by Tony Medley
After the Wedding (10/10):
This is a captivating story with the best ensemble cast acting of
the young year. Each of the characters, led by Mads Mikkelsen (Le
Chiffre in Casino Royale), Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rolf LassgŚrd,
and Stine Fischer Christensen, tells their story with their eyes, all of
them expertly directed by Susanne Bier. This is not a short movie, but I
didnít look at my watch once. Bring handkerchiefs. In Danish.
Fracture (9/10): Terrific
acting by Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, Rosamund Pike and the entire
cast and a witty, inventive script by Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers are
enhanced by Gregory Hoblitís better-than-Hitchcock direction. He uses
unique camera angles and wonderful, suspenseful music to tell the story
of Hopkins, who admits shooting his unfaithful wife, acting as his own
defense counsel against Goslingís prosecution. Not as simple as it
sounds as Hopkins sets devious traps for the unsuspecting Gosling. A
sharp lawyer could figure it out quickly, but most wonít.
The Valet (9/10): A
brilliant, hilarious farce, written and directed by Francis Veber, about
how a billionaire industrialist tries to manipulate the lives of his
supermodel mistress and a car park valet to hide his affair from his
wife. Naturally, his plans donít work out as planned and things go from
bad to hilarious. In French.
Disturbia (8/10): A
relatively faithful copy of Rear Window (1954), even to the slow
first half, and a good performance by David Morse in the Raymond Burr
role of the serial murder suspect. The high-tension last half more than
makes up for the draggy first half. I thought it substantially better
than Rear Window, which, for me, is faint praise.
The Lookout (8/10):
Another slow first half thatís ameliorated by first rate performances by
former child star Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock From the Sun),
Jeff Daniels as his blind mentor, and Matthew Goode as the charming bad
guy who cons Gordon-Levitt. This is an entertaining caper flick with a
twist, one that shows handicapped people as people just like everyone
else, and who can survive in a non-handicapped world.
Jindabyne (8/10): When
four Aussies, headed by Gabriel Byrne, go on a fishing trip and find a
girlís body in the river, they tie it to a tree and continue their trip.
When they report it upon their return, all hell breaks loose.
Exacerbating matters, Byrneís wife, Laura Linney, is less than
understanding in this intriguing 123-minute study of the different ways
men and women react. Whatís really unusual is that director Ray Lawrence
shoots every scene in just one take. Shoot it once; print it.
Next (8/10): Despite the
expected plot holes, this is an intriguing, perplexing, up-tempo time
warper enhanced by exceptional cinematography, an interesting script,
and a great cast.
In the Land of Women (7/10):
Despite the dubious plot of a 26-year-old charming stranger, Adam
Brody, to whom women, like mother Meg Ryan and teenage daughter Kristen
Stewart, confide their deepest, darkest secrets, and a shameful
generalized characterization that octogenarians (Olympia Dukakis) are
all irrational and senile, this is an interesting 98-minute experience.
Red Road (4/10): The
graphic sex scene and the wisdom of including subtitles to counteract
the heavy Scottish accents in this thriller to the contrary
notwithstanding, the only thrill for me was when it finally ended.
The Condemned (4/10):
While its adrenaline and story, taking reality TV shows to the extreme,
hold interest, the gross-out graphic violence is revolting (but what
would you expect from Producer Vince McMahon, the billionaire wrestling
Now playing in the Ninth
Circle of Danteís Inferno for those condemned to watch and rot for the
rest of eternity:
The Last Time (0/10): In
the style of Mamet, this is a profanity-laced tale so totally divorced
from reality it epitomizes inanity.
The TV Set (0/10): There
is a good satire to be told about pitching a TV series, but this
gawdawful thing isnít it.
Hot Fuzz (0/10):
doesnít rise to the level of gawdawful.