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The Orphanage; Lust, Caution

Posted on September 11th, 2007

The Orphanage (dir. J.A. Bayona): Bayona and screenwriter Sergio Sanchez deliver a legitimately chilling ghost story, set in a beachfront Spanish mansion that was once an orphanage – and that a young couple and their imaginative adopted son are looking to turn into a boarding school. The Orphanage sags a little at times, mainly because the filmmakers over-explain the premise, and the film suffers -albeit slightly- from some familiar horror movie gimmicks, including the well-worn “kid who sees things that others don’t” bit. But the story is rich and involving, the creep-outs are skin-crawlingly effective, and the ending is pretty devastating. Guillermo Del Toro produced, and his gothic Spanish flavor abounds.(B+)

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Lust, Caution (dir. Ang Lee): This WWII-era espionage drama puts everything it’s supposed to on the screen, from the mixed emotions that Chinese resistance agent Tang Wei feels for her brutish lover Tony Leung (a collaborator with the Japanese) to the westernized milieu that makes `40s Hong Kong and Shanghai such a strange place to be. Lust, Caution‘s images are sumptuous, its performances strong, and its plot points carefully strung. And yet the movie just kind of lays there, sucked-dry in ways that are hard to account for. This is a smart movie, but not an especially emotional one. Even the already notorious explicit sex scenes feel more calculated than organic. Call this one a noble misfire from a usually reliable auteur – though I wouldn’t be surprised if some people really go for it.(B-)

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Source: A.V. Club

> Posted in Toronto Film Festival 07
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