Friday, June 10, 2011

Lost Horizon

It's hard to get this challenge going again without any momentum. Not impossible, but very difficult. I find myself lost now that the end of the list is not on my horizon...but I'm trying to find a way to carry on. So forgive me if I seem to be losing my footing at times.

A reader once told me that when I got to Traffic (2000), I would recognize the use of gritty images and the manipulation of colour balances in its shots because many films after Traffic mirrored its style. Well, that day has finally come, and I can definitely agree. Stylistically, this film is brilliant, edgy, and original, saturated with Stephen Soderbergh's distinctive guidance. But as a whole, this one didn't do much for me. The intertwined storylines were supposed to give the film intrigue and keep it at a galloping pace, but only one of them really interested me. Maybe it's too grown-up for me...I don't really know. I can't really relate to any kind of struggle with cocaine or Mexican drug dealers, so a film about such subjects is bound to fall flat with me.
Even so, the performances were still fantastic. Benicio Del Toro (where has he been lately??) brings smoldering Latino flare to the washed-out scenes in Mexico, while Michael Douglas keeps us hooked for the stateside scenes. Topher Grace surfaces for a few key moments, reminding us of the dramatic promise he once showed (and where has he been lately??). My verdict: great performances, fascinating delivery, unimpressive story.

The summer surprises just keep rolling in: X-Men: First Class is actually watchable. Maybe not just that- it's even a little bit entertaining. I was expecting to roll on the floor in agony, but I was stunned by its poise. A star-studded cast helped guide it through its minor kinks, and a fast, fluid plot moves the film along quickly enough so that we can't stop to think about its flaws. Kevin Bacon- always a blast to watch- has so much fun in his villainous role that we can't help but join in, and Jennifer Lawrence shows us her fun side as well, fresh off her wild Winter's Bone ride. My verdict: not a complete waste of summer-job money.

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