01 September 2009

Movies - Last Seen

Short reviews of these films - below.

State of Play, USA (2009)

Average and pretentious thriller about political corruption and journalism integrity. The movie starts strong, but as the time pass it becomes more tedious and exhausting, maneuvering itself between the subplots and trying to look more complicated than it really is. The problem is that I guessed the final twist 20 minutes into the movie, so nothing really surprised me, all plot elements were quite predictable and obvious. In the end there was an opportunity for really surprising twist, that would turn the whole thing around, but writers didn't take it.
Nice to watch, despite some forced plot holes, superficial story with fake righteousness and occasional bad acting.
Special credit for Rachel McAdams for being so damn cute.


Dead Time: Kala, Indonesia (2007)

Strong film noir influences in this one. Beautifully shot, with great use of light and darkness, what makes this film visually impressive and stylish. The story mixes horror and mysticism and it's really not hard to follow.
Bunch of people are looking for a hidden treasure, that apparently guarded by supernatural beings, and only one person should know its location. Anyone else, that exposed to that information, will be brutally killed.
The film creates good sense of paranoia and fear, and despite bad acting and rubbish ending it's very nice to watch it.


Miss March [Unrated], USA (2009)

Another movie glorifying Playboy and Hugh Hefner's legacy, whatever that means.
Poorly written, vulgar and includes scenes like a person that soils himself. And, of course, it is not a teenage comedy without naked chicks, lesbians an rude sex jokes.
Still, it has its moments and sometimes even funny, but eventually it is what it is - mindless teenage comedy for drunk college students.


Duplicity, USA/Germany (2009)

One of these movies that fun to watch, but when it's over you just say "meh, so what?".
This movie is all about pretending and misleading, it is not as smart and intelligent as it pretends to be, the story is not as complicated as it's presented, and the twist is so predictable it's actually disappointing when it finally happens.
The chemistry between the leads, Owen and Roberts, is weak, with many unnecessary scenes between the two and with too many dumb conversations about trust and love, frozen pizzas and whatnot. But they still manage to hold the film together, and flow with he story, so the result is watchable, but not really satisfying.


Che: Part One, USA/France/Spain (2008)

Straightforward storytelling without unnecessary emotions and drama. All the politics aside, this is great movie on its own, without even considering that it is based on a real life person. There is no point to look into historical accuracy and biographical details of this portrayal, I think fictional Che Guevara is solid, full and complete character, perfectly played by Del Toro.
Without going deep into ideological beliefs and convictions, the film presents practical side of the Cuban revolution. There is no political debates and moral justifications, there is no attempt to judge anyone's actions, there are just real life events and real life people, walking day by day on the course they have chosen.
Steven Soderbergh once again shows what a great filmmaker he is, and what great understanding of the medium he has. No sentiments, no emotional manipulations, just a piece of history with almost documentary quality.


Che: Part Two, USA/France/Spain (2008)

Less impressive than Part One, and not that good of a film in general.
Being completely different from the first film and taking out most of his famous tricks and techniques, Soderbergh makes here some questionable decisions. Whether it's weird casting choices (Matt Damon? And how exactly Franka Potente ended up in this?) or too much shootings without any essence behind it, he is clearly going off his usual path here, not being able to create compelling structure for the plot, which makes the whole thing a bit dry and stiff.
Trying not to insult anyone and show objective point of view, Soderbergh doesn't realize that this is the biggest weakness of the film.
People fighting alongside Che in this movie are not driven by ideology or political views, most of them are just mercenaries or criminals, looking for the way to become rich. They have no real interest of changing anything, and their only motivation is exactly what motivated all kind of mercenaries since ever - promises for the spoils of war, plunder and pillage. And instead of emphasizing it, instead of showing that this was the main reason for Che's failure, the movie mostly ignores it, maybe because it would make his heroic figure a bit naive and his general struggle futile.
Too bad, because Soderbergh had a real opportunity here to say something really important. But he decided not to get involved or be direct by pointing out the flaws. As result the movie is pointless, and like a dog that finally caught his tail, but has no real idea what to do next.


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