Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Four-sentence movie reviews!

After seeing V For Vendetta on Sunday, I realized I haven't written about movies in a while, which is something I really enjoy doing. Yet I don't really want to write separate entries for everything I've seen in theaters or at home lately, because it gets a bit monotonous - especially when I get long-winded - and I like to mix things up. So I tried to limit myself to four sentences on each movie, even though I couldn't say everything I wanted to say. But that's sort of the point.

V For Vendetta: I might have to see this again, because I can't quite figure out if this movie is way too heavy-handed with its modern political allegories or if it's exactly the kind of film we need right now. Me, I enjoyed the allusions to how our government and media acts toward the society-at-large. Turning a mirror on the culture and asking tough questions is what good science fiction really does. I was smiling a lot while watching this, and not just because Natalie Portman is so darn cute (even with a shaved head).

Inside Man: A really fun plot, with all kinds of tricks and turns, that amazingly doesn't collapse under its own weight. With one of the main actor in a mask most of the time, and costumes used for deception, it has some slight similarites to V For Vendetta. My only real complaint is that it takes a bit too long to get to the end. I also love that Jodie Foster gets to break out of that female Harrison Ford, "stop messing with my family" rut she's been stuck in lately.

Thumbsucker: This might be the best Wes Anderson movie that wasn't directed by Wes Anderson. Actually, it's probably better than any of Anderson's films. Keanu Reeves is great in a small role that kind of pokes fun at his public persona, while Vince Vaughn tries something different from what we've seen. You could just tell that the entire (really talented) cast enjoyed playing such a quirky group of characters.

Lord of War: Brilliant, crazy and darkly funny. This deserved much more of an audience in theaters, but it was obviously a tough sell. And I'm not a Nicolas Cage fan, but this might be the best movie he's ever done. What I loved most is that it doesn't change its tone for any kind of happy or moralistic ending.

Junebug: I wanted to love this movie, but was just disappointed because I had no idea what it was really about. Whose story is this really supposed to be and why? I have a theory about the title character, however, that might help me make sense of the whole thing, but I'm still not sure it's enough to make me care. Amy Adams is adorable, though.

Cinderella Man: Another one that deserved more of an audience in theaters. What I think I liked most is that Ron Howard doesn't fall into the same kind of cliches that bog down most sports movies. In a lot of scenes, I was expecting a certain sort of edit, a certain kind of camera shot, because that's what we always seem to get. But Howard is more original than that, which really impressed me.

Spanglish: I can see why people hated this movie, or avoided it altogether. It's too long, and the story splits in too many different directions. (If not for the voiceover narration, I'd ask whose movie this was, too, which is probably why that narration is used.) Despite all those flaws, I just couldn't stop watching because the characters really interested me, and Adam Sandler is really good when he's not playing the jackass buffoon.

Night Watch: If it wasn't in Russian, maybe I would've understood more of it. Yet it used subtitles more creatively than I've ever seen. It's just a fun, bloody, insane horror/vampire/fantasy flick that never stops to explain what's happening or how this world works. It just barrels ahead, throws a lot of crazy $#!+ at you, and dares you to keep up with the whole thing. Best of all, it doesn't take itself as seriously as, say, The Matrix trilogy, with all the heavy-duty philosophy and existentialism.