Posted by: kfugrip | February 19, 2008

Crime in various forms

In Search of Steve Ditko, directed by Peter Boyd Maclean, is a documentary about the elusive Spider-man co-creator and artist hosted by Jonathan Ross (find out more about him here… I didn’t know who he was) who is a big fan of Ditko and his fascination lead to this documentary.
What I like: Steve Ditko is a fantastic influential cartoonist who helped create some of the most recognizable characters in superhero comics. I’ve always been a fan of his work but my appreciation grew as I started to delve into older cartoonists. This movie does an excellent job of introducing Ditko to the world. It features some of his most memorable characters and the best part of the documentary is the interview with Alan Moore. Moore should be interviewed in every documentary about cartoonists. His insight into what made Ditko interesting was the best aspect of the film.
What I didn’t like: It’s fluffy and as deep as a cat scratch. I was expecting an actual interview with Ditko, who is famously reclusive and shuns interviews, but as the running time ticked away I realized that I was being cheated. This is a good introduction to the man but for anyone aware of Ditko‘s work, it falls short of being a must-see.

2 stars

Unrelated AWESOME Ditko Pin-up

Gone Baby Gone, directed by Ben Affleck, is another in a long line of potboiler detective stories that make it to the screen. This one just happens to have a great cast performing at a high level and a freshman directorial effort that has everyone talking.
What I liked: Performances. When you get Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman in a movie you are moving in the right direction, The word on the street (did I just write that?) was that Amy Ryan and Casey Affleck are great in the movie and for once the street is right. Ryan in particular is believable as the unfit mother. Casey portrays some nuance that is rare in the lead of a detective story like this. Based on the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name, Ben Affleck captures the people and mood of the neighborhoods where the story unfolds. This level of detail elevates a story that is more typical than I would usually like.
What I didn’t like: While Ben Affleck is doing an excellent job and weaving the plot elements together in a way that unifies the film, I think that as it inches towards the climax the film’s visual style goes limp. There are too many matching singles or single/OTS sequences with long speeches. Perhaps the novel has these talky scenes at the end, but it makes for a weaker ending. That being said, I liked the movie a lot and it was close to adding a star.

3 stars

gonebabygone.jpg

The Brave One, directed by Neil Jordan, the Jodi Foster vehicle/revenge drama about a woman whose fiance is killed when they are both beaten while walking their dog. Foster does what any movie heroine would do, she gets a gun and becomes a vigilante, eventually tracking down the men that ruined her life.
What I liked: Very little. Foster is doing her best to pump some life into this character and the idea behind a woman whose radio show “Street Walker” is about loving New York City, fearing that same city after her life is turned upside down, is the stuff of high drama. I like high drama. But only when it’s well done.
The cinematography was good, so that’s something.
What I didn’t like: This was a movie that was forced and akward in many respects. Neil Jordan, a director I like, fails to keep the momentum in the film. The scenes between Foster and Terrance Howard should be tense and stood out as a moment for the actors and filmmakers to shine. The scenes fall flat. As an audience member I cared about Foster’s character up to a point but the film was too interested in her sitting in her apartment and smoking and less interested in making me care about her. Every time I began to get into the character we cut to a scene with Howard‘s character chasing the case. His character was the uninteresting center of what failed in this movie. This movie should have been a character study and instead it felt like it was trying to blend character study with procedural. It was a bland mixture and not a movie I would recommend.

2 stars

brave_one_poster_jodie_foster.jpg

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Responses

  1. You and Kelly are stealing all my tricks! Ben Affleck is your jam. Suck it!

  2. Wow. I guess it’s New Reivew Tuesday on Dude He’s the Stallion.wordpress.com. Sweet.

    Probably will check out the Ditko item. Pretty good review. Nicely balanced and very informative.

  3. “For once the streets were right”??! The streetz is always right, b. It’s hot out there, in these streetz. I keep it real in these streetz. Don’t disrespect the streetz. The streetz will come for you.

  4. I hated The Brave One. With a firey unending passion…

  5. Man. Winter licks nads.


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