I’ve never really liked Banksy. I should add that I have no real eye or understanding of art, so I can’t say much more than ‘while aesthetically pleasing, a majority of his work suffers from insipid political statements about consumerism and war and whatever else.’ The protester is about to launch a molotov cocktail…oh wait a minute, that’s a bouquet of flowers. It’s the kind of half-assed ‘sticking it to The Man’ nonsense that bothers me, so even if the sentiments are generally in the right direction, I snobbishly snub my nose at the kids buying his coffee table book. So with that out of the way, we can press on with Banksy’s first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop. Read the rest of this entry »

Shutter Island

April 8, 2010

Beware of Spoilers of ‘The Twist’, even though it is obvious enough if you’ve ever seen the trailer or, in fact, any movie ever.

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I’m sure I’ve talked about the importance of tone in films before, and before I go back to that old standby when talking about Matthew Vaughn’s comic book fantasy Kick-Ass, I think it worth stressing how crucial it is (for the thousandth time). In most films, suspension of disbelief is paramount for engaging with the characters and story. This is not to say that everything need be believable or even logical, but if you want to be swept up in whatever experience the film can offer, the wrong moment can jar you right out of the picture. A consistent tone does well to maintain the suspension of disbelief in genre films such as Kick-Ass because, after all, nobody wants to find themselves aware of the real world when they’re meant to be escaping from it. As a digression, a good director making a certain film knows when to use a moment totally at odds with everything else around it to emphasize a point and, hopefully, get an emotional reaction (Richie’s attempted suicide in The Royal Tenenabaum, for instance). I’m not saying Matthew Vaughn is forever incapable of accomplishing this, but Kick-Ass is most certainly not that film. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Climax of Chloe

April 1, 2010

I’ve said this about Avatar and I’ll say it again about Atom Egoyan’s psychological/erotic thriller Chloe: In general, all the reviews you read will be the same. Or, at least, they’ll hit the same basic conclusion that whatever the merits of the first hour, the final third loses the plot and either almost or completely does derail the picture. They might not like the film at all, or they might defend it as mostly good, but they’ll pretty much all agree on that one point. I, for one, do not feel compelled to disagree. For the first hour features some truly excellent elements, and they work together very well to create a solid if, in some ways, rather minor work in the Egoyan’s oeuvre, and the final third does, indeed, disappoint. I do not think, however, that climax is completely devoid of value, nor do I think it feels like a completely separate film from the first part.

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