Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Night at the Movies: "The Constant Gardener"

Welcome to "Saturday Night at the Movies," a weekly feature in which I recommend an older title that you can go watch, right this very minute (provided you have Netflix Instant). 

These reviews occasionally come easily, from a notebook scrawled in the dark with countless comment, criticisms, and random ramblings, from which we formulate something resembling a coherent criticism, or at least an entertaining read. And yet, here I have my notes from The Constant Gardener. There’s about six of them. Sometimes we’re too buy watching the movie to take notes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Theaters: "Tangled"

Tangled is the 50th feature-length Disney animated picture, and it wobbles uncertainly on a precipice separating their past and their future. It has the sleek sheen of the computer-generated animation that has made their subsidiary Pixar the gold standard in movie animation; with a couple of exceptions, the look of the film is tremendous. But it attempts to wed this new, modern technique with a decidedly old-fashioned Disney storytelling style, and the mixture doesn’t take. In their attempt to revitalize an aging brand, they’ve gone and updated the wrong stuff.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On DVD: "The Disappearance of Alice Creed"

J Blakeson’s The Disappearance of Alice Creed is so antsy to get going, they don’t even bother with an opening title; they don’t want to waste a frame that can’t be spent building tension. The opening sequence is a dread-filled masterwork, in which Danny (Martin Compston) and Vic (Eddie Marsan) coldly and efficiently buy supplies and prepare for a kidnapping—lining a van, sound-proofing a bedroom, drilling in extra locks, attaching the bed frame to the floor. There’s not a word spoken—it’s all disturbing sound effects and antsy music (Marc Canham’s score is a jittery corker) until one line of dialogue (“Okay”) and then... the screaming. Oh, the screaming.