with 'review' tag

we continued our tour of oscar-worthy films in seeing the king’s speech. probably not at the top of my list, but it was great. the production design was particularly notable, as well as all of the performances. its flaws were smaller than some of the other films we have seen recently, but i also felt like it didn’t take as many risks.

we saw black swan today, another award-worthy film. darren aronofsky has managed to keep his hands on an excellent crew, adds a fantastic cast, and makes another great film. i expect there will be a large number of oscar nominations for this (acting, director, best picture, etc), but i’m not sure that there was enough there to actually claim many of them.

we saw the coen brothers’ version of true grit on new years eve, and it was a fantastic film, although i think it fell apart a little at the end. the dialogue was excellent, the acting met it, and it was shot as beautifully as you would expect from the usual coen brothers team.

i don’t know that i have ever seen the 1969 version of the film, and i know that i have never read the novel that both are based upon. two things to correct, eventually.

souvlaki or yakitori?

last saturday, celia and i abandoned the puppy for a few hours and trekked up to the valley to see lodestone theatre’s production of trojan women.

emily kuroda is fantastic as hecuba. there’s something very engaging about experienced stage actors and the way they capture the stage. most of the rest of the cast is good, if not at that same level. the staging is very simple, but effective.

the la weekly and the los angeles times both reviewed the play, the same performance even, and the contrast in the reviews is striking. but i can also see where both reviewers are coming from — the choices that they disagree on are polarizing.

you only have a couple of more weekends to head out to the valley to check this out. it’s worth the trip.

the rebel, or dòng máu anh hùng , was the closing night film at the vc filmfest 2007, as well as the winner of the grand jury prize for narrative films.

the film is amazing. it is set in 1920s vietnam, where the french have hired vietnamese agents to hunt down the rebels who are fighting for independence. there is a lot of action, and all of the acting is fantastic. unlike a lot of the wuxia films that have been popular recently, the fight scenes aren’t too over-the-top, and the plot is actually reasonably credible and well-developed.

john august does a great job of explaining the problems in spider-man 3. he doesn’t point out how egregious the scenes of peter parker acting cocky were, though. people who say this is better than either of the previous two have something wrong in their heads.

pride is a strictly by-the-numbers sports underdog movie, with horribly clunky dialogue. terrence howard’s performance is good (as is bernie mac’s), but in no way is it enough to save this clunker.

me and you and everyone we know has some good performances, but it falls flat because it tries too hard to be precious and quirky and profound but ends up annoying and cloying and dull.

good omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of agnes nutter, witch by neil gaiman and terry pratchett is every bit as good as you’d expect from those authors. i picked up a copy of this in the hong kong airport on our way back from our honeymoon, and finally got around to finishing what i didn’t read on the plane.

it’s a tale of the apocalypse with exactly the sort of humor you’d expect from terry pratchett. and probably neil gaiman, but i’ve come to realize that the only thing i’ve actually read of his is some issues of sandman and the day i swapped my dad for two goldfish. i really need to check out some of his novels.

the story brought to mind kevin smith’s dogma, which it predates. but it is considerably more british.

300 is gory (but not as ridiculous as sin city was), stylish, and fun. and almost as homoerotic as professional wrestling.