Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Netflix Files: December 19 - 25

Le Doulos (1962) dir. Jean-Pierre Melville:
One of the reknowned French director's best-loved noirs, this entry in the genre, Le Doulos features some stellar scenes amid a narrative that drifts just a hair too long. Despite an excellent, bleak ending, there are moments along the way where the narrative is in need of a little tightening later on. Still, it's hard to overlook Melville's gifts as a director and story teller. His cast is strong, and when scenes really need to connect (albeit in a very distant manner), Melville hits a home run. As Silien, Melville regular Jean-Paul Belmondo turns in a reliably solid performance, playing one of many two-faced characters throughout the story. As in most of his films, however, the true star remains the man behind the camera, for good reason.

Grade: B/B+

Misfits - Season 1 (2009) created by Howard Overman:
Consider Misfits the antithesis of NBC's short-lived Heroes. The NBC show introduced a large ensemble filled with startling powers and a narrative that involved the fate of the world. Misfits, on the other hand, is focused on a very small group, and though there are struggles, everything is relatively self-contained. After a group of teens sentenced to community service get caught in a freak lightning storm, they discover that they've been given various powers. Though Misfits is generally well-made (ignoring the horrible desaturated color correction that makes even plant life look grey), it does sometimes suffer from a sense of aimlessness. The devotion to the limited set of characters is nice, though it's honestly not as deep or insightful about youth culture as it would like to believe. Still, the actors are quite engaging to watch (except for fangirl favorite Robert Sheehan, whose character I just want to punch over and over again), especially Lauren Socha's feisty, profane Kelly. Now that season 1 is out of the way, however, it will be interesting to see if Misfits can try its hand at something more ambitious, without stretching itself too far.

Grade: B-

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