Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Reviews: Duplicity and Knowing

New reviews are here: Nicolas Cage gets a scary glimpse into the future in Knowing and Clive Owen and Julia Roberts find that love and Duplicity are tough acts to balance.


KGattis said...

I went into Knowing thinking that it was going to be some big budget, stupid movie. I think my main drive in going to see it was that Alex Proyas directed it. I have to say this movie was awesome.

I am still in shock over those disaster scenes, especially the plane one. Man, what a set piece! Proyas sure knows how to do action sequences. I haven't been a real fan of Nicholas Cage's recent work (National Treasure 1&2, Bangkok Dangerous), but I think he did a decent job here, not great, but good enough.

A lot of critics have panned this movie because they say it is preposterous. Well......duh. It's called science-FICTION, not science-possible. Aren't movies suppose to be like that? To immerse you into an alternate world where anything is possible? I like to think so. Close Encounters of the Third Kind was preposterous if you think about it, but it is also my favorite film of all time and also considered a classic.

miss flickchick said...

I'm somewhere in the middle here.

I do think that Knowing is, in the end, pretty ridiculous... even stupid.

At the same time, the sequences that showcase what Proyas does best (not working with actors or putting togteher a tight, plausible narrative) are stunning; those would be the disaster scenes you mention and that I single out in my review.

I wouldn't call Knowing science fiction at all; I'd call it apocalyptic fantasy.

To my mind that's not nit-picking: I think science fiction by definition takes science as its starting point and then extrapolates, asking how people would (or wouldn't) change if science altered things we take as universal givens.

Knowing is more invested in ideas connected to faith, which is by its nature not scientific, hence the phrase "it's a matter of faith."

All that said, both the plane and the subway crash in Knowing are jaw droppers, and one of the things I go to the movies for is to see something I haven't seen before. So credit where it's due.

KGattis said...

I agree with you totally. It has been a couple of days since I have seen the movie, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that is was pretty ridiculous. I think, also, that it helped phenomenally that I went into this movie thinking it was going to be complete garbage for the exception of a couple of sequences, and I came out with a total different experience than I had suspected. The movie threw things out that I would not have guessed, and that made the experience better.

I think Proyas is a talented director, he has proved this with Dark City and The Crow-two very dark films. It kind of looked like he tried to go for that dark tone in Knowing.

I have to admit though, for some reason the end wasn't a real surprise for me. I don't want to spoil it for someone who decides to read this, so I'll just say that I kind of saw it coming. What I mean by end is the last scene of the film. I don't know.

So, I guess it helps if you go into critically panned films prepared for the worst. This has actually helped me on a couple of films. For example, dare I say it, The Happening. Yes, I enjoyed it. That actually kind of scared me that I enjoyed it, almost as if I didn't want to enjoy it. That movie was kind of like Knowing in a way. Critics hated it, it's about the apocalypse (sort of) had stiff performances, and an interesting premise (to me at least).

I guess in the end, the main purpose of the movie was so people could enjoy it. Most didn't, I did, and I guess that's all that counts, for me personally.

miss flickchick said...

Low (or no) expectations can definitely be a plus.

I saw Blair Witch Project before the hype kicked in and found it chilling.

But I can see it could have been disappointing if you went in expecting the scariest movie ever.

It's a dilemma for critics: You see so much heavily marketed junk that you really want to draw attention to smaller films, films that could easily get lost, that you found interesting.

But there's always the risk of over-praising them and setting them up to fail.