- White (Trois Coleurs: Blanc): 1
- Othello: 0
- Like Water For Chocolate: 0
- From Dusk Till Dawn: -2
WhiteA divorced Pole can't get a break in France, so returns to Warsaw to rebuild his life. At the time I watched this, I liked it more than Blue, but I don't know why now. A black comedy, it's not all that funny, and the plot is a little simplistic, at least until we finally see the true scope of the protagonist's plans. Some niggling tiny plot details bug me. Good comic acting from the lead; Delpy isn't around that long. Rating (-4 to 4): 1 shading higher
OthelloThis is one of the few major plays of Shakespeare I haven't previously seen or read, so I figured it was about time. It plays kind of strangely; it's more or less from Iago's point, but Iago is, presumably, the antagonist, so it's almost like Salieri in Mozart. Except Iago is so easily successful. Apparently, from reading other reviews of this, it's been mangled a bit; a lot of the text removed, and the story ought to be about Othello and his tragic flaw, jealousy. Also, was perhaps the chess pieces thing a bit obvious and literal and unsubtle? Branagh's performance is good, at least. Rating (-4 to 4): 0
Like Water For ChocolateTita's mother won't let her marry anyone, so she cooks a lot instead. This is a strange attempt at a movie, combining mythmaking and melodrama. The thing is, the melodrama dominates, so the mythic bits--with the magical food, and the ending--seem kind of tacked on to me. Also, I'm not a foodie, so I probably can't really appreciate it properly. Rating (-4 to 4): 0
From Dusk Till DawnPartial spoilers on this one. I incompletely spoil the main surprise.
Bank robbers on the run flee to Mexico, where they wait for a meeting. Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay; Robert Rodriguez directed. The more I see, the less I like of Robert Rodriguez, even if I like his writing and am impressed with his ability. Basically, this movie is all about surprising you with a sudden change in tone partway through. It's a cool idea, but I don't think it really works. The thing is, the genre we transition into is hokey spatter horror. That might be workable if the movie were more comedic all along; but unril then, the movie plays pretty strictly gritty, save for the over-the-topness of the outcome of the first battle. Consider e.g. when Clooney's character returns to the motel and finds out what his brother did in his absence.
Another tonal problem is with the protagonists. Pulp Fiction's hoods at least spent their killing time killing bad guys, rather than innocent civilians. Here, the criminals are violent murderers of civilians, and it's only George Clooney's charisma that lets the movie get away with making him a hero you're rooting for. (Yes, it was his brother that was the real bad one, but Clooney is clearly complicit in a lot of it.)
I think this movie idea might have worked if the transition hadn't been to hokey horror but instead to serious, dangerous horror. But maybe it's just that Rodruigez' "comic action" style never works for me, since I never find it all that humorous. Rating (-4 to 4): -2