Archive for April, 2011

’13 Assassins’ Director Takashi Miike Goes Old School

'13 Assassins' Magnolia Pictures13 Assassins” is easily one of the best movies to come out of Japan in a while and the best action flick to come out so far this year.

Unlike the anodyne action sequences of such

recent sword fighting fare as “Sucker Punch,” this movie wasn’t created in a

computer; the violence in this film feels real and raw. Unlike the spastic battle

scenes in “Battle: Los Angeles,” this film doesn’t feel like the cameraman was being chased by a bear. Instead “13 Assassins” has the sweep and grandeur of an old-school Akira Kurosawa samurai movie — only with more blood. A lot more blood. Continue reading ‘’13 Assassins’ Director Takashi Miike Goes Old School’

‘Arthur’ Star Greta Gerwig Steals the Show

Few were surprised when Warner Brothers cast Russell Brand as the lead in the remake of the 1981 classic “Arthur.” After all, Dudley Moore’s lovable drunk is only a stone’s throw from Brand’s entire persona.

Helen Mirren being cast as Arthur’s long-suffering servant Hobson was also not especially surprising. The part was originally played by Sir John Gielgud, who won an Oscar for his effort. In this new version, the gender switch does add a little Oedipal frisson to Hobson’s relationship to her charge. Yet in many ways, Mirren is Gielgud’s later-day equivalent, tapped whenever Hollywood needs to evoke the British upper crust.

But the real surprise in the movie is Greta Gerwig, who fills in for Liza Minelli as Arthur’s love interest. Her performance in the movie is — and I mean this in the best possible way — so affectless that she comes off as bracingly real and utterly disarming. She provides a welcome counterpoint to Brand’s antics and ends up walking away with the movie.  Her performance turns what by all rights should be another anemic remake into a surprisingly charming film. Continue reading ‘‘Arthur’ Star Greta Gerwig Steals the Show’

April 2011

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