Saturday, December 19, 2009

Films I've seen of late - December

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Alec Guinness gives an epic performance in this epic film set in the South East Asian jungle. Gives an interesting portrayal of two very different cultures coming up against each other in a hostile yet beautiful environment, the climax is both excruciating and majestic. 9/10.

Revolutionary Road (2008)
Rose and Jack ... er .... I mean Kate and Leonardo are back together again and this time it's not about a ship hitting an iceberg, it's about a marriage hitting the rocks. A cliched 50s relationship comes under the strain as Leonardo commits adultery while his perfect wife makes cakes. Bizarrely, their two kids are hardly referenced throughout the film, and the overreactions just seem unconvincing. I agree with Mark Kermode who's asked for someone to make a film about a 50s married couple who have a good time for a change. Depressing... 5/10

The Reader (2008)
Kate Winslet turns her hand to playing yet another troubled soul in this intriguing story about a young man falling in love with a much older woman. Fine performances from both leads carry this sad and doom-laden tale to its fatalistic conclusion. Not exactly fun, but a worthwhile watch all the same. 7.5/10.

Poseidon (2006)
Oh dear. Why oh why oh why did they make this? What was the point - seriously? The only (slightly) impressive thing was the gigantic CGI cruise ship. Everything else was wooden - from the sets to the actors - while Bad Science reared its ugly head numerous times in the name of advancing the so-called 'plot'. Leave the classics alone, please! They have better actors playing better characters. You see, that's what a film should be about - the CHARACTERS, not the CGI!

North by Northwest (1959)
Ah, this is much better. You can't really go wrong with a bit of Hitchcock. Not as dark as some of his other pieces of work, but has a sinister undertone nonetheless. Grant is brilliant as the cocky ad exec thrown into the middle of cold war espionage. The innuendo and sexual references, though tempered by 60s standards, are surprising to find in such an old movie - while the overuse of rear projection is slightly off-putting. Those are, however, minor criticisms of a film that's 50 years old and knocks the socks off many modern filmmaking efforts. 9/10.

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