Monday, January 26, 2009

Red Envelope Round-Up: January 23-25, 2009

Forever Young (1992) (***).  J.J. Abrams wrote this high concept romantic drama, with Mel Gibson starring as a test pilot in 1939 who freezes himself after his beloved goes into a coma and wakes 50 years later.  Gibson is charming, if a tad stiff (ha! - get it, he's frozen!), and a young Elijah Wood is good as the kid who discovers him and takes him in.  The movie is well-paced and builds to an exciting, if utterly preposterous (Gibson ages 50 years in about 50 minutes), ending.

La Femme Nikita (1992) (**1/2).  As a fan of Luc Besson's other films (mostly just The Professional and The Fifth Element), I was excited to catch up with the one that first shot him to fame.  Anne Parillaud stars as a junkie turned government spy, and while the movie works as an idiosynchratic drama, I was a tad underwhelmed by the action elements - just a bunch of unimaginatively staged shoot-outs.  Nice cameo by Jean Reno at the end though.

Reservation Road (2007) (**).  What is it with these "R. Road" movies?  Between this and Revolutionary Road, one could easily fall into a fit of depression and want to kill themselves.  This movie starts with a fatal hit-and-run accident, and the repercussions of that accident permeate the screen for the next 90 minutes.  The cast for Reservation is solid: Joaquin Phoenix (before he decided to "act no more forever"), Mark Ruffalo, and Jennifer Connelly, but their performances are erratic and over-the-top, and nobody comes out looking good.  Director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) has made a movie that pulls you in (not unlike Match Point) and is easily watchable, but it falls way short at the end and the script is riddled with far-too-convenient coincidences and out-of-left-field character actions.



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