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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Movie Digest # 046

AMC 30 Cinemas (Houston, Texas), Cinema 23, July 19, 11:25pm

Best superhero film I’ve seen so far. Perhaps on the same level with M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable”. I am particularly fascinated with the fact that it tries to please all the sectors of the moviegoing public. Popcorn movie crowd, check. Comic book fans, check. Critics, check. Acting is so good across all the actors. If others were mindblown by Heath Ledger’s Oscar-worthy swan song, I would always go for Gary Oldman’s quiet performance. On top of that, I am hooked to its comic book-like editing, particularly in the scenes that take place at the same time (like when Batman has to choose between Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes). As for the script, the plot twists do not disappoint. Not to mention the irony (the evolution of Harvey Dent and his presence pitted against another hero, Batman turning into an outlaw, etc.) and the wisdom (people in the two ferries, The Joker having no definite backstory, etc.) the film tries to partake.

Friends who might appreciate it: serious and not so serious alike.

Chakeres Franklin Cinema 6 (Frankfort, Kentucky), Cinema 5, July 20, 10:00pm

I am not surprised that the movie did not sweep me off my feet. It’s just OK for me (like Randy Jackson commenting on an American Idol wannabe’s audition piece). I can say that the stagey feel is there, optimizing the cinematic platform as a giant stage with beautiful blockings and danceable sequences but it doesn’t put much effort to a point that you’ll forget the Broadway version. The literal encore numbers in the film are corny which is the opposite when you see the musical stage equivalent. Meryl Streep did her best but, for sure, somebody could play the part better and groovier. The only thing she successfully did was to anchor the material into more of a cinematic piece than stagey. This is proven in the “The Winner Takes it All” number where she used all her might to come up with a scene that is dependent on her facial expression and dramatics. Well, you can never go wrong with Abba (and the breathtaking Greek isles). And that’s more of the material’s strength than of the film.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who haven’t seen the stage version.

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