November 13th, 2007

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.

October 23rd, 2007

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.