The list of bad films I saw over the holiday break is going to consist of two films because I decided to leave “Gangs of New York” on the list of movies you will want to catch in the theater despite its C grade.
To begin with, we have “25th Hour.” This is the latest film from director Spike Lee. Edward Norton plays Monty Brogan, a young man that was just busted for drug trafficking on the streets of New York. He has twenty-four hours before he begins a seven-year sentence and we follow the course of action of those last hours. This has a good premise and a good slug line with “Can you change your entire life in one day?”
The major problems with this film deal with action. Can this man change his life in one day? No! It is blaringly obvious he is not capable of any action within one day. The writing was poor; simply one clich/ line after another and no climax that would lead anybody to believe he has done anything that can be remotely considered change.
Despite the horrendous script, the acting from the men in the movie was something that anybody would dream to have in their film. Barry Pepper continues to be an up-and-coming star while Phillip Seymour Hoffman, coming off his role in “Punch-Drunk Love,” remains consistent with his character acting as he nails another supporting role. Brian Cox, although never a convincing Hannibal Lecter, was able to pull real emotion from this lifeless script.
The poor ending of the film was due to the women performers. Anna Paquin plays another odd, misunderstood teen … sound like any other role she has taken on? Regardless of differences among roles, I can never see her as anything besides the girl from “The Piano” and it will be a while before she lives up to the performance she started with. Rosario Dawson is well on her way to becoming the next Denise Richards. Ha! I fooled you … that is a bad thing. Her lines were delivered with the same ignorant flair that many actors and actresses have when they don’t know what kind of a character they should be playing. The directing, however, was Spike Lee’s best since “Malcolm X.” With such highs and lows in the movie I am going to give it a C- and ask that if you want to see this film, wait until it is on DVD.
I do not really know what to say about Roberto Benigni’s “Pinocchio.” This was the most bizarre and ridiculous version of the classic Italian tale I have ever seen. It mixes an ADD puppet and unjustified action with (in the American version) very wretched voice dubs. After Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful” I had expected something amusing, something fun and a fresh twist on a great fairy tale. Instead, I was subject to a fairy tale with the least amount of magical feel possible.
In all fairness I should say that there was not one aspect of this film I enjoyed. I would not even figure a child enjoying this film … they will not be able to understand what is going on. I am giving this film an F and you can expect to see it sweep the Golden Raspberry Awards. Do not even rent this for your children … that is, if you love them.