Wednesday, December 28, 2005

this week's netflix

I'm tempted to change the name of this series to This Month's Netflix, but in the interest of consistency, the name will remain.

Empire Falls: One thing I can say about this novel-to-miniseries adaptation is that it is very true to the book. Richard Russo wrote the screenplay as well as the novel and you can tell. However, some stories are better savored through the printed word. Despite some fine performances (although Helen Hunt's accent was grating), I would have rather curled up with the paperback again.

Sin City: I thought of myself as someone with a high tolerance for cinematic violence, but the brutality of this film was relentless. Even though the style was cartoonish - one memorable scene has an unrecognizable Mickey Rourke dragging a foe from a car with his head scraping along the road - it was still too much. The art direction is pretty remarkable, but it couldn't distract me enough from all the killing, beating, maiming, and torture.

Batman Begins: I admire the work of Christopher Nolan to such an extent that I wrote a long analysis of Memento for a graduate conference. I was looking forward to seeing Nolan's treatment of Batman's origins as much as I was looking forward to seeing Christian Bale with some meat on his bones after The Machinist. Sadly, I was just plain bored. I nodded off during the final fight scene and didn't even bother to rewind. The most memorable scene for me was a brief appearance of Patrick Bateman reprising his push-up skills from American Psycho.

My Summer of Love: Now this was a film I really enjoyed. This tale of two young English girls who fall in love over the course of a summer was a study in how complex the simple can be. All the actors turn in outstanding performances and the underlying darkness of the storyline is handled deftly. I can't remember the last time I was so satisfied with a film's ending.