Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Movie Night: 3 Reviews

Well, not exactly movie night, more like three movie nights in a row, but anyway... saw three movies on DVD. All good, one great. So, here they are, in order of "goodness."

First up is Michael Mann's Miami Vice. Given the sporadic reviews of the theatrical cut, I watched the director's cut instead and, I must say, really enjoyed it. Admittedly, the plot was convoluted enough to make Brian de Palma proud, but it tied together well. The film was nowhere near as good as Mann's two previous crime dramas (the outstanding Heat and kick-ass Collateral), but definitely worthy of being watched. Kudos for the line "Time is luck." I'll have to steal that one in the future.

Next up is the British horror film, The Descent. Again, given the complaints from horror-philes about the watered-down American theatrical ending, I acquired the unrated DVD. I'm not a huge horror fan, although I try to be, but I really, really dug this movie. Excellent setup, excellent character, beautifully shot, and great concept. This is actually the second Neil Marshall horror film in a row that I've liked (the first being the way too underrated Dog Soldiers), and if he pulls off a third, he'll officially be listed as the best horror director of all time, in my humble opinion. Like Dog Soldiers, the emphasis is less on the monsters and more on the characters. Sure, this is arguable, but the very fact that a horror movie took the time to actually develop characters is worth mention in and of itself.

The original ending, however, didn't impress me as much as I had hoped. It did keep the tone of the film better than the American ending, and helped emphasize a recurring theme (the dreams), but wasn't the film-changing shocker that I was expecting. Still, the differences in the ending merely serves to prove that American studios are pansies when it comes to less-than-traditional finishes.

Finally up is an amazing film, one that snuck in under the radar: the Australian Western The Proposition. Starring Guy Pearce and Ray Winstone, this is simply a great, great movie.

The plot centers on Charlie Burns (Pearce), an outlaw who was once a member of the aptly named Burns gang, run by his older brother Arthur. Charlie and his younger brother Mikey are captured at the onset of the film by the police. Captain Stanley (Winstone) offers Charlie a deal... kill Arthur, and Mikey goes free. Awesome, isn't it?

Although there were some cinematographical missteps (such as the preference for allowing white to blow out the image), the film's mood and look were effective and, strangely, moving. The final shot of the two brothers was disturbingly heartwarming, putting a nice finishing touch on a film that treats violence so poetically. Even the music was near-perfect. I don't want to ruin any more of the film than I might already have, but if you're an avid moviegoer, The Proposition should not be missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Other and I just watched Miami Vice DC, and thought it was choppy and not put together well.

And don't ever go this long between blogs again...

Posted by Jessica Lynn on January 9, 2007 - Tuesday - 8:35 AM

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