As for movies I tried watching the Will Ferrell ice dance movie and could not get through it (Blades of Steel?). The movie is just too darned stupid. It is not very funny. Napolean Dynamite should consider a sequel to ND soon, rather than other roles which have bombed (like Benchwarmers and this stinker).
Shopgirl was on a fair bit this past weekend (Sat AM and also Sat night) and I watched a little bit of it. I also watched the last Sopranos episode and all I have to say there is ‘nothing like petering out’. I liked the head crunching by the SUV on Phil, but the plot here was confusing and tried unsuccessfully to tie up a lot of loose ends. Half the ends I had no idea who or what they were dealing with. So a thumbs down for me. I only watched the Sopranos from the last couple of seasons and to be honest I think that it’s overrated. His endings are generally lame like the Xmas set-up at the end of last season. So I have little incentive to actually rent the previous seasons and try and get caught up. I find little AJ annoying and typical of his generation. I would have let him go to the Army and learn some discipline. But that’s just me.
Perfume: You ask most people what of the 5 senses would they eliminate if they had to lose one, and I think that most people would say the sense of smell. This movie should be shown to those that believe that. I caught the majority of this movie, missing the first 15 mins or so but then could not stop watching it. It revolves around a young apprentice who has a unique gift of smell that allows him to create great perfumes. He works first for aging Dustin Hoffman but then becomes obsessed with being able to capture ALL smells, and essences. This takes him to try and capture beauty (or happiness if you will) and this takes him on a murderous spree. He begins taking the lives of beautiful young women to try and synthesize it and bottle it. What he creates is really quite astounding. Having read the 4-star Ebert review on this movie, I agree. Here you have an obsession (pardon the pun) that takes over this young guy’s life, and it becomes very dark. It is well acted, it is well directed and well written. It tells an interesting story and one that apparently is better in the audio book and the book itself. Ex-wife and I both could not leave this movie despite being tired. Check it out. I hope to see Atonement in the next little while as it is getting great reviews and the new Charlie Wilson’s War looks good too. The Golden whatever is supposed to be good too. If you can, also try to check out Bourne Ultimatum which I thoroughly enjoyed at the theatre.
So last night I decided to start watching The Nativity Story and ended up watching the entire thing. It’s not that I was engrossed that much, it was that I wanted to finish it. I think that they saw the zillions of dollars that Passion of the Christ made and tried to deal with the happier side of the story. I am no expert when it comes to matters of the bible and religion but I did not know that John the Baptist was a distant relative of Jesus. Mary’s cousin was older and was pregnant with another immaculate conception with John, and he was born months before Jesus was. It was interesting that the made the three wise men more comic relief. I felt for Joseph (Oscar Isaac) throughout the story because here is this poor sap who’s just trying to be a good guy, and he finds that his Wife (who moved away to be with her cousin) comes back knocked up and claims a spirit did it. He is shocked to say the least. In a leap of faith however, he trusts her and her word and then takes her on this long journey back to Bethlehem. What I wondered though about these kings from afar, is what happened to them later on in Jesus’ life?! When buddy is getting crucified, why did they not help him? Why not stand up for him and protect him or even follow in the life of this young King of Kings? Do we ever hear from them again, or do they drop their gifts and forget? I found the story slow, and it took a long time to get moving (even at a snail’s pace). Mary was okay, but I liked her better as the young Whale Rider. She does not show much range here, and there are long periods of silence and staring at each other. I might have the kids watch it so that they understand a little bit more why they get gifts this time of year. Could be a good history lesson for them. What more do we know of Joseph?
This time of year will have me put the A Christmas Story dvd and watch Darren McGavin swear at his furnace yet again….lol
First film was Eragon, the dragon movie that borrows a great deal from LOTR, which for me as you know a recipe for success. In twenty words or less it’s an Arthur fable with a dragon involved. This movie has a very good cast (bad guy Malkovich and good guy Jeremy Irons), which I feel was not used to its capability. There should first be a warning to this film that states “Note that the film you are watching will not be resolved after the picture is over – more installments to come”. It leaves the audience unsatisfied and rolling their eyes at having to fork over more money for a movie that did not do so well as to merit a sequel. But the more disturbing part of this movie for me was the communication between the dragon and her rider. The dragon is voiced by the great Rachel Weisz, who I like a lot. I just don’t picture her voice associated with a dragon. And what’s with the dragon not movie it’s mouth, and only talking through the mind. And cheesey dialogue that it is? Don’t dragons speak dragon? Why would it be English? Anyway, the dragon scenes were okay, the fight scenes were too darkly lit (why in the days of swordsmanship and arrows would you not fight a battle during daylight?). You need to see what you are fighting, do you not? This killed a couple of hours and it was okay, but I cannot recommend it. I would welcome your thoughts on it.
The second movie we watched was Mr Brooks, which I believe that you reviewed a little while back but I may be wrong. I did enjoy this movie. I think that William Hurt needs to work more, even when he looks a little more creepy than you might expect. I do like how they handled the psychological aspects of the persona, and how you are dealing with a recovering ‘addict’ but an addict who does not reveal his claim to fame. In some ways this movie gives the blue print on how to kill someone that you don’t know (and I think gives the internet more credit for divulging personal information based solely upon a license plate than you would normally get). Can you REALLY get someone’s W2/T4 information over the Net to check how much that they are worth? I was not sure halfway through how all of the stories would come back together and I was glad that I didn’t. It made sense what they did and the actors did a good job. Ex-wife pointed it out and I concur on what happened to Demi Moore’s chest? Did she remove her implants or get them reduced? For Charlie’s Angels she was stacked. Perhaps she has the new blow-hole accessory that allows manual inflation as required…? I liked the banter between the Hurt/Costner characters and how effectively he dealt with Mr Smith. There were some evils laughs there, and some genuinely funny moments like when they honked at Mr Smith and anticipated at what might happen next….a good movie that I can recommend and enjoyed thoroughly. It was time well spent Sat night.
So this weekend I had a chance to watch Freedom Writers. I had only intended on starting the movie, but I ended up finishing it. I enjoyed it. It has some clichés like all the movies of this type (Stand and Deliver being better I think) but it had some interesting wrinkles. I found it interesting that all the books are mothballed by the Dept Head and only given out to other ‘better students’. The argument used by the same Dept Head that you can’t teach this way to every group and that the teachers are there to move the students through. The Color Purple comment made by the junior level teacher was just amazing – tell me about the black perspective in this story….huh?! Did you actually say that?! I do find it interesting that they try and reach inner city kids with stories of the holocaust. How about apartheid? How about segregation in the south? They hint on that, but they didn’t fly in members of the Black Panthers or anything like that to speak to them, as opposed to the woman who housed Anne Frank. The Patrick Dempsey character did not come off well, since he couldn’t get away from watching football every time you saw him. His Wife may not have to take on three jobs if he could add more to household income no? Anyway, it was worthwhile watching. I like Hilary Swank, and think that she is very genuine.
I also watched the beginning of A Good Year, since I had previously missed it. Reminded me of Trading Places and the orange futures when he holds on to the price and then dumps it only it buy it back. You’d think the securities commission would look into that further. Upon second watching they do try to make Crowe appear more ‘geeky’ and it really doesn’t work. In many ways that offscreen perception of him hurts him for this. The female lead, though, (Marion Cotillard) still glows in the scenes that she is in and I am going to get that Edith Piaf story.
Watched Little Children with Kate Winslet on the weekend and I enjoyed it. It was an exercise in watching people who are so into themselves that they harm those around them in the most profound ways. The performances were all good, I especially liked seeing Kelly Leack (from Bad News Bears fame) looking awful and creepy as a released sex offender (actor Jackie Earle Haley). The buddy too from Truman Show was here as a disgraced cop and looks terrible and thin. Overall well worth catching and I was thinking that this was up for some nominations. Winslet’s hubby is a piece of work here, and Jennifer Connolly plays the innocent blinded busy housewife well who has her ‘perfect’ son sleeping with her all the time….(gee that certainly resounded with me). Anyway, if you get a chance, check it out.
Watched A Good Year with Russell Crowe last night and was finishing it from catching the ending a few nights back. Yes, it’s a formula movie and we have seen it many times in movies like Under the Tuscan Sun and Family Man and Baby Boom where the workaholic person who cares only for money, learns to love and appreciate a beautiful place and settle down. Naturally they almost always have a multi-million dollar place given to them for consideration, and in this case it’s an estate with pool, tennis court and vineyard in Provence in France. The scenery is lovely and worthwhile itself (and probably the reason I like the movie so much). The performances are good as I liked the people and wanted the best for them. The female lead is striking (Marion Cotillard) and I hope is in more movies to come. Russell seems to be getting back on screen after a bit of a hiatus, and does a decent job here. This was directed by Ridley Scott, which surprised me as he seems to do more epics, but he has a very impressive body of work (Blade Runner, Alien, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven to name a few)…
Perhaps it all gets explained away in the idea that I am thinking about spending some time in Europe this summer and it would be nice to head to the south of France and enjoy this scenery. I was able to remove the public Russell Crowe badboy here from the character (as he does his best to play Hugh Grant as a cad)….but I also liked her (Marion Cotillard) and I am presently trying to find out where I can see La Vie En Rose which has her playing Edith Piaf. Looks like a good movie that I heard nothing about. It looks like it is out on DVD, but is only playing in Toronto at a small theatre on Queen Street. A long drive for a movie headed to video soon, and likely not a big screen flick anyway.
So last night was watching 1408 with John Cusack. Anna had rented > it, along with Georgia Rule which I will not watch. On to the movie which I have to say was clearly a mind fuck. What was with that really?! If you have not seen it, the basic premise is that a cynical and disillusioned writer of Horror Motels Guidebooks is visiting places with dark pasts and debunking ghost theories. He is then told NOT to visit Room 1408 in a fancy hotel in New York. They refuse to offer him the room. He goes anyway, and ultimately after a memorable encounter with the hotel manager (Samuel L Jackson) decides to stay in that room. The rest is really a series of unrelated and strange happenings for a room that are entirely unexplained. At some point I guess you must just have to go with it, but my practical side always prevented that from happening.
For example, if you have a knife/letter opener why not remove the hinges from the locked door and press the door out? You seem to have access to the hinges. Or perhaps what has Mary McCormack done to herself recently to look so very different from her roles in Private Parts and Deep Impact?
Anyway, ex-wife remarked halfway through that she was bored, even though she fell asleep prior to that. It obviously did not keep her attention. There were a couple of genuinely funny lines, but otherwise I did not like it. I was not scared, and thought there were enough clichés of how to scare people that it didn’t work on me.
So last night I ended up watching Thin. On some level I guess I wanted to see some of the motivation for someone punishing their body like this. There are so many extremes in the US as you have the overweight population that cannot grasp the anorexic folks – and then these people that binge and purge and have a terrible self body image. The troubling one to me in all this was the young 30yo divorced mother with two young kids. She talks a great game but inside there are far deeper issues at play. The one twin, to me, had HUGE twin issues beyond just body image. Her parents split and there is obvious animosity growing there with Mom in Utah. In the end, I did not learn a great deal here, but echoed the twins sentiment that she should just ‘get over it’ and on with her life. Food should NOT be the defining moment in any day, three times a day. It’s fuel to let you do other things. And the little 15yo who just wants to die – well why not just take your own life rather than starving yourself to death – with everyone watching? Can we say Attention Whore?! Not much sympathy from me as you can tell. As a movie, I can’t recommend it.
I rented The Last King of Scotland this weekend and The Good German. Ex-wife wanted to see German. I have not seen it yet as I watched Last King instead. I enjoyed the movie. It had some fun moments, but was also a scary look inside an oppressive regime. You wonder when the people of Africa are even going to get the kind of leadership that they really need, rather than maniacs who take power by force, steal from the people and then get overthrown. It’s a vicious cycle. I had not realized that Amin was British trained and supported. Much like Hussein was trained and backed by the US. It must be hard however dealing with someone so powerful and yet so volatile. You are constantly walking on eggshells wondering when he would blow up – or just decide to put a bullet in your head. The good doctor was lured in by the power (and the car) and overlooked some of the scarier aspects of the personality. I thought that Whitakker did a great job. It was good to see Gillian Anderson in movie again, that didn’t revolve around aliens. She was good too. And the young doctor should probably try to not let his little head make decisions that he cannot back up. What a foolish thing to do with one of Amin’s wives, even if she is out of favour. I did enjoy the bedroom scene with the gas and releasing of gas. Unlike some commentary I did not feel sympathetic to Amin. I guess he was always surrounded by sharks, but that’s the life that you choose when you take over power by force. A thumb’s up for me. I was impressed by the performance and feel it was justified for the Oscar. He’s a better actor than what he did on ER to be sure.
I had noted Anderson’s name in the credits and wondered when I would see her. It didn’t take long as she was right at the beginning when he arrives (that would be after he bangs the girl from the bus of course). Anyway, I had hoped that she would have a larger part, but she did not. She had done a few things outside X-files, notably the period piece House of Mirth which was pretty dark itself. Anyway I enjoyed the film.