Monday, October 25, 2010

7 Word Reviews: Made in Dagenham, Stone, 127 Hours, Etc...

Can you feel Oscar precursor season gearing up?

Left: Aron Ralson as himself.
Right: James Franco as Aron Ralston
The mountaintops are a-rumbling. To delude myself into thinking I've "caught up" before the avalanche, herewith seven word reviews on a bunch of movies I haven't got around to talking about just yet. More to come on three of them.

127 Hours
In which James Franco plays Aron Ralston who is pinned under boulder in southern Utah.
7WR: Nervously tricked up storytelling, but gripping nonetheless. B/B+

Made in Dagenham
Sally Hawkins leads fellow factory women on a strike for equal pay in late-60s England.
7WR: Engaging nuanced star turn elevates predictable story.  B

A parole officer who is about to retire (of course!) gets mixed up with an inmate and his wife.
7WR: Weirdly acted, overcooked presentation of undefined 'whatthefuck?'ness. D

Norton: What the fuck are you looking at?
Nathaniel: Honestly, I have no idea. You should tell me since you made it. 

In which Angelina Jolie is an American spy accused of being a Russian sleeper agent.
7WR (Angelina): An unactable enigma, so Jolie charismas instead. B+
7WR (Movie): Endearingly absurd but sadly disposable. Lame ending. B-

Soul KitchenFatih Akin's comedy about second chances, a flailing restaurant, and two German-Greek brothers.
7WR: Slow burn silliness and lusty adult appetites. B+

Kristin Scott Thomas gets the f*** of her life from Sergi Lopez, then loses her cool.
7WR: Feverishly horny portentousness. Somehow Kristin sells it. C+

I Am Love
Tilda is the matriarch of a rich Italian clan whose family business is changing hands.
7WR: Mouthwatering visuals, melodramatic verve, subtextual theme;  Masterpiece?  A/A-
(big article forthcoming now that it's on DVD. Probably in a week's time.)

(From the man behind Amélie.) A man with a bullet in his brain seeks revenge on arms dealers.
7WR: Inspired (But Exhausting) Hijinx Setpieces 'R Us B-

If you've seen any of these, do share your feelings. I lift the restrictions on word counts for the comments. You may use more than 7! (If you're ever in doubt about whether or not to comment try to think of comments as little crumbs and The Film Experience as a zoo. Here you may should feed the animals because they don't eat otherwise.) 


Andrew R. said...

Micmacs: Not Amelie level great, but still very very good, and while I haven't seen Of Gods and Men, this should've been the French submission for Oscar.

I haven't seen I Am Love, but two friends did. Neither one of them would call it a masterpiece.

What do you think Made in Dagenham's Oscar chances are? (Specifically referring to Hawkins and Richardson.)

adelutza said...

I Am Love was for me the film of the year as I left the theater. Will it keep its grip on a second viewing?
I liked Made in Dangenham but the subject was to close to home to be objective. For sure though, , Rosamund Pike continues her streak. She was the stupid trophy girlfriend in An Education and the ignored smart, beautiful and classy trophy wife in Made in Dangenham. When will the Academy recognize her?

James T said...

Salt: Yeah, pretty much what you said. Aren't these films the same for everyone more often than not? ;)

I Am Love: I was thinking about that film some hours ago (dear diary :p).

I'm afraid I didn't really care about it. BUT it's one of these interesting cases when I am happy to know why others disagree.

Maybe I just don't get melodramas. I couldn't understand why it is deliberately cliche. It was like an Oscar movie in the bad sense.

I wonder: Did the people who loved it feel for the characters or just enjoyed the movie as an abstract piece of art?

I just didn't get why they did what they did. It's clear that there was not a mistake in the process. It is exactly as they wanted it to be.

off-topic: I saw I Am Love and Please Give very close to each other so I remembered that I just can't help whining about Please Give. I don't want to be all negative but I thought it was a failure. At least I Am Love was what it tried to be. Please Give didn't succeed in anything! It was like a bad Woody Allen film.

"You're a stalker! You're pathetic!"

Is that supposed to be an interesting climax of that subplot?

James T said...

Off-topic, negative... I guess I was saving that for my name day so that you won't be hard on me :p

I did like Rebecca Hall a lot though.

RJ said...

Woah! You're being pretty generous to Soul Kitchen. I'm a Faith Akin fan, and I went in wanting to live it.

There were so many elements that I liked about the film, but, at the end of the day, I just don't think Akin has any flair for comedy or slapstick. The tone and the editing were ever so slightly off, and it just didn't come together.

cinephile said...

What about Atom Egoyan's Chloe? Isn't it on DVD now as well?


adelutza -- agreed on Pike but you know this. I'm such a fan already... i really need to see her earlier work.

James -- hopefully my article will thoroughly make it obvious why i love the movie. we'll see.

cinephile -- it is. it's sitting on my tv right now. just haven't carved out the time yet. I miss doing those "reader request DVD reviews" but it didn't win its poll.

Arkaan said...

I agree with you on Made in Dangenham, but I think I was slightly less impressed with Hawkins then you were. Or maybe I'm just annoyed that she could get nominated for that but was left off for Happy-Go-Lucky.

I Am Love... a disappointment, but worthwhile nonetheless. Hated the climax/ending.

MD said...

I Am Love is probably one of my favourite movies of the year, and I really do think we've had a good year, unlike some people I've been talking to. I could find almost nothing I thought was wrong with it.

jbaker475 said...

I am Love...yikes. I'm totally willing to give it another chance, but all I got was indulgent emptiness. It took 11 years to bring to the screen, and that was the best they came up with? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE me some Swinton, but this...not so much. The only remotely interesting character was the oldest son, and that interest was minimal at best. And the ending was, well, a hilarious way to ruin John Adams' music (funny considering how amazing it was in the trailer).

Again, I'm up for giving it a second chance, because it did leave me shaken. I just wasn't remotely satisfied/impressed.

Glenn said...

Looooved I Am Love! I was completely surprised by Micmacs since I was expecting to have finally had enough of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and yet I enjoyed it immensely.

Soul Kitchen on the other hand was a waste of time. I found it to be a very obvious case of "look! i'm trying to be FUNNY!" without actually putting anything in there that's actually funny thats not so completely obvious.


arkaan -- well let's not jump ahead. she's no sure thing in a crowded Best Actress category.

BeRightBack said...

Oh man, I loved I am Love. I can't wait to see it again. I thought it was that rare thing - a pastiche of different film styles that still worked on its own terms. On a less high-minded note: the chef's bum!

Dave L said...

I Am Love - one of the best films of the year. Tilda - amazing. The use of John Adams' music adds the compelling nature of the film. Grade: A.

Made in Dagenham - way too soft. A gentle movie with not too much in the way of insight, but it's pleasant thanks to some nice performances. We can scratch this off the Oscar ballot, I think. Grade: B-.

Burning Reels said...

I have seen Micmacs, which made me smile with it's nod to oldschool entertainment - wasn't completely enamoured with the presentation and tone of it's anti-war message but still a fairly strong B.

I Am Love really was cinefile porn, as Nick's Flick Picks alludes to. I loved the style and Tilda was a typical joy and whilst there were certain parts of the story which didn't quite work, I didn't realise it was such a divisive experience among the film loving community. A strong B+

Be interesting to see your take on Chloe. It isn't a vital piece of cinema but I thought it was better than some make out, there's a few interesting ideas within it.

Roark said...

I am Love was one of the more exhilarating movie experiences I've had this year... but to my surprise, the feeling lasted about as long as it took for me to walk out to my car. I'm really looking forward to seeing it again, if only to see if I can understand my reaction to it a little better, or see if that reaction changes on a second viewing.

Deborah said...

The only one I've seen is Salt. I was thinking of cooking up a RED/Salt comparison. Salt is the self-important, Let's Set Up a Sequel wrong way to do a comic book. RED is the silly, playful right way. Salt confines its great cast, RED lets them loose.

Anyway, I enjoyed Salt a lot, despite its portentous ending, but it is utterly forgettable. Almost literally--don't ask me what happened.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by an "unactable enigma"? Jolie's performance was the only reason to watch Salt. It elevated the film to make it watchable. Her eyes are so expressive. For instance that scene where she sees *SPOILER* her husband die *SPOILER* is so acted so well. She stays composed, but her eyes show the pain.


anon 10:28 -- i totally agree, actually. I love her performance. But i see it as less of an acting job and more of a star charisma job. She is totally blank in that movie which she needs to be and we fill in the rest and her charisma varnishes whatever we've projected onto her.

i think angelina is amazing personally.

Anonymous said...

Not an acting job? Compared to her previous action roles, this character required the most acting.
The Tomb Raider films were a charisma job, because she had such a one dimensional character to work with. But in Salt, she showed a range of emotions.