And it’s beautiful. Beautiful because the Wachowski’s are reaching for the skies. Beautiful because the brother-sister directorial tandem doesn’t know when to quit and don’t have a clue as to how to keep their voluminous ambitions in check. Beautiful because the parts are so gorgeous and spellbinding I not-really-all-that-embarrassingly loved them more than I did what it was they ultimately added up to in the end.
Russian director Sergey Bodrov’s (Prisoner of the Mountains) long-delayed Hollywood debut Seventh Son isn’t so much a disaster as it is an instantly forgettable waste of time. Having bounced in and out of the release schedule for the past two years, the film attempts to set up a new fantasy playground in hopes of filling the vacuum now that Peter Jackson has left Middle Earth behind and Walden Media appears to be done transporting the Pevensie children to Narnia. Sadly, this epic attempt falls pointlessly flat, little interesting or inspired taking place relegating things to a plain of irrelevance that’s moderately dispiriting.
As nicely lived-in and as authentic as things might feel, the central dramatics never surprise, never go any place that feels slightly fresh or original. It takes a massively long time to warm up to Franny, the budding anthropologist a frigid and dour pyramid of depression, guilt and ennui whose constant malaise is close to insufferable.
I can admit to being impressed with some aspects of the writing, I’m more than happy to extoll the virtues of its technical facets, I’m even happy to say I did laugh here and there at some of the gags proudly thrust front and center upon the screen. But as far as 93 minute excursions into animated underwater wonderlands are concerned I don’t want a single solitary part of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water; my head just couldn’t take the trauma of a second viewing.
The submarine thriller Black Sea is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by way of The Hunt for Red October and Run Silent, Run Deep, an angst-riddled foray into the heart of darkness.
But Stewart? Stewart is astonishing, burning through the screen with passion and power, elevating the film to glorious heights keeping things fascinating and enthralling throughout no matter how big any one misstep might initially appear.
The problem for me is that [Still Alice] – solidly made, competently directed, constructed with confidence and skill – is still shockingly slight, dripping into unnecessary sequences of melodramatic embellishment Genova’s complex, movingly multifaceted source material thankfully avoids.
Better, the director stages a climactic siege on a mysterious alien stronghold beautifully, and while there are plot holes to spare and clichés up the wazoo that somehow doesn’t make the finale any less suspenseful and exciting. It’s terrific, energizing stuff, and as silly as it all proves to be I can’t say I wasn’t happily smiling all the same by the time things finally came to their conclusion.
All I really want is for people to experience the glories and the monumental achievements of A Most Violent Year for themselves sans too much input or explanation from me.