July 25, 2008

Oh how I wish there were some TV observations to make, but other than a rollicking season of "Weeds" kicking off last month (Could I LOVE Doug and Andy any more?  I honestly think not and now we've got a cougar after Silas!) and some fantastic episodes of "Penn and Teller: Bullshit!" my TV has been a lost cause.

That leads me to the bigger screen or sometimes, the smaller screen watching DVDs of what used to be bigger screen offerings.  Let's see what's on the Netflix and Fandango roster for the past couple of months, shall we?

First up is "Charlie Wilson's War."  I watched the progression of this movie with interest because I've been hooked on docudramas since Oliver Stone's "JFK."  I remember the first time I saw the scene between Donald Sutherland and Kevin Costner where they are sitting on a park bench in front of the...White House?  Capitol Building?...some big white Washington structure, and I lost myself for a moment, forgetting that these were two actors and instead fully believing in the reality of the characters.  The acting was just that good.  While the acting was good in "Charlie Wilson's War," it was no "JFK."  (I could do the whole Lloyd Bentson thing here, but that would just be too obvious)  This was a story about something that happened and not much more.  The acting was superb.  The directing was great.  The casting was pretty good as nearly as I could tell.  The story, for me, was kind of "meh."  Clearly, it was a major asset to the Bush administration for this movie to come out at this time since it basically sets stage for what came immediately after the movie timeline ended and now affects us to an incredible degree, which is the rise to power of the Taliban.  That isn't expressed in the movie, but left to the viewer to have the historical knowledge to tie the two together.  This movie is not a waste of time by any means, but I'm glad I left it to DVD viewing and not full price cinema. 

"The Golden Compaszzzzzzzzz."  Nuff said.

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."  Even Brad Pitt couldn't kick life into this turkey of a film.  I love a good western, which is maybe why I didn't care for this one.  By the time Robert Ford got around to actually shooting Jesse James, I was hoping he'd shoot me instead and put me out of my misery.

"Kickin' It Old Skool."  I know very little about Jamie Kennedy and after seeing this, I'm not completely sure I want to know anything else about him.  I am all for dumb humor and a movie that just entertains without having any kind of heavy message to it.  This one was just dumb and didn't entertain, not me at least.

"Idiocracy."  I think I might be crushin' a little bit on Dax Shepherd, having seen him in this and "Let's Go to Prison" in the past few months.  "Idiocracy" does what "Kickin' It Old Skool" should have done by taking a really dumb premise and keeping me laughing all the way through.  Add in the bonus of Luke Wilson (rrowwwll) and it's big ol' ton of fun.  The basic premise is that the dumbest people on earth are the ones continuing to procreate while the more intelligent ones are using birth control, which causes the critical mass of intelligence in the world to take a huge dive as evolution progresses.  Luke Wilson plays an army private who is frozen for what is supposed to be a year and instead, a base closure causes the top secret project to be left undiscovered and he eventually thaws out 500 years in the future when dumb is the standard.  As the smartest man left, he is imprisoned and eventually, well...just see the movie, but not when you are looking to be inspired or moved to grievey tears; just went you want some mindless humor.

"Walk Hard:  The Dewey Cox Story."  I went into this movie expecting very little and was surprised to find myself laughing out loud several times.  It helps, of course, to have seen "Walk the Line" first for the comparisons in this spoof, but on its own, it's still a crack up.  It's worth the watch for the midget song alone.

"National Treasure:  Book of Secrets."  I have heard a LOT of people fussing about how bad this movie was, but I completely enjoyed it.  In my opinion, it was every bit as good as the first "National Treasure" and I'm not sure what the big disappointment is about.  It was an adventure movie, plain and simple, and not devoted to anything other than pure entertainment, which I greatly appreciate.  Nicolas Cage and Jon Voight make a fun father-son team and throwing Helen Mirren into the mix as the mother/ex-wife was even more fun.  Harvey Keitel is another real bonus and for me, this was 124 minutes of good time.

"No Country For Old Men."  OH how I waited for this movie to come out and when I saw the rave reviews it was getting, I was even more eager to see it.  I love the Cohen brothers, but a closer study has proven to me that I love one side of their movies.  I don't know if maybe Joel gets custody of the main course of a movie and then Ethan gets the next one or if they are both schizophrenic or what, but their movies have 2 very set distinct personalities into which they inevitably fall.  One is the intelligent, dry humor of "The Hudsucker Proxy," "Raising Arizona" and "O Brother, Where Art Thou."  The other is the almost brutally dry humored, very high drama like "Blood Simple," "Barton Fink," "Fargo," and "No Country."  Love the comedy; hate the drama.  Mind you, I love drama, just not their drama.  I think I'm just too stupid to get it or something.  I recently watched "Barton Fink" on high recommendations and while I thought the dialog was incredible and the acting was amazing (The Cohen Johns -  Goodman and Tuturro, were phenomenal), the story was absolutely limp.  That's how I felt about "No Country."  The lines that were spoken were brilliant and snappy.  Tommy Lee Jones was fantastic as small town sheriff, Ed Tom Bell.  Javier Bardem was creepy and menacing as serial killer Anton Chigurh.  Josh Brolin is always on his game, but was particularly good as Llewellyn Moss.  I can't praise the acting highly enough, but the story, as with Fink, just sort of sat there doing nothing.  It was like watching a finely crafted, highly detailed, gorgeous sports car just sit and rev its engine with no transmission to take it anywhere.  I wish I had my time back, honestly.

"Wall-E."  Yes, it's true. I actually laid out the money and walked into a theater not once, but twice.  This time, it was for my son's 11th birthday.  "Wall-E" is nothing short of brilliant and I suspect may be Pixar's best movie ever, that's right, even better than "Toy Story."  There is almost no dialog in this movie, but it's not hard to get lost in the essence of the characters.  The story is tight from beginning to end and there is not really any lag time where parents will be chewing off their foot to get away from the trap they were lured into by their child.  Even my husband loved it.

"Iron Man."  This movie I went to see by myself (I love seeing movies by myself as much as I love seeing them with other people - for different reasons), purely because it was the only thing showing at the same time as "Death Note," which my kids were seeing with their friends.  I was honestly blown away by the quality of the.. well... everything in this movie.  The acting, the directing, the editing, the writing and the special effects were all top notch.  I had the honor of spending time with Peter Billingsley, Executive Producer of the movie, just a couple of weeks ago and so I was doubly glad that this particular movie was what had been showing in my time of need so that I could speak intelligently to his accomplishment:

That's all for this edition!  Happy viewing!


June 19, 2008:
Big Love, House, The
Biggest Loser, The Sopranos, Scrubs

Deadwood, The Riches, Rescue Me, LOST