October 15, 2005

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

wererabbitA perfect feature-length Wallace & Gromit adventure, and the funniest movie I have seen all year. As usual, one of Wallace's inventions has gone wrong, and it's up to Gromit to save the day. The voice talent (Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes) are spot-on, although I found their plasticine charaters a little cluttered and, well, cartoony, compared with the elegant simplicity of Wallace and Gromit's personas. I also found the rabbit design a little crude. The noses on the rabbits looked a little big. (AMC Fenway)

October 9, 2005

Serenity

Smart, adventurous, witty, and moving, the continuing voyages of the smuggling ship Serenity (the big-screen follow-up to the short-lived Firefly TV show) remind me of the continuing adventures of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, in the Star Wars novels of the mid 1980s. Unlike the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, Serenity's story of galactic intrigue is not painted across an entire Empire or Federation, but just one ship. The total absence of rubber-faced and CGI alien races adds to the verisimilitude.
I had only heard of Firefly secondhand from my brother and sister, both devoted Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans (I have never seen an episode of Buffy). My brother gave me the box set for a present, so I gave it a shot and liked it right away. Serenity, the movie, pays off the unresolved story arcs from Firefly, the TV series: What is River evolving into? Where did the Reavers come from? Will Kaylee and Simon ever have sex? All this and more is addressed in the movie. (AMC Burlington)

October 8, 2005

Good Night, and Good Luck.

goodnightA small but important movie about a singular moment in American broadcast journalism, George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck acts as a wake-up call to journalists across America. David Strathairn is captivating as Edward R. Murrow- he is given powerful speeches to deliver and he does so with authority. Emily especially enjoyed Frank Langella as William S. Paley, and let's not forget the Best Collarbones in Show Business, Ms. Patricia Clarkson. (Church St, Harvard Square)

October 1, 2005

A History of Violence

They say one of the three basic stories is the "stranger comes to town story". A History Of Violence is one of those stories, but told with a fresh layer of uncertainty and creepiness by David Cronenberg: what if The Stranger who comes to town is the local you know best? This protagonist is Tom Stall, an ordinary, average, Middle-American dad, with an ordinary wife and two kids, performed with heaps of plain-faced honesty and goodwill by Viggo Mortensen. The most excitement in his life is when his wife gets rid of the kids for the evening for a night of hanky-panky.

When Ed Harris (in the same diehard bastard mode as A Beautiful Mind) shows up in town, we start to wonder: Who is the Stranger In Town? Harris, or Mortensen? It is so refreshing to watch a movie where you really don't know what to expect around every corner. This film could have been so ordinary with another director and lead actor, but Cronenberg and Mortensen keep the audience off-balance for the duration. The violence in Violence is not gratuitous, but unflinching in a classically Cronenberg manner. (Church St, Harvard Square)