tongue-tied lightning

2010 Viewing Log #1

A brand new feature!  Somewhat of a New Year’s Resolution to write more I’ve decided to make a post every for every five new films I see with comments and ratings.

The White Ribbon Formally impressive, Haneke is a master of craft.  The acting is superb and the story is engaging enough, but the ideas are uninspired and I still find irksome the extremes he goes to to get his points across.  **1/2

Esther Kahn The most restrained of the three Desplechin films I’ve seen but also the least impressive.  On one level I can admire Summer Phoenix’s performance but on another it never feels completely organic to me.  However, the biggest difference between this and his two most recent films is the stripped down story.  You never get the feeling th at it’s bursting at the seams with ideas and inventiveness.  Or perhaps I just miss Mathieu Amalric.  There’s still enough here to recommend it and I could see myself growing to like it more on repeat viewings.  ***

Up In The Air I don’t understand why Jason Reitman’s films get the buzz they do.  Perhaps if he was given a script that wasn’t awful we could see what he can do, but so far his mise-en-scene has been as uninspired as his material.  Clooney never gets off autopilot here, which is entertaining enough, especially when he’s playing off Anna Kendrick, but the treatment of the economic crisis is at best opportunistic and at worst insulting, and a hackneyed third act crashes the whole thing into the mountain.  *1/2

The Son I’m certainly in the minority with this opinion but based on The Son and L’Enfant I find the style of the Dardennes brothers terribly distancing.  The abundance of over the shoulder shots always making you painfully aware of the fact that you are watching someone keeps me from becoming emotionally involved.  The stories are always finely tuned and well crafted but they never have much effect on me.  Despite all that, I enjoyed the film and the lead performance is wonderful.  **1/2

Metropolis Silent film is easily the era in film I am least knowledgable about.  Until now, Chaplin was really the only director that ever wowed me.  Even films like Sunrise and Nosferatu, while very good, never sent me over the edge.  Last year I really dug Hell’s Hinges with William S. Hart and now Metropolis easily rivals City Lights as my favorite film of the era.  I was enraptured from beginning to end.  The story is wonderful, even if the end is a bit heavy-handed, but it’s the imagery and direction that really astound here.  Nothing short of a masterpiece. ****


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment’s done it again! Incredible writing!

Comment by Emory Stratton

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