Tuesday, November 6, 2007

i'm still alive

staying in newish release mode, i finally brought myself to see sean penn's into the wild. there was a lot of hype around this one, so i tried my darndest to level expectations. although not "life changing", it's a risky movie with a wring-your-damn-neck message (careers are for the weak! you are slaves to your money!) that manages not to fall flat on its face.

emile hirsch as the well-read wanderlust channels a young leo dicap in his hey. the likeness though is merely looks-wise. whenever hirsch opens his mouth his voice never sounds like you would expect it to. characters are entranced by his above-it-all worldview, almost instantly.
mr. penn makes his presence felt: characters break the 4th wall and love interests have zits.
but the star here is eddie vedder, who created original songs specifically for the film. low-fi and twangy, pearl jam's mastermind has created a work of music that encapsulates the one-with-nature feel penn has painted with his camera.

wait, scratch that, the real star is this old man towards the end of the film who will steal your heart and make you call your dad.

Monday, November 5, 2007

you can't handle the troof

Seeing as how awards season is just beyond the horizon, I deemed it necessary to take a break from The Criterion Collection and instead focus on some current films that have recently hit theaters with plenty of buzz (noooo, not Bee Movie).

First on the list, the Georgey Clooney driven vehicle, Michael Clayton, in which Clooney plays the "janitor" of a swanky corporate NYC law firm whose job it is to clean up the firm's messiest fiascos. This movie is hard-hitting from the first frame and is perfectly edited as the pacing is right on point and the movie runs just shy of 2 hours. Michael Clayton keeps the audience interested and entertained throughout as first-time director Tony Gilroy brings the same type of energy as seen in the bourne trilogy, of which he is the scribe. Clooney delivers a stellar performance, taking an otherwise generic legal thriller and raising it up a few notches. Tilda Swinton kills it despite her short time on the screen, and she effectively made me want to slap the sh*t out of her character, Karen Crowder, who is chief legal counsel for a corrupt agrichemical giant. Despite the obvious villains in the movie, the strong plot, with its share of twists and turns, is cemented by solid acting performances and a promising directorial debut.

***Bonus thought: Did the Michael Clayton poster bite from the Man Who Fell to Earth?