Recent film roundup, end of 2008 edition
As always, it’s the only time of year you are guaranteed to find a few good films in theatres. So I’ve been seeing a lot more, and it seemed time to do a roundup of films I’ve seen recently. Most of these are currently in theatrical release, but some are on DVD.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Curiously uneven, and my least favourite Fincher film. Features brilliant sequences sandwiched between southern-fried folk wisdom that had me LOLing, and not in a way Forrest Gump would have wanted.
Quite liked it, although I hear the play is much better, and the film introduces a number of historical inaccuracies. Great actoring, though.
I generally hate biopics, but van Sant turned in a decent one here. Politico-historically interesting, not so much artistically so.
This film has a number of great things going for it: fantastically vulnerable performances from Rourke and Tomei, a beautifully and authentically realized setting, generally good storytelling, and more than a few great bits of dialogue. It was critically wounded by a couple of broad, melodramatic strokes in the plotting. I kept on thinking of the Simpsons episode where the doctor tells Homer he can’t be shot out of a cannon any more.
High-five, Wackness. You killed it. I have little tolerance for highschool-slash-coming of age stories as we just see so many of them, but this one distinguishes itself with sharp writing, a great sense of humour, Real Human Emotion&trade, and Ben Kingsley’s best performance since Gandhi was the head of a gang or whatever. Perfect soundtrack, too.
A documentary following four b-boy teams competing in the “Battle of the Year,” and a straight-up awesome feel-good movie in the vein of Rize.
A doc of the “real-life freak” variety. Documents the iconoclastic life of a money-hating doctor who raises a family of eight completely outside the system, as a tribe of nomadic gypsy-surfers all living in the same camper. It’s a mind-opening meditation on the possibility of living outside the system.
Next I really want to see Synecdoche and Slumdog Millionaire …