Stoker trailer

27 09 2012

Chan-Wook Park’s first American film.  Should be a doozy.





The Kids Are All Right

22 08 2010

Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right is a very well-acted and moving family “dramedy.”  Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play a lesbian couple whose kids Joni (named after Joni Mitchell and played by Alice in Wonderland star Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (yes that’s his name) decide to contact their donor dad (Mark Ruffalo), causing some friction within the family. 

I was worried that things might move into preachy territory, but with a minor exception it avoids being too heavy-handed on the messages and manages to always feel natural, never forced.  A pretty big accomplishment considering how serious and complex some of the issues are.  It was also nice to see flawed (aka real) characters.  At times it seems to get a little carried away with its own hipness but this is still a very honest movie with some great performances and several especially powerful scenes towards the end, which I hope earns Annette Bening some serious awards consideration (she pretty much knocks this one out of the park).  I really enjoyed spending a few hours with this dysfunctional family and recommend checking this one out.

8/10





Alice in Wonderland

10 03 2010

It’s almost old-hat to say that the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp duo’s lost its magic touch.  Their first collaborations, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands, everyone loved.  They were both wonderful character studies that showcased both Depp’s acting talent and Burton’s unique style, and everything was pointing towards them becoming one of the seminal acting/directing duos along with Scorsese/DeNiro, Hitchcock/Stewart, and so on.  I don’t know what happened after that; obviously the temptation of a fat Disney paycheck was too much to pass up, and apparently Burton has also made some sort of life-long deal with Hot Topic. 

For Alice in Wonderland, he’s sucked out every last drop of heart from the original and possibly made the most lifeless, boring film of his career.  Practically the whole film is CGI.  Everything looks perfect and spotless and therefore lacks any trace of humanity.  It looks like a video game.  As for Johnny Depp, as odd as his character is, it still feels like he’s just phoning it in, mostly thanks to the many obvious similarities to his Willy Wonka performance.  The pale make-up doesn’t help his case, either.

RATING:  5/10