Friday, December 14, 2007

No Country For Legend of Beowulf

Random Song 1: Sharon Jones and The Dab Kings - Be Easy (buy)
Random Song 2: Duran Duran - Falling Down (buy)

I Am Legend

I really liked this film. Well everything except the ending, which felt rushed and uneven. Almost as if the let Spielberg in the editing room at some point. Smith did a wonderful job keeping his performance grounded. Which helped to enhance the tension in the film. I was expecting a silly action flick with his trademark over-the-top one-liners (ala Men In Black, Independence Day etc.). Instead, I Am Legend turned out to be a fairly tight film, which is slightly smarter than your average zombie flick.

I thought CG work in the film was good. Sure the Dark Seekers could have been better, they kept reminding me of the "Mummy" films with Brendan Fraser. Still I thought the details for the various animals and many of the street scenes / action sequences were well done. Now I haven’t seen Omega Man, so I can’t compare the two films. Regardless, I found the film vastly more entertaining than a good number of the popcorn flicks released recently

Random Song 3: Barenaked Ladies - Be My Yoko Ono (buy)
Random Song 4: Jay-Z - Sweet (buy)

No Country For Old Men

Easily one of the coldest films of the year, and it’s also one of the best. Watching No Country For Old Men, reminded me of why the Coen brothers are so important to cinema. No matter what the genre, in this case western, they always make it seem new and exciting. No Country take a simple story of found money and turn it into an intelligent, and violent, cat and mouse tale. The plotting and pacing are so note perfect that you will be shocked by some of the events in the film. The best part is, the more you think about the film the more you realize that the Coen’s had been providing you clues all along.

The film has already received a few best picture awards from various critic’s associations, and deservedly so. This is one of the few films that actually lives up to the hype. The performances are outstanding. I’ve been a long time fan of Javier Bardem so I knew he would bring his usual “A” game. Yet even I was surprised by how deep into the role he got. The fear that Bardem instills in the audience in opening scenes alone is worth the price of admission. While I would have never pictured Josh Brolin as a leading man, he has definitely earned it this year. Both with this film, and his small role in Grindhouse’s Planet Terror, he has proven that he has the acting chops to handle more demanding roles. As for Tommy Lee Jones, well he plays a sheriff for the umpteenth time…and somehow still makes it interesting. I loved his portrayal of a cop who can no longer understand, nor handle, the new level of violence in today’s society. The violence and the ending are sure to leave some audiences with a cold feeling, but that is the point. The situations depicted in the film, are not ones that can be tied up with the typical Hollywood ending. No Country For Old Men is one of the best films of 2007 and should not be missed.

Random Song 5: Bloc Party vs Fergie - Blocalicious (courtesy of DJ Schmolli)
Random Song 6: Tori Amos vs PJ Harvey vs Bjork - Dissolved By The Water All These Years (courtesy Mashopolis)


I saw this film in standard format. While I am intrigued to see it in 3D, I can’t bring myself to shit through this crap again. The visuals were good but didn’t really excite me. Jolie looked great, as did a few lead characters, but everyone one else (especially the women) looked awful. It was like watching Shrek all over again.

I figured that they would take liberties with the text (boy, did they ever) but every version of Beowulf has so I could look past that. What I couldn’t look past was the fact that they basically made a two-hour commercial for a video game. The character development was none existent, and the subtext about the sins of lust was laughable. Not to mention that this latest version of Beowulf was more juvenile than the straight to video American Pie films. Seriously, computer animated nudity and boob shots, is that what the supposed future is with this technology? If so, anime is already light years ahead of Zemeckis.

Worst of all I found the film rather boring for the most part. The action sequences had no real thriller to them (again it felt like watching someone else play a video game); and Beowulf’s machismo was so over-the-top that even the soldiers in “300” would role their eyes in laughter. I may be too harsh on the film; but the more I think about it, the more I remember things that I didn’t enjoy.

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