Thursday, June 09, 2005

Movies opening this week

High Tension (C├ęcile de France, Maiwenn Le Besco, Philippe Nahon, dir. Alexandre Aja)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I find it interesting that relatively few reviews of this movie seem to be mentioning its obvious homophobic subtext. Granted, I have mostly skimmed blurbs on Rotten Tomatoes, not perused every review, but to me it came across so strongly that there was no way I could ignore it. Maybe it's because it comes out with the plot twist at the end, or maybe people just don't see it. I don't know. It really bothered me, though, because until that twist (which also sort of invalidates a lot of the action and just plain doesn't make sense), I thought this movie was great, exactly the kind of horror movie I wish we had more of. It was simple and brutal, not overburdened with plot, and very exciting. The middle part still has those strengths, but the end left me so conflicted that I'm still not sure whether to recommend the film or not. Wide release

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, dir. Doug Liman)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
This seems to be shaping up to be a love-it-or-hate-it film, and I'm definitely in the love it camp. This is probably the funniest and sexiest movie I've seen in a long time, and while the plot holes are massive, the story gets the basic things it needs to do done right. Some people are seeing it as a suburban satire or a critique of consumerist culture; Karina Longworth at Cinematical called it "almost Bunuelian," and Sean Burns in the Philadelphia Weekly offered this great assessment: "The film reckons that it's only by trashing the paradigm (and literally blowing up the McMansion) that we'll finally start seeing the other person for who they really are." I think they may be overstating it a bit, but any movie that allows for those kinds of freewheeling interpretations and is still giddily entertaining must be doing something right. Wide release

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