The Spirit ... Reader
Just two major DVD releases this week, one worth seeing, one not (although, if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also the straight-to-DVD The Pope’s Toilet).
The Reader: Ted liked, but didn’t love, the Oscar-nominated The Reader, writing: “Bernhard Schlink’s novel The Reader, an engaging meditation on the puzzling duality of human nature, makes a solid jump to the big screen in director Stephen Daldry’s film of the same name. In adapting Schlink’s book, Daldry (Billy Elliott) and screenwriter David Hare, who also worked with Daldry in adapting The Hours, successfully capture the complex, dark themes of the novel without engaging in rote exercise. While the film occasionally feels stiff and could have used a stronger editing hand to pare its two-hour length, Schlink’s brooding narrative never falters, and Daldry’s visual rendering strongly compliments Schlink’s conceptual foundation.
The Spirit: Ranylt takes a mallet to Frank Miller’s The Spirit, writing: “Miller’s adaptation of The Spirit flails onscreen, and its death throes can’t even be mined for entertainment value. At best, The Spirit may find half-life some day as a novelty movie — something along the lines of the Star Wars Holiday Special or Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. It’s the kind of movie that might be a howl to watch in a drunken group setting but makes you want to claw your eyes out if you watch it alone. The novelty factor will be especially bright if Miller’s never given a solo film project again, which looks likely; it’ll be something for next-generation mega-fans to fondle ironically some day. As it stands, The Spirit is so underwhelming that it could put those of us who loved Sin City off the (upcoming?) sequels, the way a moldy crouton puts you off not just the entire salad but also the main course wending its way to your table. Miller’s handling of The Spirit is so pokey, in other words, that it threatens to tank the graphic panel stylization which until now looked as if it might become its own particular film genre.”
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