I Saw the Devil
The revenge film to top all other revenge films. If you thought Japanese horror/thriller was frightening, then you haven’t seen anything yet. The film follows cop Byung-hun Lee who decides to hunt down a serial killer who murders (in the most horrific way) his fiancée. As Byung-hun Lee is sucked deeper into his revenge mission, the line between the devil and the hero becomes increasingly blurred. What goes on in this film is too horrific to write down. Not only is it graphic, but it is honest-to-god scary. The film is beautifully made and wonderfully put together. Our biggest criticism would be at 141 minutes, it is a little bit too long (especially when you’re holding your breath for most of it). Make sure you watch with a friend and/or the lights on.
A heart-string tugging tale of an aspiring white journalist (Emma Stone) who decides to write a book from the perspective of the African-American help. Viola Davis shines as the maid of a particular nasty white family who has more than her fair share of stories to tell. Jessica Chastain’s performance as an emotional unstable social outcast is superb, and she steals every scene she is in. This story has “Oscar-bait” written all over it, and boy have the Academy bitten. It’s up for best film, best actress in a leading role (Viola Davis), and also has two best support actress (Jessica Chastain Octavia Spencer) nominations. The cast also recently took home the SAG award for best ensemble. Is it worthy? Well yes and no. The film is certainly worth watching for the impressive acting performances. We’re a little surprised that Emma Stone isn’t getting as much recognition as Octavia Spencer. Ultimately how much you like it will depend on your fondness for these sorts of heart-fodder films. While we enjoyed it overall, the last third did make us feel a bit ill.
Page One: Inside the New York Times
Although this film is supposed to be a documentary, we felt it was more like a feature-length advertorial for the New York Times. The film loosely follows a group of senior reporters and editors throughout the year and shows goes behind getting the NYT published. What could have been an interesting and insightful documentary is instead a shallow film that shows nothing we didn’t already know. The theme of much of the film is keeping the NYT in print and profitable in the age of digital media and free content. If the film had taken this theme and looked into how they are attracting advertising and what changes the NYT was making, it could have been fascinating – Instead it’s a bunch of journalists saying what an institution the paper is, and how much other media would suffer without it. We can’t help but think a film focusing on the enigmatic David Carr would have been a far more interesting watch.