Sunday, December 10, 2006

Winter Films

The Great New Wonderful – another movie of vignettes which doesn’t work. Since Crash, there have been several of these. The trick with Crash was that the vignettes eventually connected – same with Syrianna (both not great films). This one doesn’t work. Edie Falco and Olympia Dukkakis both make small appearances and I suspect they are not annoyed that it wasn’t more substantial. Maggie Gyllenhaal is the key to this movie from an acting point of view, and she is accomplished in the role of a stuck up, arrogant and snotty cake maker. Its about time we saw her in something challenging – something that demanded real acting skill. This isn’t it. Avoid.

The Illusionist – a real showcase for Edward Norton who is outstanding as Eisenheim, the illusionist of the story. Paul Giamatti as the chief of police, Jessica Biel as Sophie (the love interest) and Rufus Sewell as the Crown Prince all put in stellar performances to make this a truly memorable film. A great script too, one with a brilliant twist at the end – made the whole film even more powerful. Phillip Glass wrote the music. A definite “must see”.

Munich – I think Spielberg has given up on editing – it runs for 164 minutes (except in the Philippines, where they cut 1 minute). Its about 64 minutes too long. An interesting story – how Mossad tracked down the Munich Olympic Massacre assasins and dealt with them. Some strong roles for the lead actors – Eric Bana (Hector in Troy) plays lead alongside Geoffrey Rush, Ciaran Hines (Caesar from the TV series Rome and a key player in The Statement) and Daniel Craig, among others. The film looses pace in the middle and ends in a way that suggests the crew just gave up. Moderate interest.

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