Monday, February 21, 2005

Constantine / ** (2005)

"Constantine" is what you call chaos with skill, a movie in which the production values are top-notch and exude the sheer enthusiasm of a dedicated director, but whose narrative is so inconsistently vague that the audience never has a clue as to what avail they are being utilized. New filmmaker Francis Lawrence, who seems just as much inspired here by the satanic thrillers of Roman Polanski as he is by his own roster of stylish music videos, searches long and hard for the right visual note and finds it - his movie is seeped in a texture that is as polished as one can expect, and he balances it with a stylistic tone that offers good contrast between the foreboding and the hardcore. The bigger mystery lies in knowing what his screenwriters were thinking. What were they motivated by here? Where did all their inspiration go? And did Lawrence ever actually sit down and discuss with them, in any capacity, about where to go with the premise they were given? The result reeks of obvious fragmentation, and one has to wonder if the director was just so excited about the prospect of doing his first feature film that he forgot to cover all the necessary bases beforehand.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Hide and Seek / * (2005)

"Hide and Seek" is the kind of movie that gets made when a filmmaker thinks he or she has come up with a unique narrative ploy to exercise on audiences, an endeavor so wrapped up in flinging around ambiguous insight and suggestion that it more or less directs itself, seemingly convinced that there is enough foundation there to warrant a unique payoff. Alas, anyone who has seen more than two or three thrillers in the recent years could easily crush the confidence shared by these filmmakers; not only do the director and writer fail to recognize obvious formula, but they also fall short of providing it with the right guidance to at least hold one's basic interest. Their picture is a self-indulgent mess; unexciting, shoddy, predicable, tedious and detached, and frankly not all that amusing even on a level of mindless escapism.