April 1st, 2009 – April Fool

Frost/Nixon:  I watched this last night.  I liked it.  Although in some ways, the entire movie turns on whether or not Richard Nixon actually made that phonecall to Frost in his hotel room.  If, in fact, he did, then that was a colossal blunder.   Like gloating in the 7th inning when winning 11-0 it does nothing but motivate the other guy (who is already down) to put you away.   This is what happened to Frost who was not over-matched but simply did not direct his mind to the no holds barred duel that he was only watching until then.   He had to focus on the 10% of the time that Nixon did stuff that he knew was wrong and did them anyway.    I was surprised that the Nixon team did not subtract from that last taping episode the 25 minutes that Frost spent asking about burning the tapes.

Nixon was a sharp guy, no doubt, but he was also highly suspicious and had an inferiority complex.  Losing his governor’s race earlier in his career scarred him for life.   Anyway, I enjoyed this as I had studied Watergate back in University with John Dean (book Blind Ambition) and All the President’s Men.   It’s an interesting lesson in mistakes and trying to cover them up.  Both the principal actors did a fine job here, and notably the guy who played Nixon (Frank Langella).   That was good.   I loved the mental games he played with him just before going on air “So…did you fornicate last night?…”  LMAO!!

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March 26th, 2009

I watched Slumdog Millionaire last night and I enjoyed it.  There are a lot of depressing images here from the slums in India , and I cannot imagine going there and seeing it first hand.   At the same time it opens your eyes as to why you have a money pouch when you travel.   It’s a feel-good story with a plot that is interesting   But it was good to watch and created some real tension.   I was most impressed by the child actors in this film as they are all very good.   They made this film what it is.  Sure, on some level I wonder how a young girl living in that kind of poverty and situation turns out to look the way that she does (and she is a striking woman).   I liked the way that they explained Dev Patel’s knowledge of seemingly independent questions with things that have happened in his life.  The relationship with the brother is an interesting one and the redemption that occurs at the end.   Was this the BEST movie of the year?   I don’t know.  But so far it is a pretty good one.

February 23rd, 2009

This weekend Ex-wife rented Blindness with what looked like a good cast (Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover and Julianne Moore). In a word it’s HORRIBLE. I am glad to only have caught the last 45 minutes of this, and thinking I utilized the other hour for better pursuits. This story is a mess. It reminds me a bit of Doomsday (a UK version of an outbreak movie with Scotland this time being isolated and rescuers going in to see who if anyone has survived). Neither movie really works that well but Doomsday was better. There is this uncertain virus in a city that makes people blind and so they are put in isolation. In truth I am not sure where Ex-wife finds these movies, but she strikes me in her selections like a kid playing with her parents’ gun. You don’t know what she’s going to pick, but in the end you know someone will get hurt. Usually it’s me having to sit through another painful selection. She usually hates my picks.

January 2nd, 2008

This weekend I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I am halfway through the book, and I found this story to be the least satisfying of the bunch.   It could have been summed up in a word and in 15 mins on the screen.

Open with Harry credits, show Harry at his house.  Watch as Ministry of Magic dispels the theory of the return of Voldemort, then see how they see the truth.  Ending credits.

When we finished, eldest son’s reaction was “Is that it?!”   I agree.   The characters did not advance much, and there was only a couple tidbits of juicy info.  Otherwise it was forgettable.