Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lady Chatterly: Slow to Grow

WORTH IT: I try and stick to the belief that going into a movie with any kind of expectation will result in nothing short of a disappointment. And for me, this is usually a problem, because I anticipate movies to the nth degree, building them into drastic hopes to be blown away by a new and creative narrative. Lady Chatterley was a film that I had built up for weeks. Going in, I knew little about it and simply expected to become that much more inspired to read D.H. Lawrence's risque novel. What I found inside that theatre was more so a challenge than an entertaining film: a challenge to delve into French-film symbolism and wait (patiently) for the heart of the film to evolve. What begins a 2.5 hour journey is an hour of shots urging us to become one with nature and understand Constance Chatterley is much more a part of a wild and untamed, yet delicate flower or bird. Very little dialogue and several monotonous almost-still frames had me shifting in my seat, and counting down the time. Fortunately, for my expectations, and for my review, the film picks up with the plot. As soon as Connie and the gamekeeper frolic for the first time, we are invited to watch and enjoy the most awkward, but emotionally frank, love story seen in film. This last hour and a half flew by, keeping me on my toes for something to go wrong, shocking me with new twists in character development, and keeping my heart content and empathizing for the delicate hearts at work on the secret affair. The most intimate scenes grow in honest and raw emotion, completely rocking your former boredom, and leave you questioning the innocence of your own heart. If you go into this movie expecting to be on the edge of your seat, you should have walked into something else, but if you give the slowness of Chatterley's opening a chance right off, you may find yourself swayed by the enjoyment of this quirky and heartfelt story, that I promise will leave you wishing for such an endeavor.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Lake House

ALMOST: Before judging me for even seeing this movie, understand it was a TV showing when no better offers were on the table. Saying that, you can rest easy knowing that, inevitably, Keanu Reeves delivers a fascinatingly dry appearance as a static, mono-emotion, flat character in this Sandra Bullock collaboration. Not that Sandra herself takes on the best roles for her once fabulous reputation, but she at least pulls off her roles to the best of her acting ability, and actually can evoke more than one emotion per character, and does in fact make more than one face to show those particular emotions. As for the flick, an interesting story. It's basically a time warped love story, magically linking two lovers, two years apart, teaching their minds to time their meeting perfectly in the year 2008. Don't get excited though, because the story is as far as the intrigue gets. The plot is confusing, to say the least. And with Keanu remaining the same throughout every scene, one is prone to lose track of which year we're in and what events go with what year. Although the confusion is enough to piss off any viewer wanting to see past the love story, you will find yourself caught up wanting to see how it ends. You won't be able to let it rest, because above the narrative value, or the flabby love story, you will seek the answer, will they find each other? Ha ha! So, not that I recommend you watch it, as KR is so painful to tolerate, but if you too find yourself with no better option, it's quite twisted and does actually evoke a little curiosity that will drive you through that vegging TV time spot.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Invasion: of the Generic Gene

ALMOST: Ok, anyone that endures this film must be ready to accept frail-pale Nicole Kidmann as a female Die Hard-Bruce Willis. Making a funny face? Exactly. Sorry Nicole, but seeing your bony phalanges turn a steering wheel of an exploded, burning car into car after car during a deadly car race up the underground parking deck to a helicopter pad, only after being stabbed in the heart by her six-year-old son to save her from a deadly sleep. Agh! So, the film was at best, enjoyably ridiculous. Yes, the storyline and the action keeps you entertained and visually delighted. The absurdity was over-the-top and the performances were straight out of the most generic end-of-the-world action/horror/suspense flick. Don't expect a phenomenal blockbuster, or an updated take on The Bodysnatchers, think again, and save your money. If you're dying to see it, wait to pay the $3 rental, rather than the $8 theatre price. As I would understand, some people are going to see it no matter what, just be ready for an overwhelming let-down when the story winds up happily ever after, after a generic pitfall of a science fiction classic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stardust: Stellar Work

MUST SEE: Again, I find myself underestimating a film. What I thought would be a feminine fantasy lost for credibility was overturned into a fantastic and smart-wit film composed of phenomenal characters and intriguing plot. It has been a long time since such a successful movie was made. (Think Wizard of Oz meets Harry Potter). Combine light-hearted comedy with endearing characters and a quaint love story and you have Stardust, the best fantasy film since my pre-teen years. Bottom-line should be that this is just a solid film, a great story, and an entertaining two hours. It's the kind of story you never want to see end, the type of characters you feel like you know, and the genre of humor that keeps you chuckling long after the jokes been had. And don't think this is a chick-flick, or a kid's movie. The theatre was packed with viewers of both genders, and from age 12 to 82. All can laugh and appreciate the same jokes and feel the same emotion, and with an unforgettable dance performance by Robert DeNiro as Captain Shakespeare, can all leave overjoyed to have spent money and time on such a flick. DO your mind a favor and treat yourself to this film. It won't disappoint! At least, you'll laugh and your eyes can feast upon it's magic. Let yourself loose from the world as you know it, and travel beyond the wall into a fantastic realm of witches, lightening pirates, stars and more.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Double Life of Veronique

ALMOST (Krsysztof Kieslowski): I don't have a lot to say about this film. I was terribly intrigued by its recommendation, and equally excited to test out a new director (writer/director of The Three Colors: Bleu, Blanc, Rouge). Unfortunately, what I found was a terribly boring film. What is supposed to be the story of a girl whose spirit lives in two people, becomes one mushy blend of the same girl, a flat and solemn musician. The film is overall dark (visually UN-stimulating) and slow. Hardly any pivotal characters leave the entire plot drive on this poor female star, who does a fabulous job of taking on two girls, but actually delivers one synonymous role as a girl who sings with her mouth incredibly wide open. The music is droning, the mood is low-key and to be honest, it took two tries to get through the whole thing. Now for those of you that enjoy this director, be my guest to watch it, and I wish you better experiences. I hope to never deter anyone from any film, but simply offer what the film lacked in its jaunt towards success. I'm a lover of French films, and as a whole, foreign films, but this one let me down tremendously. The drama wasn't convincing, and the plot dragged. Maybe a little diversity in character development could have sent it on its way. Better luck to other viewers!