Sunday, September 05, 2010

Movie rewind

Technically, it’s still summer. But let’s face it, with school back in, the weather starting to cool off, and fall festivals starting up, nobody looks at it like that. It’s usually a bit slow at the movies around this time, too. Still, here’s a glance back at a few of the movies that were in theaters in 1995, 2000 and 2005.


“Desperado” (R)

Although technically a sequel to the really low-budget “El Mariachi,” which kickstarted his career, director Robert Rodriguez upped the ante in many ways for “Desperado.” The cast was infused with some star power, including Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas taking over the role of El Mariachi. The action (and subsequent violence) was amped up, along with the a bigger budget to work with. While the film doesn’t quite capture the fun of the next sequel in the series, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” it certainly never bores. Rodriguez, who also wrote and edited the film, shows he has great technical skill behind the camera. However, the story doesn’t quite match the strong visual style on display.

Grade: B


“Nurse Betty” (R)

The dark comedy, “Nurse Betty,” has kind of been a forgotten gem from a decade ago, featuring a very solid cast (Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock and Greg Kinnear) and an original script by John C. Richards and James Flamberg. Zellweger plays the title character, a sweet, but delusional woman who falls into her shaky mental state after witnessing her louse of a husband (Aaron Eckhart) killed by a pair of hitmen (Freeman and Rock). She heads to California to find the star of her favorite soap, believing he is an actual person, not a conceited actor named George McCord (Kinnear). Meanwhile, the hitmen are in pursuit, as the vehicle she took is filled with drugs the two want to return to their employer. The movie has to walk a fine line of dealing with some violent material, while consistently delivering laughs. Thanks to the committed work from Freeman and Zellweger, in particular, who brings a sunny disposition to the dark circumstances her character is surrounded in, the film works.

Grade: B+


“The Brothers Grimm” (PG-13)

Long considered a great visual director with films such as “12 Monkeys,” “The Fisher King” and “Brazil” among his credits, Terry Gilliam’s movies often walk the line between creativity and chaos. Unfortunately, this time out, “The Brothers Grimm” falls closer to the latter. The story’s concept is a clever idea, as brothers Will (Matt Damon) and Jacob (Heath Ledger) are 19th-century con artists who are able to “eliminate” evil spooks and spirits from German villages – for the right price. Never mind the fact that they are also responsible for the hauntings in the first place. The cast is very much game for the proceedings, but the screenplay by Ehren Kruger doesn’t seem to settle on what kind of a movie it should be. The film’s an example where the individual pieces just don’t quite add up to a satisfying whole.

Grade: C+

No comments: