Here’s my second post devoted to speedy reviews of films I watched on my comfy couch at home during the past month. It’s a very eclectic selection that well reflects the wide range of movies I end up seeing.
A.C.A.B (All Cops Are Bastards): tough and unflinching look at the life of four cops in Rome: three veterans and a rookie. They are part of a riot unit, usually deployed for security at the stadium during football matches, and their job ain’t pretty! Stefano Sollima doesn’t spare any detail in showing how these people live, think and react to various situations. The compelling performance of all the cast, especially Pierfrancesco Favino, carries the viewer along and sells the story effectively. Intense —7/10
Pawn sacrifice: the story of Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire), wunderkind of the chess world, and his epic battle of wits with Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) in 1972 for the title of world champion. Notwithstanding Maguire’s solid performance, this is a run of the mill drama, formulaic and with no bite or surprises. Fisher’s egotism and paranoia make it even harder for the viewer to root for him, which turns the whole story in a rather pointless exercise. Off-putting —5/10
Clueless: Emma meets Mean Girls with a very poor outcome! Popular and beautiful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) decides to help Tai (Brittany Murphy), a new and very naive student, to fit in and navigate the ups and downs of high school life. Her plan is a little too successful and has some unexpected and unwanted results. Of all the high school themed films I’ve seen, this is a real miss: no sass, no heart, no epic or quotable scenes. The characters are neither relatable nor endearing enough, even a very young Paul Rudd. Lame —4/10
Chasing mavericks: my soft spot for surfing flicks led me to watch this one. A scruffy-looking Gerard Butler plays Frosty Hesson, Santa Cruz surfing legend, who reluctantly become mentor and father-figure to young Jay Moriarity. The boy is a surf prodigy and wants, more than anything, to ride mavericks: the biggest waves on Earth. What immediately came to mind was this quote from Point Break: “Big-wave riding’s for macho assholes with a death wish.”, however this film is an inspirational tale of giving everything one’s got to realise one’s dreams (based on a true story). The surfing scenes are thrilling and brilliantly shot. Enthralling —6.5/10
Jane Eyre: to get my regular fix of period drama I’ve re-watched the 2011 adaptation of this classic novel, helmed and beautifully shot by Cary Fukunaga (before he went on and showed the world his mettle with True Detectives). Poor, plain Jane (skillfully played by Mia Wasikowska) finds home and love in the old manor of Mr. Rochester (Fassbender), only to have everything taken away by a cruel destiny and deceit. Fassbender fits well the shoes of the doomed, romantic hero and, of course, we know that there’s a happy ending to warm the cockles of our heart. Soothing —7/10
Narc: a dark and gritty tale of undercover cops in Detroit; Joe Carnahan does not pull punches and takes the viewer into a harsh world, aptly shot in hues of blue and gray. Jason Patric and Ray Liotta truly inhabit their characters and play off of each other very well. The adrenaline-fueled opening scene is a gem of camera work and perfect introduction to the story, that alone makes worth watching this film. Uncompromising —7.5/10
Death proof: I have finally sat down and watched the lesser film of Tarantino’s oeuvre from start to finish, having seen bits and pieces throughout the years. What can I say? It’s a self-indulgent homage to B-movie/horror flicks of the seventies, chock-full of pop culture references, muscle cars and foot fetish. As expected, there are some tough-as-nail ladies who will take matters in their own hands and then there’s Kurt Russell…who is having a blast as a sociopathic stuntman who stalks girls and takes them on their last ride. You need to be in the right mood for this one. Crackpot —6/10
15 responses to “Quick ‘n’ Dirty: January at home”
Chasing Mavericks wasn’t terrible per se but it’s so cliched despite Gerry Butler doing his best efforts as a surfer. I like parts of the latest Jane Eyre, esp the production design & cinematography, but it felt like a cliffnote version of the gothic romance.
Chasing Mavericks is indeed cliched but I guess it’s the surfing that won me over 😉
Jane Eyer’s cinematography is quite beautiful, after so many film adaptations I can see why it would feel like a cliffnote version.
I really liked Deathproof, it was all just so silly. Can’t say I’ve seen Clueless since I was a kid though! You do have me wanting to see ACAB, which is one of the funniest movie titles I have ever heard
Deathproof is silly indeed 🙂
You won’t regret watching ACAB.
Death Proof was ridiculous but very entertaining.
I agree 🙂
And I loved the hell out of that soundtrack.
well, all the soundtracks in Tarantino’s films are pretty awesome.
It’s one thing you expect from a Tarantino movie. Even if the movie is no good, the soundtrack is ace.
true but I felt a little let down by The Hateful Eight.
I haven’t seen that movie yet.
I’m writing the review now, so you might read my thoughts on it soon.
Ooh, I can’t wait to read that.
Nice to see ‘Narc’ get a mention. I love that film, and consider it to be underrated in the extreme. Packed with realism, and seedy locations that scream authenticity. Good call, Marta.
Best wishes, Pete.
I agree, Narc is a hidden gem.