I thought I would steal an idea from K8, and give you a few mini reviews. Most of these are from my Netflix reviews, so they are short and sweet with very little explanation. Sometimes, that's what people are looking for in a review. Enjoy! :)
I just saw this little gem last night. If you couldn't handle Jaws, I suggest you not run out and rent this one. It's like Jaws, The Blair Witch Project, and a little sprinkling of student film work all wrapped up into one. The sharks are real, and they are way freakier than any mechanical thing I've ever seen. I commend Chris Kentis and his wife Laura Lau, the filmmaking team, for taking two years of weekends and holidays to make this low budget thriller, I just wish the stuff that took place away from the ocean had been as interesting as the knot-in-my-stomach thriller that was going on in the ocean.
Beautiful cinematography, beautiful costumes, interesting first half hour...then it all goes downhill. This film is a disjointed romp around France at best. Sofia Coppola has an interesting filmmaking style that seems to focus more on characters and not on any particular storyline. Though it works for her in Lost in Translation, it just comes off as an overproduced music video with this film.
If you're into noir, see this movie. If you're not, you might want to skip it. I gotta say, for the first half hour, the movie was losing me, but then I got used to the noir-ish speech patterns, and I started to really get into it. Plus, seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lukas Haas playing off each other was a treat in itself!
Sam Mendes' films can always be described as subtle. American Beauty is intense without shouting. Road to Perdition is breathtaking without slapping you in the face. Jarhead is touching and heart-wrenching all at the same time. When you can watch a war movie about a war that lasted only a heartbeat and walk out of the theatre feeling a little tired from the experience, you know you've watched a solid film. There is an amazing moment when Troy (Peter Sarsgaard) is branded, and...I kid you not...I haven't felt so proud that I was moved to tears since I watched Norma Rae.
The Constant Gardener
This had a really slow start--slow start in the sense of too artsy for its own good slow. It was like "look at the pretty landscapes for awhile and we'll get to the story eventually," but about 45 minutes in, I was completely hooked and extremely happy to have all the immense build up. This movie tore at me like Hotel Rwanda. I was angry at the big, bad companies, angry at the people who turned a blind eye, and especially angry at this dead woman who didn't think her husband could handle knowing her real life. I felt for Justin (Ralph Fiennes) so much because he was so alone and didn't get to know his wife (Rachel Weisz, who won an Oscar for this role), but he still loved her enough to risk his life to find out what happened and why. It's harsh and brutal and extremely descriptive at times, but all around a powerful piece.
Usually, I'm completely anti sophomoric comedies. This one is really no different. I definitely give the movie on a whole only 2.5 stars out of 5, BUT there is one scene that made me laugh so hard I probably cried a little. It's the robot fight scene. Yep, robot fight scene. Except it's not between two robots--it's between a mime and a guy making fun of the mime. I promise, if it's on TV, and you see the characters standing outside the Louvre, keep watching for at least five minutes!!