Archive for the ‘2015 London Film Festival’ Category

High-RiseQ: How many times do you see a movie before you review it?

A: With few exceptions, one viewing is all I get before I pull the trigger. And, with even fewer exceptions, one viewing is generally all I need. And by that, I do not mean that I know all there is to know after a single screening. Rather, it’s unlikely that my basic opinion will change from that initial reaction. One notable exception is The Dark Knight. I’m not sure what it was, but my response after seeing it was, “Meh.” I’ve seen it twice since then and have been awestruck both times. Not sure if it my expectations were too high or if I was just having a bad day, but that’s one time when my first impression was not worth a damn. I really enjoyed Map to the Stars the first time I saw it and decided to use it as a critical experiment. I waited a week and then saw it again before writing a review. The additional viewing provided some nuance, particularly regarding performances, but had little effect on my overall evaluation. Otherwise, too many movies and too little time limits me to one shot per flick. (more…)

TrumboLeave it to Hollywood to turn one of its darkest periods of cowardice into a self-aggrandizing cinematic triumph. Celebrating the life of Dalton Trumbo in a major movie from Tinseltown is irony itself; the question is whether the aftertaste is sweet or bitter? Coming off the keys of Trumbo’s typewriter, which he sat behind for hours at a time in his bathtub, beating out some of the most famous screenplays in history, the script of his own life would undoubtedly have been both sweet and sour, awash in fine wine, and surrounded by bilious clouds of cigarette smoke from his six-packs-a-day habit.

Trumbo gives us this Trumbo – a larger than life character in a story that is almost too good to be true. The short version is that Dalton Trumbo was a prolific and outstanding novelist and screenwriter, who, like many of his peers in the 1930’s and 1940’s, was also a member of the Communist Party of America. (more…)

bone tomahawkBone Tomahawk is a horror-western hybrid – think The Searchers meets The Hills Have Eyes. Hey, nothing wrong with that except director/screenwriter S. Craig Zahler opted not to take the best elements of each genre, but rather all the elements of both. The result is a movie with an unconscionable run time of 132 minutes, which is at least 30 minutes too long, given the subject matter and treatment.

Put more bluntly, if the centerpiece of your movie is a lost tribe of murderous cannibal mutant freaks, don’t keep them off the screen for three-quarters of the film. (more…)