Monday, March 09, 2009
Chicks and Dicks
We almost watched this one without subtitles...and as soon as we began watching the highly absorbing Waltz With Bashir Stagg almost didn't want to stop the movie and look for the subtitles...we were that compelled by the opening sequence. We almost watched this cool animated war movie without English. The story begins with a former soldier realizing he has some repressed memories about his service years. The sountrack is awesome and so is the journey. Score: 10/10. A must see.
I suspect a lot of kids were like me and really fascinated with The Amazing Kreskin. John Malkovitz plays a mentalist...which is a stature above a magician according to performers and buskers. Mime of course is at the bottom of the rung. I was pretty excited to see this movie with cinematographer Tak Fujimoto on board and all kinds of actors in an ensemble starring John Malkowitz and absolutely magnificent. The Great Buck Howard has some really exciting film making. Emily Blunt, Ricky Jay, Tom Arnold, Griffin Dunneall add and support the fantasy, fast paced story of freindship and mentoring. You know...in some ways this reminded me of the classic "My Favourite Year". Malkovittz is wonderful and it's good to see him playing comedy. A sweet beautiful bromance. Score: 10/10.
Watching Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks characters fall in love was one of the most fun and touching romances I've seen in a while. Kevin Smith is so very good at creating characters. Zack and Miri Make A Porno is a really good comedy, very fucking funny but it is the characters sincerity and emotional arc that really made this a great movie. The writing is terrific and the supporting roles are so much fun. Traci Lords, Katie Morgan and Jason Mewes bring home the porn for us...keeping the movie real...but the heart is the two leads. The emotional aspects of this movie reminded me of the brilliant tragedy Chasing Amy (one of the best movies about the battle of the sexes EVER) but we are able to rejoice in this movie. What a lot of fun...and yippee for movies that uptight middle class squares will not like and call sophomoric. Kevin Smith is able to give topical pulse and laughs to emotional characters and he has a gift for writing real people. Score: 10/10.
The first half of Body Of Lies is really suspenseful ad exciting...and I really got into it. The photography, the aim for realism and action, exotic settings was all really cool. somehow...and for some reason...I kind of gradually lost the edge by the last half and ending. The acting is great, and the one premise is just outstanding! Great idea! But...I got well less involved by the end of the movie. Good for a rainy day though. I also can't wait to see what the acting future holds for Golshifteh Farahani. I thought she was great, as was Mark Strong. I also really liked the rogue spy who lived in the middle of nowhere with all kinds of gadgets. Interesting character...could have watched a whole movie about him. Score: 7/10.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall has some wonderfully funny scenes. This is one of those terrific movies that is both a chick flick and a guy movie. It really might have been one of the best date movies I've seen in a while (Yes, I know I also consider an action flick a date movie). I love the tv show How I met My Mother (monday night sit coms rock!) but if I had guessed who might become a movie star from the cast...it wouldn't have been Jason Seigel and I would be so wrong. I really enjoyed watching Seigel on screen and he made me care about this character. And I laughed my ass off. Russell Brand is also very silly in this one. Score: 7/10.
Stagg's parents get out to see quite a few movies and they often encourage us to see movies we might not have seen right away. We rushed to watch a lot of movies the couple weeks before the Oscars...and both The Visitor and Frozen River came highly recommended by Stagg's parents. Way before any Oscar nominations. I loved both these often quiet but charming character driven movies. The look on Richard Jenkins face when he gets busted for drumming is priceless. The women stars of Frozen River were so wonderful and I fell in love with both of them. Stagg and I must have sweated off 10 pounds each during some of the tense moments of this family drama. I was glad I didn't know very much about these character studies so I don't want to say too much about them here. I give both these movies a Score of 10/10.
Note to self: do not move to Michighan. Interesting to see violent hate played out in a formally affluent city of car production in the movie Gran Torino. It is absolutely painful to see the kind of hate in a place where people used to be able to afford to raise a family. Highland Park is the new Compton. We saw this movie a few months ago, again on the recommendation of Stagg's parents. They liked the realistic portrayal by Clint Eastwood and the unusual creation of a new family. Clint Eastwood is a man who needs a new family. His family is totally repulsive and I almost couldn't believe there might really be people like these in the world. Except...my dads wife was just like Eastwoods kids....same kind of sense of entitlement. My fathers wife was such a creep she was just like this family with the same delusion that they know what is best for others: she spoke to my grandparents the same way as Eastwoods kids speak to him. Ugh. The whole family is selfish, dead boring and assholes. But Eastwood is the head honcho of creep. It's very difficult and interesting to watch him in this movie. He is such a pig...yet some of his values are admirable. He sure deserves the shitty kids he made. And the grandkids are even lame. This family is the reason a place could turn into hell. But...despite Eastwoods dictatorship (what children could survive or grow up to be thoughtful under a dictatorship?) Eastwoods character gets a second chance at family. And this...I found really interesting. I could relate to him teaching his young alienated neighbours some tricks of getting along in the world. I enjoyed and squirmed how he would shit on these kids with racial slurs-the dialogue doesn't sugar-coat this character...but the daughter of this Hmong family dished his attitude right back...but with love and tolerance. She managed to teach Eastwood how to love a family in some remarkable way. There are problems with this movie. I knew it wouldn't get nominated at Oscars because there were some script and plot problems. The acting is not so consistent and sometimes it's even very bad. Clint Eastwoods acting is perfectly good, and like Streep in Doubt he brings the camp, he brings the noise and the noise is opera. Despite the poorer acting of supporting roles, and despite the problems with the script...I recommend this movie. It's part revenge story and part redemption story. It hurts to say that it's flawed. Score: 7/10. Acting: 5/10 (except for Clint, he gets a drama-queen 10/10)