Friday, March 19, 2010

Z



After a peaceful presidentially-aspiring senator is brutally murdered in a public place, the militarized government and the radical resistors work (respectively) to cover and reveal the sources of his murder, while a plodding deliberative judge sorts through the zigzagging evidence. This elegantly-crafted, politically-tinged, historically-rooted, oscar-winning film careens from broad comedy to procedural thriller while breaking every Robert McKee story rule ever pompously dictated and keeping the audience in its cinematic grasp every moment.

++++1/2

Daytrippers



When Eliza finds a suspicious note beside her husband's discarded pants, her working class New Jersey family decides to accompany her into the city to find her husband and find some answers; while their mishaps feel a bit like familiar-indie all-in-a-day conventions (by now), the performances are subtle and the plots gentle ambling toward its inevitable-feeling ending, *doesn't* feel predictable or telegraphed - just true. The filmmaking is unselfconscious and allows the actors and the story to take center-stage, and with a cast this good, any other choice would be a sin; particularly commendable is the inobtrusive and yet none-too-hipster use of music, reminding that music can just serve an indie story, not serve as a token-cum-advert for the next soundtrack album of the month.

++++

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sunshine


When astronauts take a nuclear payload to attempt to ignite a dying sun, the challenges they meet turn their spacecraft into a drifting space-version of SURVIVOR, with the stakes higher in every imaginable way. I found the pacing and dramatic tension to be clearly from the GOOD Danny Boyle oevre, loving the mise en scene, the characters, the plot roller-coaster, but was most bumped by the question (subtly?) introduced by the antagonist: is God speaking through a Freddy Krueger-style prophet of apocalypse or through the welcoming light of a needy mother sun?

+++1/2

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Moon


This dystopian fable combines important elements of 2001 Space Odyssey and Solaris in a meditation about aloneness, longing, memory and hope as they affect a solitary hydrogen3 miner on the lunar surface. I was surprised by how riveting and grueling this story managed to be while also remaining so patient, simple and focused; a beautiful sinister score underscores subtle and demanding performances, filmed, and directed with a precise balance of beauty and tragedy.

++++1/2