Monday, April 03, 2006

movie reviews, movie reviews, x2 - inside man & v for vendetta

whew! so, after quite some time of not posting, here I am in a triumphant return with not one, but two - yes, count them, two! – movie reviews for the faithful readership. ah, the gods must be smiling, and there must be work that I need to procrastinate on.


first things first! the new release, spike lee’s inside man.

disclaimer: there’s a heavy bias b/c I adore clive owen. I can’t imagine a better time than lying around with him in bed all day, snogging, and having him talk into my ear in that f-ing accent. that said, spike lee’s done well here…it’s an interesting mystery, and the three principals are solid as to be expected - although clive, the most engaging and subtle of the three, spends nearly all his time behind a mask, whereas on the other end of the spectrum, Jodie foster’s and denzel washington’s characters really felt canned at certain points. by that I mean, not quite that they were playing stereotypes, but…there were not a lot of personal motivations revealed, either, and so they just became caricatures at times.

the film is well shot and very interesting to watch – new york is always a fine supporting actor, and spike knows how to set up a shot so that the environment, and the framing, help underscore the tone of what’s going on. the biggest issue I had was really with the ending, which I didn’t find as satisfying as a mystery should end. neither of the big reveals meant that much to me emotionally, and – dare I compare it – ocean’s 11 is actually a lot slicker with its conclusion. naturally, the two are trying to accomplish different things - inside man has some on-point commentary about race and suspicion in our day and age, along with its fair share of snarky one liners – but all the same, the emotional impact I came to expect after 25th hour just wasn’t there.

an interesting tangent. I was thinking about what could have been done to make me react differently to this aspect - that is, what element the film could have had that I’d give it more emotional investment. and I came across a sad answer! I would have liked for denzel’s character to be put in more danger somehow, so that I would care more about him solving the mystery. the reason this is a sad answer is b/c I am essentially asking for an element of emotional manipulation…I’m hyper aware of this fact, usually, and it’s one of the beefs I have with the end of crash - it’s a great movie, but I HATE how it manipulates me emotionally. yet, here I sat, kind of wishing for something to happen to denzel’s girlfriend or partner or something. I think, in the end, there must be some middle ground – that the answer is neither the typical movie cop-out (think of every bruce willis cop movie you’ve ever seen, were his loved ones EVER safe?), nor the cold, sterile route that was taken…not quite sure what that could have been, yet. let me think on it.


next – the fabulous v for vendetta!

Natalie Portman is just stupendous as the face of this movie. everything she does is spot-on, never too thick, always captivating to watch. surprisingly, she comes off as older here than in closer; although I’m not sure exactly what age she was supposed to be in that film, but for a stripper she had a surprisingly innocent ingénue quality that didn’t seem quite coherent with the rest of the movie & actors. here, she’s far more grounded, and it suits both her style and her character. hugo weaving’s acting is all in his voice, and here is the impressive thing about that – both his matrix and lotr characters had uniquely pronounced voices as well, yet the one he dons for this movie is entirely distinct in different ways. it’s perfect for the lyrical quality his lines have – even days after seeing the film, I can hear clearly his intonation of the movie’s clutch phrases, “remember, remember the fifth of November” and “people should not be afraid of their governments. governments should be afraid of their people.” the voice he uses even lets him get away with an otherwise fairly cheesy monologue filled to the brim with words beginning with “v” (a writer’s feat, to be sure, but even when done correctly is borderline too much for some).

beware, for those of you who are not really comic book fans, this movie IS very stylistic, from its colors to its language to the sets and costumes. of course, I loved this about it. =) go watch. enjoy.

3 comments:

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