Saturday, February 20, 2010

Edge of Darkness

Edge of Darkness is like a conventional detective flick except for the body count and the bloodletting. Mel Gibson's performance as a Boston detective whose whistleblower daughter is shot down on his doorstep is surefooted, his Boston accent not too distracting and he is fairly generous when playing against the others in the cast. In fact, a fairly long scene between him and a mysterious British fixer played by Ray Winstone is a highpoint of the film. The lowest point is the last scene, which reunites Gibson's Tommy Craven and his murdered daughter, Emma, for a last goodbye. It's unbearably treacly.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island feels more like a tribute to Hitchcock, Welles and Polanski and less of Scorsese's own unique vision. That's not to say it's a bad movie. I don't think Scorsese is capable of making a bad film. It's to say that the story (suitably convoluted and deceptive) is secondary to the staging wh...ich are infused touches of the "old" masters. Yes, it's beautiful but it's not really bold.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Single Man

While Colin Firth and Julianne Moore undoubtedbly offer the best performances in A Single Man, it's Firth's searing scenes with the young actor Nicholas Hoult that give this marvelous film it's complexity and, ultimately, it's romantic ambivalence. Adapted by director Tom Ford from the novel by Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man is startlingly beautiful and achingly human. I loved it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli is not devoid of ideas, the action sequences are tight, the twist is a bit surprising, and the parade of British character actors is delightful but the movie feels more like an exercise than a complete work. Denzel does Denzel without much exertion. The morality, which is to say the message of the movie, is unclear. Still, the showdown set piece featuring Denzel, co-star Mila Kunis, Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour is masterfully choreographed.

Yesterday

  Director Danny Boyle's hummably insightful morality tale, Yesterday, is a sure starmaker for amiable Hamish Patel, who plays ...