

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (**)
a hypnotic dreamy epic adventure through time that is an unquestionable technical marvel and testament to what Hollywood is capable of - the first 45 minutes or so are excellent up to the section in Murmansk featuring the captivating Tilda Swinton, whose performance for me is the movie's highlight; disappointingly, from then on, the film's underlying bland superficiality really comes to the fore, second-rate Forrest Gumpesque platitudes coming so thick and fast that an anaemic, soulless, miscast Brad Pitt saying 'life is a box of chocolates' would not come as more than a weary footnote; the constant flash-forwards are utterly unnecessary and distracting, and the film just doesn't have enough real substance to justify its 3 long hours; Tarsem Singh's vastly superior The Fall (2008) blows this away

The Wrestler (**)
if The Wrestler functions as allegory for the tragic career of the phenomenon that is Mickey Rourke, a man who once had the looks and talent for the keys to the kingdom, then okay - but really I'm not fooled by its gritty fly-on-the-wall stylising and 80s hair metal OST, that both act as a mask for its mawkish overweening sentimentality (the cringeworthy relationships with his estranged daughter and the lapdancer with a heart of gold left me reaching for a sick bag) - the film's as phoney and unsubtle a piece of drama as any Wrestlemania bout


redheaded1 said...

The scene in Murmansk is with actress Tilda Swinton.

Julia Ormond, played Caroline, who was reading Benjamin's diary to Daisy, her mother, in the hospital.

William Bennett said...

many thanks for the correction, now updated

Grandpa Scorpion said...

William, you nailed it when you mentioned the second-rate Gump-isms.

Eric Roth wrote both the Gump and Button screenplays.

Thomas Bey William Bailey said...

I had pretty high hopes for 'The Wrestler' also; but the near-unanimous 4-star reviews I saw for it should have put me off rather than encouraged me.

As usual, A-list movie critics likke Roger Ebert seem to have given this one the 'thumbs up' solely due to the script's being in lockstep with their humanist agenda- since it succeeds in this arena alone, they conveniently ignore to the thorny patch of cliches that is its storyline.

And speaking of cliches; 'Hustle and Flow' was maybe the last film I saw that tackled the well trod 'whore / stripper with a heart of gold' plot device with any kind of depth or originality- looks like it may go unchallenged there for a while.

William Bennett said...

Thomas, good shout regarding Hustle & Flow, couldn't agree more

Mark said...

The Wrestler was amazing. The ending was absolutely perfect. A man's self-destruction for perceived glory. Like all of our lives, exerting all of our energy & time for nonsense we THINK important. Impressing wrestling fans.

Or maybe a I'm reading too much in to it.