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Blog // Thoughts
October 5, 2007

Yet More Film Micro-Reviews

The Namesake – Very impressive work from Mira Nair, director of the excellent Monsoon Wedding (adapted from a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri). One of the most gripping portrayals of the first and second generation immigrant experience that I have seen. Strong cast, smart cinematography (especially the use of colour), witty and intelligent script, fine mix […]

The Namesake – Very impressive work from Mira Nair, director of the excellent Monsoon Wedding (adapted from a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri). One of the most gripping portrayals of the first and second generation immigrant experience that I have seen. Strong cast, smart cinematography (especially the use of colour), witty and intelligent script, fine mix of source and soundtrack music and a powerful blend of sympathy and antipathy. Must-see film.

Resident Evil: Extinction – Like most films based on computer games, Resident Evil 3 is patently absurd, obscenely loud and pornographically violent. But, unlike most films of this genre, it is somewhat entertaining. This is in no small part due to the fact that the obligatory popular film references (including The Birds, Forbidden Planet and Planet of the Apes) are not referenced in cliched one-liners but actually re-created within the settings and action of the film. Quite intelligent as far as this sort of stuff goes.

1408 – Possibly the most morally bankrupt film of the decade. For the most part, this is a droll adaptation of a Stephen King short story that has neither the substance nor the conceptual framework to fill a feature-length film. Samuel L. Jackson impersonates Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusak impersonates a first year drama student and everyone else is as forgettable as the score and the simplistic effects. The real problem stems from the way the film evokes the tragic death of a young child. When a film does this and pushes us to consider both the child and athe parent’s suffering it creates, no, it demands some treatment and exploration of the human condition. A failure to do so makes any film not only manipulative, but morally deleterious. 1408 is such a film.

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee РSomewhat disappointing sepia-drenched adaptation of Dee Brown’s massively important (and tightly researched) history of the Native American struggles during the late 19th century. The film focusses on the period from from the Battle At Little Big Horn to the Massacre at Wounded Knee and although it reveals little to anyone familiar with the history, it is worth seeing as a reminder of the tragedy and of course, as an eye-opener for anyone (is there anyone?) unfamiliar with this sad era in American history.

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Responses
Paul 15 years ago

i’ll never understand why stephen king is so mangled in most of his film adaptions. After The Shining and Shawshank i’m really struggling [altho the tv series of IT was quite good as well!]… Any theories on why this would be?

rudy 15 years ago

i just saw casino royale, i’d be interested in your thoughts, i really liked it

Fernando Gros 15 years ago

I suspect that Stephen King’s stories get boiled down to the basic idea, given that high-concept film-making is the order of the day. The two films you mention are great because they don’t just play on the concept (or trick) in the story, but they retain the narrative arc and the development of the characters through the story.

Fernando Gros 15 years ago

Rudy – I was very impressed with Casino Royale. Easily the best of the recent Bond Films and up there with the the better old ones.

Although I like Brosnan as an actor, the films were becoming too generic – too many explosions and too much technology. This one used technology, but with occasional contempt for it, preferring to be more direct and hands on. I also liked the way it undercut some of the classic elements, like the drink, the car chase and even the bond girl. Eva Green was a great, modern, very un-American love interest and the scene where Bond comes out of the ocean (a la Ursula Andress and Halle Berry) was priceless.

Very good.

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