Sunday, April 18, 2010

Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

DiCaprio and Winslet go down with the sinking ship again in Revolutionary Road

All movies here rated:
and a half

Time for another rap up of three movies I've seen recently.

Moon (2009) - Ground control to Major Tom, David Bowie's son has come up with a brilliant sci fi flick about a guy who is stuck with the loneliest job in the universe: engineer on a mostly automated moon base. The base exists to generate clean energy for the Earth's population from materials found on the moon. Near the end of a three year contract, the engineer begins to hallucinate and has a serious accident. The aftermath of the accident sets off a chain reaction of events that question sanity, identity and social morality. Duncan Jones (Bowie's son who came up with the story and directed) brings back pre Star Wars sci fi by focusing on characters, intellectual ideas and that infamous slow burn pace that made films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running, Outland or Solaris film school classics. Well, maybe Outland is not a classic but it's influence is felt here. Moon wrapped me up in the character's internal struggle and builds tension without gimmicks.

I was really digging this flick, Sam Rockwell kicks ass in multiple roles making each separate character believable in their own right. The special effects look digital but also have the cheapness of early 70s sci fi which works well enough because that's not really what the movie's about anyway. Oh, enjoyed Kevin Spacey voicing a HAL like robot too.

Revolutionary Road (2008) - The much bally-hooed rematch between Titantic co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. A sort of "what if those two people got married after Titantic" captures two idealists marrying and making each other miserable in the suburbs. No question both are acting heavy hitters and they bring the heat in this sort of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? update. Like Woolf? the Road can get a little stagey in scenes, but it has strong dramatic impact nonetheless. Directed in that clean, poetic Sam Mendes style even though the ending seemed a little rote for him.

Hey, no one needs a reminder that Kate Winslet is one of the best working actresses around. She's getting good at that American accent too. Winslet can always be counted on for that thwarted hopes and dreams bubbling under the surface of Western culture perfection thing. DiCaprio excels too in that half bull shit half bravado persona he does. It's all about the dramatic arguments in this movie and like a pro wrestling pay per view there are some nice matches here. .

The Page Turner (2006) - A French film that does psychological thrillers right. No Hand That Rocks The Cradle theatrics here, just sustained mind games as a young woman takes revenge on a famous pianist who she blames for ending her music career. Menacing while keeping a hint of realism, The Page Turner keeps its scope modest and benefits from it.

Loved the ending to this movie, if only because instead of the usual Hollywood ending of people running around some building with guns or knives the climactic violence is just emotional.

And that's all for this round.

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