I intended to write full-length reviews on a couple of the film's below, but the time has slipped away so instead here are some short and sweet musings on a bunch of movies I have seen lately.
Cactus (2008, dir. Carrucan) - This Aussie film from first-time director Jasmine Yuen-Carrucan is a bit of a mixed back. I wish it had taken the general plot (two men on a road trip, one a hired kidnapper and the other a gambling man being taken to a high-end client) and turned it into the rip-snorting thriller-in-the-outback that it so desperately wants to be, instead of taking it down the admirable, but a bit dull, well-worn path of a story about what it means to be men and all that stuff. B-
A Chorus Line (1985, dir. Attenborough) - A bit messy, no? I haven't seen any version of the stage show so I can't complain about missing songs or extracted storylines, but when the end came and I didn't particularly care who was chosen to actually be a part of the chorus line I knew something had gone wrong. But I still quite liked it, just... not really wholeheartedly. B-
EagleEye (2008, dir. Caruso) - I saw this for free, so perhaps my viewing was skewed, but I kinda liked it. I actually enjoyed not knowing where each of the - messily edited, I must say - action scenes were going and, let's be honest, any movie that recreates an action sequence from Toy Story 2 (that'd be the airport sequence) has got to have somebody in the creative process with their head screwed on properly. The cast is good and I can think of worse things than spending two hours with Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan. B
Sydney White (2007, dir. Nassbaum) - It's not She's the Man (and I say that in all sincerity), is it? Amanda Bynes isn't a very good actress, either. D-
The Visitor (2008, dir. McCarthy) - Not at the level of Thomas McCarthy's first feature, the delightful Station Agent, but it shares that wonderful film's ability to make the audience smile even through times of desperation. Would be nice to see Richard Jenkins get some end-of-year awards traction for his performance here. Great stuff. B+