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April Movies

Posted by phduffy on 2008-05-04 16:30:55

Bank Job (Donaldson)

Very solid heist movie starring Jason Statham, loosely based on a true story. Statham is a recovering petty crook, trying to go legit. His ex-gf gets busted bringing drugs into the country, and is told that she can get her freedom by breaking into a certain safe deposit box and retrieving the contents for the government. Heisting and double crossing occurs. The 'true story' elements of the movie make it seem a little incomplete, but also added a bit more variety than you'd expect in this type of movie. A perfectly fine way to spend a couple of hours, although I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Hard Candy (Slade)

Strange/disturbing movie starring Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson. Page and Wilson meet online, and they agree to meet in real life. They end up back at Wilson's house, he starts serving her booze... then she drugs him, and he wakes up tied up to a chair. I won't reveal much more, but Page, who I think was a 16 year old playing a 14 year old, proceeds to torment Wilson. Many of the reviews discuss how good Page is in this role, and I also thought Wilson was excellent - it must have been tough to spend the movie appearing vulnerable compared to Page, but he pulls it off. I'm not sure what to think of this movie though - at some points you feel sorry for Wilson, who's a guy who lured a teenage girl to his house for sex. If only Chris Hansen had showed up, just to cut the tension. Ultimately, this film falls apart at the end, due to the sheer implausibility of the events. (I'm also pretty sure this isn't a subject I want to see depicted in film). Last month I watched Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, which I think was a better revenge/torment film.

Complicity (Millar)

I had no idea why I'd decided to rent this Scottish crime thriller starring Johnny Lee Miller, until I noticed during the opening credits that it was based on the novel of the same name, by one of my favourite authors, Iain Banks. And it proceeds just like a Banks novel - at some points I thought it was trying to out-Banks Banks. The narrative is non-linear, there is a secret (or two?) from the past, deep friendships which contain dark horrors - lots of the stuff I like about Banks. Oh yeah, and gruesome murders. Those are harder to pull off on film, since it's easier to write about blowing off someone's legs and having dogs eat his body than it is to show that. Anyways, the plot involves a journalist (Miller) who's investigates corruption. Eventually, the people he's investigating start to turn up dead. So Miller has to determine who the real killer is before he's arrested. Brian Cox is also in this movie. Like Bank Job, this is another solid crime thriller, but nothing exceptional.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Paine)

Documentary about the electric car, narrated by Martin Sheen. Doesn't attempt to be neutral, but does pose a number of interesting questions. I thought it may have been a bit long, it might have worked better as an hour of Frontline, instead of a 1.5 hour movie. Puts various stakeholders on trial for the death of the electric car. While ultimately the death seems to rest on GM and the State of California (and consumers) it does ask some fascinating questions, which are never answered. The key question - why wasn't anyone allowed to buy these cars? Instead, when the lease was up, GM took back possession of the cars and had them destroyed. GM gives no explanation for this.

L'auberge Espanole (Martine)

Fun French film about a young French man who spends a year in Barcelona studying economics. He ends up in house with people from all over Europe. I think that this may have been a metaphor for the European union, although I'm not quite sure that the parallels work. There's the British woman with the obnoxious brother who doesn't really want to join in on the fun, the rigid German, lesbian Belgian, fun Italian... I suspect if I was a citizen of Europe I'd see the parallels better. I thought that this worked pretty well at showing the potential isolation that someone could have during a year abroad, followed by the friendship, and ultimately sadness that the year is over and you have to enter the real world (not that I've ever spent a year abroad). When the main character reports to work, he's told by the bureaucrats "You'll love it hear, the people are so nice". He ends up running away in fear - I'm not sure what this says, as I work for the government, and we've told (and meant) that same line to new staff. While there's one completely unreasonable plot turn in this film, it's a small one, and doesn't detract to the overall fun of this movie.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Stoller)

Fantastic movie about a guy who gets dumped by his girlfriend, goes to Hawaii to get away from her, and finds out she's staying at the same resort. Not quite at the level of Superbad, but on par with Knocked Up. Way better than the previews. I liked everyone in this. Mila Kunis was great as the new flame, Kristen Bell did a good of being the ex (even making you feel sorry for her at some points), the actor playing Bell's new bf was great - he starts out as a caricature, and while he never becomes 'believable', he does become funny and sympathetic. There's a great part when they rip on crappy horror movies. It also made me wonder if most actors would take the risks that these actors do in a comedy. There's full frontal male nudity, a topless photo of one of the stars (certainly comedies show topless women, but it's not typically a 'name' actress), and simulated oral sex. I'm glad that they did this, as it adds to the comedy, but I wonder if this is common. Did this used to happen, or is it a new development? This movie should be doing better, see it.