Monday, January 1, 2007

Too many movies?


This holiday season I've been very lucky to pack in a bunch of movies, making it pretty close to a perfect winter break.

Casino Royale
Daniel Craig makes Pierce Brosnan look like a pansy. Don't get me wrong, I thought Brosnan made a great Bond, but Craig has the grit to take 007 new places. And he didn't have any silly stunts, such as surfing with all the flair of Tony the Tiger.

Rocky Balboa
I enjoyed this movie, but I have to admit...I've never really seen a Rocky movie before. Yeah, yeah, I should be ashamed of myself, but it just hasn't happened, more than seeing a few clips here and there of the previous installments. I saw this movie with a Rocky fan, and she kept sniffling and nudging me during all the touching parts (which were mostly lost on me). But I like a good sports movie, so it was worth it.

Curse of the Golden Flower
Huh? Beyond the gorgeous costumes and impressive number of extras (not counting CGI effects) wearing matching outfits, this movie was disappointing. Being a big Crouching Tiger fan, I was really excited to see this. Turns out none of the characters are sympathetic, and there's not even many good action sequences. I would've enjoyed it more had they lost the dialogue and replaced it with some good music. And Chow Yung Fat, who is usually fairly nice to look at, er...wasn't.

The Holiday
Despite lackluster reviews, which noted Cameron Diaz and Jude Law's unimpressive (though nice to look at) contributions, I thoroughly enjoyed this flick. Yes, it was predictable and wholly uninventive, but sometimes it's nice eat a big slab of cake even though (and often because) it has no nutritional value. Kate Winslet and Jack Black had surprisingly believable chemistry, and Black indulged in a few Jack Black moments that added to his character, rather than deteriorate into Robin Williams-ness. Fun chick flick best consumed with girlfriends.

The Good German
Cate Blanchett and George Clooney's were well-suited to this 1940s-style picture, since they both transcend present-day movie stardom. Ray and I agreed that Steven Soderbergh was trying to capture the acting styles (not to mention art direction) of movies like Casablanca, and it worked, most of the time. On other occasions, especially the closing scene, we were tempted toward eye-rolling. But all in all, a pretty good WWII-era story. We have higher expectations for the other "Good" movie out right now.

Pursuit of Happyness
Will Smith. He is a great actor, though he hasn't had a role that shows it this well since Six Degrees of Separation (and that was 13 years ago!). This movie was exhausting, mostly because most of Smith's scenes required him to run in frustration at breakneck speed around San Francisco in a suit. But it was a touching, compelling movie. And any actor that can well-up like Will Smith (face still, eyes getting ever redder) is a great actor. Little Jaden Smith was also impressive.

Sweet Land
Due to see this with Jana this week.


lloyd said...

May I suggest one more movie to watch? Dream Girls. Loved it. No...wait. I don't think you heard me correctly... LOVED IT! Yes, I'm creating high expectations but one of my favorite genres of music is the Motown R&B sound of the 60s. I'm hooked on the soundtrack to this movie, in awe of all the actors, and very impressed with the direction of the movie. Most of the songs were performances. But when there were transition from spoken to singing dialouge, it was believable. I'm blogging too much just for a comment. But I highly recommend you see it... I loved it more than any other movie-musical of the past several years. Yes, better than Moulin Rouge...and even better than [gasp] Chicago...

Bob said...

Oh, I think you're gonna love SWEET LAND. It's one of my favorite movies i've seen in a long time.

It's a film that rewards the patient viewer. And definitely, don't miss the beginning, as then the ending is a perfect bookend to the film. It takes place in present day, and then does a flashback to the late 60s (with great editing that lets you realize you're seeing the same character in 2 time periods), with the majority of the film taking place in 1918....and then going back to 1968, and then ending with today.

Thinking about the ending gets me all "verklempt" again!...