March 29, 2010

Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy, 2007)

WHAT IT IS: A legal handyman uncovers a corporate conspiracy when he’s asked to rein in his former mentor, now suffering from dementia. HOW IT IS: In the current climate of fraudulent pyramid schemes and collapsing economy, Michael Clayton seems prescient in talking about truth and trust. Clooney stars as the jaded adjuster who’s thrown into a corrupt corporate scheme […]
March 29, 2010

Little Children (Todd Field, 2006)

WHAT IT IS: Two suburbanites start an affair to escape the expectations of their society. HOW IT IS: Little Children is close in theme to Field’s last movie, In the Bedroom. But, where the latter concentrated on the disintegration of family through a tragic event, this movie chooses to explore the self-realization and discovery of these characters in a modern […]
March 29, 2010

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Scott Derrickson, 2008)

WHAT IT IS: Klaatu, a representative from an alien civilization, lands on Earth to set in motion a plan that involves saving the planet Earth by destroying mankind. HOW IT IS: The Klaatu character seems tailored for Reeves. From his detached sensitivity to his haughty demeanour, the impenetrable Klaatu is scary because he’s alien. The decision to transform the Cold […]
March 29, 2010

Sukiyaki Western Django (Takashi Miike, 2007)

WHAT IT IS: In a Far-East treasure town, two rival clans clash in a quest for gold. A strange gunman comes to town and plays both sides against each other. His agenda is unknown. HOW IT IS: Produced by Quentin Tarantino, Miike’s tribute to spaghetti western and samurai films is much more than a collage of film homages. By choosing […]
March 29, 2010

Gone, Baby, Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007)

WHAT IT IS: Boston: A private investigator is enlisted to find a little girl who’s been abducted in his old neighborhood. HOW IT IS: In his directorial debut, Ben Affleck borrows from many of the great living directors, from Eastwood to Van Sant. Most notable is the latter’s influence within the cinema vérité shots. A Bostonian himself, Affleck’s neighborhood seems […]
March 26, 2010

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sidney Lumet, 2007)

WHAT IT IS: A diamond store robbery turned bad leaves two brothers struggling with the consequences of their actions. HOW IT IS: The non-linear storytelling infuses the film with a kinetic feel and a sense of experimentation, with the story told from the different characters’ points of view. It owes much to predecessors like Rashomon, Citizen Kane or Pulp Fiction. […]
March 26, 2010

Dan in Real Life (Peter Hedges, 2007)

WHAT IT IS: Dan, a columnist, has a chance encounter with the lovely Marie and, for the both of them, it’s love at first sight. But he discovers she’s taken … by his training-obsessed, fickle brother. HOW IT IS: Dan in real life is filmmaking by the numbers. It hits its various notes and hits them well but with neither […]
March 26, 2010

Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes, 2008)

WHAT IT IS: The Wheelers are the heads of a nuclear family in 1950s suburban America. Hidden behind a facade of perfection, the young couple disintegrates when it attempts to escape society’s expectations. HOW IT IS: Based on a popular Richard Yates novel, Mendes’s new film shares a common thread with American Beauty, his first film; it examines the breakdown […]
March 26, 2010

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, 2008)

WHAT IT IS: This is the unusual story of Benjamin Button, who was gifted (cursed?) with the ability to age backwards. HOW IT IS: With this screenplay, Eric Roth re-examines familiar territory: the fantastic biopic. Roth is an impressive screenwriter, with to his credit classics like Munich, The Insider and Forrest Gump. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button exudes the […]
March 26, 2010

Cloverfield (Matt Reeves, 2008)

WHAT IT IS: In the middle of good-bye celebrations, a group of twenty-somethings film a monster attack on Manhattan with their hand-held camera. HOW IT IS: Marketed as a ground-level monster movie, Cloverfield fails at its every opportunity. A high-concept stretched to the running time (an hour and a half that feels like three), it is the child of J.J. […]
March 26, 2010

There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

WHAT IT IS: An oil mogul finds a new forage in a US small town and builds a fortune. HOW IT IS: Anderson’s movies are interesting for their propensity to fits of grandeur. This movie methodically depicts the rise of this fictional character, from modest beginnings to rich mogul. I enjoyed it less than Anderson’s previous efforts, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk […]
March 26, 2010

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Tom Tykwer, 2006)

WHAT IT IS: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born destitute, has the most gifted olfactory sense ever bestowed on a human being. He yearns to learn how to distill all smells, including a woman’s. HOW IT IS: Twyker’s Perfume is strange but mesmerizing, like a song you can’t forget. It slowly creeps in, half serial killer movie, half meditation on life, talent and […]