Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Virus X has promise for approximately ten minutes before it completely devolves into direct to DVD mush. The premise is sound enough: a wealthy woman with nothing to do commissions scientists to develop a potent strain of H1N1. It is unleashed in the lab and then all hell breaks loose. The problems in Virus X are many: aside from money-which this woman has plenty of-why does she do what she does (one answer mentioned late in the film is to be seen as a savior); none of the characters really have a personality and therefore are impossible to actually empathize with; a blonde Chris Kattan-like "enforcer" is supposed to be a boogey man but has no proverbial teeth; the film forgets to show important events at the end...oh heck, who cares. Stay away from Virus X.
Eighty-four minutes has never felt this long.
Man, with a little reworking, Charlie St. Cloud could actually be a good movie. The fundamentals here-a young man continuing a tradition with someone only he can see and learns a life lesson-is decent enough. It's the execution and the twist at the end which is lacking. The pieces seem to fit in hindsight, but during the film, there are too many ancillary characters and side tangents which bring the entire story to a grinding halt. Why in the world are Ray Liotta and Kim Basinger in this movie? No real reason, to be honest.
There is a section of Brave I simply didn't care about. The main character and her mother are out in the woods doing something and something else happens and then the plot actually kicks in gear. It's that middle part that drags the entire story down. But again, this is Pixar where "good" simply isn't good enough. These movies need to knock the ball out of the park. Yet Brave can't get there. It wants to be too many things for any of them to actually make sense. Why on earth none of these adults stop to listen to the teenage princess is beyond me; it's a failing of pretty much any film with younger character, animated or live action. Brave is a vast improvement over last year's Cars 2, but is that really a recommendation?
Six episodes over the course of one relationship, Scenes from a Marriage can be cruel, uncomfortable and embarrassing, but, ultimately, it is honest. The film is sparse, keeping to the main two characters for most of the running time while the half hours "scenes" prevent the audience from getting away from the drama. In that regard, Bergman helps the viewer to feel the same sense of hopelessness the characters do. Is this a film for everyone? No. It's nearly three hours, deals with some uncomfortable subjects, tends to the emotionally raw and is subtitled. But the craft on display, the concept, the guts to do present this information...most likely a must for film fans.