Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Revolutionary Road

3.5 out of 5 Stars
This is a rare example of a film which I thought surpassed the novel. I found the book to be dated, slow moving, and thought the characters were cold and unlikable. But Mendes' film was so subtle, well acted, perfectly paced, and completely captured the trapped atmosphere of suburban life in the late 1950s -- I found myself intrigued by both April and Frank Wheeler and I also identified and sympathized with both of them (whereas in the book I was very much annoyed by April). Mendes' successfully capturing the suffocating setting, the hypocrisy, the sexism and the frustration that I was searching for in Yates's novel. It's not 'American Beauty' but it was a strong and very moving film.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hounddog (2007)

3 out of 5 Stars
Dakota Fanning single handedly pulled this film off. The film critic in me veers toward criticizing a weak script which was an attempt at 'southern gothic'/Flannery O'Connor, underdeveloped characters with little to no back stories, bizarre plot twists, and an overall jumbled mess of a screenplay. But this film gets 3 stars from me because of how moved I was by Fanning's portrayal of Lewellen. Her eyes, her raw emotions, her dead eyed expressions, her concealed pain, her ability to steal scenes from David Morse (man, I felt bad for him, his part was so cringeful - no actor should have ever taken that one on), Robin Wright Penn (she did the best she could with a poor script) and Piper Laurie (reprising her role in Carrie -- heh!). Dakota Fanning made me cry and I never cry in movies. She is enigmatic, powerful and so fascinating to watch on screen. Her performance alone makes this film worth seeing. She truly is one of the best young actors I've seen on camera.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


2.5 out of 5 Stars
I was interested in seeing this film mostly because I greatly enjoyed Greg Mottola's first screenplay 'The Daytrippers'. Unfortunately, Adventureland does not manage to reach the same mix of humor, drama and character development that his earlier film script did. Adventureland falls somewhere in between the sensitivity of Mottola's earlier work and the baudy humor of Judd Apatow's films (which I am not a fan of). Adventureland has a few touching and honest moments, but it still feels underdeveloped. Jesse Eisenberg gives a fantastic performance as James. He is subtle and likable and gives his character a sensitivity that more often than not gets lost in these types of scripts (ie. virgin who has a hard time with the ladies). Kristin Stewart (who I normally enjoy watching onscreen) was a disappointment. The supporting cast (particularly Margarita Levieva as Lisa P.) hold their own. But in the end, I thought Adventureland fell short of living up to it's potential.