Friday, August 31, 2007

Rochelle's Moviewatch!

Two sample film reviews:

"Hot Fuzz"
(2007) directed by Edgar Wright

Summary: A London "supercop" faces boredom and frustration when he is reassigned (against his will) to a sleepy little village in the country. But things get interesting for the sergeant and his dim-witted constable when a rash of fatal "accidents" strike the hamlet . . .

Things I Liked: The film's style and the very solid direction. The camera work expertly evokes (and parodies) the action-filled, big-budget police movies we Americans adore. I found the characters and the relationships between them to be very interesting but I did not in a million years expect the film's story to have as much depth and complexity as it did.

Things I Disliked: The title. The film is funny but the humor is not nearly as pervasive as the humor in SHAWN OF THE DEAD. Wright could have wrapped things up ten minutes earlier and I still would have been satisfied.

Three and one half stars out of five stars

The Best Years of Our Lives"
(1946) Directed by William Wyler

Summary: Three WWII veterans struggle to adapt following their return home to small town America.

Things I Liked: The characters. The fluid manner in which director William Wyler juggles multiple storylines, all the while managing to keep each one interesting. Excellent performances by Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Harold Russell, Fredric March and Hoagy Carmichael. Worthy of every one of the seven (7!) Oscars it won.

Things I Disliked: The delayed climax made me more aware of the film's running time than I otherwise would have been.

Three stars out of five stars

Moviewatch Ratings Legend:

One Star: Hated it
Two Stars: Didn't like it
Three Stars: Liked it
Four Stars: Really liked it
Five Stars: Loved it

I write these little five-minute reviews primarily to help me analyze the films I watch. I purposely posted here an older film along with a more recently released one in order to reinforce the importance of watching films from all eras.

Composing reviews in this way serves two purposes. One, it forces me to find the good in something I might otherwise not care for. A lot of hard work goes into making a film -- even a bad one -- and this is a much less critical and/or negative way for me to comment on the strengths and/or weaknesses of the film (in fact, I'll even go so far as to say that even the worst movies have something to like about them). Secondly (and most usefully), writing down what I think works and what doesn't has really, really helped me understand the visual storytelling process better.