Friday, April 2, 2010

Let's All Go to the Lobby!

Clash of the Titans
The 1981 fantasy classic gets a reboot and a makeover under the boring guidance of Louis Leterrier and vacant gaze of new action it-boy Sam Worthington. Lacking the charm of the original, the new Titans tries wow with 3D special effects and a talented cast. While the acting is adequate (if not lost amongst the glitz and shine of the sfx), the 3D is yet another wasted attempt to capitalize on Hollywood's hot trend.

Leterrier certainly knows how to put together an action film, but a few sequences were too tight and too dark - leaving the audience to wonder what exactly was happening. Even the well spaced and well choreographed scenes seem like retreads of "Troy," "300," or "Gladiator." In fact, were it not for the overt fantasy elements of this film, there isn't much to distinguish it from the other three or countless throngs of films produced in a similar setting. Swords and sandals epics have experienced a revival and it's has several strong examples, but "Clash of the Titans" is a remake that lacks the ingenuity and imagination of Ray Harryhausen and Desmond Davis' original. Skip it.

A Prophet
On my short list for anticipated films of 2010, "Un proph├Ęte" finally arrives in St. Louis after wowing crowds of critics since debuting at Cannes last May. The film follows the plight of a young man, Malik, sentenced to six years in prison. He finds himself alone, isolated in a world he does not understand, caught between prison cliches, as well as religious and political contentions. To top it all of, he's also illiterate. From the beginning you see that he has nothing and, basically, is considered nothing when he arrives. He soon falls in with a group of Corsican gangsters, learns to read and write (in addition to learning a few other languages) and slowly works his way up the gangster chain. Along the way he earns day leave, scores electronic equipment for his quarters, and begins dealing with other gangs, both in and out of prison.

The film is methodical and engrossing. It has a deep, talented cast of actors who lend severe credibility to the film's environs. While I've seen comparisons to the Italian "Gomorra," I found "Un proph├Ęte" to be much more interesting and realistic. Malik's journey presents a deeply moving and intense ordeal with one of the greatest closing scenes I've witnessed in a long while. See it.

No reviews next week as I will be at Aspen Shortsfest scouting material for SLIFF. If all goes well, I will be blogging daily about my short film marathon exploits.

1 comment:

Fanboy Wife said...

Usually remakes are disappointing. I don't think I'm going to see Clash of the Titans.