Sunday, February 28, 2010
Soderbergh's tall tale of an unwitting FBI informant never quite finds its footing, failing to balance its plot's considerable surprises with the requisite explication, import, or comedic timing. Likewise, Matt Damon is neither funny or cunning enough as the titular buffoon, himself an exceedingly odd conflation of Michael Clayton and Jerry Lundegaard.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Red Riding: 1983, Anand Tucker, 2009
The final installment of this trilogy is, by some measure, the least successful of the lot. Lacking both the uneasy, fractured tone of Jarrold's ambitious 1974 and the procedural drive of Marsh's 1980, Tucker's film plays as a conflation of both, but fails to find any kind of balance and, as such, loses the benefits of each.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Bright Star, Jane Campion, 2009
Campion's Romantic (as in the poets) period drama is stylish and assured in the same refreshing, post Merchant-Ivory fashion as Joe Wright's sturdy Pride and Prejudice. What's unfortunate is that her film rests on a less than fully formed narrative, with too familiar bouts of hand-wringing and forlorn pining taking the place of more legitimate dramatic tensions.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Red Riding: 1980, James Marsh, 2009
Red Riding: 1974, Julian Jarrold, 2009
Jarrold's film, the first in a simultaneously released trilogy, is a sprawling and decidedly English tapestry of local corruption and intrigue, taking cues from such notable forbears of the genre as Chinatown, Zodiac, and novelist James Ellroy's L.A. quartet. The result is a striking and moody opening salvo for this ambitious project.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Tyson, James Toback, 2008
Toback's deceptively simple film is a bit of Tyson as rorschach test. The director strings together a timeline of the fighter's intensely memorable moments (the notable and the notorious) to play against a single, rambling interview-cum-interior monologue from Tyson himself that is by turns lucid and unsettling.