Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Reviewish Quintet

I've actually been much better this year about keeping up with the season's movies than I have been the past couple of years here in the early Oscar season where things always pile up, no matter how hard you try, but having seen them doesn't mean I'm being good on writing about them, and I'm definitely getting behind on my reviews. So I'm going to try and toss a few out all at once here, in brief. Wish me luck!

Citadel - Individual scenes work well (the opening's kind of obvious, but a little terror anyway) but the movie doesn't really seem to know what it wants to be. Tone's erratic - if it'd simplified some, I'd be more on-board, because there's skill buried in here somewhere. But one second the lead's agoraphobic, the next that seems forgotten; there are all kinds of examples like that, where the film imposes restrictions upon itself for reasons I could never really comprehend (the rage babies go away until sunrise, except all the ones who don't, because some of them are chained? I don't even know) that don't have follow-through and end up distracting for no purpose. It devolves into a spook-house video-game atmosphere when the bones were there to be more.

Rise of the Guardians - The feeling that washed over me as the closing credits to this movie began was one of disappointment. Not really regarding the film, since I had pretty low expectations going in, and those were met. No, my feeling of disappointment was for humanity. Because this is apparently what we've decided to turn our myths into. Big loud chaotic barf-machines. Centuries of cultural resonances, the shared story-telling of generation after generation, all manhandled and squished into a lumpy frenetic strobe-box for inducing seizures, not to mention existential distress.

Men in Black 3 - I watched this two days ago and I can't remember a damn thing about it.
Rust and Bone - With all the Best Actress buzz people have been aiming at Marion Cotillard for this (and make no mistake, she's wonderful, and deserves it all), I was (happily) surprised that it's really much more Matthias Schoenarts film. And he's fantastic - with this and Bullhead, all his plentiful gratuities aside, he's really proven himself one of the most interesting actors out there today. So where's his buzz? Anyway I liked A Prophet quite a bit but I think I liked R&B even more - its story of damaged and dangerous folks finding and hurting and finding each other again hit me closer to the, uh, bone. The scene where Marion goes back to the aquarium and dances with the whale might be the most beautiful thing I've seen all year.

Lawless - Speaking of big beefy actors proving themselves generational greats, I couldn't understand a damn word coming out of Tom Hardy's mouth in this movie but I never once cared - that makes two movies this year! He was like a pill bug here, all coiled armor wound up under that wonderfully definitive sissy-boy cardigan, prepared to spring. The movie didn't really know what to do with him though, or with Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska, both actresses I will always watch the shit out of even when dilly-dallying around with not much. So those three I liked, but the movie... it just sorta happens, ya know? Like take for instance that final showdown outside the bridge - everybody just starts piling up on top of each other, no plan, without any build, no elegance or charm. I can list far more have-not's than have's with this one, sadly.

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