Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

WORTH-IT: A satisfactory serving of exquisite costume, rich scenery and generous acting, Elizabeth's second installment proves well worth seeking. The phenomenal Cate Blanchett plays a tremendous queen, with raw emotion and true humility. She captures the inert battle of pride and brokenness within the Virgin Queen, making the end result onscreen a blessing of entertainment. Clive Owen and Geoffrey Rush costar, but fail to shine as Blanchett powers on. This same effect ripples throughout the cast, leaving minimal amounts of characters you actually feel connected with. Luckily, the story is so fascinating, and the encircling elements of great historical cinema downplay this effect, making them simply decorations on the tree of life, which is Elizabeth's story. This film will appeal to a wide range of audiences, from commercial Hollywood to IF buffs. Its fickle and honest visage holds attention, fulfills the need for entertainment and tickles your pupils. Enjoy this film for the historical merit, whether or not you find fault in its account. Enjoy it also for Blanchett, who deserves growing acclaim for her continuous success. Here, she proves her power as an actress, as a star, and clearly, as the Queen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Michael Clayton

MUST-SEE: Michael Clayton is a fabulous script of twists and turns, taking us on a roller coaster ride of entertaining suspense through law firm drama and the new found scandal of a dirt specialist, the fictional, 'U-North.' With unmatched performances by Tilda Swinton, George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson Michael Clayton promises a story you cannot guess the ending to, and one you'll be entrapped in from start to finish. The plot is clearly driven, yet complex enough to keep you synopsis-hopping. The relationships are genuine and tragic, but appropriately playing supportive roles to the main course of action. It is a perfect dramatic suspense story played out in realistic time and without distraction. Not once did I check my watch or catch myself yawning. It moved at a comfortable pace, encouraging me onto the edge of my seat by the end. Props to Clooney's performance and Swinton's counter. This film is the best I've seen in awhile and recommendable to a wider variety of audiences than most. Disclaimer: Don't come to see this film expecting a love story or a family-ties saga to carry your attention. Take it for what it is, a striking story of scandal, with only the people directly involved worth your worry.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eastern Promises

WORTH-IT: Wow, what a great film. Mix Godfather and History of Violence, and you get Cronenberg's Eastern Promises: a phenomenal account of a Russian mob family desperately trying to cover up tragic family secrets. Naomi Watts blends well into a scene of dirty and tatted Russian crimesters, posing as an innocent nurse fighting for the life of a newborn. As she tries to locate the family to deliver the child, she uncovers the dark secrets of the biggest crime family in the town. She finds herself and her family mixed up in the issues, but with a passionate heart, cannot let go. Viggo Mortensen plays an irreplaceable role as the family's honorary brother/driver/undertaker. As an expert processor and sleazy cohort to the Big Man's son, Viggo plays the icy, unfeeling role of Nikolai flawlessly. Even having his member flop around for an entire fight scene doesn't budge his focus on and dedication to this role. I'm convinced of his threat, mesmerized by his build, and attached to the glimmer of heart he hints at throughout. Prepare yourself for gruesome murder and graphic tragedy, but allow it to reach beyond the eyes, so that it pierces your soul. It's a sad story, suspenseful and twisted, and guaranteed to entertain. My only complaint is the anti-climactic tone playing throughout. Much happens over the 2-hour course, but rarely anything to prepare us for resolution. See this film, but expect blood, drugs and nudity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Good Luck Chuck

WORTH IT: Another Dane Cook performance well worth your time if you are a Dane Cook fan. I am not yet convinced he is a seasoned or credible actor, but the roles that allow his personality to play the part have been consistently fabulous. In Good Luck Chuck, he plays a man whom women believe is their ticket to finding true love. With tons of unnecessary nudity and karma sutra lessons, he learns his situation may not be so satisfying, especially when the one girl he loves doesn't want to be a part. Helped along by Murphy's Law burdened Jessica Alba, the comedy is gentle and steady throughout the movie. It'll keep you laughing amidst the grimaces (for crudeness) and appreciating Cook's flair. Don't expect anything special, but if you like crude humor and Dane Cook (and Jessica Alba), this one promises to fulfill each of these silly vacancies.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Black Snake Moan

MUST-SEE: You have go to see this movie! BSM is the story of a hurting man (Jackson) wanting to prove his worth and cure all women from their evil. God gives him this opportunity when Ray (Ricci) winds up near-dead outside his driveway. Upon realization that she is the town's sex-addict, he vows to cure her from his own living room. The story gets typical with the inevitable friendship that grows between the two, but the accompanying story lines make this film one worth seeing. The excitement of the plot extends beyond the two, into ta web of townspeople out to judge and spy. This film throws together religion, comedy, moral, and music to make a truly entertaining story of an aging man in need of worth and a maturing girl in need of a wake-up call. Back to the typical: They hint at saving one another, but the pull for your attention stems from the unlikely angles this writer takes on trust, love and vulnerability. I laughed out loud, grooved to the guitar blues, and even shed a tear for the genuine sentiment released. Overall, it's a sad story, but one that can empathize with emotions across the board. It'll inspire you to befriend even the most unlikely person and teach you to trust you heart in matters of the soul.


MUST-SEE: This latest Sienna Miller flick has definitely put her on my radar for good. With her successful performances in Stardust and Factory Girl and now Interview, she has proven herself (to me) a notable actress. Interview, Steve Buscemi's creation (wrote and directed by), revisits an oldie and makes it a modern day creepy and realistic illustration of the out-of-the-loop political reporter and hot new actress interview. The bottom line is that Miller's Katya, knocks him off his political high horse and making his condescending point of view null and void. At only 86 minutes, this short glimpse into one night of lust and secrets sprinkled with booze and lying delivers an immensely entertaining story of an unlikely interview. Buscemi plays with your mind, incessantly tricking you with who is the good guy, who is the poor guy, and who deserves your sympathy. The relationship that evolves out of the two's contact is mesmerizing, taking an unrealistic chance and creating a sugared nightmare. The film combines emotions of love, hate and loneliness into one giant ball of doubt, mistrust and hope. It's a myriad of possibilities that holds you until the end, I mean the very very end, in picking whose side you want to be on and if you should take a side at all.