- Reviews Written:
Posted on 12/21/05 10:02 AM
Anna Karenina: If you're a fan of old-school, B&W, Garbo romance movies, you'll eat this up. If you're a fan of the Tolstoy book, you probably won't. How do you take a 900+ page book and turn it into a 90 minute movie? Take the Cliff Notes version, cut that in half, and change Alexey Karenin from a loser to a villain. It's interesting to view the movie as an adaptation; not so much to view it on its own terms.
I've got The Chronic(what?)les of Narnia: Better than Harry Potter 1 and 2; not as good as Harry Potter 3 and 4. Still, that's pretty good. The effects, visuals, and most of the actors (esp. James McAvoy and Tilda Swinton, plus Michael Madsen's voice work) are top-notch. Demerits go to the vapid performance turned in by Peter and the fact that Jim Broadbent was reduced to a cameo.
Syriana: Talks a lot but says little. The film's main theme - people are corrupt, especially oil companies! - is nothing new. There have been good movies that said old themes in new ways, but this isn't one of them. Don't be mistaken that Gaghan's script refuses to be dumbed down for mass appeal; it's just not good. And what a waste of a great cast.
The Warriors: I like the fantasy world the movie sets up: ridiculously costumed gangs fighting it out in a decrepit, almost alternate universe NYC. I like the mesh of themes: it's part comic book, part Greek epic, part Western, part mideval quest. The rock-synth soundtrack is pretty good, too. Alas, the script sucks. The dialogue is clunky, the plot is episodic, and the women's roles are poorly-written (then again, it's not like any of the male protagonists are fully charactarized, either). I wanted to dig it, but I couldn't.
King Kong: Special effects = awesome. Visuals = awesome. Fight scenes = awesome. PJ's love of scary natives and huge bugs = creepily awesome. The relationship between Naomi Watts and Kong = surprisingly effective and well done. Jack Black = surprisingly good in a serious role, and not really out of his league either, because he's playing an asshole. King Kong himself = awesome. Yes, the three hour runtime is a bit of a drag, but only for practical purposes - I had to take a bathroom break. It doesn't matter because the final two hours are mostly wall-to-wall action. It's an action movie, a love story, and it even has an anti-cruelty towards animals message. Cruelty towards dinosaurs, however, fucking kicks ass.