Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Movie Log 2010: #4-5

We attended another Movie Dictator night. This time the hostess had no real theme except both movies were probably right next to each other on her shelf.

Wind - The dvd case called this "A Rocky of sailing movies." Not *the* Rocky, mind you. More like the Rocky V of sailing movies. So the US loses the America's Cup for the first time in a century, and it's up to Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey to get it back. That actually happened (minus Modine and Grey), and it is possible to make a film about known events and still create some suspense. But not Wind. The most suspenseful bits were seeing which of Ms. Grey's noses would appear at any given time -- Wind was shot the time of her rhinoplasties, and she looked noticeably different when reshoots rolled around.

Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! - Apparently Kate Bosworth's agreement to play Sandra Dee in Beyond the Sea had some stipulation that she also make a Sandra Dee film, or at least someone's idea of one. Bosworth plays a Nice Girl in West Virginia who is prone to exclaiming things like "Yikes-a-bee!" and "Shake-a-doo!" She works with a nice boy (Topher Grace) who's one of her best friends. If you've read the title of the film, you have an idea of what happens next. If you've seen a motion picture before, you know what happens after that.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Log 2010: #3

The Lion In Winter - I suppose it's more of a commentary on our times than on the material, but it was refreshing to see a film that didn't feel the need to set up EVERYTHING for the viewer. The Lion In Winter presupposes some knowledge of British history, drops you in, and when it was over, had me running to the Intarwebs to brush up on Things I Could Have Learned by Playing More Academic Quizbowl. I bought Katharine Hepburn about half the time, which is a very good average for me. That said, the film suffers from Filmed Play Disorder. One scene in particular had the main characters all standing in a line squabbling and not moving. While watching such a non-cinematic, yet well-written, movie, I was thinking I'd love to see a production of The Lion In Winter performed by the adult cast of Arrested Development. Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Harper as Henry and Eleanor, determining the lineage between Tony Hale (John), Will Arnett (Richard) and Jason Bateman (Geoffrey). Special appearance by Ben Stiller (in Tony Wonder persona) as Phillip. I think it'd be a license to print money.

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Big Fan

I didn't see this in the theater because I thought it would be too intense for me. I'm glad I stuck with it on DVD, though. It's an entertaining movie that also gave me a lot to think about. And it has a satisfying ending, unlike so many movies.

You don't need to know anything about football to love this. (Apparently the lead actor, Patton Oswalt, still doesn't know much about it.) If you know anyone who's obsessed about anything, or if you've ever been obsessed with anything, you'll get it.

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The Lion in Winter (1968)

Very mannered and stagey adaptation of a play, but that didn't bother me at all because the plot and performances were all of such a high quality.

Wonderful dialogue, too: "You're so deceitful you can't ask for water when you're thirsty." "I'm vilifying you, for God's sake. Pay attention!" "Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives!"

(Also, Pierce Brosnan is dreamy as a boy-king from France.)

The director's commentary is fascinating. While filming, the director got hepatitis twice and had to be hospitalized for a total of twelve weeks. He was allowed to edit the film only because Katharine Hepburn intervened with the producer. Plus Anthony Hopkins (in his screen d├ębut) was on horseback when one of the cameras spooked his mount, which bolted and carried him off. He was in full armor (Hopkins, not the horse). "Hang on tight! Don't jump! Don't jump!" everyone screamed. He jumped. So he had to do the jousting scene with a broken arm in a cast. Oh, and Kate Hepburn was wonderful and made all the actors comfortable with one another and was always giving people chocolates and Champagne.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Movie Log 2010: #1-2

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Pure delight. Never mind that it spent about 10 minutes with the actual plot of the book.

Cashback - a pretty good (and Oscar nominated) short film gets stretched into a fairly limp feature. Or rather, a feature is built around it, as the short appears in the first 1/3 of the movie more or less intact.

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