The Morning After: July 4, 2011

Today, I’m going to go with a new format for The Morning After. Each film will have its own separate review posting and this article will bear links to each individual movie review. The only review content that won’t merit it’s own page will be television series reviews, which will continue to be highlighted in this article.

So, here is what I watched this weekend:

A Passage to India

When you can’t rank a four-star film among the top three films by a director, then you have a talented director. David Lean was a marvelous framer. Each image within his films was filled with beauty and impact, perhaps the best director of cinematographers in the history of cinema. This was his first film in fourteen years, but he had not lost any of his eye for richness and detail. It’s a film whose depiction of class warfare feels as important today as it was 27 years ago.

Death on the Nile

This has always been one of my favorite all-star Agatha Christie adaptations. While it doesn’t have the elegance of Murder on the Orient Express or the simple electricity of Witness of the Prosecution, it’s still a seminal achievement in the Christie adaptation genre. The cast is eclectic and talented, the story well woven and expertly revealed, and while Peter Ustinov is far from my favorite Poirot (Albert Finney better captured the Belgian sleuth’s eccentricities and egomania), he does a solid job.

Ten Little Indians (1965)

Of the many adaptations of Christie’s classic novel And Then There Were None, this is easily the best. While the 1945 feature was more faithful to the book, this one is far better executed, better acted and more interesting. I still have not seen either the Russian version or the 1970’s desert-set adaptation, but this remains my favorite of them all.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

It isn’t often I complement Michael Bay, but he has certainly improved from the disaster that was Transformers 2. More on par with the original, this film does a better job of slowing down the action so you can see the complexity of each visual effect than his previous films, where it was hard to make out what was going on. Yet, it’s a Michael Bay film so the characteristic lame dialogue, sliver of a plot and weak acting are all there. And the fact that it starts off with some loud and annoying sound effects certainly sets you on edge. The sound design is horrendous and bombastic, pelting your brain with senseless aural diatribes. So, while I give him credit for the visual effects design and the fact that it was at least entertaining, I cannot give him credit for much else. Thankfully, this one doesn’t do a lot to set the franchise up for future sequels.

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