November 19, 2006 | Category: Uncategorized

Film Fight: October 2006

Due to a silly number of other events in October, like a stupid number of birthdays (including, of course, my own birthday), I only saw three films in the cinema (though I did watch a decent number from my DVD backlog).

Will Ferrell hits the race track for his latest character film, Tallageda Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This is exactly what you expect from a recent Ferrell film: a tale of a man who is top of his field hitting hard times and unexpected competition, having to re-learn and evaluate himself, and coming back stronger than ever, with a number of bizarre characters and memorable lines. While it fails to match previous efforts, like the excellent Anchorman, it’s still a worthwhile comedy if you like the lead’s goofy schtick.

Former Ferrell collaborator, Steve Carrell, plays it straight for once in delightful indie flick, Little Miss Sunshine. The story of a suburban family whose ties are wearing thing, the film follows them on a road trip across state to a (fairly nauseating) children’s beauty pageant. As with most good tales, the focus is on the journey, not the destination. The trials and breakdowns as they make their trip are tragic, hilarious and occassionally shocking. While a certain gloom hangs over areas of the film, it never lasts for long; the film serving as an affirmation of the tribulations of family life.

A couple of years back, the great Hong Kong crime trilogy, Infernal Affairs, kicked off. That is long since finished, but a heavyweight Hollywood version has appeared in the form of The Departed. The tale of a cop going undercover in a crime syndicate, and the same crime syndicating planting a mole in the cops, this version builds the same tension through paranoia and near-misses, with some excellent performances from Jack Nicholson and Leonardo Dicaprio. Although the dialogue is better (post-translation), it does go wayward in a few places (like the love story). Still a very worthy film.

It’s a tricky month, but I would say Little Miss Sunshine edges it.