Monday, August 13, 2007

DVDs I watched last week, from favorite to least.

Until the final reel's slo-mo violence, Robert Altman and his cast create a mood so conversational and unhurried that you don't even think about how much Bonnie & Clyde must have had to do with it getting made. It's sad that a film's worst ten minutes tend to be its last, as it can overshadow the first hour and a half.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels are so effective at detailing the lives of two disabled individuals at different levels of acceptance that it's a disappointment when the plot begins to incorporate generic heist and double-crossing motifs, even if they're done with more nuance than usual.

It's possible that I wouldn't have been bothered that this film didn't subvert its "enigmatic serial killer" plot elements if I hadn't already seen The Host, in which the same director and lead actor reach higher with even more hackneyed material, and Zodiac, which had "true crime" status to keep the details from feeling contrived. Host fans who want to see more of Bong Joon-Ho's work will find it rewarding anyway.

Rather than try to make your "love interest realizes hero is too busy trying to save the world to be a good partner" subplot as subtle as possible and hide your cinematic tragedy cliches behind docu-style shakey-cam, it might be a better idea to just not include them. They aren't what gives the horrific climax so much power.

A cavalcade of horny '60s celebrities put on funny outfits and try to fuck a Swedish model posing as the All-American girl. One of those desperate attempts at hip that are infinitely more fucked up than any actual counter-cultural effort.

Had I known the the extra half-hour on the director's cut was 100% pedo fantasy, I would have stuck with the Hollywood cut for Frenchified gunplay and batty Gary Oldman. Or maybe I would have rewatched The Fifth Element.

A two-hour concept video for a 30 Seconds To Mars cover of Skid Row's "Wasted Time," featuring Marlon Wayans' finest dramatic turn. Ellen Burstyn really doesn't need your help to chew the scenery, Darren.

Anthony Hopkins once again uses his murderous brain and awkward accents to harass a southern orphan working for the public good. The deleted scene featuring doggy-style set to opera is reminiscent of Ridley Scott's hilarious Hannibal but the incessant luridness is usually more Adrian Lyne. Ryan Gosling entertains himself by trying to pass for a southern orphan.


Alfred Soto said...

Reading Pauline Kael's review years ago had me stoked for Thieves Like Us; it didn't disappoint.

Anthony Miccio said...

Pretty much the same here, except she claimed the mood "never" gets fucked up and I clearly disagree. Still, yeah, a must-see and a looong overdue DVD release.