Rimmer's Reel Reviews

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Get Rich or Die Tryin - 1.5 out of 5

I must say when I first heard the 50 Cent was going to do a movie "based" on his life I was less them excited to as it sounded like just wanted to be like Eminem and do his own 8 Mile. However when I saw that that Jim Sheridan was attached to direct I was willing to give this movie a chance cause if anyone can do a good job of showing the underdog overcoming his environment to be a success its him.

I must say that the feel of the film was good as it came across a grittier version of 8 Mile (I film which I enjoyed more then I expected) and there were several great performances from the supporting cast especially Terence Howard and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who give their all here.

In spite of the good performances and quality direction the film fails to amount to much of anything for several reasons. The first is that the screenplay (written by emmy winner Terence Winter) is filled with cliches including a laughable "Rocky" montage. The film also had a real been there done that feel as the rapper rags to riches has a been there done that feel with * mile and the excellent Hustle & Flow still in recent memory. The biggest problem with the movie was with its star 50 Cent. He just doesn't have bring the charisma to the screen that Eminem brought to 8 mile, seemed to mumble through his lines, and for any sense involving any type of emotion had the same stone dead look on his face.

Overall a quality director in Sheridan did as much for this film to make it entertaining but was ultimately betrayed by a clich├ęd screenplay and a wooden lead.

Down By Law - 4.5 out 5

Having become a fan of Jim Jarmusch through his last few films I felt is was time to start looking back at some his older films so I decided rent Down By Law. I must say that once again he has impressed me in providing a stylish, funny, yet simplistic film that is very cool.

The story is pretty simple with two slackers named Jack & Zack (Lurie & Waits) who get set up and end up in a jail cell together with an Italian who speaks little English (Benigni) and their escape from that cell. The interaction between the three characters is the meat of this film and all three actors do a brilliant job handling it with great chemistry between them providing great laughs.

Jim Jarmusch stamp is all over the visual styling and pacing of this film. The B&W is used the great impact similar to his film Dead Man giving a very surreal feel. The thin plot moves slowly letting you soak in the beautiful shots and really get enjoy the character interaction which as I have said is the true centre of this film. This is a film for true fans of independent cinema but may be deemed as "slow" or "dull" by the regular movie going crowd.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Rent Review - 2 out of 5

A couple of years ago I saw a touring production of Rent as it passed through town and I wasn't particularly impressed by the production. When I heard they were making a film I must say that I wasn't exactly eager to go see it, but with free tickets in hand and a wife who was excited I broke down and went.

I have to give Kudos to the performers in this film as they definitely know this material well (obviously as most have performed Rent on Broadway) and I found I enjoyed this much more then the stage production as these people are the real deal and the people I saw before were a cheap imitation. Jesse L Martin & Rosario Dawson really stood out in their respective performances. The only knock against the performers is that since many have been performing this material since the mid 90s it can be hard believing that they are 20 something Bohemians when they are starting to look their age.

Though it was better then I anticipated it still really doesn't work for various reasons. The first is that Chris Columbus doesn't truly turn it into a real movie, as we move through the movie from performance to performance it retains the feel of a stage production. Second is the threadbare plot and character development that never really grabs. One important portion of the movie revolves around the death/funeral of Angel is supposed to be moving and tragic but just doesn't pack any punch as we don't really get to know Angel as he/she is barely a secondary character with little screen time. The final problem is that the material is really out of date. Written in the mid 90s the topic of AIDS has been done in a much better fashion (Angels In America) and to such a degree to now be rife for parody (See Team America's hysterical RENT spoof "Everyone Has AIDS").

Overall better then expected but not a movie I would recommend.