When asked about his diversity of films and if he himself had any idea what constitutes a Ridley Scott film, the 77-year old director admitted, “There never was a plan and there still is no plan. I just jump into what fascinates me next.” His fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants attitude towards picking projects is illustrated by his definitively wonky filmography. Read More
I managed to get a lot of home watching in this week as there wasn’t a ton of screenings I had to attend with The Book Thief being the only film I saw in theaters, and while it had a lot going for it, was ultimately let down by clumsy melodrama. I also published my full review for Blue is the Warmest Color, which I had a lot of problems with, and Kyle wrote up a review for The Best Man Holiday, which he had a lot of problems with. Today brought a screening of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which I’ll probably review by tomorrow, and this week also holds Vince Vaughn‘s Delivery Man, the Jason Statham vs. James Franco actioner Homefront, and Disney‘s Frozen, which everyone has just been loving. But let’s get down to business and do some weekly reviewing.
THE HOST (2006)
Firstly no, not the Stephenie Meyer book, the much, much better 2006 South Korean film. A monster movie that isn’t really a monster movie, The Host revels in its hazy political metaphors of totalitarian government. No matter how fake the slimy creature from Seoul’s Han River might look, his computer generated presence is still a well laid MacGuffin to probe state’s interference and the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. Gripping and smart from start to finish, The Host is monster movie making at its most thoughtful and sly. Also, no Stephenie Meyer.
THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED (2006)
Chartering just how screwy the MPAA is when passing judgement on films’ ratings, Kirby Dick‘s documentary points a lot of fingers and raises a lot of good points, but could have been crunched down into a shorter, tighter doc. However interesting the topic – to some – a documentary needs to preserve a sense of urgency of knowledge and This Film is Not Yet Rated wastes a large portion of its screen time lingering too long with a batty PI and false tension.
THE STUFF (1982)
Horrid acting, terrible directing, and dimwitted metaphors that beat you over the head at every turn, there is nothing of substance in The Stuff. The only thing likely to stick with you after it wraps are the catchy jingles (but it’s not like you want any more jingles bopping around your skull.)
THELMA AND LOUISE (1991)
I finally got around to watching one of Ridley Scott‘s most beloved films and can certainly recognize why it gets so much of said love. This is the undercover feminism movie that sees women’s empowerment as something to be celebrated, not just something to be talked to death. As two woman turn away from their domestic prisons, they discover something within themselves that, now free, can never be caged again. The film has a few issues in terms of character development vs. established timeline but nothing so bad as to muddle the overall impact. Witnessing these women’s decent into lawlessness is one of the more fun, and more meaningful, experiences of domestication gone awry.
THE IMPOSTER (2012)
A soaring documentary bubbling over with so much unthinkable insanity that you couldn’t have made up anything more wacky. A true stranger than fiction tale, The Imposter‘s success isn’t necessarily a result of perfect – or even great – filmmaking so much as it is a stunning story culled from an absolutely gripping topic. What’s more is that it leaves you craving more details, shocked and amazed at these true events and wanting to take part in the investigation yourself. Going into it blind is absolutely essential so learn as little as you can before watching. If you do, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more gripping, edge-of-your-seat film – documentary or otherwise.
AFTER EARTH (2013)
Earth to Will Smith. Your career is dying. Abort acting with your child. Repeat: abort! In After Earth, the rockstar Smith of the 1980s seems to have shriveled up and disappeared and in his place is an aging surly stone of a man intent on exclusively working with his children. While there was a certain cutesiness to that chemistry in Pursuit of Happyness, it has gotten the better of him here. Jayden Smith‘s mildewed acting is as transparent as it is hollow. His bratty face-crunching acting style is more disastrous than M. Night‘s career -which at this point is so in the hole it’ll never imaginably see the light of day again. Just stale from front to back, there is not a modicum of joy to be found in this crash landing of a movie.