Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:56 PM
Rust and Bone(dir. Jacques Audriad)
I didn't much care for A Prophet, but from the trailer, I wanted to check this one out and was pleased by it to an extent. I'd probably place it in my honorable mentions or somewhere on a top 25 for the year or something. I think what I liked is that it looked like it was gonna go down certain roads dramatically that I wouldn't be too keen on but it doesn't. I'm not sure that's exactly a glowing endorsement. I liked what they did with Marion Cotillard's character after the "incident" just because you wouldn't expect that's the way they'd handle her. Also, Katy Perry music and traumatic events seem perfect for each other.
Killing Them Softly(dir. Andrew Dominik)
I have no idea why Obama and John McCain are the first two faces we see after Scoot McNairy's, but they are. And I wouldn't necessarily say the shoehorning of "political discourse" into a film about two guys holding up a poker game is the problem. It's more of an indication of the actual problem and the actual problem is, in my eyes, that the film has a serious of rather boneheaded stylistic and narrative decisions. To score a scene with a character shooting up heroin with the song "Heroin" by The Velvet Underground would okay if it's not being done with such a straight face like it is here. Then there's the slow motion on the first "hit" that seems better suited for shots of people synchronized swimming or dancing ballet than a guy getting shot in the face. Brad Pitt seems miscast, which is especially apparent with the film's big cynical and "daring" speech at the end. He just doesn't exude the heartlessness that comes with the territory that Gandolfini seems to in this. Back to the political side of this. It's tacky, sure, but it's more, for me at least, that it just makes everything that transpires seem so insignificant by comparison. I understand the part of it was to compare this situation with the larger national economic meltdown except by doing so, you just underline how petty and small it really is. Also, the film seems to striving for a sort of low-key 70s style vibe, probably because it's based on a low-key 70s crime novel (I haven't read it), but including this shit sort of undermines that. It seemed like every stylistic touch in here like the camera being placed on the car door so when the characters open a door, the camera swings with it felt like Dominick trying his damnedest to put his mark on the material, when a more reserved and impersonal approach would have suited the material better. Dramatically, the film could have been kind of devastating or, at the very least, affecting with how things transpire, but it isn't. One of the most annoying movies for me from last year not because it's outright bad(it isn't), but for the fact that you could see seams of a potentially great movie.
Skyfall(dir. Sam Mendes)
I dug the first ridiculous chase sequence that kicks off the film until I realized I liked the more gritty and low-key downtime instead. The film totally feels like two separate movies: the ridiculous action movie and the more nuanced and subtle character drama. I prefer the latter, but I'd be fine with the former if it wasn't placed awkwardly side-by-side with the other. The peak of the movie is the introduction of Bardem's character on that island and the game of William Tell after. I'm no James Bond expert, but I'd be surprised if any of the others toyed with, I don't know, this kind of amorality. The island sort of becomes briefly a nihilistic purgatory. I don't know. I'm starting to sound pretentious with this. The film never achieves the high that chunk produces again, but the movie is worth seeing just for that high alone. I'd probably place this in a top 25 if I made one.
Argo(dir. Ben Affleck)
Alright, I'm now with the contingent that thinks each subsequent film Affleck has directed has been worse than the last. I was pretty much put off at the start with the whole retelling of Iranian history through storyboard (I initially thought they were comic panels) that looked like it was made with Flash. Then there's the script with plenty of "clever" lines that remind me of Shane Black's work in The Last Boy Scout, which is not a good thing(One specific example from this: "No. I'm just screaming his name because I'm fucking him."). Maybe, I'm inhuman, but I didn't think any of it was particularly suspenseful or dramatically interesting and most of it came across as simply marking time before the film goes full-on celebration mode to please the audience. It seemed like a movie perfectly engineered to win Best Picture.
Django Unchained(dir. Quentin Tarantino)
I didn't hate Tarantino's cameo because let's be honest: if you're endured his cameo in Pulp Fiction, you can take him in anything, even in interviews. I think the "revenge" that takes place on Don Johnson's plantation is especially well done. Something about watching Jamie Foxx march to these men to seek his vengeance while slave women in the background are swinging on tree swings seems nice and cinematic along with the flashbacks of what these men did to him and his wife. It's the rest of the vengeance stuff that I feel less comfortable with it. And once the film drops by Candieland (sic?), it starts to crawl until it gets to its climatic bloodbath or two except for a scene where Leo busts out a skull because what? While the Don Johnson plantation violence is satisfying in its way, the rest is just ugly and unpleasant, even if you can understand the reasoning behind it to an extent. Violence has always been the thing that's put me off of Tarantino's films and here, he just seems to double down on it to the point that it seems that Gallagher was involved with the special effects in regards to bullets to the head. I understand Tarantino wants a conflicting reaction to his violence, but the problem I tend to have with it is more along the lines of whether he enjoys it or not. Since it's just so flamboyant and out there, I always get the feeling he does, even while I'm disgusted by it except for Basterds, which might be my favorite film of his(need to rewatch the Kill Bill movies and Jackie Brown).
Need to watch: Amour, Sister