Friday, 9 February 2007
Watched a double-bill of DVD films directed by Clint Eastwood, last night.
Caught up with crime drama/ murder mystery Mystic River, which benefits from quietly understated performances by Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins, but is derailed by Sean Penn going slightly OTT. I liked the nifty cameo from Eli Wallach (as shopkeeper of 'Loonie liquors') during which he delivers the great line: "Scary as a glass of milk!"
Followed that with the WWII epic Flags Of Our Fathers, about Iwo Jima and its aftermath. This proved to be very watchable, and thankfully not half as grossly-sentimentalised as Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, but Eastwood's latest effort was rather uninvolving due to some wooden acting from its young stars (Ryan Phillippe, weak as ever... has he made any 'good' films? Adam Beach was much better in Windtalkers). FOOF is great as pure spectacle, though, and is a solid piece of storytelling about how one image can (be used/ abused? to) inspire many.
Neither of these films are as good as Eastwood's tragic drama about a female boxer, Million Dollar Baby... After recent offerings, I wonder now if Eastwood has considered making another western without starring in it?
Sunday, 4 February 2007
Okay, the little girl (Jodelle Ferland, Silent Hill) is absolutely brilliant in the film... and hopefully, there'll be a clutch of special 'child actor' film awards with her name on them! One or two of the surreal fantasy bits - especially the submerged house effects (curiously, its obvious CGI fakery only adds to the general underwater weirdness) are quite fascinating but, after my first DVD viewing of Tideland, it seems to have been very overrated by the critics.
I agree that it's a great film, and never boring for a second, but this isn't the masterpiece that some have claimed. The pace is often tired (like Jeff Bridges' character, did Gilliam fall 'asleep' ... and let his usually hyperactive imagination 'die' from an overdose of wishfulfilment?), and its combo of genre references (basically Psycho meete Alice In Wonderland) is hardly original... Jan Svankmajer did all this stuff years ago!
Although some might be (oh-my-gosh) shocked by the parents' junkie scenes, and the contentious "silly kisser" scenes with adult Dickens and little Jeliz-Rose, too much of what's on screen seems twee and trite compared to more powerful and genuinely unsettling Asian fantasy-chillers available today.
Director Terry Gilliam might say that he's found his inner child, but this just feels like an old man's film.
My score for Tideland: 7/10.
At least it's much better than the horribly clunky Brothers Grimm!