Directed by Julie TaymorUnited States | 2010
Taymor’s “solution” is not to try to suppress or smooth any of it out, but rather to let it play in all of its discordance. Ebert stated that Taymor “doesn’t capture Shakespeare’s tone… or his meaning,” but I couldn’t disagree more, because Shakespeare’s tone precisely is that jarring combination of high art and low art, comedy with tragedy, reality with fantasy… That “…and the kitchen sink” sense is what Taymor achieves. Perhaps she doesn’t achieve the fluidity and flawlessness of Shakespeare, but who could? Part of me thinks it’s because we’ve become spoiled by “realism” in film, and there aren’t many points in this film where Taymor goes for realism.
Directed by Lech MajewskiPoland | 2011
I would probably break my back trying to describe the myriad ways in which Majewski delicately conjures the religious and political upheavals of the time and makes a case for their profound influence on Bruegel’s work, but that’s probably best left to a historian. I was struck most by Majewski’s typically jaw-dropping approach to the material. His body of work continues to be marked by drastic technological and artistic innovations, including the 33-short-films-within-a-film approach of Blood of a Poet and the hand-held digital of The Garden of Earthly Delights. But here, Majewski takes his biggest leap yet into the domain of digital layering and CGI while keeping the painterly, tableau-like blocking of much of his work intact.
Directed by Gareth EdwardsUnited States | 2010
Maybe if the leads had been given room to flesh out their characters via performance, they would have been compelling to watch. But McNairy and Able wander through Monsters with the disaffected non-presence of people annoyed at crappy cell phone service rather than strangers thrown together at the apocalypse. I’ve never met a photojournalist, but there’s nothing world-weary or even smart about Kaulder; he’s a poon-hound with a tramp-stamp and the kind of stoner ignorance that would get him killed in the first act of any other monster movie (Why turn over your hotel-room mattress looking for a passport that’s clearly been stolen by some chick you picked up at a Mexican bar? Do you think she played a prank by hiding it in the room? Or is it more likely she skipped town?).
Directed by Peter JacksonUnited States, United Kingdom, New Zealand | 2009
It would seem that somewhere along the way Jackson forgot how to communicate with audiences and is now quite convinced that if he could just spend enough money and just augment an image enough digitally he might, just might, actually manage to establish some sort of repartee with the people in the cinema. Like his King Kong – which I’ll admit right now is one of the single most unpleasant viewing experiences I’ve ever had, a film shaped by an uncanny ability by the director to pervert every single positive of the original and create something both inexorably tedious and unconvincing – this film is just a chore from start to finish.
Directed by Lee UnkrichUnited States | 2010
If the film falls short of its predecessors it’s that this diversity can frequently come off as a lack of focus, rather than as an organic mixture. Unusual for a Pixar film, Toy Story 3 actually takes some time to establish its primary conflict. The opening one appears almost as a reprise of the second film, with the theme of toys lamenting their owners growing up. The debate between Woody and the other toys never seems to feel as natural as the ones in the first two films, and the action-centric second and third acts seem to forsake character for more superficial entertainment.
Directed by George A. RomeroUnited States, Canada | 2009
The film hardly goes a few minutes before a gun battle erupts and a random troupe of zombies have their brains splattered all over the place. The problem is that due to the exceedingly poor special effects and the overexposure to such occurrences, the violence becomes tedious almost as soon as it begins. It doesn’t help matters that, lacking any convincing or useful characters, it’s impossible to be bothered when one of the living succumb to the dead either. As an exercise in violence Survival of the Dead succeeds in the basest conceivable manner and is, at all times, utterly bereft of even the vaguest sense of suspense or intrigue.