The Labor Day Weekend was jam packed with cinema. Friday night was lazing around at a friend’s place with others and a movie, Saturday was lazing at the beach with the family and a movie, Sunday was lazing at home with myself and some Netflix, and Monday was lazing at the theater with Naomi and several movies.
The Debt: A: The two timelines were the movie’s gimmick, and fortunately it worked well. It was a great depiction of covert ops without making them overly glamorous and actiony. Great acting and perfect pacing.
Colombiana: B: Another generic revenge shoot-em-up. The action was fine and they tried not to let the plot get in the way too much. Zoe Saldana was right for the role and will undoubtedly get plenty more starring action roles if she wants them.
One Day: C: Another gimmicky premise, this time executed less successfully. It was like a biography of someone who never did anything remarkable. Most of the appeal derived from nostalgia of the various time capsule eras they trudged through, and the drama was confused. Since having dramatic things happen the same day of each year would seem silly, several important events were told through dialog. This works fine in a book, but less so for a visual medium.
The Tiger Blade: D: After this and Ong-Bak 3, I’m starting to think Tony Jaa’s first few films are the only good Thai films out there. The plot was incompressible, the sequencing confusing, the acting atrocious, and the special effects distracting. If I hadn’t been watching this in a group setting, I don’t think I would’ve finished it.
The Young Victoria: B+: It’s hard to admit that I enjoyed such a film, but most of it was well done. Don’t get me wrong, it was so sappy I felt like a fly stuck to a maple tree but the historical elements (though most likely wildly inaccurate) were interesting. As with all Victorian-set films, the costumes and set design were superb, and the acting was elaborate. Unfortunately, like most of those same films, the dialog is unbelievable and the drama is manufactured almost to gaudiness.
Afro Samurai: A: I haven’t watched any significant amount of anime in a long time and a show this fun had me questioning why. Granted, it’s not really anime, but all the conventions were there, and they were done well. It was unique, extremely well made, and wonderfully entertaining. I’m not sure why it took me so long to give it a chance but I’m glad I finally did.
Gattaca: A+: Hard sci-fi is just so good when it’s done well. Gattaca is realistic, relevant, and engaging. The narrative flows perfectly and the setting is unique and detailed. It made me look forward to the upcoming In Time. And sc-fi-apprehensive Naomi liked it too! Hopefully it’ll be a gateway film for her.