Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quick Review: Night Catches Us

Night Catches Us a movie about a neighborhood that is still feeling the after effects of the Black Panther Party in the 1970s is led by terrific performance by Anthony Mackie.  Mackie plays Marcus Washington, a man who returns to the neighborhood he grew up in for his father's funeral.  While there, Marcus, who is a former member of the Black Panther Party, left to deal with the after effects of the violent night that ended up forcing him to leave his neighborhood.  There are good supporting performances by Kerry Washington and Jamie Hector as people who were affected by Marcus's actions. I enjoyed the story, about the effect that the Black Panthers had on the blacks during the '60s and '70s and how even after their prime had passed, there are still people who romanticized their ideals. The movie also has a really good score by The Roots. ***Stars

Quick Review: Winter's Bone

I really enjoyed Winter's Bone.  It is a simple story, but it is told so interestingly and so well.  What really works in the movie are the performances by Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes.  I really enjoyed Lawrence as Ree, the determined teenager who has taken it up on herself to find her father and Hawkes' turn as Teardrop, Ree intense uncle.  The cinematography and costumes of the movie is absolutely gorgeous, giving you a sense of how poor and desperate the characters in the film are.  **** Stars.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

In Rare Exports, Santa Claus is a mythical demon that eats children who has been bad.  Santa Claus has been awakened after being buried for hundreds of years to terrorize the small surrounding town in Finland. The movie starts off as a horror movie and ends on on the funniest movies I've seen in a few years. The story, while a bit silly is forgivable for the shear lunacy that occurs on screen. The final thirty minutes of the movie is pure comedic delight and when you find out what the "rare export" of the title is, you will almost die laughing.  *** stars

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Quick Review: Black Swan

There was a lot of hype surrounding Natalie Portman’s role in Black Swan.  Hype says that this was an Oscar nomination worthy role.  While Portman delivers a good performance, ultimately the movie is just too cheesy for me take seriously.

The movie, about a ballerina who lands the lead in Swan Lake and finds herself morphing into the evil lead character uses a lot of visual tricks and scares that fall flat to me.  Instead of making scenes more tense or thrilling, the tricks actually made me want to laugh.

The plot of the movie also did not make much sense, I failed to know or understand the characters and why Portman’s character found herself becoming the evil Black Swan.  This was overall just a disappointing movie.  ** Stars