Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jonathan Goes to the Movies: Jane Eyre and Source Code

It's rare where I go to the movies every weekend, that I come out enjoying both new releases. This week, I review a solid sci-fi action-thriller and the first great movie of 2011.

Source Code - Confession: the premise to Source Code had me thinking the worst: decorated Afghan War soldier Capt. Coulter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) learns that he is apart of a governmental experiment that, if successful, can be used as an advanced tool to fight the War on Terror. Stevens goes back in time into the last 8 minutes of a victim on the train. He must replay the 8-minute scenario again and again in order to find the bomb and the mad bomber before the city of Chicago goes boom! To me, it sounded like Speilberg's sci-fi classic Minority Report meets the godawful Vantage Point, and last year's brilliant and thrilling Inception, and Source Code kind of is. The reasons why the Source Code can only go back in time for 8 minutes is confusing and a major plot twist i'm not going to reveal, and about halfway in, the flashbacks to the past before the train blows becomes tiresome. What saves Duncan Jones's (who made the most underrated and underappricated film of 2009 in Moon) sophomoric offering is a tense and exciting screenplay by Ben Ripley and a dynamite performance by Gyllenhall who finds the movie's haunting soul. Much like Nolan's Inception, Jones is asking the audience to think and play along in Steven's world as he tries to sort out his mission from his personal dilemas. The result in is an action-thriller with a soul.
*** stars out of ****

Jane Eyre - Last year, it took only one month before movies like Shutter Island and The Ghost Writer made lasting impressions on me early into the new year. It took three this time, but Jane Eyre, the sophomoric follow up to director Cary Fukuanga's Sin Nombre, is a fantastic Victorian-era romantic dram, containing two of the best performances so far this year in Mia Wasikowska in the title role, and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. The last 1/3rd of the film falls into predictable melodrama as Rochester's demons are brought to light and Jane leaves the quiet home of John Rivers (a surprisingly good Jamie Bell, redeeming himself after a weak performance in The Eagle) and his sisters, but by then, the performances and a sharp and fiery script, along with the stunning cinematography and production value will have you transfixed into Jane's world. Here it is, the first great movie of 2011.
*** 1/2 stars out of ****

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