Thursday, 24 July 2008

Not-even-a-paragraph reviews

These reviews are for films that I saw earlier this year, but never got round to reviewing at the time. In general, I can't recall them clearly enough to do a long review, so I've just picked out the main points as I remember them:

American Pie for the YouTube generation. Funny in parts, though there's nothing particularly interesting about the story. Just about avoids the typical "teen movie" stigma with some witty lines and good main performances. For a night in with mates, you could do worse, if you've not got the energy to pay attention to a more accomplished film.

Great fun. Exudes quirkiness from every pore, mostly to its credit. The soundtrack got on my nerves a little, but it's a small minus point to a very good film. There's not a poor performance on show, and though the story was maybe a little fluffy at times, it has enough edge to be interesting. Escapism with a heart.

The Other Boleyn Girl
Rattles along well enough, and manages admirably to portray the complexities of Tudor court life. Eric Bana does well with what screentime he has, and I thought Natalie Portman was excellent as Anne Boleyn. Skims over too much politics to be particularly deep, and fills the gaps with soapy mush, unfortunately. Not a lost cause, though.

Vantage Point
Sets up a really interesting premise with the multiple-points-of-view idea, and then chucks it all away after an hour or so in favour of sub-Bourne chases and Hollywood cheese. While it keeps its premise, it's taut and interesting, though with possibly too many "major" characters. Afterwards, it's just smush.

Leans heavily on its "true story" origins, but few of the characters feel believable. Rather than an examination of massively intelligent people working a system, it feels too much like an Ocean's Eleven knock off. Laurence Fishburne is good, but gets practically nothing to do, and the whole last half hour seems contrived and silly.

The Science of Sleep
Really bizarre film, and not one to watch while sleepy yourself. If you can take a pretty serious dose of the crazies, there's enjoyment to be had in the interesting characters and the sweet central relationship. Don't expect anything approaching story resolution, though. Gets bonus marks for weird and wonderful set design.

Letters from Iwo Jima
Slightly incoherent look at the Japanese side of the battle for Iwo Jima. Large sections of the battle scenes are confusing, and though the "letters" concept gives it some structure, it feels slightly tacked on. I was pretty tired while watching it, so it's possible I need to see it again, but at a first viewing, I was disappointed.

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