Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Movie Day Reviews: Two Long Awaited Films

I watched two of my top anticipated movies of 2008 this week!

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008): If Orlando Bloom and Inigo "you killed my father; prepare to die" Montoya had a bizarre child-clone together, his name would be Prince Caspian. Thick-accented and naive, Caspian is the new adolescent fantasy hero. While the film borrows heavily from the Lord of the Rings trilogy (Susan = Legolas; Trumpkin = Gimli), this is still an entertaining film that slightly surpasses its predecessor in terms of film quality. The actors portraying the Pevensie children have all improved, and the script plays out a bit better than the first. The CGI is amazing in some parts (the gryphon attack is stunning) and almost cartoony in others (the final battle has some brief CGI that looks worse than some Playstation games). Fans of the books will likely be disappointed in the inconsistencies between literature and film. It's still entertaining; it's just not as deep as it could have been. (For an in depth comparison of the book and film, see this review). (A word of caution: this is the darkest and most violent PG movie I've seen in recent years; definitely not a little kid film!). (7 out of 10)

Cloverfield (2008): The best word to describe this film is intense. I watched it in the comfort of my own home on a small screen, and it still had me feeling a bit dizzy and anxious! This Godzilla-meets-The Blair Witch was extremely entertaining. I am generally annoyed by giant CGI monsters in films because they look so fake. But because of the nature of the cinematography--i.e. frantic shaking--I never got the sense that the monsters weren't there. In fact, the realism of the film's style makes it very unique. The lack of explanation for the monster also added to the realism. The audience is left as clueless as the characters, forcing an inner debate about how one would react in such extraordinary circumstances. I also loved that they showed the monster more than I expected; I would describe it as a giant bat-troll. Yes, a bat-troll. Great monster movie! (8 out of 10)

Rififi (1955): This French film noir film won the Best Director award at Cannes half a century ago. It's one of the original heist movies, with a captivating 30 minute jewel heist scene done with zero dialogue or soundtrack. Very cool. It's hard for me to enjoy most film noir--they can be some of the least redemptive films out there. However, I did appreciate this film for its directing and intriguing story. Tony has just gotten out of prison, only to find his lover has left him for another hood. Tony rounds up a few of his hoodlum buddies and makes a plan to break into an impenetrable jewelry store. When a mobster kidnaps the son of Tony's pal in exchange for the stolen goods, their perfect score leads to tragic events. (7.5 out of 10)

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see that you liked Cloverfield. I thought it was good also.

    My Prince Caspian review is on the way. Hopefully later today.