Quick Takes – 10.10.10

Let the Right One In (2008)

Grade: A- | 1st Viewing

Before seeing Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, I felt obligated to watch the original Swedish telling of the vampire story and I’m very glad that I did. Thomas Alfredson’s vampire film is one of the finest of the genre that I have ever seen. The life of a vampire is a life of isolation and Alfredson captures that perfectly by pulling the camera back and setting the characters against a stark Swedish setting. Each of the attack scenes is filmed with a long shot, which creates a detached feeling throughout the film.

Johan Soderkvist’s haunting score was perfectly complementary to Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography. Alfredson does the editing himself and he perfectly times the cuts and audio swells. The best scene by far comes at the ending when Oskar is re-united with Eli while in a pool. It has a few moments that don’t work, for instance the cat attack scene, but overall I prefer it to the American remake and it is one of the finest vampire films I have ever seen.

28 Days Later… (2002)

Grade: A | 3rd Viewing

This was one of those under $10 Blu-Ray bargains that I simply could not pass up. However, I was disappointed to see how the film transferred to High Definition. I knew that it was filmed with a Canon XL-1 with a low resolution to intentionally create a murky look, but the contrast was awful and low-lighted scenes were fuzzy. In short, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing this movie in any format higher than DVD.

The movie, however, is a completely different story. Not only does Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later… revolutionize the zombie genre, but it really grasped the technologically transforming society of the early aughts by formatting the film like a video game. The camera angles often appear like a first person shooter and the narrative seems to have different levels of difficulty culminating with the face-off against a final boss. It’s one of the smartest horror movies and a great watch for Halloween.

Catfish (2010)

Grade: B | 1st Viewing

This documentary would make a great double feature with The Social Network as the two films are thematically very similar. Catfish uses the idea that our society has lost the ability to communicate in a digital age and takes it one step further by showing Facebook used for blatant and intentional deception. The marketing campaign for the film has stressed keeping the secret and I would highly recommend not allowing anyone to spoil this movie for you because the result is fascinating and intriguing.

In order to avoid spoilers I will not go into much depth about the themes of the film, but I will say that after the secret is revealed the pieces come together in the viewer’s mind so quickly that the rest of the film felt like it was dragging. However, it is incredibly revealing about the definition of truth in the digital age.

The Social Network (2010)

Grade: A- | 2nd Viewing

After seeing The Social Network for a second time, my initial criticisms about the editing did not seem as bothersome. I still felt like the mid-dialogue cuts were a gimmick, but the overall film’s quality distracted from it well-enough. However, I was significantly less impressed with Andrew Garfield’s character after a second viewing. Garfield himself delivers and excellent performance, but I never felt like the stakes were high enough to make Eduardo Saverin important. Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s emotional pleas that he “needs” Saverin, I never felt that his contributions to Facebook were anything more than a financial startup.

Needless to say while I still love Garfield, his performance is not my favorite of this movie. Of the supporting actors in the film, my new favorite is Armin Hammer who plays both of the Winklevoss twins. It’s so enjoyable watching the twins fail in their endeavors and Hammer portrays them with such befuddled eloquence that one can’t help but be in constant stitches.

What did you see this weekend?

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  • Oh i was waiting for this post for so long, i watched many movies since the last Quick Takes LOL.

    We had the Bogotá Film Festival here so i watched

    – Autumn (Turkey) (2008) really nice, slow paced film about a man with his ideals defeated, returning to his hometown, great introduction for me to Turkish cinema, beautiful cinematography 7/10

    – Forbidden Fruit (Finland) (2009) a film about coming of age and religion with two young girls, really good one, entertaining and profound 8/10

    – La Yuma (Nicaragua) (2009) Nicaragua’s submission for the 83rd Academy Awards. It’s about this boxer girl.. it’s good, not great.. Normal film. 6/10

    – Gestación (Costa Rica) (2009) very emotional, simple film about a girl getting pregnant at a very young age. I simply loved it. 8/10

    – Mommo (Turkey) (2009) 70% of the theater was crying as the credits rolled, ’nuff said. 10/10

    I also watched

    – El Milagro de P. Tinto (Spain) (1998) It’s like Terry Gilliam but in Spanish, quite funny. 7/10

    – El Vuelco del cangrejo (Crab Trap) (2010) Colombia’s submission for the 83rd Academy Awards is, to put it in nice words, a borefest. 5/10

    – How To Train Your Dragon (2010) Best animated film i’ve watched this year, above Toy story, Shrek and Despicable Me. Period. Great story, characters, animation, everything. Lovely dragon.

    – Micmacs (2009) from the director of Amelie, it’s lame at some parts.. I still prefer “A Very Long Engagement” above Amelie and Micmcacs.

    I also read Never Let Me Go and can’t wait to watch the film!

  • “The Social Network” – A. I believe I’ve mentioned how great this movie was already.

    “Dog Day Afternoon” – B+. The entire middle section of the movie is kind of weak, but the beginning and end sections are as intense as it gets. Al Pacino is stunning as well.

    First four episodes of “The Shield” – B+. Not as great as “The Wire”, but awfully good.

  • I think you made a mistake Alex, there shouldn’t be a minus next to the A for Let the Right One In. :)

    For me:
    L’Avventura: A- Odd film, I like the moral dilemma she faces at the end, but the conclusion reduces the dilemma.
    Orpheus: no grade, I am still speechless about exactly how good this movie is. Cocteau is a genius, the first 20 min. of this film really messes with your head.

  • Andrew R.

    You had a good weekend Alex.

    I saw Social Network for the first time (you said it all) and 40 Year Old Virgin for the 2nd time (still very funny).

  • Jose

    I tried watching “let Me In” this weekend since I the original was unavailable to rent and i heard that it’s good if you’ve never seen the original. I didn’t get to watch it but I did see:

    The Social Network: A

    Awesome! While its not my favorite film of the year (its number four on my list) this was still an excellent film that lived up to the buzz it was receiving. And my favorite performance from the film is Eisenberg’s by the way.

    The Matrix, 4th Viewing: B+

    Saw this for film appreciation class, still enjoy it after all these years.

    This is one of my all time favorites. It was playing on tv over the weekend and I’m glad i was able to watch it for the 12th time, it really is creepy. I’ve decided to do something where every weekend I watch a horror film since this is October. This weekeend I’ll watch The Exorcis and I’m excited since it’ll be my first time watching it. The week after that i have no idea (any suggestions? Anyone?)

    This film was also playing on tv. Was Wes Craven even trying while making this film? Laughable, but Judy Greer and Portia De Rossi were a hoot.

  • I’m so mad I’m gonna have to wait until November to watch TSN :(

  • Quinn

    This week I watched:

    “The Social Network”
    I think I already said how great I thought it was . Best performance is a tie between Garfield and Eisenberg, though everyone was excellent. Also I’m love with the screenplay.

    “The Town”
    I loved it! Just a tad behind “The Social Network” but that is still great. The cast, writing, direction was great.

  • Jose

    Ragabuas, what’s the name of it in spanish?

  • It will be called “Red Social”

  • Jose, try “Repulsion” (if you haven’t seen it). It’s really good, and absolutely terrifying in places.

  • Jose

    My cinema appreciation teacher recommended this film from the ’30s called “Freaks”, anyone ever herad of it?

    Thanks G.

  • I heard of Freaks, a friend loved it, i started watching it once but i didn’t finish it, it looked pretty good.

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