Category: Film Reviews

When Angels Become Demons (Passion and Profession): Zoe Saldana in the international action-thriller film Colombiana, written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, and directed by Olivier Megaton

Zoe Saldana has appeared in comedy, drama, and science fiction, but her role as a tormented, driven young woman in Olivier Megaton’s Colombiana may be her most dynamic, her freest; and it is an irony that her freedom is exemplified by her astute control. While watching a woman go wild and do forbidden things can be an exhilarating fantasy, when her actions involve crimes that injure others, that is hardly a model for imitation.

Yesterday’s Treasures: The Deep Blue Sea and The Bridge on the River Kwai

The British officer who authorized his men in the Burma camp to give their best in building the bridge has begun to lose sight of his ultimate allegiance, and tries to protect the bridge from the bombers. In a contest of nation against nation, man against man, will against will, good men die for riches, rituals and rules, all in the madness of war. Is any ideal or principle worth the sacrifice of the complex, messy plenitude that is human life?

War Becomes A Man: A Modern Interpretation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, starring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler

This is a world of economic strife, hunger, mass protests, militant policing, automatic weaponry, great tanks, constant television reportage, rumor and suspicion. Coriolanus stands out in a competitive, hostile world; and whereas others—activists, politicians, and soldiers—come together to converse and conspire in order to achieve goals, Coriolanus is able to act alone.

The Wisdom to Know the Difference: Halle Berry’s Performance of Truthful Depth in Things We Lost in the Fire

Audrey, a homemaker who likes cooking and woodworking, is a woman who expects a certain logic of her life, and, though she knows instinctively and intellectually what decent behavior is, her pain, judgements, and selfishness sometimes make her punishing. Halle Berry’s performance is shaded with anger, dismay, and grief in various combinations and intensities; and it is a deep, truthful, impressive performance.

American Monsters in Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece The Godfather

In light of the fact that little could be said to be at stake—the son of a major criminal becomes a criminal, and he and other criminals try to kill each other, one would think that the story would have less grasp of the imagination of the viewer, but its grasp is secure thanks to the attitude, atmosphere, and tone of The Godfather.

Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, a great film focused on Sicilian aristocracy and cultural change

Burt Lancaster is the patriarch, Don Fabrizio Corbera, the prince of Salina, and his way of life is threatened by revolutionary change: the struggle to unify Italy, and the rising commercial middle class, are at his door. There are predictions that the aristocracy will lose its status, the prominence of its values, and possibly its lands, and that the church may lose as much too.