Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Film Reviews, Ballets Russes and Find Me Guilty

Two more movie reviews from Jason. Visit his site HERE.

I originally hadn't planned on seeing this, because I have zero interest in ballet. But after the universal raves I've heard from an amazing amount of customers, and the fact that a good documentary can make anything interesting, as well as the ribbing of my co-workers (they consider me the go-to guy about our movies, because I always see everything we get), I decided to check it out.'s good. Focusing on the legendary troupe of ballet dancers (the original members were all Russian refugees) and their eventful, decades-long existence, which saw many struggles over power, money and ego, while also essentially creating the modern concept of ballet. The highlight for me is the reminiscing by the still-living members who were interviewed for the film, as they are an entertaining and saucy bunch. My only real problem with the film is that it felt too long - it's an interesting, informative, and warm film - it's just that I can only be interested in ballet for a limited amount of time.

A surprisingly involving and enjoyable courtroom comedy/drama from sometimes-great director Sidney Lumet ("12 Angry Men", "Dog Day Afternoon", "Network"), it's the true story of Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel in a terrific performance - yes, that Vin Diesel!), a mobster who refused to rat on his friends, even when it would have meant getting out of a 40-year jail sentence. One of the many defendants in a trial that went for nearly 2 years, he chose to defend himself (despite having no law experience), and helped win over the jury with his charisma and good-natured sense of humor (much of the courtroom dialogue is taken directly from court transcripts). It's definitely a sentimentalized and "Cliff's Notes" version of the story, but it's still an engaging and entertaining film, and (believe it or not) Vin Diesel really rocks the lead role, more than holding his own with a talented supporting cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Annabella Sciorra, and Ron Silver.

No comments: