Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Movie Madness!

First, a note: I added another little bit to the sidebar. Find and enjoy.

I've seen a lot of movies recently, but haven't bothered mentioning any of them here. Time to rectify that situation. IT'S MOVIE REVIEW SPEED ROUND! (Many possible spoilers ahead.)

My Big Fat Independent Movie: Starred Paget Brewster, which is the main reason I rented it. An Airplane-style comedy taking on all the indie film successes of the last 15-20 years or so (such as Pulp Fiction, The Good Girl, Swingers, El Mariachi, Memento, and of course My Big Fat Stupid Unfunny Greek Wedding), it covered an impressive amount of territory, but was way more miss than hit. Mainly because Paget Brewster is pretty much the only real actor in the movie.

Cry Wolf: A surprisingly clever, if minor, teen slasher film. I mostly guessed where it was going, but I enjoyed the journey. I'd like to see what the director does next. Features Gary Cole in a small role, which is always a good thing, but he's inexplicably playing British. His accent needs work. Also: Bon Jovi!

Broken Flowers: Man, I dig Jim Jarmusch, but his films do require patience. Watched it with a friend, and we both liked it a lot, but we decided to make up a drinking game to go with it. "Every time we watch someone in the distance walk silently for farther than the width of the screen, take a drink," I suggested. My buddy was more direct: "Every time there's a pointless scene, take a drink." We took many drinks. But again: still really liked the movie. And what a cast! Just amazing from top to bottom.

Flightplan: Despite my reservations, almost seemed like it might be decent for a while. But then Jodie Foster went over the top, from intriguing psychological breakdown to scenery-chewing nutso, and of course all her mania wound up being justified in the end. She wasn't going crazy, the bad guy was pulling a Gaslight on her! I completely lost interest at that point. Not that I had much interest before that; I was mostly just predicting the plot as it went along. "There's the bad guy." "Jodie's husband didn't commit suicide, he was murrrrrrdered." "The bad guy smuggled something onboard the plane in her husband's coffin." When she somehow finds a cubbyhole on the plane which is magically immune from being BLOWN UP, SIR! by a gigantic explosion, I thought the film had gotten as bad as it could possibly get. No, wait -- the Arab she accused of being a terrorist makes pals with her in the end. Now it's as bad as it can possibly get.

The Squid and the Whale: Man, I thought this was supposed to be a comedy. It is funny, very funny in spots, but it's the kind of comedy where you have to cover your eyes and shake your head and mutter, "Oh, Jesus." Brutal stuff, about a truly messed-up family, centering around the bitter break-up of the parents. The comedy, and the pain, work to great effect because it all feels so absolutely real. I love Laura Linney an insane amount, and she's very good here, but this film is owned by Jeff Daniels, who rocked my world. Just a simple "Don't be difficult" from him is razor-sharp. After seeing this, I'm amazed he hasn't won every acting award of the year. Great stuff.

The Matador: Pierce Brosnan as an assassin who's losing his edge, and Greg Kinnear as the regular Joe he befriends. Plus Hope Davis as Kinnear's wife -- like Gary Cole, Hope Davis is always a good thing. I wonder if they've ever been in a movie together? (Research reveals: not yet.) I forget how good Kinnear can be, how much I like him, and he's a treat here, but Brosnan -- I knew he could act, but I don't think he's ever been better. He's great, funny and sad, always on the edge of doing something dangerously, stupidly self-destructive. Loved it.

I'm sure there are a few movies I'm forgetting right now, but that's good enough for the time being.

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