Very Brief Thoughts on Movies I've Seen in the Past Few Weeks
The Prestige - I'm one of the dummies that only suspected the twist with Christian Bale's character at the end and didn't assume it, so it worked for me pretty well. What really impressed me about this film though was how well-constructed it is, how tightly written and precisely acted. Definitely one of those films I'll have to watch again, to see how some of the last-minute revelations are hinted at throughout.
Casino Royale - Immensely entertaining, and Craig is as good a Bond as advertised. I did find the third-act love story stuff a bit forced but in the end I didn't mind much. I do wonder how that torture scene (naked Bond tied to a chair and his genitals beaten) managed to elicit only a PG-13 though.
Little Miss Sunshine - Steve Carrell was great, and showed that he has real range as an actor - his character here was nothing like Michael Scott. Arkin was a whole lot of fun, if not really Oscar-worthy. Abigail Breslin was Oscar-worthy - a great child actor performance. and Greg Kinnear and Toni Collete did a fine job at limning (especially in her case) fairly underwritten characters. The writing was punchy and funny and fat-free and had me laughing throughout. But that ending? How we are supposed to connect Arkin's grandfather character with the routine he came up with for his moppet grandchild just completely eluded me.
300 - A perfectly realized vision. The computer-generated backdrops and blood and skies and action is used very deliberately to create a specifically non-realistic, stylized, and impressionistic style that works wonders. If this was done "traditionally," with an army of extras out in the real desert it would never have worked as well. A gorgeous live action cartoon of a movie. (And the criticisms of that cartoonishness I've been reading continue to puzzle me - do these critics not realize that the effect is intentional, and not a sad by-product of CGI?)