Friday, October 20, 2006

Movie Roundup! AGAIN!

No one can accuse me of not being prolific. Except maybe those who really are prolific.

Aeon Flux (2005)
Contrary to the general consensus, Aeon Flux's only redeeming feature is not the fact that it features a slinky, catsuit clad Charlize Theron (although it is a plus). Ok, it's not a masterpiece; in fact, it's not even great. I'd rate it as ok to good. It probably won't hold up to repeat viewings. Based on the bizarre MTV cartoon of the same name, the story takes place in a future where a deadly disease has wiped out almost everybody, and only a handful of people have survived thanks to the efforts of a scientist who now rules over them. They live in a seemingly utopian city, but something is amiss and a rebel organization is fighting to overthrow the totalatarian regime. The eponymous heroine of the story is one of these rebels, who begins to question if their cause is just. The story is fairly derivative, the acting is adequate, as is the action. What I liked about it was the production design of the film, which was sumptuous and sometimes unique... So, fairly entertaining and nice to look at.

Das Boot (Director's Cut) (1981)
Amazing film. Wolfgang Peterson's breakout effort is about a German submarine on a tour of duty towards the end of World War II. The tide is starting to turn against the Germans, whose crews are steadily growing younger as new recruits are continually drafted in. Jurgen Prochnow plays the stoic and battle hardened veteran who captains the sub and bemoans his overly patriotic and inexperienced crew. There's not much in the way of actual plot in the film. Much like another excellent ocean based film - Master and Commander - this film is mostly concerned with the details of life aboard a cramped and claustrophobic submarine, and how the crew copes with their mundane lifestyle which is interrupted every so often by moments of nail biting tension and horror. The attention to detail and authenticity make this an incredibly immersive experience that spans the gamut of emotion. Terrific performances makes one quickly forget the fact that the protagonists are people almost always depicted as "the bad guys" whom audiences are used to siding against. I can't finish without mentioning the memorable theme music which is reinterpreted quite effectively throughout the film.

Carlito's Way (1993)
Al Pacino has delivered some terrific performances in his time, and this one should definitely be listed among them. Brian de Palma's excellent crime flick is about a drug dealer named Carlito Brigante (Pacino) who gets out of prison five years into his sentence thanks to his crafty lawyer (Sean Penn). Prison has changed him, and he wants out of the business - he just needs a little money to make his getaway. He gets a legit job running a nightclub, and tries to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, despite his fading reputation on the street, the world he's trying to get away from keeps pulling him back in. A further complication is the woman he had to leave behind when he was incarcerated - she's given up on her dreams, so Carlito endeavours to share his future with her. The film is thoroughly entertaining and has some excellent set pieces. It's also poignant and full of terrific and distinctive performances. Definitely worth wathcing.

Corpse Bride (2005)
First up I should admit that I'm not a big fan of the spiritual precursor to this film, A Nightmare Before Christmas, which, while unquestionably a beautiful visual accomplishment, left me cold (I was trying to break my personal comma record with that sentence). So I was pleasantly surprised to find Corpse Bride to be much more engaging. Like 'Nightmare', 'Bride' is a stop motion animation film featuring a liberal dose of the macabre. It's about a shy young man who's being married off to a shy young woman, but instead winds up getting married to a corpse and shanghaied into moving to the land of the dead (not Romero's, unfortunately). While visually engaging, it isn't as creative as Nightmare - the designs don't seem as memorable to me. Being a musical animated film, it features a handful of decent songs. What really worked for me was the fact that the characters were likable - granted this is purely subjective, but there you go. It's good (and surprisingly short) and, unless you happen to abhor this sort of film, worth a watch.

Well, I've really managed to ramble on today. Limiting these to one paragraph each is only an effective discipline when the paragraphs aren't obscenely long. At least I'm not as verbose as I used to be though...


sanity index said...

I've rented "Das Boot" before but can't seem to begin it, for the mere fact that it's 2 videotapes and almost 4 hours long.

"The Corpse Bride," though, I liked. Never watched "A Nightmare Before Christmas," though I like some of Tim Burton's other works, such as "Edward Scissorhands." Just watched "Ed Wood" the other day - it was hilarious and fantastic. :)

Antimatter said...

Yup, that's the Director's Cut, which is the version that I watched. It is admittedly very long, and if you're not invested in it I imagine it can feel repetitive. I suggest watching it in two parts then! :) I thought it was worth the time investment.

What are these 'videotapes' of which you speak? :D

Ed Wood was great, I blogged about it some time ago... I liked Edward Scissorhands but didn't love it the way so many seem to. In general though, I'm a fan of Tim Burton's films - at the least, they're idiosyncratic (except perhaps Planet of the Apes).