Enduring Love [December 18, 2006]: The first movie adapting Ian McEwan (The Good Son doesn't count, because there was no source novel) that I saw taught me what an au pair was. The film opens with a death that's shocking because it happens on a clear innocuous day and in a very matter-of-fact way (since I hadn't read the novel, I had the benefit of ignorance as far as the plot was concerned). A sense of Rashomon and emotional confusion take over as the film walks the thin line between drama and thriller. Nice chilling use of God Only Knows and some interesting use of slow motion followed by quick edits and frenzied camera angles and lenses and sped-up film as Joe rushes home when he finds out that Jed is there with Claire. Watch out the book Awakening The Buddha by Lama Surya Das (yes, LSD). Bland font for the end credits, however. The film's confusion of intent prevents it from being either an engaging psychological experience (something really welcome given the earnest performances) or a less unsubtle version of Fatal Attraction.
The Score [September 21, 2006] (aka 317 946 5839): This film will most likely be remembered more for who was in it rather than what they did in it or the plot. It's about a con with none of the surprises being surprises, peppered with the obligatory yet implausible heist sequence, packed with material for actors to riff with and yet not terribly exciting. The prospect of seeing Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando finally work together and of seeing Edward Norton hold his own foil with these two fine sabres doing their thing is not done justice by a film that only works in parts. One wishes that David Mamet had been involved in scripting stuff for Norton and De Niro; I can't think of anyone who could write anything for the colossal and shockingly unpredictable temperamental Brando. Scenes seem to work simply because we find ourselves watching good actors do their stuff, but the material isn't much up to snuff. You can appreciate some good lighting work by Rob Hahn. The film, however, seems to want to succeed more as a by-the-numbers gadget-laden caper than as something that George Roy Hill might have been at ease with. Oh, did I forget to note that Angela Bassett's here too, wasting her time. Get your kicks by spotting Quake III: Arena.