Monday, October 02, 2006

Movie Mon. - Dark and Twisty

The Notorious Bettie Page: Biopic about the so called Pin-Up Queen of the Universe and her rise to notoriety and subsequent turn to Christianity. Gretchen Mol does a good job as the borderline naive Page, but I have to wonder if the real life version was truly that clueless about the motivations of her primary audience of S&M fetishists. And yes, if that last sentence didn't confirm it for you, there are sexual situations in this one. An interesting film, but nothing spectacular.

Hard Candy
: Gripping psychological thriller about a pedophile who uses the Internet to lure a young girl into his home, only to discover that the young girl has some pretty scary plans of her own. I don't even know where to begin with this one, other than to say that young Ellen Page completely blew me away as the incredibly intelligent and definitely disturbed teen. Intense film which never gets overly graphic, but which skirts the line enough to make you squirm in your seat now and again. My pick of the week.

Down in the Valley: Strange film about the relationship between a rebellious teen (Evan Rachel Wood) and a delusional drifter who thinks he's a cowboy (Edward Norton), and the chaos which results after the teen's father (David Morse) tries to keep them apart. This one definitely went places I wasn't expecting, which was nice; it turned out to be a much darker and depressing film than I expected, but it was so well done that didn't bother me. Excellent acting jobs all around as to be expected with this cast; it was fun watching Norton playing the "aw, shucks" cowboy who is slipping further and further into his own private world. I will admit to feeling vaguely creeped out by Norton and Wood's physical contact, especially since I watched this immediately following Hard Candy, but still, a movie I liked quite a bit.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance: Final installment of Chan-wook Park's "vengeance" trilogy follows a recently released convict and her quest to take revenge on the man responsible for her incarceration. This is definitely my least favorite installment of the trilogy. Both Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance were filled with amazing visuals and compelling stories; this one, in comparison, failed to fully capture my interest and imagination. Oh, sure, there are some great visuals here and there, and quite a bit of dark humor, but in the end, I just didn't feel that this one measured up to its predecessors. I wound up liking it in the end, but I think my expectations were just too high.