Daily Archives: December 29, 2008
An intelligent and rather crackling heist movie that also happens to be based on a true story. The 1971 British bank heist has so many characters involved that you may need a helpful cheat sheet, especially when it comes to varied loyalties. There are three separate groups all playing their own game, and when the heist doesn’t go exactly according to plan, and then the movie gets even more complicated. It’s a flavorful and funny heist movie that also doesn’t ignore the severe repercussions and life-and-death stakes. The Bank Job is an engrossing crime caper that still manages to thrill and surprise an audience.
Nate’s Grade: B+
Maybe the American public just doesn’t care for the jolly green giant. The second incarnation of a big screen Hulk flick is better paced, with more action sequences and better special effects, but I just kept shrugging my shoulders the whole time. I was never truly engaged by the movie at any point. Edward Norton fills the role of Bruce Banner for the second go-round and does an admirable job. The climax involving one giant CGI monster battling another giant CGI monster gets tiresome. This is a fairly middle of the road movie that might pass the time but does little else with style.
Nate’s Grade: C+
Director David Gordon Green is likely the most observant auteur today when it comes to exploring the realities of life in small towns. Snow Angels is a somber drama that follows an estranged couple (Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale) going through the hard times of life in a snowy rural town. The couple is also beset by some tragic accidents that come in at the appropriate time, an hour into the film, which means that we’ve gotten to know the characters enough to build a relationship with them and also that there will be plenty of time left to watch these characters react. The movie has a handful of interrelated characters that don’t all sustain the same level of interest. Watching a band geek lose his virginity to a smart girl (Oliva Thirlby, deflowering her second 2008 virgin) is just not comparable to other storylines. Snow Angels has an astute sense of resignation throughout, like the characters know they will forever be stuck in dead-end jobs and live the rest of their lonely lives as fated. The movie takes some very dark turns but they feel authentic to the drama. Green creates such a rich portrait of despair and the inequities of small town life.
Nate’s Grade: B