Friday, December 14, 2007

Movies opening this week

Atonement (Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, dir. Joe Wright)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Maybe it was a product of seeing it projected digitally, but this was probably the best-looking movie I saw all year. Wright is one hell of a director, and I really wanted to love this movie, but narratively it doesn't hang together as well as it should. Still worth seeing on a big screen if you can, and the first third is pretty much flawless. I've had a DVD of Wright's Pride & Prejudice from 2005 sitting next to my TV forever, and now I definitely plan to get to it soon. Opened limited Dec. 7; in Las Vegas this week

I Am Legend (Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, dir. Francis Lawrence)
This is one of those movies that I liked a lot while I was watching it (well, except for the rushed and overly optimistic ending) and then afterward thought back on all the plot inconsistencies that didn't make sense. As most reviews have noted, the first hour is pretty damn good, surprisingly light on action and effective at conveying the desolation and loneliness of being the only man left in post-apocalyptic New York City. Smith carries the movie well on his own (along with his dog), and there are even some nicely touching moments. Then when the fellow survivors show up and the movie switches to action mode, it's a little less convincing, and as I said the ending just doesn't work. Also, I've never read the book, but from checking out the Wikipedia summary, it's obvious that this deviates significantly from Richard Matheson's story. So if you're hoping that the one film version that keeps the original title will be the one to remain faithful to the novel, you'll be out of luck. If you go in judging the movie on its own terms, though, you may be pleasantly surprised. Wide release

No comments: