Friday, October 14, 2005

Camera Obscura - Now Playing

Let's hit the good news first - of all the movies currently available in theatres right now, the best-reviewed, most audience pleasing movie to watch remains the action-comedy-sci-fi adventure "Serenity" by writer/director Joss Whedon. My previous review is here, and add another fine American endorsement from Stephen King. Go see it, or you will regret missing a marvelous adventure on the big screen.

If the kids are clamoring for a movie, you can't go wrong with the clay-mation comedy adventure of "Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit." The hilariously funny duo have been stars of several short films and the arrival of their big-screen epic is a first-rate movie for everyone. It is one of the few movies of the year that is earning nationwide praise from critics and audiences. I mean, c'mon -- there's a Were-Rabbit in it!!

A new arrival this week is from writer Richard Kelly ("Donnie Darko") and the hit-and-miss director Tony Scott. Kelly's writing is the definition of quirky and Scott, the director, is the definition of "hold the damn camera still, would ya!!! Please, pick a shot!!!" Their collaboration is based on the real-life female bounty hunter, "Domino." The cast includes Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Lucy Liu and Christopher Walken and that means plenty to oddities will get trotted out in a fictional story about a real-life person. It seems like it should be a lot better than it finally appears. I blame Tony Scott,, who seems to have attention deficit disorder.

Much to my surprise, Scott has made some excellent movies in the past and some real junk too. Of his most recent, I have found the grim story of a soldier of fortune seeking to find a reason to live in the very underrated "Man on Fire." Here, the jumpy Scott camera helps blend the past and present in a psychological fable held together solidly in place by Denzel Washington and the young Dakota Fanning. This revenge tale is at times brutal and bloody, but a very human story is the heart of this movie.
As for "Donnie Darko," it is one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years. Ignore the Director's Cut version now on DVD and go for the original version. The movie is a real shape-shifter, crammed with hilarious cameos by Patrick Swayze and Drew Barrymore and will keep you guessing from beginning to end. All the performances, the music, and the emerging examination of a wealthy suburb's strange and dark underbelly make this a must-see.

Why did I like the original better than the re-edited "director's cut" -- simple -- the original doesn't spoon-feed the audience with over-explanations of all the mystery and oddity inherent in the film. I enjoyed taking part in the effort to make the movie fit into one single complete explanation. The remake just gives away too much of those moments best left to mystery, so that is truly becomes a haunting tale you'll find yourself wondering about long after it ends.

Do you have a favorite movie you'd like to mention for future reviews? Is there a movie you can't find but want to locate? Just add your comments here and I'll be glad to help - it's what I do.

1 comment:

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