Specials: Rosenbaum on "Three Burials." Walter on "Crash." And the sequel we’ve all been waiting for.

Monday specials:


“A QUIRKY COWBOY MASTERPIECE”
Jonathan Rosenbaum raves about Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

There are elements in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada that I tend to distrust when they crop up in other movies. There’s the theme of redemption, which can all too easily lead to a Hollywood cop-out, even (or maybe especially) when it’s tied to some notion of religious transcendence. There’s the taken-for-granted dysfunctional social context, and there’s the visceral macho unpleasantness, which feels dishonest in movies such as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear (1953) and Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969) and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974). I have to admit I still like those three films a lot, and I suspect that what I appreciate most in this movie is the nuance Jones gives these and other shopworn notions.

CRUSHING CRASH
Adam Walter finally caught Crash. He was not impressed.

Contrived, self-conscious, obvious, repetitive, manipulative, heavy-handed, pretentious–apparently these are not qualities the major film awards organizations overlook today.

The story is shockingly manipulative and treats delicate social issues with all the subtlety of sledgehammer blows.

My 2 cents: this is a bad knock off of John Sayles. You’ll do much better treating yourself to a very fine film like the criminally-neglected City of Hope (1991) or, more recent, Sunshine State (2002).

FORGET THIS YEAR’S OSCARS. NEXT YEAR’S CHAMPION IS ON THE WAY…
from Cinematical:

Dr. Dolittle 3, the Eddie Murphy-free, ripoff sequel that was once destined for a straight-to-DVD release, is apparently just so mind-blowingly awesome that the people at 20th Century Fox have decided to give it a theatrical release after all.

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