Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Weekend Movies


As it's a holiday weekend, and I've managed to free up most of my schedule, I plan on seeing a lot of movies. So to get a head start on my reviewing I've begun this post and will continue updating it throughout the long weekend. So lets get started:

Saturday 5/27:

  1. Lucky Number Slevin. Though the critics have been divided about it, this is the best movie I've seen in the theater this year (granted I've only seen about five movies theatrically in the last five months, and its been a rather weak year for film). I knew next to nothing about the movie when I went into the theater and I think that really helped the experience for me, this is not a film you want explained to you it's one you just have to see to enjoy. To give away as little about the plot as possible while still setting the stage let me just say that it involves a feud between two mob bosses played by Morgan Freemen and Sir. Ben Kingsley, and the legacy of a fixed horse race from 1979. The movie employees unusual story structure and visuals (what's the deal with the wall-paper?), and has a very dry sense of humor in the first half, which gives way as the plot get more intense. Freemen and Kingsly play their parts as embittered eccentrics, with Kingsly portrayal of the Jewish mob-boss bordering on light camp. Lucy Liu, who I've never found particularly attractive is quite appealing in her characterization of a cornier who plays love interest to main character Slevin Kelevra, who is played by Josh Hartnett one of todays few young leading men who I list in my 'do not hate' department. Bruce Willis and Stanley Tucci also star. This is a fun possibly Tarantino inspired caper film that brings the contemporary and 70's elements of the genera together quite enjoyably.
Sunday 5/28:
  1. Elizabethtown
  2. wants to be a deep and meaningful movie populated by lovable characters, however sufficient time, resources, and creativity were not properly devoted in its developmental stages to make that so. Despite two likeable leads (Orlando Bloom, and Kirsten Dunst), and a strong supporting cast (Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, and Bruce McGill), this overly trite film never rises above the ho-hum. Here are some of its failing: Excessive use of songs to set mood. 'Quirky' characters seldom if ever rise above surface development. Every sequence in the film plays far to long. Lackluster and sappy narration by Bloom. The very presence of Jessica Biel (as well as under use of Judy Greer). Elizabethtown tries too hard but with to little thought. Sarandons performance however is deceptively good.

    2. Flightplan stars Jodie Foster in an action heroin role as a recently widowed engineer returning to the U.S. from Germany with the her young daughter and the body of her late husband. Of course she just happens to be flying across the Atlantic on a plane which she knows inside-out, and fall asleep long enough to awake and find that her daughter has disappeared Bunny Lake-like, with no one on board seeming to remember that the little girl was ever on the plane. The rest of the movie proceeds along fairly predictable lines, with Foster and co-star Peter Sarsgaard giving fine if not particularly remarkable performances. A fair to average film. For a better movie about an ex-patriot engineer with a young daughter, and a possible crises aboard a new airplane see the 1951 Jimmy Stewart feature No Highway in the Sky. Lastly computer issues prevent me from posting the poster to this movie, thus foiling the symmetry of the whole thing.


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