I was surprised that even in the cheap economy class, called World Traveller by British Airways, that we received their new video on demand during our trip to San Francisco. Well we did and there was a good, not great, selection of films to choose from.
So I picked three titles that I hadn’t seen as yet. However, I didn’t feel it was worth reviewing them over at Filmstalker or on their own as the screen is something like seven inches and the audio wasn’t that great so it really is unfair to do so.
Instead, here’s a quick round up of what I saw.
We Own the Night
I really enjoyed this story, there were great performances from Joaquin Pheonix and Mark Wahlberg, the latter being a real surprise as I often think he over acts or just plays himself. Here though he was strong and managed to belt out a good performance. Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes also starred, and Duvall was excellent as always with Mendes looking incredibly sexy but having to deliver little more than a damsel in distress role.
The story is strong and it really does play out well. I think, going back to that screen size and quality again, that the car chase scene looked really well handled and filmed – I’m dying to see that on a better screen, it looked like a really good film.
I expected a lot from this film, and I have to put down a lot of the negativity of it to the poor sound from the small system I was watching it on because some of the dialogue was a little difficult to catch as it had quite a different range in volume throughout and was often mixed with some authentic city street sounds.
Denzel Washington is, as always, superb and he does bring something a little different to this role. Russell Crowe gives a powerful performance, and one of his best to date, allowing a few little flaws into his character but still coming out similar to his L.A. Confidential role.
The story is interesting, particularly as it’s based on a true one – I’m not sure if this has been edited yet based on the law suit from some of the policemen involved. It played out well, except the running time seemed a little too long and I did feel bored and wanted the story to progress at times. Again, this could have been down to the viewing situation.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Marissa Tomei naked was not the reason I wanted to watch this, but a great bonus for she is utterly gorgeous and an incredibly natural actress. No it was Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke coupled with the excellent Albert Finney.
Again this is another great story that is a small and personal drama that plays out with some excellent twists and turns that seem very natural and not forced into the plot.
I really enjoyed this film and it was by far the best of the three. Superb performances by all concerned, and a great conclusion that showed just what a great actor Finney is. Powerful, engaging and compelling, even on that small screen.