Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Three Movies

In the past week I caught The Prestige, The Secret Agent and The Illusionist on cable TV. Oddly enough all of these movies are set in late nineteenth century, two concern magic, two have Christian Bale, all are recommended.

Of the three, I think I liked The Secret Agent best. It must be somebody's pet project because it's an offbeat little film. Based on a Joseph Conrad story about an agent provocateur, played by Bob Hoskins great as always, who is asked by his employer to stir things up in London with tragic results. The weakest link in a super strong cast is Patricia Arquette, whose attempt at a British accent doesn't quite convince. The usually tiresome Robin Williams is excellent in a dark little role. Not for everybody, but a nice film when you're looking for something different.

The Prestige is an interesting story, well told and well done. I'm glad to see Michael Caine is keeping busy, I'd pay to watch him do his laundry. The two leads Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are great as two magicians and arch enemies. Scarlett Johansson is in the film too, but she could have been replaced by any other actress without detriment. Maybe next time she's in a film with the excellent Rebecca Hall she can ask for some acting tips. Andy Serkis, Golum from LOTR, has a nice turn as Nikolai Tesla's, David Bowie, assistant. Listen to his accent, you'd swear he's from New Jersey, I always appreciate that in the craft.

The Illusionist is the second magic story about a magician, Edward Norton, who falls in love with a woman, the lovely Jessica Biel, far above his station. Norton who was brilliant in American History X and Primal Fear didn't really impress me here, not that he was bad or anything his performance just seemed a little flat. Paul Giamatti on the other hand continues to amaze me, is there nothing this guy can't do? Rufus Sewell gave a nice, reserved, menacing performance as the Crown Prince and principal heavy. The last movie I saw with Jessica Biel was Stealth. The less said about that, the better. Here she did an impressive job as the love interest and bone of contention between Norton and Sewell. I bet she'll be getting some better roles after this film.

1 comment:

Dexter said...

I am looking forward to seeing the remake of Sleuth by Kenneth Brannagh with Michael Caine playing the Olvier role this time around and Jude Law taking Caine's original spot.