Over the long weekend, I watched two films. Crank and The Illusionist.
I was rather excited about Crank. It was such an amazing premise, combining the ideas of the film noir classic D.O.A. with the 90's action flick Speed. I had hoped for some great action sequences with what would ultimately amount to a vengeance story.
What I got was a rather poorly written exploitation film that was ultimately pornography for violence and sex.
There's a new documentary that just opened up called, I believe, This Film Not Yet Rated. About how the MPAA rates movies (or rather, how nobody is willing or can tell them how the MPAA actually rates it's movies, why it is harsher to independent films yet soft-tailing to Hollywood...etc.) If that's the case...then, for the most part I think I better look a little closer at the films I want to see. Had I rated this, it would have been an easy candidate for NC-17.
And ultimately, though it had some clever moments and asome interesting action sequences: I wish I would've never seen it.
The Illusionist however was a different story. Though I can't fully recommend it, I found it to be captivating, the performances quite good, the cinematography excellent... In fact, pretty much everything in this film is great...except some of the direction...oh, and the story.
The first half of the movie is wonderful, combining romance with magic...which...well, aren't they the same thing?
And they do it rather well at a nice even pace. It's when the movie begins it's second half that the director and possibly screenwriter begin to lose their way. The drama gives way to thrills that do little to quicken the pulse. The romance disappears like a cheap parlour trick. And we realize that we don't know what we are supposed to be feeling... In fact, it's fairly clear that the director isn't sure either... the latter half is quite uneven. Where the entire movie should build, instead, it flounders.
And yet, even with all of this, the glowing performances and the enchanting world are enough of an illusion to captivate me for the latter hour.