Posted on 4/27/04 07:49 PM
House of Sand and Fog (dir. Vadim Perelman, 2003) -- Damn, was this depressing. I expected much more out of this flick than I got... I can't quite put my finger on it. It just lacked this element to push it beyond being a solid drama. It's all well and good, yes, but it never really gripped me to any real extent. I wish I could figure it out. I'm guessing though that it's more something to do with me than it is with the film. Nonetheless, very well made and good performances all around.
A Mighty Wind (dir. Christopher Guest, 2003) -- I friggin' love Eugene Levy. There could be a movie of just him sitting in a chair, I'd laugh. Nonetheless, this one is a pretty solid folk music mockumentary. I'm not a huge Guest fan but still have some films to get to on him. Pretty funny, although I guess it just seems like some of the laughs take a bit too much effort to get. Still, there are too many great moments in this film to name.
Identity (dir. James Mangold, 2003) -- Better than I thought it would be, but still pretty average. I think this evaluation might go down with time -- the ending just did nothing for me. I saw every one of the "twists" coming a mile away, and they don't seem to provide any real value. I guess it's similar to The Usual Suspects in this way... sure, they're both well done and have interesting twists, but those twists basically invalidate 90% of the film we just watched. It's hard to get behind that kind of thing. Plus this features a sissy John C. McGinley, which I just can't get behind at all -- he's Dr. Cox from Scrubs, damnit!
Down With Love (dir. Peyton Reed, 2003) -- This wasn't anything special, but I will say it was incredibly fun. It was what it was -- and while I enjoyed the first two acts much more than the third (the ending seemed quite contrived), Zellwegger and McGregor have some great chemistry throughout. Very fun, and definitely a worthwhile two hours (although not up to the caliber of Intolerable Cruelty, another fine romcom from 2003).
Sans toit ni loi, aka Vagabond (dir. Agnes Varda, 1985) -- Sorry kids. I'm going to keep trying, diving into it, but I just can't get into French art cinema. I understand the unconventiality of it all, as a counter to classical Hollywood cinema, but I just find no value in it. A lot of art cinema holds aesthetics as a value, but I find many Hollywood films much more pleasing to the eye. Realism? Well, frankly, I prefer a driven story -- realistic or not. Stop me now, or I'll start sounding like Brian Cox as McKee in Adapataion. Point being that I can value this one as an accomplishment of structure and various other qualities, but I'm not an art cinema guy.