Monday, October 31, 2005

Review – Capote

Here’s the behind-the-scenes story for In Cold Blood, a dramatized, behind-the-scenes peek at Truman Capote’s work with Smith, Hickock and the good folks of Holcomb. Philip Seymour Hoffman does a surprisingly good job in the title role. The self-caricature mannerisms of the flamboyant author alone would have been easy to mimic, but Hoffman brings a much greater depth to the character. The result is one of those movies that leaves you wondering just how much of it is true. The story departs from the book in some small details, but of course Capote doesn’t say anything himself about things like lying to the killers to retain their confidence or ceasing his support of their appeals in order to hasten the end of the story so he can finish his work. I was in the middle (actually closer to the end) of the book when I went to see the movie, and the two made an interesting combination. Worth seeing

Monday, October 24, 2005

Review – City of God

Believe it or not, I actually expected the slums of Rio de Janeiro to be worse than this. Indeed, aside from the drug-related violence, this place didn’t seem all that bad. Of course the violence is overpowering stuff, certainly the focus of this tale about a boy growing up amid brutal gang wars. Based on a true story and filmed on location, this movie nonetheless has a well-produced feel to it. Yeah, you have to read subtitles. But beyond that this is a gangster movie worthy of anything Hollywood has churned out in recent years, made all the better by the absence of sugar coating. Worth seeing

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Review – A Dirty Shame

I’m sorry, John Waters. I really tried with this one. I wanted to see some of the guts it took to make Multiple Maniacs and Pink Flamingos. Certainly there’s some thematic similarity. However, it just doesn’t work. Part of the problem is that society has moved on a bit from the 1960s. While “perverted” sex isn’t openly embraced across the board, as a nation we’ve at least managed to reach a mind-your-own-business accommodation with most of the weird things people like to do behind closed doors. The other problem is that once you’ve gone Hollywood it’s darn difficult to go back. As a result, this comes across as Cecil B. Demented using sex in the place of indie film-making. The joke isn’t the worst one ever told. Waters retains his gift for obscure off-the-rack music, adding his aplomb for library footage to put together some entertaining hallucination montages. But it gets old after awhile. Really old. There’s just a limit to the number of times I want to hear Johnny Knoxville yell “Let’s go sexin’!” within the course of a single movie, or even the course of a single lifetime. Mildly amusing