Three Short Reviews of Films That Are Truly Great
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008) *****
Directed by Kurt Kuenne
Right off the bat, I want to make it clear that I am not going to spoil anything about this documentary, except to say that there’s something to spoil. Please don’t read anything about Dear Zachary other than this short review if you have any desire to see it. All I will say is that I have not seen many films in my life that are truly unforgettable—Dear Zachary will stay with me forever. Kuenne’s personal film about his friend who was murdered will absolutely penetrate your inner core with emotions that won’t show mercy. MSNBC films gets my respect for marketing such a cinematic treasure. Keep a look out for Dear Zachary on MSNBC since it isn’t available on DVD yet.
Labels: 2008, Documentary, Five Stars
Jackie Brown (1997) ****1/2
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino once again masterfully matches style with substance in Jackie Brown, a superb homage to the blaxploitation films from the 1970’s, many of which starred Pam Grier, who plays the title character. By far, Jackie Brown is the least violent of the films Tarantino has directed, which is actually a bit of a minus considering how well he can comment on the world through his ever-present gory paradigm. Though not on the same level of quality as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Reservoir Dogs, and perhaps just a bit too long, this film nonetheless springs to life through Tarantino’s brilliant ear for dialogue, as well as his obsession with exposing the evil elements of humanity in such a delightfully rich manner. Subject matter such as drug abuse, blackmail and corruption are transformed into slices of entertainment which more than satisfy one’s appetite for the highest quality of dark humor.
Labels: 1990s, Drama, Thriller, Four and a Half Stars, Quentin Tarantino
Let the Right One In (2008) ****1/2
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
I’m thrilled to announce that the must-see vampire movie of 2008 is now available on DVD. No, I’m not talking about Twilight (which I haven’t seen yet, so I could be wrong in my assumption that it’s not as good as the film I’m reviewing). The Swedish horror-drama Let the Right One In has haunted me in the very best ways possible since I first viewed it over a month ago. A lonely, bullied young boy befriends a troubled young girl, and soon they begin to fall in love with each other. The fact that she’s a vampire makes their relationship a bit difficult, as I’m sure you could imagine! She must consume human blood, and though she’s manipulated people in her life to kill to satisfy her appetite, she’s not willing to do so once again for this young boy. Perhaps no other film from 2008 has a more effective mood; the lonely darkness of a Swedish winter perfectly supports the sad situations both kids find themselves in. Yet, within a film so heavy and dank, there’s an ultimate hope which does manifest itself in a very bloody way towards the conclusion of the film. There’s one quick shot of something I won’t mention that comes off disturbingly gratuitous which I could have done without. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly say that you should see Let the Right One In. If you hated Twilight, this film is undoubtedly more entertaining; on the other hand, if you loved Twilight, my bet is that you’ll love this one too!
Labels: 2008, Horror, Drama, Four and a Half Stars, Foreign Film, Swedish