Saturday, July 3, 2021

Capsule Reviews - July 3, 2021

Apollo 11 (2019)

Director Todd Douglas Miller’s engrossing documentary took me deeper into the July 1969 moon landing than any film or TV special I’ve seen before. Apollo 11 does, indeed, contain footage that’s been featured hundreds of times over the years (the countdown and liftoff, Neil Armstrong’s “One Small Step For Man”, etc), but you see these now-iconic images in an entirely new light when coupled with the behind-the-scenes workings we’ve rarely (or in some cases never) witnessed, including a number of fascinating conversations between the astronauts and mission control. Apollo 11 shows us, in great detail, how many hundreds of people it took to make this amazing accomplishment a reality. It’s an extraordinary documentary.
Rating: 9 out of 10

Deliver Us From Evil (2009)

The story of a young father and the nightmare that befalls his family when he moves them into his childhood home, writer / director Ole Bornedal’s Deliver Us From Evil is a gut-punch of a movie. It is stylish, well-acted, and shot in the picturesque countryside of Denmark, but it is the raw, hard-hitting power of its story that will haunt you, and the depths to which its characters sink that will stay with you for days. One character’s complete transformation - the result of a tragedy that befalls him - is what sets everything in motion, and my jaw dropped when I saw the chaos he touched off as a result. And the shocks didn’t stop coming; the brutality that this movie explored is not to be taken lightly. I am definitely recommending Deliver Us From Evil, but with a warning. It will shake you!
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Timecrimes (2007)

Timecrimes is an intense, fascinating thriller from director Nacho Vigalando about a man named Hector (Karra Elejalde ) who takes an unexpected leap backwards in time. Karra Elejalde is effective in the lead role, gathering up our sympathies for his plight even when his character’s actions are dubious at best (especially towards the end of the film, when events spiral out of control). Yet what I found most appealing about Timecrimes was its pacing. Vigalando is in no hurry to get us from point A to point B; the story reveals itself slowly, layer by layer, taking the viewer down one path, then another, and then another, each more intriguing than the last. Aside from effectively building tension, this pacing keeps the audience in tune with what’s happening (there are enough twists and turns that, in the hands of a less patient filmmaker, things might have gotten confusing), and sets us up perfectly for some of the movie’s bigger surprises. Timecrimes is occasionally shocking, usually exciting, and entirely satisfying.
Rating: 9 out of 10

No comments: