Monday, November 26, 2007

2 More Movie Reviews

American Gangster
Rating: R
My Rating: 3.5 out 5
The plot of this movie is pretty much known and it is definitely an interesting look at Frank Lucas, one of the most prominent drug dealers in our nation’s history. His innovative and extreme measures led to an enormous amount of drugs being transported into the country.
The movie is slow in places, but it is a very interesting tale that we watch unfold before our eyes. Denzel Washington does a great job, as expected, with some especially tense scenes where we see a dark side that we don’t see Denzel usually portray. Not to mention, the character of Frank Lucas was pretty reserved unless someone really made him mad. Russell Crowe was also good as the detective assigned to crack down on drugs in Jersey.
Although Crowe’s character’s kind of an immoral slob in most aspects of his life, he does make noble choices as a police officer, most notably when he turns in 1 million dollars that he finds in an abandoned car. He is one of few officers at that time that weren’t crooked and involved in all sorts of illegal activity.
In the end, Crowe’s character experiences some kind of redemption when he begins to see that he’s not a very good person outside of a few noble decisions and it’s a pretty interesting journey watching him sort of discover this in the midst of his investigation.
Lucas does not show much remorse but does end up cooperating with the investigation once he gets caught. It’s a really interesting look inside a dark part of history that I did not know that much about. Slow at times, this film is still worth checking out.

August Rush
Rating: PG
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5

There is so much that happens in this movie that makes you want to like it, and there are some really great scenes spread through, but everything from the pacing to its attempt to combine so many elements ultimately caused this movie to fall flat on quite a few levels.
In the movie, a couple shares a night together but are pulled away by other responsibilities that not even a number exchange occurs. Lyla (the female in this equation) ends up pregnant, and after an accident goes into labor early. Her father (Sheriff Valenti from Roswell!....or William Sadler as he also sometimes goes by) forges her signature and puts the baby up for adoption.
For anyone who has seen the commercial, you know that young August Rush (as his friend Wizard, played by Robin Williams, comes to call him) is a musical prodigy and its his music that bring his two parents (also musicians) back together.
There are some strong moments, like I mentioned, although it is hard to fully believe that Johnathan Rhys Meyers’s character would have been so tortured by and in love with some girl he didn’t even really know. Lyla’s (keri Russell) devastation is a little more logical.
Freddie Highmore does a great job as young August Rush and it is interesting to see Robin Williams in such a different role for him but this movie was trying too hard to be too many things. While I appreciated the whole musical aspect of it, sometimes they spent way too long having August space out and hear music in every random sound in the world.
There is also no real resolution and nothing really happens in the end that you didn’t already know was going to happen from the commercials. However, the journey alone would have been the worth it if there hadn’t been so many bumps along the way.

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