I had a chance to cram in a good amount of movies this weekend. Here's what I saw and thought.
District 9: Though the CGI was what I was worried about going into this film, it ultimately ended up being the best part. I don't care for the shaky hand held style but it seemed to make the effects look more realistic. People rave about this film's originality. I thought the premise is original since it turns the table on the usual aliens invading earth science fiction standard, but the story and plot are completely cliche. It was definitely nice to see what can be done with a small budget (by Hollywood standards) but this film didn't live up to the hype.
Lord of the Flies (1963): The acting in this film was great considering that the actors were a bunch of kids. But I don't think it did the book much justice. The style bugged me too. There were too many edits that broke my concentration. Something just wasn't right.
The Apartment: I'd never seen this Best Picture winner before and didn't know what to expect going into it. I was pleasantly surprised. The acting was spectacular, it was shot beautifully, and the satirical story was refreshingly original. I recently read a quote about comedy, where the writer said they like knowing that the film is getting away with something. This is surely the case with The Apartment, and it worked.
Robinson Crusoe On Mars: I'll admit it, a good looking DVD case is enough for me to give it a chance. And considering that it was part of the Criterion Collection, I had high hopes for this old school science fiction film. It wasn't that I hated it but it seemed like the only difference between this film and any other sci-fi b-movie was a bigger budget and some advanced (for its time) special effects. I know this film has a bit of a cult following, but it has not aged well.
Amadeus: Everything about this film was perfect. Excellent direction, music of course, and delightfully playful performances made it work. I usually hate bio-pics, but the fact that its subject died long enough ago helps. But what really seals the deal is that the story is told from another person's point of view and not that of Mozart's. Its one of the few movies over two hours long that's written and paced so well that it plays faster than some films half its length.
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