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52 Movies in 52 Weeks: Week 7: Rachel Getting Married

rachel-getting-married

This film is another that I didn’t know much about prior to seeing it.
Truth is, I haven’t seen Anne Hathaway in very much, but it certainly seems to be a big departure from the safe roles she has gotten herself into before now.
She plays Kim, the recovering addict (of all sorts of substances) just out of rehab to attend her sister’s wedding at home.

There is some serious conflict and resentment around events preceding the story (while we do get lots of details about them).

It opens up some old warwounds and the family shows how truly disfunctional they are. While there is a substantial focus on the cultural differences between the family and the fiancee. Not that this causes problems, but is somewhat of an interesting addition to the story. Not decided yet on whether I think it was distracting or if it actually added something to the story.

In the end, Hathaway finds a way to somehow see where she fits into the world around her- but not easily.

I liked her in this, but then again- most of the films I enjoy are somewhat dark & dismal. This one is part Juno, part Dan in Real Life- without the comedic elements of either.

While not the best thing I’ve see this year, I think it was better than Gran Torino.

My rating: B.

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Movies | 1 Comment

52 Movies in 52 Weeks: Week 6: Curious Case of Benjamin Button

CCBJ.

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I’ll start by acknowledging that this film has always had some serious hype around it.

First, they chose actors that were going to get attention. (Now if the story’s that good, do you really need to get the highest paid acting staff onboard to sell tickets?)

Next, they exploited it in advertising. (Doesn’t Oprah generally sell lots of WHATEVER SHE WANTS TO to the masses- and she can even do it on short notice)

Next, they campaigned the crap out of the thing. But one thing that they missed along the way- making a story worth watching. Regardless of whether F.Scott Fitzgerald wrote the thing or JFK, it just wasn’t that great. After 2 1/2 hours with these characters and you still don’t feel connected to them- isn’t there something wrong here?

More fairy tale than anything, but much less endearing than Peter Pan. Take some lessons.

And one more thing- Director, you really did it. You managed to sell the idea that you could actually make something worthwhile on the $150 Million you spent making this trash. Seriously, you made out like a bandit here. Now comes the time where you take your money and you disappear into the Brazilian rainforest and live like a king.

(Look at this:  Jon Stewart feels similar, while promoting the real rockstar this year, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Link HERE)

My rating: C

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Movies | 2 Comments

52 Movies in 52 Weeks: Week 5: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

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I have been somewhat of a fan of Michael Cera since Juno, then Arrested Development.
I think it’s enough to say that the kid is funny. In a weird, awkward way, he is certainly funny. Almost unintentionally so, due to the generally strange dialogue that he issues on a regular basis. In this film he managed to be a bit more clever, more sassy, a little quicker on the wit. But still Michael Cera.

I have heard a few people say that they just didn’t like this film, while others are drawing Adventures in Babysitting similarities.
While I don’t entirely agree with the AIB references, I can certainly see where the idea comes from. I think it may cause people to think that, due to the citywide scavenger-hunt type escapades the cast goes for. I tend to feel that there were much more similarities with some other 80s teen films. A little bit of Better Off Dead,  a little bit 16 candles, a little bit Pretty In Pink. While being cleverly current, this film also managed to ring a familiar bell with those films. I enjoyed it, I thought the music was great, and the characters were pleasantly believable.

My rating: A-

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Movies | 1 Comment

52 Movies in 52 Weeks: Week 4: In Bruges

In Bruges.

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I had heard a little bit about this film, but had no real idea what it was about.
I recall it being the premiere film at Sundance 2008, and had heard it did fairly well there- but the details of the story managed to be kept fairly well hidden.

Simply put, I think Colin Ferrell is, in a strange way, very likable in this film. Given the context, it isn’t a very easy thing to do. He manages to keep things light, while the film manages to wade into some pretty deep territory. There are a few twists and turns, things I certainly didn’t see coming.
It is a European film, which invariably leads to some Fbombs. Not surprising. Not everyone will like this film, but I can’t say that many people will hate it either.

My rating: A-

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Movies | Leave a comment

52 Movies in 52 Weeks: Week 3: The Wrestler

Life has gotten the best of me lately. I have failed to keep up on my reviews, and I really wanted to make sure I didn’t fall any further behind.
And so it begins.

thewrestlerposterWeek #3. The Wrestler.

This movie truly was fantastic. I didn’t have any real expectations going in, other than a few small clips I had seen here & there. I knew it got a couple of nominations at the various awards shows, but didn’t have any real hopes for this one.
What I found was something truly delightful, stirring, and thought-provoking.

Mickey Rourke’s portrayal of a professional wrestler was very Hulk Hogan-esque without the retirement account.

It was so astonishing how he managed to play such an honest and transparent character. By the time the movie really gets ramped up, you already feel as though you have known Randy “the Ram” for years. This is where you notice how endearing his character has become. You get to feel of how his entire existence aches from beaten with metal chairs and bodyslams. His face tells volumes, without saying a word. I loved how the lighting, cinematography, and sound (or lack of) is so representative of the man and his life’s story. By the time the movie closes, you seem to know (or think that you do) how Randy feels about everything, and it truly makes you feel pity and wish the best for him at the same time.

I thought the dialogue and progression of the story was excellent, as you can feel small moments in which things could so easily turn around for Randy, but them come crashing down. He inevitably comes back to the only thing he knows- the only thing he has ever known, which is ultimately his solitude. I’ve always liked Marisa Tomei, probably most in ‘In the Bedroom’ several years ago. Her character is a great addition to the development of the emotional catastrophe which is Randy the Ram. While Marisa’s character seems the most unlikely of accomplices, she did a great job in helping to tell the story. I truly believe that the casting director had some serious vision when putting this one together.

Rating: A

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Movies | Leave a comment