Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mister Foe Review Roundup

Last night was awesome, well spent with multiple viewings of Mister Foe on HDNet Movies, and have to say watching Jamie Sives three times in one night was a delicious bonus :) However Im slammed with work, got awesome news that I want to spend some time and post about properly later, plus my damm allergies are in high gear-mighty hard to type properly when you are sneezing like mad (9 times in an effing row gah, what a sight I was, Kleenex dropping like snowballs, and on the last sneeze, it was like one of those hokey absurd slow motion disaster moments: my headband slid off my head, laptop came crashing to the ground and my glasses went flying off my head and flew across the room and literally bammed on the back of a security guard in the courtroom I was doing an interview in and had been trying to make a good impression on the asst prosecuting attorney - what a sexy appealing sight that was... NOT!! good god, I should move to the nunnery right now lol)

Right, actual things of interest now and a quick rundown of the latest reviews and articles to hit the net preceding the Sept 5 screenings of Mister Foe (for a full rundown though I highly recommend my friends over at RottenTomatoes)

USA Today: Well ole Claudia doesnt like David too much alas, nor the plot but gives high praise to Jamie Bell as Hallam Foe. Noting the movie is only "mildly intriguing," she writes "Bell's portrayal of a compulsive and strange adolescent is intriguing, even occasionally sympathetic. And the cinematography and score add a sense of style.

Ultimately, however, the characters' motivations and emotions, particularly those occurring during Hallam's odyssey in Edinburgh, aren't believable. Even when viewed as an unsettling fable, the saga doesn't come together. What entertainingly offbeat quality it may have is undercut by occasional streaks of optimism and lightheartedness that feel jarring.

The story's two main elements — the mystery of the death of Hallam's mother and his weird, unlikely romance — don't blend well. Maybe the story would have been more potent had Hallam stayed in rural Scotland and investigated his mother's demise more thoroughly. The dark and brooding Highlands were a more appropriate setting for the sinister antics of such a haunted young man.

You find yourself wishing that what happened in Edinburgh stayed in Edinburgh."

VILLAGE VOICE: Completely opposite from the USA Today (in more ways than one lol) these guys LOVE the movie, 'GONZO MACKENZIE' was actually used once bless, and they are quite keen on Jamie Bell's performance as well, with the bottom line saying overall the film is "wit and extreme style, and that's enough. Mackenzie's camera is constantly moving, creating a sinuous trip. Cameras glide through rooms and zoom in on Glasgow's crowded buildings. Best of all, they crane over Foe's head when he's perched in one of his voyeuristic setups on the roof, inducing not vertigo but glee at Mackenzie's skill."


COMINGSOON.NET: Another pretty positive review, Ed is complementary of Ciaran Hinds ("another great role"), Sophia Myles ("revelatory performance") and especially on Jamie Bell's performance. There is a lot I liked what was written, as follows:

Like "Young Adam," the film isn't afraid to bare its fangs when necessary, nor does it shy away from graphic sexuality, but it does maintain your interest in this character who one might not assume would be particularly interesting at first. Much of that comes down to this being the first movie in some time where we get to really see what Bell is capable of as an actor. Though he doesn't talk for much of the movie, when he opens his mouth, he's clever and funny and far more likable than Ewan McGregor in "Young Adam," and the story itself is far more focused. The voyeuristic nature of the film does create many quiet scenes of just watching Hallam peeping on his subject, and it's hard to adjust to the disjointed pace, but McKenzie does an exemplary job creating a distinctive mood with the film's music and camera shots. You probably couldn't find a better filmmaker who can capture Edinburgh as beautifully as McKenzie does, as one admires Hallam's ability to navigate the rooftops and ledges of the city to get a better view of his latest subject. There are a few odd decisions that keeps the movie from completely winning you over like the strange opening credit animation that seems to have little in common with the rest of the film, but ultimately, it's a strong character-driven story with many terrific scenes and a satisfying resolution where everyone gets their due. It's a striking film but certainly more of one that grows on you rather than one that's immediately compelling. Rating: 7.5/10

Finally the New Yorker Magazine has an interview with Sophia Myles who again is as lovely classy and honest as always. She is quite gracious about Jamie Bell, echoing earlier statements about him as she said "Jamie, as far as I'm concerned, is a national treasure. I would say he's right up there at the top of my favorite co-stars, because in any scene between him and I, he's so good and moving that all I had to do was just react to whatever he was doing. He's made this seamless transition from child star to adult star without any of the rehab and all the nonsense."

The interview contains the usual questions, but there was one where she said what I and I think many others like about this film and her character and what David Mackenzie does in his films:

Kate has a line in which she says, “Sometimes I prefer sour, sometimes I prefer sweet.” It gives the sense that she's more than somewhat aware of some of the bad decisions that she's making. Did that appeal to you?
Absolutely. Women are often so badly written in movies — they're just completely one-dimensional, in the film to serve the man. Kate’s very confident, comfortable in her own skin, professional, graceful … but in fact take the mask off and behind closed doors she's a mess. She's got demons perched on both shoulders, talking to her in both ears. So often women in movies are just fluff, and that bores me senseless.

Mister Foe shares some similarities with a lot of David's other work, Young Adam and a couple of his short films, in that there are messy romances and passion and inappropriate sexual relationships.
What I love about David Mackenzie is that he doesn't do “happily ever after.” I think his films deal with reality, not fantasy, and that's what I loved about Mister Foe. The other thing that David does well is sex. I think he portrays it in a very realistic, non-gratuitous way — the rawness and often unsexiness of it. The scenes in this film aren't sensual by any means. I don't think, other than maybe for a few weirdos out there in the world, people are going to be turned on watching them.

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