Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Irreviews, 2011: Issue III

Animal Farm (1954)
Director: Joy Batchelor, John Halas
Writer(s): George Orwell (novel), Lothar Wolff, Borden Mace, Philip Stapp
Starring: Gordon Heath, Maurice Denham
George Orwell comes to the screen in this animated classic. Though slightly more pro-Western than the source material (keeping its anti-communist bent, but muting its anti-capitalist bent a tad), it's nevertheless an excellent cinematic political satire. I've never been so pissed off at the mistreatment of a horse in my life. Death to Pigs!
Verdict: SEE it.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Director: Michael Apted
Writer(s): Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Michael Petroni, C.S. Lewis (novel)
Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter
The first entry in The Chronicles of Narnia from new distributor Fox, the story continues to be told competently, even if it's losing some of its charm. I'll admit, I had high hopes for this one, since Voyage of the Dawn Treader is (along with The Horse and His Boy) one of my two favorite books in the series. I wasn't disappointed, but neither was I overly impressed.
Verdict: Er... SEE it, if you're already a fan.

The Social Network (2010)
Director: David Fincher
Writer(s): Aaron Sorkin, Ben Mezrich (book)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield
Facebook rules the world. Pretty much. And this movie purports to be the (highly fictionalized) true story of how Facebook began to the rule the world. Say what you will, it's a damned good movie. Jesse Eisenberg is fantastic as the screen Mark Zuckerberg, and even Justin Timberlake (who's yet to show he can act) didn't suck things up. David Fincher continues to show he's one of the best directors out there, capable of handling any genre with relative ease.
Verdict: SEE it.

The Tree of Life (2011)
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer(s): Terrence Malick
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Terrence Malick makes good movies. Terrence Malick makes beautiful movies. The Tree of Life is a beautiful movie. But, boy, is it boring. While the slices of "real life" are convincing and the plot is easily believable, the movie's "little train that could" determination to be considered an art film derails it... big time. Clearly, Terrence Malick wanted to share his personal beliefs and perspectives with the rest of the world, yelling "look how perceptive and omniscient I am" at the audience. If you want good Malick, skip this one and rent The Thin Red Line instead.
Verdict: SKIP it. Full of pretense, satisfying only to the pretentious.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer(s): Kevin Smith
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson
Yes, the title caused a hubbub. But the movie is cute, romantic, and Kevin Smith's best directorial effort since Dogma (even though I liked Clerks II, but more for nostalgic reasons). Seth Rogen isn't annoying, and Elizabeth Banks sells her role with ease. Who knew porn could inspire true love to reveal itself?
Verdict: SEE it.


  1. Hmmm . . not really interested in the Tree of Life and it's been years since I saw Animal Farm. Defo a Narnia fan and have enjoyed all the movies . . .and Ive dodged Zack and Miri for the title alone. Shouldn't just a film by it's title I guess. Oh I think they demonised Mark Zuckerberg a bit but it was a very good movie.

  2. I love Animal Farm. I haven't seen that film, but I admit I'd be slightly nervous that it would sully the story for me, as movies often do. What do you think?

    The Social Network is definitely on the to-do list. I missed it when it was in the theaters. And I've see Narnia (shrug). The others? I wouldn't go out of my way, I guess.

  3. No, you don't really think that Zack and Miri Make a Porno was good?! I found it to be such an unlikely ending. It was like the first half was so American Pie, or Harold and Kumar, and then they were suddenly like, "Wait! Let's make this a cute romantic comedy!" and thought it would be that easy to change course.
    Each to their own, though!
    I haven't seen the Tree of Life, but I kind of expected that it would just be all very pretentious. I cannot stand things that try to be arty for the sake of being thought of as arty.