Monday, January 17, 2005

The Bourne Supremacy

In a Nutshell: The next film in the Jason Bourne saga, this one has an interesting story, if less effective execution, though I'm not sure why it was slightly less entertaining than the original. Worth renting for fans of the first one.

Quick Plot: Treadstone is gone, but Jason Bourne still lives, and someone wants him eliminated. Bourne is willing to keep running, until they cross the line. In order to survive and hopefully clear his name, Bourne must take on the government and his former Treadstone foes, returning to his operative ways.

In Detail: The story here is rather interesting. I thought
Treadstone has been reinstated from the previews, but this is not the case. Instead, Joan Allen is put in charge of the investigation, in which two of her own operatives were killed. She is an effective investigator; she wants the truth, not just revenge. And the truth she finds is rather interesting. I love the interactions between her character and Bourne, and the story does go in some interesting directions. But it just didn't seem as good to me, and I can't really say why. The chase scene was lesser, that's for sure (LOVED the first one). The acting was fine for this type of film, the story was better, but it was still.... lacking some how. Worth renting if you liked the first one.

Will I Buy It? No, it doesn't quite make the cut. Glad I saw it, don't care to see it again.

The Aviator

In a Nutshell: Well filmed, well acted, beautiful costuming, very enjoyable, definitely worth seeing.

Quick Plot: Bio-pic of Howard Hughes spanning his early successes and his mid-life breakdown. Certainly a brilliant and innovative man, despite his eventual madness.

In Detail: I really enjoyed this film. I wasn't sure what I would get. I'm not a huge fan of Martin Scorsese films anyway (the subject matter rarely appeals to me), so I was concerned, particularly with it being 2 hours and 45 minutes long. It certainly didn't feel that way though. I have no idea how accurate any of the facts are (we all know how reliable Hollywood version facts are), but if even half of what is portrayed is the truth, then he was a truly visionary man decades ahead of his time. As for the film itself, I think the casting was inspired, most especially Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn. However, in a way, by casting so many well known people, it is hard sometimes to get past who the actor is and down to the performance. Some of this is a function of what could have been better acting, but some is purely the visual of such recognizable people in relatively one-dimensional roles. Take Cate Blanchett, for instance. Many have put down her performance as lacking depth, but I disagree. To have attempted to portray someone as famous as "Kate" accurately would have been difficult, and she would have been dogged for her inaccuracies. To instead do her up as a bit of a caricature, she captured the essence without detracting from DiCaprio's performance. DiCaprio, for the most part, does transcend his recognizability, but it pops up every now and then, particularly during the "isolationist" period of the film. Overall, though, his performance is excellent. Having seen virtually no Scorsese films, I don't know if this is a trademark of his or not, but I did also want to comment on the use of silence in this film. In an era where louder is better, the periods of quiet in this movie are amazing. "Listen" for them, if you see it; it is incredibly effective at saying all there is to say.

Sorry, I'm not usually so "formal" and heavy-handed with my reviews, but this film certainly deserved it. I wasn't thinking that it necessarily deserved a potential Oscar nomination (or Golden Globe win) for Best Picture, but rereading my observations above, perhaps it really does.

Will I Buy It? It is *worth* buying, but I know I wouldn't watch it a whole lot, so no. Absolutely worth seeing, though would lose very little on DVD (except a couple of remarkable surround sound sequences for those of us not home-equipped).

King Kong (2005)

In a Nutshell: Too long. The good parts were very good, and the rest of it wasn't bad in any way, there was just too much of it all the way around.

Quick Plot: A 1930s film crew searches for the mysterious Skull Island and its strange inhabitants, and find the giant gorilla called Kong. After kidnapping the beautiful star of the film, the ape is captured and transported to New York City, with disastrous results.

In Detail: First, please let me say that this is not a bad movie. It was just badly edited, or should I say, not edited at all. It is 3 hours long, no joke, and that does NOT include any commercials or previews. If there is a "director's cut" of this film, I might have to faint. An hour could *easily* have been cut out (dinosaurs *and* giant bugs, was that really necessary?), perhaps even an additional 15-30 minutes if you wanted to be a little more ruthless. Parts of it were so well done, so glorious, it is a shame it had to be dragged down by the excess footage. I think the biggest problem it has is that Peter Jackson wasn't sure what kind of movie he wanted, fun action or dramatic and heartfelt, so he tried to make both, and ended up making neither very well. What a shame. Either would have been excellent, but both together just didn't work. The film never settled on a rhythm or pace. You never knew if the next scene would be heart-wrenching or silly, so you were never fully comfortable in the world he presented. The effects were phenomenal in almost every aspect, and my hat is completely off to Naomi Watts, who did a mighty chunk of her work acting with *nothing* but a green screen and a ball on a stick for eye line purposes. Simply amazing acting from that perspective. But that alone could not make this film all that it was intended to be. Worth seeing, on the big screen if you are really interested (the effects may suffer on smaller televisions), just not the spectacular tribute we were all hoping for.

Will I Buy It? Unlikely.