Meek’s CutoffKelly Reichardt’s film, Meek’s Cutoff, is a fascinating film because it manages to remain captivating despite the appearance of not much happening. The film focuses on settlers traveling across the harsh Oregon High Dessert to find a new life. Instead of making a film with grand set pieces, Reichardt opts for a film that takes a more contemplative tone. The film manages to really place the audience in the shoes of the settlers, who are struggling to find their way. Though mesmerizing, Meek’s Cutoff is bound to annoy some viewers with its deliberately slow pacing. However, those who are willing to stick with it will be rewarded.
BellflowerNormally I try to avoid reading, and/or listening, to reviews for films that I am interested in seeing. However, there have been times, such as the case with Bellflower, where my curiosity about a film is based on a review. After listening to the guys over at the Film Junk podcast tear apart Bellflower on a previous episode of their show I had to see just how bad the film was. Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed the film overall, sure it has several flaws, but it was by no means the mess I was expecting. The whole “men who refuse to grow up” angle has been done to death, but Bellflower’s take on it was rather interesting. Writer, director, and star Evan Glodell uses the main character’s inability to cope with rejection as the catalyst for childlike obsession with violence. The performances by some of the supporting actors are spotty at times, and the film goes on far longer than it should, but Bellflower managed to keep my interest more than I thought it would.
MoneyballAs a sports fan, and fantasy sport pool addict who loves hearing people rattling off stats, Moneyball is a film I should have been clamoring to see. However, the mixed word of mouth at TIFF really lowered my expectations. It turns out that Moneyball was a quality film that does a nice job of highlighting one of the more memorable runs in recent baseball history. What really made Moneyball work are the performances of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. The two actors not only have great chemistry, but find a way to make guys sitting around a table talking statistics interesting. The best scene in the entire film is watching Pitt and Hill working the phones with various team general managers in an attempt to make a trade. While I enjoyed Moneyball, I do not see it as a worthy Best Picture contender.