Thursday, December 13, 2007

Films of the Weekend

Movie name: Atonement
Year of release: 2007
Director: Joe Wright
Stars: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, Brenda Blethyn, Juno Temple, Harriet Walter
Genre: Drama/Biography
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel "Atonement" is a surprise, in a sense that is a mature work, with an epic feeling to it, boasting some terrific acting and a stunning photography.
Working with academy award winner screenwriter Christopher Hampton (winner of the Oscar for Stephen Frears' "Dangerous Liaisons"), Joe Wright creates a story about longing, desire, guilt and redemption, in a way that is simultaneously daring and delicate, which ends up leaving the feeling of watching a classic story (though with a new perspective). The acting is very good, particularly from the superb Vanessa Redgrave and Saoirse Ronan (as the young Briony seeing things she doesn't understand). Seamus McGarvey the director of photography does a stunning job, with beautiful compositions (as he had already done with Stephen Daldry in "The Hours"), giving the film the epic look of the battle scenes without losing the delicate light of the more intimate moments.

Movie name: The Golden Compass
Year of release: 2007
Director: Chris Weitz
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig, Ian McKellen, Sam Elliot, Eva Green, Freddie Highmore, Tom Courtenay
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"The Golden Compass" is a film that wants to ride the wave that "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" franchises opened - the fantasy film that appeals simultaneously to kids and adults. It's a film that succeeds and in a way, it's far more entertaining that a lot of the Harry Potter films that have come out. Though some characters deserved a lot more screen time to be well developed, the film is nonetheless well crafted, deserving to be watched.