Thumbnails May 14
Railway Man (8/10):
Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce says, “It’s hard to make any film, but
‘The Railway Man’ was particularly hard.” Hard as it might have
been to write and produce, it is equally hard to watch. It’s far more
accurate in its treatment of the “death railway,” that the Japanese
constructed with POW-enhanced slave labor, than David Lean’s “Hollywood”
treatment about a fictional bridge over a fictional river Kwai. Colin
Firth’s performance of the true story of Eric Lomax and his battle with
post-traumatic stress and his eventual confrontation with his inhumane
captor highlights the telling of the brutality of the Japanese,
supported by a fine performance by Nicole Kidman as his wife. It’s made
more poignant by the fact that it was filmed on the actual railway where
more than 100,000 slaves died and many more were tortured.
Good Reason (8/10):
a fascinating, revealing documentary about artist Ralph Steadman, who
“Rolling Stone’s” Jann Wenner says “was crazier than (gonzo journalist)
Hunter S. Thompson” with whom Steadman worked. It shows Steadman
creating one of his paintings from scratch, which emphasizes his bizarre
work habits. Be warned, Johnny Depp adds exactly zero to the film, just
following Steadman around like an adoring lapdog.
(7/10): Olivia Williams gives a good performance, even if she does
try to outdo the men (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) in being a tough cop.
With fine pace, there’s a mystery to be solved and revenge to be gained,
just another action picture that’s entertaining enough.
those who think they know a lot about professional football this thinly
disguised 2 hour infomercial for the NFL (which had what is tantamount
to final cut) should be enjoyable. For those who actually do know a lot
about football, it could be more aggravating than entertaining. Despite
a gratuitous flippant attitude towards unwed pregnancies, even with
range-challenged Kevin Costner the acting is good. Highly predictable,
it’s still mildly enjoyable even if it is a frivolous, frothy flight of
than 40 years after the idea of artificial intelligence taking over the
world was first broached in film in 1970’s thought-provoking “Colossus:
The Forbin Project,” and this is the best they can do? Good performances
by Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany are wasted in this implausible tale as
far-fetched as 2010’s “Inception.”
the Skin (3/10):
a movie that is as incomprehensible as the classic, “Last Year at
Marienbad” (1961). With little dialogue, most of the film
consists of Scarlett Johansson wandering around with a dazed look on her
face looking for men to pick up and take to her lair where a bad fate
awaits them. While Johansson appears naked, so do several men in a state
of sexual excitement, which normally calls for an NC-17 rating.
is not the worst Woody Allen movie (he neither wrote nor directed), it’s
not far off. Woody’s acting can sometimes be annoying, never more so
than here. His constant whining voice becomes as bad as fingernails
across a blackboard. As writer/director/star John Turturro wanders
around like he’s in a stupor, this is a film that completely misses on
all levels. On the positive side, all the women, Sharon Stone, Vanessa
Paradis, and Sofia Vergara, are gorgeous.
does the opening scene of a film project its quality and entire content,
but this one does. Jude Law’s naked opening monologue is a
profanity-laden, cringeworthy paean to his male member. The movie does
not get less distasteful as it progresses.