Well I'm back from the States for the time being but will be going back either once or twice next month (which is a serious pain in the you-know-where) and, as is my usual wont, I should be reporting on the in-flight movies seen. The above caption is perhaps a wee bit misleading since the selected films were all worth a look, but truthfully were not properly viewed, since I managed to doze off during all of them. Still at least I know which will be worth my time when I get around to them again:
The Iron Man (2008): I am probably the only movie buff in existence who has not yet seen the new, blockbusting Batman film (I'm in no hurry), but as far as comic-book heroes go, this film has a lot going for it. Robert Downey, Jr. is such a consummate actor that he is even believable as a superhero -- a concept totally at odds with his previous screen incarnations. I wish I'd seen all of this one, since it seemed good fun with stupendous effects and a bald Jeff Bridges making an unlikely but menacing villain. Even Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't grate here.
Kung Fu Panda (2008): I usually like modern animations but could barely keep my eyes open during this one which is currently out-boxofficing "Wall-E" (which for my money is the superior film). This one is an affectionate take on kung-fu movies with roly-poly Jack Black voicing a roly-poly panda who yearns to be a hero. Like so many recent films, this one boasts a celebrity voice cast which even includes Jackie Chan, but I reserve judgment for now.
In Bruges (2008): I only saw the start and end of this one, but it seemed a winner and I definitely want to watch it again. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play two hired killers lying low in Belgium while awaiting orders from their boss -- an OTT Ralph Fiennes. Farrell often leaves me cold, but as the foul-mouthed and not-too-bright hitman hating the cultural mecca of Bruges, his performance is definitely one of his more watchable ones.
Gone Baby Gone (2007): Ben Affleck's directorial debut starring his brother Casey in an adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel is sure-footed and absorbing, with a number of unexpected ins and outs that one didn't see coming and perhaps an overly downbeat ending. Affleck Sr. does a professional job of giving the viewer a realistic view of the Boston where he was raised and in controlling the very able cast. That I found it a little confusing is most likely down to the fact that I missed great chunks of it while dozing off in Cloud Cuckoo land -- so this is another that I must give further respect to.
Be Kind, Rewind (2008): I saw most of this one based on a concept from the weird mind of its director Michel Gondry and while it was amusing in parts, it probably isn't a film that is worth repeat viewings. Jack Black (again) gets himself magnetized (don't ask) and blanks out all of the videos in the down-and-out video shop being watched by his mate Mos Def (very good, as always) for its owner, Danny Glover. In order to satisfy their dwindling customer base, they decide to "swede" a number of the movies, making home-made rip-offs of popular titles with a certain degree of ingenuity and good humour. There's also a running motif of their New Jersey town being associated with Fats Waller which gives the film its continuity and resolution. It's a pretty minor effort but one which leaves the viewer in feel-good mode.
I'll try to write again during the coming days before succumbing to the FrightFest marathon which starts on Thursday. Nearly 30 movies in five days? Now that's guaranteed to put me to sleep!
Sorry folks (if indeed there is anyone reading out there!) no time or inclination for any new entries before FrightFest, despite seeing some worthy contenders. Just too much going on to get my act together....