I finally got to see Where the Wild Things Are. I am kind of glad that I waited a bit - I had read so many impassioned reviews about the film that my expectations had been sky high. Hell, the trailer alone was an emotional experience.
The film is everything that I hoped it would be, and quite a bit more. This is one I am going to have to go away and think about and see at least once more before it leaves cinemas. I also think that this is one of those films that I will wear out when it comes on to DVD. I think that Spike Jones and David Eggers have made the greatest literary adaptation of the year. They have teased out all of the weird emotional undercurrents of Maurice Sendak's original book and made it deeper and more resonant.
I could go on and on about how incredibly well realised the Wild Things are, about the beautiful, nuanced work of Max Boot and James Gandolfini and the other actors and the amazing cinematography from Lance Accord. If the Oscars were tomorrow, I would hand the best picture Oscar to Where the Wild Things Are, and the screenplay Oscar to Jonze and Eggers. This is a work which you are going to hear college students dissect and enthuse over in 10 years time. It is a brilliant slice of pop art and the world is a better place for it.
A Serious Man is yet another Coen Bros film where I feel like an outsider looking in at the party everybody else is having. Its not that I don't like their films. I have a lot of love for The Big Lebowski, Fargo and Oh Brother. Its just I don't really get the fawning over them that a lot of critics engage in. I often find their films cold and mechanical, beautiful machinery without anything that I connect with going on underneath. A Serious Man is one of those films that I know, intellectually, is funny. I just didn't laugh. It's filled with good performances, smart dialogue and you can sense the fun the Coens are having in finding new ways to torture their main character further. But by the end of the film, it all felt a bit 'meh'. I'd like to give myself a pass and say you probably have to be Jewish to really 'get' it, but this is a problem I have with a lot of their stuff. Help - there must be other Coen Bros agnostics out there?!?!?
Lastly, Sherlock Holmes. I originally meant to go into some depth about the film. but then what would be the point? The film has charms - Downey Jnr is good, if slightly lacking as Holmes. He suffers from having extraordinary expectations on his shoulders as an actor - I liked his portrayal, I just didn't think there was anything particularly interesting in it. Jude Law is much better as Watson, as is Kelly Reilly as his fiancee. Rachel McAdams is utterly and moronically wasted in the role of Irene Adler (and reading just how good a character Adler is makes me irritated that the writers couldn't find a better way to integrate her into the plot). The central plot is utter nonsense, and the action scenes are poorly conceived. The one element however that I did love unreservedly is Hans Zimmer's wonderful score. I hope they remember to bring a script for the sequel.