New to DVD:
Let Me In
This film is a remake of the Swedish book and film Let the Right One In, which I believe to be one of 2008’s best films and the most original vampire film in years. So, I was initially fearful of how it might be treated given Hollywood’s hit or miss track record for foreign remakes: misses including (Quarantine from Spain’s Rec, The Vanishing from the French/Dutch film of the same title, Last Man Standing from Yojimbo) and hits (The Departed from China’s Infernal Affairs, Insomnia from the Norwegian Insomnia, and The Ring from Japan’s Ringu)
Luckily, this film came through as a faithful remake that retained many qualities of the original, while contributing new depths of its own. It explored new angles of the story and characters and only minimally watered itself down with hollywood thrills and effects. The original is most certainly better, but both are good films that tell a dark and unglamorous portrait of childhood through the lens of a vampire story.
Alien monsters have settled in between America and Mexico, where national armies keep them contained, but through circumstances, two people must tread the dangerous land to make it back home.
It was like The Road meets Cloverfield and District 9. Monsters proved to be an original story that initially appeals on a sci/fi level, but leaves you with a dramatic appreciation for its well written story.
No better or worse than what I expected. It entertains and engages those who like such action/espionage films like the Jason Bourne films or 24.
The Third Man
Classic film noir that delivers all the essentials from a witty script that drives the mystery/thriller plot, cinematography that’s both gloomy and evocative, and well played characters from Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles.
There are some very strong feelings people have towards this film. And unfortunately for those who disliked this film, it will ultimately stand as the last contribution director Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire will make to the Spider-Man franchise. I myself, am a huge fan of all 3 Spider-Man movies. 1 was entertaining backstory, 2 was comic book film perfection, and 3 is something altogether different.
Within Spider-Man 3, we have an excessive amount of storylines. Rumor has it that Raimi never wanted Venom in the picture at all, but producers pressured him into doing it. Therefore we have to suffer the randomness of an alien dropping from space without explanation, the interesting interpretation of black suit Spidey, and the strange decision to make Topher Grace Venom. These latter two points are where fans get hung up on, but somehow they forgot the amazing action sequences, the incredible special effects (Sandman’s formation was straight up beautiful image with music), and the story that appeals on a human level. Each character made mistakes, suffered, and persisted. Love, friendship, and forgiveness came through the script in poetic ways that few action films can deliver. I know the emo hair, disco dancing, and Chicagoesque bar room scene jarred people in uncomfortable ways, but if you know Sam Raimi’s style, you’ll know that he’ll bring in references from slapstick to Broadway. Was it a wise choice, no.. but I was entertained and am willing to overlook it in light of the film’s other accomplishments.
Overall, I found Spider-Man 3 to be both thrilling and moving.