Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Slumdog Millionaire Doesn't Understand Itself

Minor spoilers after the break.

Slumdog Millionaire is director Danny Boyle's eighth feature film, and is perhaps best known for taking home eight Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It's generally constructed with a fairly high degree of talent: the actor's performances are all believable, the writing and editing are sharp and keep a good pace, and most of all the film looks very pretty (it also won Best Cinematography). But it is also a movie which strangely doesn't understand its own material.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Forgotten, Misunderstood Horror of The Keep

F. Paul Wilson, the author of the novel from which Michael Mann's The Keep (1983) was adapted, has said that the film is "visually intriguing, but otherwise utterly incomprehensible." Normally I believe there's little value in asking authors what they think about movies which their books inspired (Stephen King famously criticized Kubrick's The Shining, later going on to make his own far inferior adaptation), but in this case Wilson is absolutely right. Whatever other beauty The Keep might contain—and I happen to think there's quite a lot—at the narrative level it makes very little sense. But that's not as important as you might think.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Place Beyond the Pines & Frustrated Expectations

Expectations are annoying. This is going to be one of those weird reviews where I really liked the film, but no matter how much editing I do, my tone is going to sound disappointed because my expectations were too high. I really liked The Place Beyond the Pines. It was good. It just wasn't as good as I thought it would be.