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Sunday, March 27, 2011

I've been just crazy busy lately, and though I've been watching a fair amount of films, I haven't had the time to sit down and write everything up. So before the memories of these films fade, I wanted to post some quick thoughts.

Gareth Edwards’ indie darling Monsters ultimately is a bit too flawed to fully stand behind it. It’s a special effects marvel—but only when you consider it was made for $20,000. It’s a sweet love story—if only you can get past the contrivances that bring our two leads together. It’s an edge-of-your-seat monster thriller—in the one scene the monsters actually appear in. And it’s a fascinating political allegory—that says pretty much everything District 9 said a few years ago. 2.5 Stars

Alex Gibney’s Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer isn’t the most surprising or original documentary of 2010, but the way it presents the former governor of New York’s strengths and weaknesses is fascinating and admirable. There are moments in which we feel bad for Spitzer. He tried to do what few in politics have the guts to: Go after the banks and big business. And his downfall is filled with allegations of foul play. But there are moments in which Spitzer gets power hungry, and worse than that, he doesn’t take responsibility for all of his actions. The film is great in patches, dull in other moments. But on the whole, it’s a worthwhile watch. 3 Stars

It takes a lot of guts to make a movie that runs nearly 6 hours, but after seeing Carlos, it’s easy to see why the extremely long running time is necessary. The film’s lead character, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos (who is played brilliantly by Edgar Ramirez), is an extremely complicated individual who led quite a busy life. Though I thought the film’s third and final portion was a drag, the first two sections are absolutely incredible, especially the second act takeover of an OPEC convention in Austria. Director Olivier Assayas presents everything in an unhurried fashion that’s welcome, though a little more unconventionality would have made this exceptionally long movie feel a little more palatable. 3 Stars

Gaspar Noe’s controversial Enter the Void just shocked me. It features some hardcore sex (including a vagina-cam), a lingering shot on an aborted fetus, and some of the most incredible camerawork I’ve seen maybe ever, but I think what shocked me the most was how wildly uneven the film is. Though punctuated by moments of absolute brilliance, I can’t give it a solid recommendation because more often than not, it’s a tedious bore. The largely first-person film follows the spirit of a teen drug dealer who is shot down in Japan. Looking out for this orphaned sister (a great Paz de la Huerta), the spirit does as much traveling as observing. And while it’s pretty to look at, everything that happens feels gloomy and a bit hollow. 2.5 Stars


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