Six movies, five sentences each, and I'm all caught up. I'm glad these are mostly positive. Sometimes, I think I'm fairly easy to please; other times, I think most everybody else is just being bitchy. Just because you can deliver the snark doesn't mean every film deserves it.
Anyway, off the soapbox and onto the films:
THE FINAL DESTINATION: 3D
Blood spurts, body parts fly, fire roars through the screen and into our faces. It's your typical Final Destination flick, but in another dimension, so it's automatically awesomer. I like the lead, Bobby Campo, and I hoep we see more work from him, as he seems capable of doing more than just guilty pleasure fare like this. Director David R. Ellis (Snakes on a Plane) and writer Eric Bress give the movie a sick sense of fun that is refreshing after too-serious horror fare like the Prom Night and Friday the 13th remakes. Probably not as fun in 2D, but holy hell did I have a good time.
Smart action flick with ADD editing and directing from the team that brought you the Crank movies. It's not just the welcome presence of Michael C. Hall and Kyra Sedgwick: the movie actually has some brilliant ideas underneath all the confusion. Poor Gerard Butler is the only one stuck without a character, just a Hero that we should root for because he's the hero, though he does try, God bless him. Alison Lohman is actually given a character, meanwhile, and just sucks, a disappointment after her triumphant performance in Drag Me to Hell. Works as a guilty pleasure, but if you're willing to find more to it than that, there are many layers here.
Fun little gem with a 1970s vibe, yet set in the 1990s. Matt Damon gives a fantastic, layered performance as a corporate whistle-blower who, though smarter than most give him credit for, is not as slick as he thinks he is. Scott Bakula plays his FBI handler, almost walking away with the entire show, with a host of under-used comedians and character actors in supporting roles. Film is both amusing and sad, but builds slowly, believably, to that sour note. I wish Marvin Hamlisch could score my life.
YouTube sensation Derrick Comedy has their first movie out, one of the most independently independent I've ever seen...and it's hilarious. More than just a drawn-out sketch, we get an actual mystery to solve when three high school sleuths wind up investigating a double-homicide. Laughs come from a combination of the situational and the absurdly random, but it all works, and the climax is a thing of beauty. Aubrey Plaza is the anti-ingenue, and between this and Funny People, I think we've got a welcome new talent on our hands. Y'all should support it, but I think it's being given the roadshow treatment right now.
Intriguing Norwegian film about a recently retired train conductor (Baard Owe) going through life, with questions of mortality lingering throughout every scene. Owe gives a tender, haunting performance that stays with you long after the film. It's a little slow-going, certainly, and feels a LOT longer than its 90-minute running time, but it's worth it. John Christian Rosenlund's cinematography is beautiful, and between this and Let the Right One In, I am suddenly very intrigued by Scandinavian cinema. Good to rent if you're in the mood for it.
THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE
Intriguing doc about the behind-the-scenes magic behind Vogue's September issue, the largest and most important fashion publication of the year. We certainly get a picture of the devil in Prada, Anna Wintour: guarded, all-business, very serious about fashion; also self-conscious and insecure - though she's established herself, she is clearly hurt by how her siblings find her career "amusing". Creative director Grace Coddington is the film's true star, however, a woman just as formidable as, yet more open than Ms. Wintour. The work is outstanding and breathtaking, and these ladies demand and deserve respect. Worth seeing just to get a glimpse into a world you're not a part of.