INVINCIBLE

Marky Mark in an impossible-dream sports film a la Bend It Like Beckham, Rudy and Hoosiers and dozens of others.  Drags at times, but perfect for one of those days when you need a feel-good film.

F=1.5

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THE BROTHERS GRIMM

I didn’t have high hopes for this, but with Terry Gilliam at the helm I had hope. It could have been wonderful (to quote Jeffery Lyons’s re: The Keep film). This could have been a puissant story about the power of myth if Gilliam hadn’t played it so broadly. I loved the way elements from Grimm fairy tales were worked into the narrative, but the overall impact was vitiated by silly characterizations. (Though Lena Headey was wonderful, and I liked Heath Ledger as the visionary brother.) I didn’t FF much because the premise was so appealing, but the elements didn’t gel. I find this sort of film extremely frustrating because all the makings for greatness are there but they’re squandered.

FF=1.5

LAYER CAKE

Ultimately a disappointment.  Maybe because I was expecting a caper along the lines of Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels and got nothing of the sort.  Nothing wrong with a clichéd setup if you’re eventually going to turn it on its head.   Layer Cake has twists and turns but is far too complicated for its own good.  The low FF rating is due to my reluctance to use the button for fear I’d miss something that would clue me as to what the hell was going on.  The accents were no help.  I finally turned on the English subtitles.

FF=1.5

CRASH

This has a Robert Altman feel and was obviously influenced by “Nashville” and its successors.  It’s about racism in America but there’s no KKK or Black Panthers running around.  It’s more about shadings.  (Probably a bad choice of term, but better than saying there was no black and white.)  The acting is superb, with Ludacris the biggest surprise.  He’s a natural and nailed his part through the heart. (Of course it didn’t hurt that he had the best lines.)

The only time I hit the FF button was when the “acting” scenes ran too long.  And too many of them did.  The actors want opportunities to strut their chops. But my thumb decided that a number of what should have been straightforward scenes about relationships and such ran longer than they should – okay, we know you’re a good father and we know you love your daughter, now get off the screen.  Sort of like writers who fall in love with the sound of their own words and ramble on about wallpaper patterns and waving meadows of grass.  My thumb screamed “We know!  We know!” and jumped on the button.

I’ve said more than I intended.  Better quit now.

FF= 1.5