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Billy the Kid (2007)
Oh, the humanity
Billy is not that different from the rest of the world who happen to also be fifteen years old. He has an active fantasy life, he wants a girlfriend, he wants to know he has a place in the world, somewhere. He is fortunate enough to have an extremely supportive and loving mother who says that they are 'best friends' and the evidence of that is clear, once you see how they relate to one another. His life is not that fascinating but whose is at that age. There are moments of extreme boredom and many of happiness, too. Billy become interested in a girl who works at a local diner whose name is Heather. She does not have much to say, or maybe she just does not have that much to say while she's on camera. Not everyone in the world is completely at ease under those circumstances..I know I wouldn't be. But Billy seems to be, and he tries to charm Heather and at first it works and then it kind of doesn't. They break up and he is not too happy, but he pushes on. The best moment in the movie is when he asks her out, off-camera, and then gets a round of applause from some guys who happen to be hanging out near the diner. Billy is an interesting guy. I'm three times his age, plus some, and I can relate to much of what he feels. I wouldn't mind knowing what happens to him next. 8/10.
Maurice Richard (2005)
As a hockey fan who also happens to love movies, the two combined made seeing "The Rocket" a must for me. It was playing only for a week in a tiny theater in NYC so I saw it the day after it opened. I was surprised to find out that it had been out awhile and only just arrived here two weeks ago.
Roy Dupuis is a tower of dignity as Maurice Richard. I don't know what Richard looked like in real life, or what he was like, but Dupuis is a terrific actor, a great skater, and he cannot be faulted for anything. I have to admit that although I have naturally heard of Richard, I did not know much about his life and struggles, but now I am very interested in reading up on him. I was lucky enough to have seen three games at the Montreal Forum, which is where he would have played and have an enormous amount of respect for the tradition of the Canadians. They are still to hockey what the Yankees are to baseball, even though they are not always a playoff team. But its men like Richard that have created that tradition.
The whole movie is very well done and it was nice seeing current NHL players in small parts. It is a better movie than all the other hockey movies I've seen (not that there are that many to choose from) and that includes "Slap Shot" which I love since its hilarious but its not even close to this, as far as the story it tells about a real stand-up guy, facing many obstacles and playing the greatest sport in the world. Hats off (since no one wore helmets back then..) to all involved. 10/10.
Started out good...
The animation was fun. Looked dated but it was probably supposed to. When she arrived in Times Square it was funny. For about 45 minutes it was very funny and very clever. It did not stay that way. It became the very thing it was making fun of so the beginning and the end were like two separate movies for me.
I do think that Amy Adams is extremely good and has enough talent and screen presence to keep the movie intact even when things go slightly corny. If she's not real good, the whole thing pretty much can fall apart.
James Marsden is also very good as Prince Edward. Having seen him in this and in "Hairspray" I am beginning to think I should be a fan. What was a little funny to me what that one day last summer I saw him in Central Park, and then he had that scene in Central Park when the guys on bikes run over him...
Went with several family members, all female, and they really loved this a lot. I cannot quite join them in that sentiment, but I did enjoy it more often than not. I could have done without Pip, completely. A little too cutesy for me, really. 8/10.
Southland Tales (2006)
A brilliant mess
I can't begin to describe the plot or anything that happened on the screen. After two minutes I thought my head would explode. After twenty minutes I considered leaving. Then I guess I got used to it all and by the end, I knew I had seen something really brilliant, even though I have no idea what it all is. You can't categorize this movie. You have not seen anything else like it, and take that anyway you choose to. But Richard Kelly is, at the very least, taking a chance making a movie like this. I'd sooner spend time watching what someone like him has to say as opposed to what passes as 'cinematic entertainment' these days. I don't suggest taking it all too seriously if you decide to see this movie. I don't think that if your leading man is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson you're supposed to confuse him with Sir Anthony Hopkins anyway. I don't think you hire a lot of people who used to work on "Saturday Night Live" as your supporting cast and confuse them with the Royal Shakespeare Theater, too. So relax! I don't know if I can recommend it to anyone but if you're feeling experimental, then by all means, run! I'd see it again in a second. I am a big fan of "Donnie Darko" and if that was not to your liking, then stay far away. This makes "Donnie" look like "The Sound of Music" but as I said, I didn't love it all, but I did.
Despite some problems, it was good
**HUGE Spoilers WITHIN**
It is a good movie, practically a great one. There's not a chance in the world I would state anything else. But its also highly improbable. The actors are all really terrific and I didn't think Ethan Hawke could be that good. Hoffman has been great (and will be again) so that was expected. I left the movie feeling the effects of it. I went into a Rite Aid to get a pack of Marlboros and wouldn't have been surprised if the clerk or another customer pulled a gun in the store. The violence in the movie is very realistic and makes you realize its part of the world we live in. I kept thinking that Shakespeare would have liked this movie and it feels like something he might have written. The tragedy of it is real, also.
-Andy and Hank worked in their parents jewelry store, so why didn't they know about the gun? Why does no one exhibit any surprise that their Mother actually used it to kill Bobby? Andy questions why she was working there that Saturday, it seemed to me that someone would have asked a rhetorical question about the gun and its use.
-What does Charles hope to find out from the cops? The identity of the robber is known.
-Why did Andy admit to Charles that he was responsible for the robbery? Is he covering for Hank? If this is a death-bed confession then I guess I get it.
-Why are Andy and Hank surprised that their Mother is in the hospital? I know the UPS truck blocked Hank's view of who went into the store that morning but it seemed conceivable that it was her. Unless they were unaware Charles had his drivers license by that time..
-I also have to question Andy leaving his business card w/that old jeweler. It reeks of stupidity, but maybe that's the point. Its not like these were career criminals. Furthermore, why do Andy and then Charles go to the jeweler anyway? No jewels were taken! The robber died in the act!
-Bobby's widow would have been contacted once the law identified Bobby as the robber, and she would have given up Hank in a heartbeat. If she hadn't, then her and her brother would have been able to blackmail Hank with the fact that the cops know Bobby did it but did or did not have an accomplice.
I had a problem with Gina's departure. Asking Andy for money made me want to laugh. If you're skipping out on your spouse, you should at least have had pocket money for a cab. It also seemed to me that Gina might have suspected that Andy was somehow involved in the robbery. The way she's looking at him when she's doing the dishes as Andy is speaking with Charles in the backyard led me to believe that she thought that this was possible. I might have believed her reasons for leaving him if this was part of what she was hoping to avoid being party to.
I also wanted to mention another memorable performance by Michael Shannon. He was the best thing in "World Trade Center" and is quickly becoming an actor whose career may be worth following. He has only two scenes here but I was glad to see him again.
In summary, its worth seeing but if you look too deeply into it, it may not all make logical sense. But I did feel as though I had actually seen a movie when it was over, and that's something that does not happen as often as one would hope. 8/10.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
I have one thing to say..are you listening? .... PLASTICS
An uncommonly touching, funny and fantastic movie, "Lars and the Real Girl" really hits all its marks. With a perfect performance by Ryan Gosling in the lead role and memorable supporting work from the rest of the cast, I can wholeheartedly recommend this movie, and I already have.
Lars is a loner. He lives in the garage on the property owned by him and his brother Gus. Gus has a wife, Karin, who is extremely giving and goes out of her way to extend herself and her home to Lars. Lars overhears a co-worker talk about a website that sells plastic dolls. There is another co-worker named Margo who has a crush on Lars but he seems a little oblivious to that. Lars purchases a doll named Bianca, much to the horror of Karin and especially Gus. Lars does not see anything unusual about this and it brings him out of his shell in a big way. Everyone that surrounds him accepts this relationship without reservation. Soon Bianca is included in the community as a real person, which is both a good and bad thing as far as Lars is concerned. When she becomes ill, Lars takes her to a very understanding doctor named Dagmar. As she is treating Bianca, she is also speaking to Lars and getting insight into his reasoning.
The movie is incredibly touching, mostly because of Gosling. I'd never seen him before but he's a very good actor. Its a tricky thing, playing a role like this, because if he makes one wrong move, the whole thing falls apart. You cannot feel like you want to laugh at him, and you don't.
10/10. See it!
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
Gunplay has never been this much fun
Wow, I really loved this movie. I snuck in to see it after seeing "In the Valley of Elah" which was good but extremely downbeat. This helped me get over that in a great way.
From the opening minutes, "Shoot 'Em Up" is over the top and earns its title immediately. It makes the generic 'action' films seem stupid by comparison. Smith shoots and then shoots some more, usually under ridiculous circumstances. Even the dialogue, the one-liners, are sometimes stupid, but you don't mind since they are supposed to be.
Clive and Giamatti are perfectly cast, Monica is beautiful to look at, and they make a fun movie better than it has any right to be. Its smart enough not to overstay its length - its just long enough to entertain but not too long to become a drag.
The pro-carrot people now have a favorite movie. Thanks to all who were able to put this extremely entertaining movie together. 10/10.
Knocked Up (2007)
Funny, but not consistently so
I had a good time watching this movie. It was a spur of the moment movie decision to even go to see it and luckily it was at a very convenient time so we went, the day after it opened.
I can't go along with all the raves and user comments that suggest its this hilarious movie. Its just not. That's not to say its awful because its not, its just not what I would label a hysterically funny movie. Its funny but hardly consistently so. There are many lapses in the comedy. Its too long - if it were edited better, the movie would have benefited.
I could also complain about the believability of the characters. I did not believe for a moment that Alison really liked Ben all that much, even after she said she did. Maybe that was the script, maybe that was Heigl, but I didn't buy it.
A lot of the enjoyment I got from the movie came from Leslie Mann, who played Alison's sister Debbie. I liked her a lot in "Orange County" even though she didn't have that big a role in that movie. She's very easy going, very likable. I like Paul Rudd, too, and he's very good.
I also enjoyed Kristen Wiig as Alison's co-worker Jill. She has only two scenes but she makes the most of them.
The actors that have cameos are also fun, notably Ryan Seacrest and James Franco.
I have to confess that I find it a very beautiful thing to see a woman give birth, and that scene was very well done and very touching for me.
Again, it was a good time, but I can't go quite overboard as some of the other users and critics seem to be able to do. 7/10.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Having seen the first of the installment, and pretty much hating it did not dampen my spirits going into this one. I was with a friend who had seen them all and was very excited to see this one, so I was basically just being nice and cooperative seeing this movie. Its not like there is a ton of other stuff worth seeing anyway...
But it was very good. I think it could have lost twenty minutes along the way, somewhere, but what's there is very interesting. I liked that it seemed to concentrate quite a bit on friendship - the importance of it, the loss of it and the idea that it should weather anything that might get in the way of it.
Mary Jane has the hardest time of it, in many ways. This girl cannot get a break. After being fired from her Broadway debut (there's not a chance in the world that would have happened the way it happened, but if the main character in your movie flies through the air, you cannot expect full logic and you cannot ask for the things you might normally expect to get from a movie) and then getting a total lack of attention from Peter right when she needed it the most, she's lacking several things necessary for one's happiness. Dunst does not have a whole lot to do other than look pretty annoyed most of the time. Its not exactly her movie anyway but you kind of want the leading lady to be a little less joyless.
Harry is also at a crossroads. Having battled Peter and then conveniently forgetting it ever happened, he's re-born as a nice guy following his 'accident' and then as his memory returns, he realizes that..'oh yeah, I want Peter Parker to be dead', things of that nature. When they are unable to reach an understanding, they battle again but Harry's elderly butler butts in, telling Harry that Peter was not responsible for his father's death, and this does not happen a moment too soon, since Peter needs Harry's help in order to rescue Mary Jane from not one but two evil dudes who are out to remove her from not only his life but her own as well.
The f/x for the emergence of the Thomas Haden Church Evil Dude character are very well done. The same cannot be said for the Topher Grace character, since they are fairly cut and dried.
Laughs are provided by Elizabeth Banks, as J.K. Simmons assistant. Bill Nunn, Theresa Russell and Rosemary Harris have a little to do with the proceedings, but not much.
Its not a bad movie, its just not that memorable. Its rather somber at times and even sad. It does seem open-ended in its conclusion, so many there really will not be a sequel. Okay with me. Better to end while you're ahead, I always say. 8/10.
I'm thrilled this hit the screen
I am old enough to have seen something exactly like these movies when they would have come out in the 70s. After "The Exorcist", all bets were off for me. I saw everything, even garbage like "Abby", "The Devil's Rain" and I might have seen that Juliet Mills "Exorist"-knockoff, the title of which escapes me right now, but if I didn't it was probably a mistake. I also saw movies at a drive-in, and if I have to explain what that means to anyone who may read this, I am going to feel older than I already do.
I enjoyed the first movie quite a lot. It was glorifying the blood and guts of its subject matter. Zombies, the undead, and those who want to destroy them..boy do I miss it! I enjoyed Marley Shelton a lot; Josh Brolin and Jeff Fahey, too. I always liked Freddy Rodriguez, especially after seeing his Oscar-worthy performance in "Bobby" and I thought he was terrific, too.
Quasi-coming attractions were fun! Especially "Don't", that one had me laughing a lot.
The other movie..well let's just say I wish someone had switched the order so that I would have seen the second movie first. It was too talky, too much yak yak yak yak yak then fifteen movies of stupid action. Why didn't THEY JUST PULL THE CAR OVER and that way Stuntman Mike had nothing to chase anymore?! It was not too much fun. I did like the girls giving it back to Mike, though, but not enough to overcome the boredom I was suffering from at that point.
Sorry that this didn't do better. I was expecting large crowds (saw it opening weekend, Sunday afternoon) but the theater was sparse at best.