Categories
Reviews

Elizabethtown

Coming from a writer-director as talented as Cameron Crowe, Elizabethtown can only rank as a major disappointment.

With films like Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe carved a niche as a film maker who could blend heart felt emotions with a nice comic touch. His last film, Vanilla Sky (a remake of Spanish thriller Abre Los Ojos, was brave yet flawed departure from his usual style. His latest goes back to the themes of his earlier films but is almost unrecognisable in terms of quality and execution.

Categories
Reviews

The Brothers Grimm

Although it has some interesting touches The Brothers Grimm is not the film it should have been.

Terry Gilliam’s first film in 7 years sounded almost too good to be true. One of the most inventive film makers of his generation making a film about the Brothers Grimm had the potential to be a dazzling visual and storytelling feast. Unfortunatley, it wasn’t to be. Judging from recent interviews with Gilliam it seems that creative differences with the films backers (Miramax, making the film through their Dimension arm) wrecked the project almost before it had started filming.

Things got so bad that production was even shut down for several months – a hiatus during which Gilliam even shot another film – only before compromises were finally reached. Compromised is probably the best way to describe the final result. Gilliam’s ideas are visible but they are too often stifled by a confusing and uneven narrative.

Categories
Reviews

Domino

Tony Scott’s semi-autobiographical take on the life of Lawrence Harvey’s daughter is a strange mix of the entertaining and the uneven.

The real life of Domino Harvey is as surreal as any fiction Hollywood has come up with in recent years. The daughter of actor Laurence Harvey, she was initially raised in Britain and educated at private schools before moving to LA with her mother. There she proceeded to rebel against her privileged upbringing by becoming a bounty hunter and finding criminals who had jumped bail. An already intriguing story took a tragic real life twist when Harvey was found dead earlier this summer, some months after principal photography on the film was finished. The end result is an entertaining – if not entirely successful – action film that showcases Tony Scott’s kinetic shooting styles.

Categories
Reviews

Lord of War

Despite a few missteps, Andrew Niccol’s latest film is a diverting tale set amidst the arms business.

The bravura opening sequence of Lord of War sets the darkly comic tone of the film. Playing like a twisted variation on Forrest Gump, we see the journey of a bullet (instead of a feather) as it is created in a factory, loaded into several crates, shipped, loaded into rifle and finally shot into a young man’s head with a sickening thud. In telling the story of a Ukrainian immigrant who finds his fortune by becoming a global gun runner, Niccol has created an interesting and intelligent look at the bleak logic of the arms trade. Whilst it never fully lives up to it’s potential, the central premise, of how the world’s ‘peace keepers’ fuel global violence by selling weapons to poorer countries, is an engaging one.

Categories
Reviews

Oliver Twist

Roman Polanski’s new adaptation of the famous Dickens novel is technically accomplished and well acted, but never really lives up to its promise.

Every so often a film comes along in which there is much to admire but ultimately leaves you feeling unsatisfied. Polanski’s new version of Oliver Twist is just such a film. Despite the impressive production design, some solid performances and a gritty evocation of the Victorian era the film left me feeling like young Oliver in wanting more. After their Oscar wins for The Pianist, it seems odd that Polanski and screenwriter Ronald Harwood would choose to make such a conventional adaptation of an already famous work.