Sunday, January 1 1995
Movies are such a vital part of our culture. We go to the cinema, we rent videos, and even basic cable provides one or two movies at any given point in every day. So it's getting downright crowded out there in movie land, and therefore harder and harder to come up with something original.
For an unabashedly hyperbolic black gangsta comedy, 3 Strikes includes far too many moments that ring true.
Plausibility is plainly not Training Day's concern. It's more interested in images and ideas than practicalities.
midst all the hoopla shouting of the probable Oscar proliferation showering upon The Talented Mr. Ripley; the ongoing comparisons (of the original series of novels by Patricia, the French film Purple Noon, and Anthony Minghella's creation); and glowing appreciation for Minghella's assembly of the most fashionable young and beautiful, there lie hidden a few very nasty notions regarding homosexuality.
All this symbolism would be quite impressive, actually, if 'Tomb Raider' ever gave the slightest impression it knew where it was going with it or was eventually planning to use these symbols to say something coherent.
Puke green bile, dark blood, convulsing pink. tissue. A close-up shot following a bullet's path into and through internal organs is a frankly terrible image. In most war movies, bullets do tend to fly. But you only see their external effects: blood spurts, faces contort, handheld cameras zig and zag, explosions-effects create aestheticized, often slo-mo, chaos. In David O. Russell's Three Kings, however, you see the insides: the bullet rushes forward, stops, lodging in mangled, throbbing flesh while fluids accumulate. It's visceral and immediate. It's surreal and nasty.
The characters remain oblivious through much of 'Thirt3en Ghosts', and for that, they might count themselves fortunate.
Consider the view of Kevin Williamson, presently king of all he surveys. As writer-thinker-upper of the first two Screams, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the WB's hugely popular Dawson's Creek (and even given the failure of this past fall's network-offering, Wasteland), he has spread out before him a vast space of Yes.
Vestiges of the West are ever close to the surface in Bui's Saigon.
'The Tailor of Panama' [is] an international spy movie with a little more on its mind than the usual Bondian gizmos and girls -- yes, please note the cute nod, in Brosnan's casting as a chic and arrogant operative, to his most famous role, and it's not Remington Steele.
Handles uncomfortable material with bravery and tender force; it is utterly human and unrelenting in its challenges to assumptions.
Together with co-cinematographers Ko Chiu Lam and Herman Yau, Hark here develops a peculiar hybrid of corny romance, bad fx (the burning building effect is straight-up lame), and seriously dynamic action scenes, all enhanced by fashionably jaggedy editing, timelapse speediness, slow motion, and ridiculous (in the good way) camera angles.
The pleasure Gwen takes in all this chaos -- not to mention Bullock's signature sunniness -- makes this introductory sequence look like the opening to a broad Farrelly brothers-style comedy.
'Tigerland' turns that same step of acknowledging a responsibility greater than oneself into a personal defeat, the inevitable breaking of a rebel.
On first hearing this voice-over at the beginning of Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley, you might think you're going to see a film about regret or guilt, or perhaps a refined kind of melancholy. But it's not long before you realize that for the speaker, Tom Ripley, such emotion - any emotion - is a performance.