Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Ken Loach | 2006 | 127 min | Ireland/UK

Once again, Loach takes a look at the boundless human capacity for hope + tells it to fuck off. Brilliant look at a circle of friends involved in the Irish Republican Army in 1920. More conservative than his previous films, stylistically, but Loach is still not pulling any punches with the content. Cillian Murphy heads a fantastic cast of mostly newcomers that I'm sure we will see more off. Wind won last years Palme D'or at Cannes for good reason.

Spoiler: Things don't work out very well for the IRA.


Mario Van Peebles | 1995 | 124 min | US

Thin, but not entirely uninteresting look at the short life + violent death of the Black Panther Party. Some good performances, but it suffers from an overlong story + a cloying soundtrack. You think The Man is gonna let a brother have a script editor + a decent composer? Shiiiit.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Smokin' Aces

Joe Carnahan | 2007 | 109 min | USA

The trailer for this one was packed with jokes + frenetic action. I should have stuck with the trailer. The jokes are very few + far between. The action is frenetic, I'll give him that, but quite brief for, you know, an action movie. This is Joe Carnahan doing his thesis film in Tony Scott Studies. Oh, but if only this were Domino calibre. Smokin' Aces only has a couple of highlights. The first being Jason Bateman in a very brief cameo that provides all the laughs. He was wasted, but I appreciated him. In fact, most of the talented cast of this ensemble are wasted. The otherwise terrific Jeremy Piven may as well have been played by a cardboard stand-in used by video stores to promote Entourage DVDs. But I digress. The second highlight really only applies to fans of expository dialogue; I believe this film has the highest percentage of expository dialogue legally allowed, so. . . enjoy. You are really going to love the first thirty minutes + the last fifteen minutes of this one.

Please see Narc for a remarkable cop drama by Carnahan. He is capable of it. It was made for very little, without much in the way of special effects or massive casts, + it is far superior. Apparently Carnahan's next project is a remake of Otto Preminger's 65 film Bunny Lake is Missing. I now feel confident that he will ruin it.