tongue-tied lightning

2010 Viewing Log #2

“And so it begins…”

A Serious Man I can’t really do this film justice in a blurb, expect something more substantial in the future.  Either an extensive review or something incorporated into my Best of 2009 list.  Stay tuned! ***1/2

A Serious Man It was so good I watched it again, and it was even better! ****

The Road A rather lackluster adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.  Viggo is great, of course, but it’s lacking almost everywhere else.  The score is pretty, but is a pretty score what The Road needs?  I feel the material may benefit from a scoreless approach like the Coen Brothers took with No Country for Old Men.  The score, in concert with the first person narration (ugh) and the added scenes with Charlize Theron all serve to add an air of sentimentality that isn’t present in the novel and undercuts the despair. Despite all that, the ending is still rather moving.  **

The Fantastic Mr. Fox I enjoyed this so much it’s given me the urge to go back and revisit Wes’s earlier films, which had never really wowed me.  I think his baroque sensibilities and dioramic mise-en-scene are well suited to stop motion animation.   The entire cast is great, the surprise highlight being Wally Wolodorsky.  A fun, heist picture that feels like Wes’s anthropomorphic take on Ocean’s Eleven (or maybe it’s just the Clooney factor) with a good message for the kids and one of the year’s best scores to top it off.  ***1/2

The Hudsucker Proxy (rewatch)  The Coens doing Capra and doing it well.  It feels perhaps a bit too long but there are so many wonderful gags and performances it’s hard to grouse too much about it.  In the wake of A Serious Man it’s interesting to see they’ve been making films that are more and less technically flawless for at least 15 years.  This one always seems to be overlooked when discussing their 90’s work, and yes, it is undeniably the weakest they put out that decade, but it’s still worthy of your consideration and is a great addition to one of the most impressive bodies of work in contemporary cinema.  ***

Raising Arizona (rewatch) As good as this is, and it is really good, it feels a bit slight to me in comparison to other Coen Brothers films.  It’s fun, weird, slapstick humor, but it doesn’t seem to have much depth beyond that.  Still, it succeeds at being a fun weird slapstick comedy.  I’ll take this over the Hangover and its ilk any day of the week.  My one problem with the film other than its lack of depth is Sonnenfeld’s cinematography here is easily the least impressive in a Coen picture.  The wide angle wackiness works well from time to time, but there are other times you wish he’d back off.  ***



2 Comments so far
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Fantastic Mr. Fox reminds me a bit of Bottle Rocket.

Comment by vonsamuel

strangely enough bottle rocket was my favorite anderson prior to seeing mr. fox.

Comment by justin

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