Friday, April 12, 2002

Frailty / **** (2002)

The laws of the serial killer movie have usually obeyed patterns much like those of the serial killers themselves, fitting a profile that is easily navigated by an audience but seldom too routine to come off as mundane. Think of this daunting task from the perspective of a federal agent; in the genre, he/she is responsible for piecing together a mystery in which the pieces are scattered in familiar ways, but always lead to less obvious outcomes. The same can almost always be said for the cinematic endeavor; movies in this vein open with the discovery of the killer's latest casualty, continue with scenes from the point of view of the murderer and/or victims, escalate into a cat-and-mouse mystery game, and ultimately end with unforeseen (but satisfying) jolts. Of course, not all films about these things can be called successful, but compared it to similar film genres and the result is not exactly a horrendous one, either.

Friday, April 5, 2002

Panic Room / ***1/2 (2002)

David Fincher is one of those directors whose cabalistic forte is an acquired taste for most audiences, and though that distinction makes him more susceptible to being separated from the consensus of Hollywood's greatest living filmmakers, few of his detractors can so easily admit to not having a slight interest in his newest endeavors.

That's the first notion that comes to mind with his latest film "Panic Room," a thriller that follows his consistently rocky road established by the likes of "Seven" and "Fight Club." We're fully aware of the tricky antics and eccentric techniques Fincher is capable of behind the camera, but it's hard not to be somewhat intrigued by the effort, even if it's just brief.