Saturday, April 01, 2006

Quick Takes: March 10 - March 30

by Brian
The Libertine: Very dull and very unpleasant, from Johnny Depp's undisciplined performance to the very ugly cinematography to a third act that makes one wish man had never acquired the sense of sight. I've admired Depp for a long time, but like with a great band, part of being a fan is recognizing when someone's lost their touch. With this and Charlie released in the last year, and two more Pirates on the way, I really have to wonder about the guy. Oh, and this is yet another nail in the Weinsteins' coffin, too.

Winter Passing: Another movie that doesn't quite seem to have a reason for existing, and proof positive that Will Ferrell cannot act. He's absolutely brutal. And director Adam Rapp never figures out basic things like "mood" and "tone", making the material seem even more sketchy than it already is (and it's pretty sketchy).
I find Zooey Deschanel very appealing, though, so it's not a total loss.

Find Me Guilty: I've got to hand it to Vin Diesel, as this is a tricky part and he actually handles it quite well. The movie itself works OK, because Sidney Lumet does know things like "mood" and "tone". But again, when all is said and done there doesn't seem to be much of a point. Mobster tells jokes in court for a year, and then ... the trial ends, everybody slaps each other on the back, credits roll. Franky, it's not really all that compelling of a story. Still, great, great acting in supporting roles by many, but especially Peter Dinklage, who should get an Oscar nomination next year (fat chance, though) and Raúl Esparza, as a key informant.

Unknown White Male: Deathly dull documentary about an amnesiac, directed by some schmuck who thinks he's the next Darren Aronofsky. I've never seen a documentary that's so over-directed. And, I'm sorry, but the premise is lame. A guy can't remember anything; sucks for him, but the film doesn't try to make anything of it, aside from some overwritten pop psychology in the prologue and epilogue about identity and what makes us unique and so on. Instead, it mostly consists of him meeting friends, while he says, I don't remember them. He meets family, and puzzles about being unable to remember. He looks through his stuff, and says he can't remember. You can see where this is not exciting.

Duck Season: Small, reasonably charming black-and-white Mexican film about a couple of bored teenage kids wasting an afternoon. One of the neighbor girls invites herself into the kitchen to bake a cake, and a delivery man brings them pizza but won't leave. Hijinks obviously ensue. The film doesn't really go anywhere, but hey, that's life.


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