Daily Archives: January 29, 2003

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

The premise is undeniably amusing: game show host and creator Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) in between escorting Dating Game couples and introducing Gong Show losers, was a hired killer for the CIA. The directorial debut by George Clooney is impressive on a technical level. Clooney is inventive with scene changes, camera angles, lighting, editing, color palettes … I don’’t know whether to champion him or credit his excellent cinematographer, but hat’s off to whomever designed the look of this movie. Rockwell is great and carries the film well, though I think he lacks the proper ability for self-loathing that the character needs. The brilliant weirdness of the story is tempered by famed scribe Charlie Kaufman’’s astute sense of the intricately bizarre. Kaufman is a master of the offbeat, but he does more with his story structures and the ability to keep surprising than any other screenwriter. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is a cheeky diversion into the “unauthorized autobiography” written by Barris himself. The movie itself is one big joke and Clooney tells it like a pro.

Nate’s Grade: B+

Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)

This film shows a fascinating side to the underbelly to suburban malaise. The story centers on a group of Asian-American friends that are social delinquents and petty criminals that can get away with it because they’re star students. It’s an interesting dichotomy in Justin Lin’’s directorial debut. The cast is strong and the pacing is brisk. The opening five minutes yanks you into this world and places you in the hands of a confidant voice. Familiar elements abound like unrequited love, jealousy, crashing lows, but Better Luck Tomorrow gives them a mildly fresh spin. The film’s familiar territory gets the better of it in a languid final act, but the ride is still an enjoyable and entertaining one at that.

Nate’s Grade: B

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