Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Movie Day Reviews

It's an eclectic mix of movies this week!

The Nines (2007): I watched this film with my friend, Joe, who recommended we rent it. It's weird, unnerving, amusing, and dives deep in the metaphysical end of the pool. Ryan Reynolds gives a great performance as three characters in three intertwined short films. What--or who--are the nines? The film deals with some very deep issues of identity and reality in an accessible way. (6 out of 10)

Nosferatu (1922): This movie, directed by F.W. Murnau, is one of the first--and best--horror films ever made. Based on Bram Stoker's Dracula tale, it's a silent film about Count Orlock--aka Nosferatu--traveling from Transylvania to a small town, terrorizing the young couple living near his new mansion. Nosferatu is one of the scariest film villains I've ever witnessed. While most vampires are compared to bats or wolves, Nosferatu is like an enlarged hairless rat. Very creepy and extremely well-done cinematography for a silent film. (8 out of 10)

Balls of Fury (2007): It was a huge waste of time, energy, and movie-rental money. When the most amusing part of a movie is its repeated hit-in-the-crotch gag, that's sad. I am sorry that I watched it. (2 out of 10)

Rashomon (1950): This 1950s Japanese film by legendary director Akira Kurosawa was absolutely extraordinary. The film centers around a tragic crime--a rape and murder in the forest. The crime is recalled from the perspective of four witnesses--the bandit, the rape victim, the murder victim (through a medium--very intense and creepy scene!), and a woodcutter. Each story is remarkably different, leaving the audience to wrestle with who is telling the truth. Excellent crime drama with some innovative cinematography--this is one of the first films with a hand-held "following the character" shot, and credited as the first film with a shot looking directly into the sun. I highly recommend viewing a significant part of film history. (10 out of 10)

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007): It's basically the same plot as the first National Treasure, leaving little in surprises or intensity (think, boring). Extremely unrealistic and rushed, I found it rather uninteresting. It does have some amusing moments. It's not terrible, per se, but definitely not great either. (4 out of 10)

George Washington (2000): The debut film of director David Gordon Green, this film's value is in its subtlety. A tragic accident leaves a small group of young teens seeking redemption. With beautiful cinematography of North Carolina, complex characters, and some deep symbolism and moral questions, I found the film to be fascinating, creative, and redemptive. The film deals with the human condition in new and subtle ways. I found myself pondering different scenes and truths from the film for a few days. (9 out of 10)

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