Saturday, February 19, 2011

Let Me In




When I first heard there was an American remake of Let the Right One in in development I was very skeptical, as I'm sure many fans of the original were. Let the Right One in is a 2008 Swedish film directed by Tomas Alfredson that has built a very strong fan base, and the fact that Hollywood was trying to profit from it had many nerds foaming at the mouth. If you are unfamiliar with the film, I wrote a quick review of it a while back, and it is currently still on Netflix's Watch Instantly, so there is no excuse not to watch it.


The American



Don't fall under the impression that Anton Corbijn's The American, starring George Clooney, is a Jason Bourne-esque thriller, with lots of killing, explosions, car chases, etc. In fact, it is quite the opposite of the fast paced, in-your-face assassin films that we have become accustomed to. The film opens with a beautiful, snow-coated landscape, containing a cabin that is inhabited by Jack (Clooney) and his lover. Within minutes, they are assaulted, presumably in an attempt to take out Jack, but he takes care of the problem, and makes it look easy. In an anti-Clooney decision, he takes out his lover, who is now at witness, as well. He then travels to Italy, where the rest of the film is located. As an assassin, most would think the reason he has traveled to such a distant location would be, of course, to assassinate. Instead, he has been asked to build a customized gun for another talented professional. Having never seen an automatic rifle being built before, it was fascinating to watch Jack assemble it in such a way that one could argue that it is a form of art. It is clear he has a lot of passion for his profession, and I have probably learned more about Clooney's character watching him do this in mere silence, that any other scene in the film.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm Still Here


Unfortunately, before seeing this film, I was predisposed of the knowledge that I'm Still Here, the "documentary" directed by Casey Affleck and starring Joaquin Phoenix, was indeed a performance. So I didn't have a chance to revel in the confusion and discussions (with myself) after witnessing the film. But then again, most people probably didn't anyway. That's not to say I wasn't fooled by Phoenix's crazy antics, from the notorious Letterman appearance to his newfound "career" in hip-hop. Watching I'm Still Here is very similar to the experience of watching films such as Borat or Bruno, films that can make the audience twinge in their seats at the ridiculous situations these actors will put themselves into, just to make people (eventually) laugh. The difference is, I realized, that not only were the people on screen oblivious to to Phoenix's antics, but so were we, at least at one point. I'm not ashamed, because let's face it, we've all seen worse. However this effects the viewing experience is debatable, but I sure had a blast watching Phoenix publicly drive his career to the ground for the sake of filming a semi-fictional documentary. However, the film differentiates from most "mockumentaries" in many ways.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buried



Directed by Rodrigo Cort├ęs, Buried is about a man, Paul (Ryan Reynolds), who wakes up in a coffin, with nothing but a Zippo and a cell phone that isn't his. We don't know how he got there or who Paul really is as a person. All we know is unless he gets very lucky, he will die. What makes this film such a ballsy one is this entire movie is seen from Paul's perspective in the coffin. The entire movie. It is difficult to imagine how watching Ryan Reynolds sweat and scream in such a claustrophobic narrative for 90 minutes can successfully be pulled off without boring the audience to tears, but amazingly, it gets the job done better than most people probably expected.