Archive for October, 2007

“Saw IV”; oh, the horror of mediocrity

October 30, 2007

saw VI

If it had been a little worse I might have enjoyed Saw IV. As it stands there really isn’t much to be said that can already be guessed about this latest installment, but I think I can come up with a few things.

First of all, poor Donnie Wahlberg. He makes a cameo appearance that hopefully isn’t the doom of his career. This is the same thing that happened to Emilio Estevez after appearing briefly in Mighty Ducks 3, next thing you know an elevator pummeled down upon him. I like Donnie Wahlberg. I liked him in The Sixth Sense, Ransom, Boomtown…I like him as an actor. I even liked him in Saw II, which makes it sad for me to see him in Saw IV, however brief it is. The only other actor here that I like is Tobin Bell, the man who plays the villain and lead character Jigsaw. He has a calm face, one that commands attention from the other actors; his eyes pin point you and don’t let you go and maybe it’s his voice too, it crackles like static from the radio – hypnotic and unsettling. I couldn’t tell you if he’s a good actor or not, but he’s certainly good at what he does in the Saw movies. And his list of television credits dates back to 1988 when he appeared in The Equalizer, that show where a lot of other fine actors got there start…hello, is that Kevin Spacey!? The rest of the actors used here feel like straight to DVD actors or maybe it’s just that the movie doesn’t know how to and doesn’t care to show an actor act. Many of these actors were seen in Saw II and III. I saw part 2 and missed part 3 so story threads that carried over from the third didn’t affect me, but then again neither did elements that carried over from the second, so I guess you don’t really need to see either of them. But what happens in this film that cheapens the performances I have a feeling has less to do with the actors and more to do with the director and the editor.


“Gone Baby Gone”; the Afflecks’ love child

October 25, 2007

gone baby gone

The thing that sticks with you the most in Gone Baby Gone isn’t just how good the movie is, but how the movie ends. In a matter of five minutes and one scene you can tell how the the main character’s life will turn out in regards to the character he’s left with. The main character I speak of is Private Detective Patrick Kenzie played with brooding naivety one second and a calm anger with a peppering of necessary violence the next by the wonder boy of the year Casey Affleck. Casey plays the last moments of the scene as someone who realizes that while every one else might have been correct, he was still right, and he will have to give the rest of his life to make it work. I know that’s incredibly vague, but hopefully it will spark enough interest in the few readers that read this to want to go see the film. The final shot in itself is so quietly moving it’s worth the 11 to 14 dollars admission. (more…)

“Lust, Caution”, Ang Lee’s Notorious new film

October 24, 2007

Lust, CautionThere are moments in Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, in which a young woman goes under cover to seduce a Chinese traitor working for the Japanese government during WWII so that she and a group of other rebels can assassinate him, that recall one of my favorite films Notorious. Only now the actor with the presence of Cary Grant is playing the villain. And if Hitchcock were around today I don’t think he would have pulled any punches, as Ang Lee also has not here. (more…)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

October 23, 2007

blade runner the final cutI didn’t think it would be so possible to be moved by a film that I’ve seen on countless occasions as if I’d just watched it for the first time. But as the Ladd Company tree appeared on the screen and the first boom of Vangelis’ score echoed throughout the theatre, I felt myself sink back into my chair as my eyes watered over and it felt like the first time I had watched Blade Runner on the floor of my Grandparents living room two feet from the television monitor And I sat speechless until the credits were done with their scroll. (more…)

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”: goes for bronze

October 16, 2007


The follow up to the brilliant 1998 film Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age doesn’t take place so much during the Golden Age of her reign, but during the moments leading directly up to it, or at least it felt that way. And if you’ve seen the first film recently not only is the plot given in the final moments of the film just before the credits but so to is the outcome of the plot, so there are fewer surprises now. In fact, and unfortunately, there’s little to be surprised about in this new undertaking.


“Michael Clayton”: rolling in the grey zone

October 12, 2007

michael clayton

It used to be that September and October were the graveyard months for movies that just weren’t going to cut it, that down time when little surprises like Saw had a chance. This year however has been wildly different. I’ve already seen some of my favorite movies of the year since late September. Michael Clayton is one of them.

When I initially saw the trailer I was far from wowed. It’s not that the film looked boring, which it did, but it looked like it followed suit with all of those other self-important star driven lawyer movies in which a big company killing hundreds of people will be taken down by the guy who is a lost cause himself. But trailers are deceptive. When I read that George Clooney originally wanted to direct it, I decided to give it a second chance. The one thing I respect about Clooney is that he’s a story teller first. He’ll put his own ego behind and tell something he thinks is important to tell. I’m glad I gave it a second chance. (more…)