Thursday, 27 November 2008

Not-even-a-paragraph reviews 3

Tropic Thunder
Generally good fun. Starts weakly, but picks up after ten minutes or so. Irritatingly inconstant pacing and variable level of bleakness, like it doesn't know whether it wants to be a satire or a straight comedy. Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr are great, but Tom Cruise is truly amazing.

Brilliant concept flawlessly executed. Film noir set in a high school. Effortlessly tells a complex tale without faltering, and maintains its theme and style throughout. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic (as always), and there's not a poor performance on show. One of the best movies I've ever seen.

Blood Simple
Slow, brooding story that just gets darker and darker once it gets going. Atmospheric, tense, and with the guts to take things to their necessary conclusions. Excellent.

Good, enjoyable romp (and not just compared to Revolver). If you can look past the 'gangster' styling and the occasional dodgy bit of mumbo jumbo, there's some fun to be had. I'd have liked to see more of Toby Kebbell, but the rest of the cast share the spotlight well enough, and the film offers a good number of memorable moments. It's not a classic, but Ritchie has done much worse.

The Good Shepherd
Tortuously complex at times, and possibly tries to do too much. There's a slight feeling that the overall message might have been obscured by all of the little story threads being explored. Nevertheless, a great thriller that keeps the audience guessing throughout.

Oddly anticlimactic. Tries to fit too much caricature into what could have been a really deep exploration of motive and power. The relationship between the Bush Jr and Snr is the highlight, and both Josh Brolin and James Cromwell are excellent as the respective characters. Feels a little insubstantial, and is certainly not a clear-cut and damning critique. Meanders along well enough for the most part, but lacks a dynamic central thread, and finishes with the story half told. Perhaps we'll get a better biopic in 10 or 20 years.

Interesting and well rounded story focusing very closely on Tilda Swinton's alcoholic title character. Good twisting plot and interesting characters drive the film for most of its length, but having avoided cliché for so long it's a pity that it suffers slightly from a predictable finish. Solid thriller, and well worth a look, though.

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