Monday, October 10, 2011

Some movie reviews

I've been traveling so much that I haven't kept up with reviews of a bunch of films I've seen recently. So, I thought I'd give you the capsule versions here.

The Debt. Beautifully acted and at times heart-wrenching, this one deserves all its critical praise. That said, you will less enjoy it than appreciate it, because it is emotionally brutal. Expect to walk out of the theater admiring the movie but feeling more than a bit disturbed.

Attack the Block. Almost the opposite experience, fun all the way. A low-budget UK indie with a cast you've never heard of, this one is just a good time. It even includes a great (and inexpensive) twist on monsters that are (most of the time) hard to see in the dark.

Contagion. Soderbergh said he wanted to make a modern tribute to the old Irwin Allen disaster flicks, and he did. The movie is stylish, with great acting from an amazing cast and wonderful directing. Its only problem is that it has such a big scope that you spend too little time with most of the characters to care much about them. In the end, it feels as much like a polemic as it does like a story, with the result that you're likely to appreciate it but never feel fully involved.

The Killer Elite. Take away the leads, and this one is a B-movie actioner you watch and instantly forget. Thanks to Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert DeNiro, however, it's a B-movie actioner that you'll enjoy and remember for a little while.

Abduction. This one could have been a very good B movie, but its relatively lifeless cast dropped it a grade level. Still, as is my tendency, I had a good enough time viewing it; I just could never let my brain engage.

Blitz. We watched this one on DVD, and I have to say it surprised me. We expected another B-movie with Jason Statham, and in some ways it was, but it was also more. The plot went in unexpected directions and was vastly more complex than we expected, as were the characters (though Statham still has only one expression: squinting, with various degrees of squint). At the end, watching the credits, I understood why: a Ken Bruen story was behind it. If you don't know Bruen's work, you're missing out on some great noir fiction from a master Irish storyteller.

There's not a one of these I didn't enjoy at least somewhat, but my favorites were definitely Attack the Block and, to my surprise, Blitz.

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