November 01, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized

Film Fight: May 2009

Yes, yes, it’s more than a little late this time. I’m hoping to get caught up on the old film fights in the next few weeks (I think I’ll be doing around one a week). Let’s get started.

Star Trek is a brave take on an old and well-loved franchise. The central conceit of the franchise reboot is deftly handled: it’s set in an altered time-line, the details of which are laid out in a companion comic and left out of the film. Some people might see this as only getting part of the story, but the truth is for most people it’s actually really tight editing. For the most part, the film is well done. It’s a decent action film, with the blockbuster effects you expect, but is also a boldy written story; with each character falling into the new timeline perfectly. Karl Urban is particularly good as Bones, getting all of the original ticks just right. JJ Abrams and co have put together a solid film, regardless of whether or not you know the original material. Very good. (See my Star Trek Twitter review.)

Synecdoche, New York shows Charlie Kaufmann at his best, this time both writing and directing what will surely be his opus. We get another fantastic performance from Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a frustrated theatre director who embarks on a near timeless project to have his art imitate life, literally, by recreating a chunk of New York city in a stage play. As he gets more involved, life and art start reflecting each other more and more, showing more intricate and beautiful detail. Synecdoche is beautiful, confusing, painful, funny, and full of oddity. In this way it reflects the subject matter itself: life. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. It’s an obvious pick for film of the year. (See my Synecdoche, New York Twitter review).

Finally, Night at the Museum 2 carries on in exactly the same vein as its predecessor. A little bit of a magical set-up ends with some mayhem, bad guys plotting and good guys saving the day. It’s simple but relatively good humoured, with some decent cameos, particularly by Jonah Hill. It’s a funny enough kids film, though there are better choices. (See my Night at the Museum 2 Twitter review).

The winner for May is, unsurprisingly, Synecdoche, New York. Kaufmann does it again.