This superb legal drama was one of the best films of the year with George Clooney in excellent form as the “fixer” for a large legal firm handling a massive and complex liability case. Clayton’s friend, a manic depressive in charge of the case, is brilliantly played by Tom Wilkinson. Fast paced, rich dialog makes this a joy to watch as the plot unravels and Clayton faces his greatest personal challenge.
This finely crafted film has been judged by many to be a masterpiece, but I think this over-rating is simply because it offers a “different” approach to the genre – something critics who have seen far too many films enjoy a lot more than they should. No Country for Old Men is another quirky vision of America from the Coen Brothers. It’s a grim, gray, and violent vision of the Western landscape. Mostly centered on a psychopathic murdering rampage by a the seemingly indestructible Anton Chigurh, the film’s characters stand as stark metaphors for various features of humanity.
I read Roger Ebert’s glowing review and still don’t see why he loved the film so much, but clearly I’m in something of a minority to suggest that a film like 3:10 to Yuma is a better movie in both style and treatment of the theme of morality, violence, and moral ambiguity.
This beautiful and clever film takes a fanciful “alternative history” of Napoleon’s imprisonment on the island of St. Helene, following a conspiracy to replace him on the throne by trading places with a commoner who looks like Napoleon. Ian Holm is magnificent in one of his best roles, Iben Hjejle is radiant as Napoleon’s thoughful and down to earth love interest. This film uses several very clever, subtle film allusions to add depth and humor to a complex storyline. The Emperor’s New Clothes is a great story and a joy to watch.
Note – this 2001 film is not a remake of film by same name about a Roman Emperor. Have not seen that one.
This excellent film chronicles the life and cultural journey of an American Indian family from their roots in Calcutta to the American “dream” with its quirky and affluent complications. Kal Penn and Tabu are marvelous as Indian mother in America and American son of India.
The film does a fantastic job of transitioning almost seamlessly between two very different cultures, and offers insights into the deep history of Indian tradition and family values. A great movie for anybody with an interest in other cultures.
Beowulf has some simply remarkable animation sequences, especially those showing the title character. I need to study up to see how they transition between the real people and the CGI computerized animations, but in the best scenes it is difficult to tell the actor from the animation. In general though the film appears as animation, which makes it a bit harder to suspend your disbelief. The quality is high enough however that one wonders how long it will be before we can’t tell real characters from animated ones.
The poem Beowulf is one of the oldest surviving stories in the English language. Unfortunately the film takes too many liberties with the actual story, though I suppose Zemeckis could argue that in some storytelling traditions it’s normal to embellish and change things with each telling.
He appears to have embellished to bring more nude Angelina Jolie scenes into the film since in the real Beowulf poem Grendel’s mother is killed rather than … bedded.
Here’s a great summary of Beowulf, the epic poem.