My wedding wasn’t full of any drama, bvut we did take a hike through a state park afterwards!
A slate of really great movies this week,
Efter Brylluppet (After The Wedding, 2006, Susanne Bier, Denmark/Norway/Sweden/United Kingdom) ****
WOW, that’s what I have to say about this one. Not only will it skyrocket to the top of all the best of the decade categories, but it’s already taken it’s place in my top 10 of all time.
The Box (2009, Richard Kelly, United States Of America) ***1/2
It’s nowhere near as great as Southland Tales, but it is vastly superior to Donnie Darko in every way. Richard Kelly is more mannered here, allowing the story to unfold at a more natural pace, mimicking the staid and stoic nature of the time period he has chosen in a lot of ways. There’s a duality theme at play throughout and Mr. Kelly does some wonderful things with his camera to play around with this. The Box is a wonderfully shot, composed and framed film. It gives the viewer a lot to think about, and it stays true to the philosophical ideas it is trying for, it never gives you any answers but presents nuggets of goodness for you to think about and come to your own conclusions. That being said, I couldn’t stand Cameron Diaz, she is awful, and if not for her I may even have gone the full monty with my grade here, but that accent and the way she plays the character in certain moments, blech.
Sugar (2008, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, Dominican Republic/United States Of America) ***1/2
I love baseball, like a lot. Still, I’m struggling with what the directors wanted to put across as their ultimate message. It’s hard to read what they wanted that final scene on the baseball field to mean. On the one hand it feels, and looks visually, as if they are saying that as long as Sugar is having fun playing baseball again, then that’s okay. But then they have a moment where Sugar appears to sit stoic in recognition of what he has given up, but then he quickly goes back to being chipper again. The reason this presents a problem for me is that it comes across like the filmmakers are saying it’s okay to give up on a dream when you faced a bit of hardship, and I don’t think I can get behind that. I’m still undecided on where to go with that ending.
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993, Eric Radomski & Bruce W. Timm, United States Of America) ****
Now this, this ladies and gents is Batman, forget what Tim Burton did and what Christopher Nolan, and Joel Schumacher failed to do, this is the only Batman you will ever need and blows every single other Batman film out of the water. Besides how awesome the noir style visuals are, you have some of the best voice work ever found in animation, great action, pathos, the whole package. Once again, this is thee only Batman film you ever need to see.
The Town (2010, Ben Affleck, United States Of America) ***1/2
Really liked this, simply put, this was a good heist movie. Ben Affleck knows Boston (and honestly there’s nothing wrong with him using Boston again for the backdrop of a film, directors have been using the same places in their films for years now) and he knows how to film suspenseful action. It feels a bit like Gone Baby Gone, but he goes in enough different directions that The Town is its own movie and shows Mr. Affleck branching out and trying new things as a director. Not a perfect movie or a great film, but a really good one. I’ll say this too, I really like how Mr. Affleck films his action scenes and ties them in with the suspense of the whole movie, I’ll take his direction in those scenes over a ton of other directors that people love. Actually, after his two films I’d take Mr. Affleck over a bunch of other directors in any realm actually.
Lots of great movies this week, but in a not so big surprise Efter Brylluppet takes home retro movie of the week honors. I’ll be back next week with five more retro capsule reviews!