Jan 4, 2009

quick flix picks

Slumdog Millionaire
Sentimental but never maudlin, gritty but never exploitative, dark but redemptive, Danny Boyle's latest is at times predictable, but at all times entertaining. Make sure to stay through the credits for the Bollywood finale. Dev Patel is solid, but the supporting cast truly shines.

The Counterfeiters
I'd write my own thoughts, but Jim Emerson (subbing for Roger Ebert) gets it exactly right:
"The Counterfeiters" is based on a fascinating piece of history, raises some wrenching moral dilemmas about the costs of survival under the Nazis, and was no doubt made with noble intentions beyond the usual commercial ones. The trouble is that the storytelling and filmmaking are routine (surely faux-documentary handheld camerawork is the most overused cliche in modern movies), even when the human drama is not.
Winchester '73
I hadn't seen it in years, and was pleasantly surprised at how well written this Jimmy Stewart oater is. I guess I'm a sucker for any movie that features a shooting contest. (Sergeant York, anyone?) Oh, and don't forget plenty of plot twists and yet-to-be-heralded stars. Watch for Rock Hudson and a young "Anthony" Curtis.

The Big Steal
Speaking of plot twists, none surpass the surprises in this tight little noir about a detective who has to ferry a mob widow across the country so she can testify safely. Today, it'd be made with Jason Statham, and would probably stink. As is, though, it's a fun, fast ride.

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