(three short book-to-movie reviews for no reason)
I AM LEGEND: Beautifully acted, well-shot, tense as hell... up until the ending, which totally deviates from the book and ruins everything. And i'm definitely not a "faithful for faithfullness' sake" kind of guy-- i actually like the film better than the book for the first 2/3 of it. But the book's ending was just SO MUCH more compelling, more emotional, more powerful. This is a good film that easily could have been a great film. As is, it's worth watching for Will Smith, who does a hell of a job.
THE GOLDEN COMPASS: Everyone in fantasy-land, from Narnia to MiddleEarth to the crazy animal-soul land here, is white. That was kind of jarring, though by now it probably shouldn't be. Hollywood has always done that. Aside from that pretty major distraction, the film was alright. Too rushed, very little characterization, but not horrible. I'm also sick of how every damn movie has a "prophecy" and/or a "chosen one." Why can't regular people just be heroes on their own without that extra baggage? The film DID make me want to read the books though, which is the best thing i can say about it.
ATONEMENT: This is a great example of a movie that's too well-done for it's own good. All the pieces for a "great film" are in place-- love, war, emotions, good cinematography, good acting, etc.-- which ends up making it seem kind of unreal, as if the filmmakers were doing nothing more than trying to win Oscars. Add to this the emotional exploitation going on (a number of the deaths in the film didn't seem to serve much of a narrative or thematic purpose, they just bludgeon the audience into thinking "this is heavy"), and i really couldn't get behind it. Again, maybe i have to read the book.
I'm exciting about seeing Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men though.