(USA) Fracking. For those uninitiated, it’s a hot topic these days in the United States: a natural gas extraction technique that uses a hydraulic drill and a mixture of pressurized water and chemicals to fracture subterranean rock, harvesting the reserves that lay beneath. It’s a complex matter in the debate around clean energy and the over-dependence on foreign fossil fuels, and it was effectively tackled in Josh Fox’s 2010 Academy-Award-nominated doc “Gasland.”
(USA) Directed by Charles Ferguson. Narrated by Matt Damon. Category IIA.
(USA) Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin. Category IIB.
If you’re not feeling vampy-emo enough for “Black Swan” this week, how about a real movie-lover’s movie? The Coen brothers’ “True Grit” is an artful mix of action, humor and pathos—made with great acting, exceedingly clever dialogue and gorgeous, earthy cinematography.
So many things can go wrong when you make a film about the afterlife: a ridiculous plot, unconvincing acting, annoying religious references… thankfully, “Hereafter,” with a believable storyline that’s well directed and acted out, doesn’t have any of the problems above. But it suffers from an unlikely one given the intriguing subject matter—it’s boring.
Director of the Bourne series, Paul Greengrass, delivers a gritty, politics-driven dramatization, focusing on an early period of the US-led occupation of Iraq, back in 2003. Loosely adapted from Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s non-fiction title, Imperial Life In The Emerald City: Inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, the film opens with Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon—who’s still very much keeping in touch with his Bourne identity), a stoic, straight-talking soldier on the quest to locate elusive weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Just shy of a masterpiece, “The Departed” is one American remake that works on its own. Auteur Martin Scorsese has taken Andrew Lau’s 2002 cop-and-triad thriller, “Infernal Affairs,” and turned it into a violent, vulgar, gritty, lengthy, realistic look at Boston’s underworld, with extended twists that highlight superb performances by the main leads.
The short version is that “Syriana” is about the world’s oil, who controls it, who wants it and what’s taking place in order to get it. If you’re concerned about the behind-the-scenes power plays that may be taking place regarding our dwindling energy supply, it may be the most important film you see this year.
“He wishes his whole life was out of a book,” says Willhelm