Friday, July 24, 2009

Quick DVD Reviews

The Bank Job
I love a good heist movie, and Statham is strangely compelling, but this one never really becomes the sum of its parts. It’s a little less spastic that a Guy Ritchie film, but the cast is still quite charming. Roger Donaldson is one of those very frustrating directors who can make movies that are just short of greatness (Thirteen Days, No Way Out, World’s Fastest Indian) but often throws up regurgitated Hollywood crap (Cocktail, Cadillac Man). This one is somewhere in the middle. It’s worth a rental, and is an enjoyable ride but nothing more. Grade: B

The Black Castle
I think this might be the final film from the Boris Karloff DVD Collection for me to watch. It’s one of those bait and switch Karloff flicks, as he’s only in a supporting role. Still, it’s a fairly entertaining film with Richard ‘Robin Hood’ Greene searching for answers deep in the Black Forest. It’s ably directed by Nathan Juran, who may be better known for working on certain Ray Harryhausen films. Karloff is so-so, and Lon Chaney Jr. never quite sells us on the menace of his character during the short time he appears on screen. Fun, but not essential. Grade: B-

The Wrestler
A couple of months ago, I stated that although I hadn’t seen The Wrestler, I can understand why Sean Penn won the Oscar. After having see Rourke’s amazing performance, it’s still a bit of a coin toss for me. They are just sooooo different that it’s hard to compare. I like the structure of this film and the way the story is told, but there are a few moments (like the freeze frame on the final scene) that actually seem like an 80s TV show (I’m think Miami Vice or A Team here). I found that sort of stuff a bit cartoony and clich├ęd and it really undercut the overall impact. I feel like Aronofsky had such great vision, but wasn’t precisely sure where to pull the plug. Still, it’s a very strong film with an amazing performance. Grade: A-

Eagle vs. Shark
One of those movies that’s well reviewed but you worry about taking a risk on it when peering at the rental shelf. I’m glad I did, because I’ve found good comedies to be few and far between in recent years and this one had my wife and I laughing out loud. Nicely acted, gives a feel for Kiwi life without going overboard like many Aussie movies did in the 90s. There’s a lot of heart in this movie, even though many characters are not immediately likeable, but they all grown on you. The level of pathos is incredible, and I literally squirmed during some of the more awkward exchanges. Great, great little film. Grade: A-

1 comment:

ROKK said...

Don't knock the A-Team.