Sunday, May 25, 2008

Recent DVD Releases

Click on the title for the original reviews

I am Legend – (2007)

Will Smith’s home water, gas, and electricity would probably not be working 3 days after the near-extinction of humans let alone 3 years. There are quite a view jarring jolts, some nice Christian symbolism, and first-rate CGI of post-apocalyptic New York. Being the last man alive, it’s appropriate the Will Smith would be uptight and borderline crazy, but he’s at his best when he’s relaxed and making wisecracks and seems uneasy here, especially talking to mannequins and himself. In short, his dramatic acting fails here, but the action is solid. And the alternate original ending is infinitely more interesting. B-

National Treasure: Book of Secrets – (2007)

My recent Indiana Jones viewings place this in the embarrassing knock-off category. The first half is brisk enough to be entertaining, but the elongated climactic sequence drags badly when it should have accelerated (we already know the ending, guys, we saw the first one). But anything – and I mean anything – that can educate the masses about the origin of their country and some important landmarks can’t be completely despised. C+

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – (2007)

The most over-praised movie of the year is still interesting from a film snob/dork standpoint with its beautiful use of red and blue hues. The ever-changing camera angles keep things interesting and the glacier falling into the sea is truly amazing footage. But the central character is philandering, selfish, conceited, and neglectful of his children. In addition, he works for a magazine that contributes to the self-absorption of the bourgeoisie. There’s really nothing noble or likable about him. But you have to respect the real-life character (Jean-Dominigue Bauby) who suffered from a brain stem stroke and locked-in syndrome (which I’ve only seen once in real life). The dedication and patience required to blink an entire novel with his left eye is impressive. I didn’t have the patience to listen to the alphabet more than 3-4 times. This is the kind of film that makes elitist critics feel real, real smart for putting on their 10 best list, but I doubt any of them will be watching it anytime again soon. Great use of U2’s “Ultraviolet”, though. B-

1 comment:

Priest said...

thanks for the tip on the I am Legend alternate ending. a much, much better ending.