01 November 2003

Mystic River is, no surprise, superlatively well-acted, well-shot, and well-written, even if the last five minutes seem oddly unnecessary. It's awfully grim, though, and it doesn't provide much in the way of "take-away" moments; that is, while I was impressed throughout, I didn't find myself replaying moments in my head after the movie was over, the way you do when you've seen a true classic. However, these are quibbling comments about a movie that is really quite powerful and worth seeing.

The best part of the evening, though, was the previews. I was reminded of why it's so nice to be going to the movies in late fall: instead of squirming through a bunch of lousy trailers for movies you'd never see, you find yourself alternately intrigued, surprised, and cheerful at the prospect of releases like Big Fish, In America, and even Love Actually. (Ah, Love Actually. That trailer is awfully effective, but who in God's name would I take to see it?)

Above all, The Last Samurai. This is embarrassing. I desperately need to pan a Tom Cruise movie for once, if I'm going to retain my dignity as a critic and human being. But what can I say? There's never been a major movie star, at least in my experience, who has hit so many consecutive home runs: Jerry Maguire, Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, and even the two Mission: Impossible films have all been a part of my pantheon at one time or another.

The Last Samurai would seem like an obvious candidate for a strikeout; I mean, who's this Edward Zwick character, anyway? (Confession: I met the man once, I think. Our conversation consisted entirely of him mentioning that he was working on a film called The Last Samurai, and my saying, "Oh, you mean with Tom Cruise?" He answered in the affirmative. Later, we may have had a discussion as to whether an artist can be happy. Not sure what he said in reply.) But alas: The Last Samurai looks really, really good, or at least has the slickest trailer imaginable. Anyway, we'll see, I guess.

No comments: