Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quick Critiques: August 8-14

Lady and the Tramp
1st Viewing
A- I know that it's a Disney animation classic that I probably should have seen at some point as a child, but this is honestly the first time I've seen the film. Given that, it's still a pretty great film for the time it came out. I think that people can agree by now that dogs are cute, and this is the ultimate cute dog movie. There's also that perfect romance at the core of the film and that's what has made this film resonate for years. If I have one complaint for the film, it's the climax. There isn't any real sense of urgency, and the Lady doesn't really do anything. Is it poor screenwriting or is it just sexist? Other than that, I didn't have a whole lot of problems with the film.

The Other Guys
1st Viewing
D- I teased earlier on this week at how much I hated this film, and since then I've gone from thinking it's the worst film of the year, to just thinking it's one of the worst films of the year. There is at least one thing good about this movie, and that's Will Ferrell's performance in the first forty-five minutes of this movie. It's something a little more than we usually get from him. Where The Other Guys fails miserably is in the story and the jokes. Most of the jokes that dominated the film are not actually funny, and that's a big problem for a comedy. As for the plot, I couldn't really understand it at all. They never took enough time to explain what the hell was going on, or to put together a coherent plot. That's why the film fails so badly. Shame on you Adam McKay. You've done better.

Speed Racer
4+ Viewing
B- This is one of my guilty pleasures, as it really isn't much a good movie, and yet I keep watching it and enjoying myself. I'm not going to waste time saying that the reason the movie succeeds is because it remains reverential to the style of the source material, because that isn't true. The reason this movie succeeds is because it takes something that I usually hate (racecar driving), and they make something fun and thrilling and visually stimulating. I'm willing to sit through the kid and the monkey, who get way too much screen time, to get to those races, which just keep getting better as the film progresses.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3rd Viewing
A- A film that wasn't quite appreciated during the time of its release, David Finchers fantasy-drama just keeps getting better with age. Much like the lead character, the film feels fresher as the years go by. It's a long movie, but it doesn't feel so long when watching it at home. The premise is what hooks you, but the quality of the performances and of what's happening is what keeps you in your seat. It still remains one of the saddest movies ever made outside of Pixar. The movie spends enough time with the characters to make you care when they meet their inevitable ends. The film has a bit of a dark comic spirit to it, and it handles the deaths realistically, instead of melodramatically. And yes, everybody dies in this movie. Everybody dies sooner or later.

Man On Wire
1st Viewing
When this film came out, it was all the rage. People were praising it as one of the greatest films of all time, and it really is. What struck me from the beginning is that this would have worked amazingly if it wasn't in documentary format (not to say that it didn't work perfectly the way it was). I could envision it in my head as an amazing and emotionally poignant heist thriller. It's a group of men trying to pull the ultimate artistic crime of the century. The scenes in Notre Dame and Sydney give you an idea of what Phillipe is capable of, and when you see the details of how they achieve their end goal, you really appreciate the scale of what they're doing. It's a near perfect film fully deserving of the Oscar it achieved.

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