It’s a quiet day post Oscars, with a couple of interesting (but not necessarily great) films to note. The first is Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton’s wildly profitable “sequel” to the original Lewis Carroll story. It is, to put it mildly, a mixed bag. Stand-out performances and Burton’s wild imagination (to say nothing of a fantastic theme from Danny Elfman) clash badly with the dopey story and the sense that Burton himself was sitting on a beach while a computer called the BurtonTron 5000 actually put it together. As a novelty, it’s very interesting. As a movie… there are better versions of the story out there. It opened today in 2010.
Guy Ritchie possesses a similarly unique vision, along with a hit-and-miss track record for expressing it. It’s hard to find fault in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels however. The seeming cockney riff on cinema’s then-raging Tarantino fixation actually transformed into a glorious crime caper on its own, as well as helping to launch the career of Jason Statham. It opened in the U.S. today in 1999.