Rimmer's Reel Reviews

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good Night and Good Luck - 4.75 out of 5

George Clooney showed some flourish with his directing debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind an entertaining but somewhat flawed film, with Good Night and Good Luck he firmly establishes himself as one of the best talents behind the camera. The story of Edward R Murrows fight against McCarthyism could have been done in and over handed preachy style but Clooney has done it in an understated calm manner, which lends more power to the films central theme.

The screenplay for this film is absolutely electric as it weaves its tale of a journalist taking a stand against McCarthy's rampant fear mongering. The themes are particularly thought provoking today as the US is once again living in a climate of fear that has been fuelled by today’s world of 24-hour news. Edward R Murrow proved that one man can make a difference and fight the fear, here's to hope that someone can take the message and try to stop the cycle of fear that exists today.

The acting in the film is top notch from all the performers but David Strathairn is absolutely amazing as Edward R Murrow. I would be very disappointed not to here his name called when the Oscar nominations are announced.

In conclusion an astounding film that should garner many awards and be at the top of most year-end best of lists.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Batman Begins 4 out of 5

After 4 films with differing leads and creative teams the WB has finally got the elements together to create a Batman film that is truly entertaining but still fateful to the Batman comic book legacy. It wasn't too dark and dour like the first two films or two campy or over the top like Schumacher films. This film struck the perfect balance.

I think one of the best moves for this film was the casting of Christian Bale as Wayne/Batman as he was the first who was able to be successful in playing both Batman and Bruce Wayne (easily the best portrayal of all the Batman’s). The supporting cast of Oldman (Gordon), Caine (Alfred) and Neeson in his typical mentor role bring depth to each of their characters which helps enrich the overall storyline helps them from avoiding becoming the cartoon cut-outs that litter the other Batman films.

Director Nolan and Writer Goyer have woven a great tapestry for Batman, by going back to the beginning they are able to shed the garbage of the previous films and start fresh. They are very successful in creating a compelling back-story of a flawed hero trying to overcome his fears and failures, attempting to help the helpless. They also have created a very interesting city in Gotham that is on the verge of collapse as the criminals have the reins of control and the cops are helpless to do anything (or are paid of not to).

The only flaw in this film revolves around the character Rachael Dawes played by Katie Holmes. The character added as childhood friend of Bruce Wayne and possible love interest seemed to be tacked on and didn't add anything to the story. Also Katie Holmes failed to add anything to the character giving me the impression any C-List starlet could have done better.

In conclusion I am happy to say that the past has been purged, we have a real Batman and I look forward to the future of the franchise.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Syriana - 3.5 out of 5

The pedigree for this film is pretty good, Oscar winning writer in Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) and a long list of top-notch actors including George Clooney, Matt Damon and Chris Cooper. Based on the Book See No Evil By Robert Baer it a story packed with many different elements (and personal stories) that move towards a common climax similar in style to the film Traffic.

The performances in this film are all top notch with particular standout turns from Chris Cooper as an oil executive and Jeffery Wright as a corporate lawyer, both of which make you want to see more of them as they bring such energy to the screen. Gaghan used hand held camera to shoot the film (same as was done for Traffic) to give the film a more realistic feel to the movie, which works well in bringing you into the action.

The story is interesting in its exploration of the oil industry and its dealing within the US as much of the movie revolves around the merger of two Oil companies and how even though there is obvious corruption involved in some of the dealings the government is willing to be thrown a sacrificial lamb to ensure the merger and US interests. Also the US meddling in the Middle East politics siding with the status quo in Iran as opposed to actual progress in infrastructure and social reforms to maintain their supply of oil.

The main problem with this film is that it seems to lack individual stories that are as interesting as the overall tapestry. It seems that to with the large cast with many stories some haven't been given enough attention to flesh them out and make them as significant as they could be. Also having multiple stories had a huge impact on the pacing of the movie as it shifts between characters and scenes too quickie to gather any momentum. To me it feels like they have crammed a 3-hour movie into 2 hours.

Overall a very interesting movie especially considering how topical it is.