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Better movie adaptation of a short story than Benjamin Button was
I was looking forward to this movie. It has the same directors and star of Daybreakers. The movie Daybreakers was a wonderful movie and deserves a sequel.
This movie has interest for those who have and have not read the Heinlein short story. I was born in the fifties and devoured all sci-fi books including the collection that included this short story. It was always considered "cute" in that the main theme was time travel paradox. Not "deep" like Stranger in a Strange Land.
It takes the concept of the paradoxes of time travel and personality and actually makes it work. Great acting. I was not familiar with Sarah Snook and she can chew up the scenery as well as Ethan Hawke. Great acting. The production values were also very high.
It is a mystery to me why junk gets played on the local screens but I have to get this on VOD. A great investment in time.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Take the Kids, They liked it as much as the Adults
This movie has had great buzz. I was worried that it would get kind of perverse since it was rated PG-13. It really should be rated G. My kids really liked it. We saw it on DVR yesterday. No unclothed action happens on or off screen. Suffice it to say that to be such a talked about movie there has to be something there. It is set in the upper Midwest (shot in Ontario) and is straight ahead Lutheran country. Religion gets pulled into it in a good non-denominational way. It brings out who we are and more importantly, why we make others important to our lives. While it is funny it is also a tearjerker. Seeing the townspeople really care about something (or someone) as crazy as Bianca is something else. Watch the trailer at the official website to get a good sense of what it is like.
Fake Chick Flick, Peculiarly Refreshing Slap in the Face by a 2 by 4
I went to the theater to see Sunshine with my wife but she did not like Solaris so I decided that I could talk my son into seeing this in the near future. We just picked Evening out because it looked okay.
I really enjoyed it. There is the Bridges of Madison County type effect of seeing youngish adults examining a parent's stuff. But most of the drama is set in the 1950's and has lots of great stuff. Seeing all the top drawer leading ladies made me fearful that this would be one of those tense verbal sparring jaunts.
But the men just tear up the screen. The focus of this film is a real disaster (not just an emotional one) that happened in the past. Don't worry about keeping the names straight, Harris, etc. They are repeated enough so that you can easily figure out who is doing what.
The final message is total redemption and forgiveness. My wife thought that it was a bummer but it was reaffirming for me. I am being sexist but I think that men get more affirmation from the real bad stuff and not the emotional baggage in films.
If you are a man take your wife or significant other to see it as a "chick flick" but you will probably enjoy it more than they will.
My only complaint is that it was not clear to me what "I just have one more thing to tell you." mean?
Everything Is Illuminated (2005)
Excellent Melancholy Comedy
"Everything is Illuminated" is a real gem. It is the type of film that I have come to enjoy and that is the melancholic comedy. This genre includes "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Daytrippers" which costarred the writer and director of this film. As can be seen from the previous posts, it is about an American who goes to The Ukraine to look for where his relatives came from. It weaves our constant sense of death and loss with the Holocaust in a remarkably deft manner. The comedic part is real comedy that made my preteen kids howl with laughter. I think that it is a perfect film for kids to see and it makes the reality of the Holocaust real, personal and graspable. As a bonus it is a great introduction to The Ukraine, Odessa and pop music over there.
Superman Returns (2006)
Better than I thought it would be
Here is the short review. I hated the first fifteen minutes. The opening credits go on forever and the music sounds straight out of star wars. Then the dialog and film cuts are too choppy to get anything going.
This changes completely with the first major rescue scene. At that moment the movie changes into a very exciting movie that only drags a little in places.
I went with my wife and kids and we all enjoyed it. The special effects go up to the level where the CGI is not very obvious. There is also a love story angle like in the first Spiderman. While Lex Luthor talks some bad stuff there is very little violence.
In my opinion, men, women and children will all go for this movie and it will be a giant hit.
My only peeve is that the movie is to PC and omits the words "...and the American Way." It is quite obvious that this film reflects America. Regardless of politics, The American Way is almost universally admired in most countries.
Nuanced and Balanced
This film is a very small snapshot of the Iraq in late 2003 and reflects that moment in time. My opinion is that this film is very pro-US and makes the military effort look good.
It is surprising to see this film shown at left-wing fund raisers since it is a great US Army recruiting film. It made me proud to be an Army veteran.
It does not show the Iraqi forces engaged against the insurgents since the Iraqi forces were not as numerous as they are now.
There is an African American Sergeant Tank Commander who gives a long and very organized monologue about why the US needs to be involved in Iraq. He is more eloquent than any Secretary of State or college professor.
There is an Egyptian businessman who debates an Iraqi translator about the US intentions. He comes at it with a world view and she just sees greedy motivation.
The only thing wrong in my opinion is the emphasis on "Depleted Uranium" munitions. These have been extensively studied and are not any worse than any of the other stuff on the battlefield. The lead from regular ammunition is also poisonous and the radiation from the depleted uranium is only seventy percent of the naturally occurring uranium found in the earth's crust. (Anyone interested is referred to the Federation of American Scientists web page.) The constant cigarette smoking is much more of a threat. At one point the radiation meter is clicking loudly but only reads 2 mR/hr. It would take 150 hours of direct contact with the metal to get the same exposure as one mammogram. These mammograms are recommended yearly for all women over fifty. There is probably much more of a radiation hazard from Saddam's old production sites.
A very enjoyable movie with excellent sound and video editing to make it move nicely.
real fast fun
This movie was lots of fun. The two star comedians Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifa put life into the plot. It could easily have been a tiresome exercise given the trailer. Beautiful women sharpshooter stunt drivers robbing banks in New York City, Give me a break.
But they actually pull this movie off in delightful style. There is great chemistry between Fallon and Latifa since they are both good comics but are also so different. This is a great Friday night date movie when you just need a lift after a long work week.
Now I am interested in renting the French movie series this is based on since a sequel will take too long to get made.
Peter Pan (2003)
joins Wizard of OZ as a classic
This movie goes beyond "good" or "bad". To me it is a unique film that will be remembered like Wizard of OZ, 2001 A Space Odyssey and Metropolis. The pacing and emphasis are just perfect. Qualities that are very rare for a special effects heavy film. The dance scene in the woods between Peter and Wendy is just right. It shows the same attention to detail of a nuanced hand move in ballet.
The Cat in the Hat (2003)
actually very funny
This movie was very good. At first I thought that it was superb but then Mike Myers comes on as Cat in the Hat. Rather than being a very obtuse and quietly clever character he is like Jackie Mason. But after five more minutes I got into the groove of the movie and really enjoyed it. I had my wife, my 8 year old boy and my seven year old girl with me and they really enjoyed it.
"Riding the Kwan!" "Can I get another picture? I had my eyes closed." "Anything?...Anything!" Great lines that I have had to listen to ceaselessly since the movie.
Treasure Planet (2002)
Richly drawn with great character voices
This film was quite a surprise. I have a seven year old boy and a six year old girl and end up getting taken to all of these kids' movies. I liked this more than they did.
The drawing is very lush and creative. But in addition to the story there was a big bonus for me. There are plenty of comments about the rest of the movie so I have to add the following.
What keeps coming back to me is the great job that Emma Thompson does as the ship's captain and Roscoe Lee Brown does as Mr. Arrow the first mate. The dialogue between them is better than any war or military movie that I have seen. The perfect combination of military respect and duty on film.
Everyone who served in the military will see this portion of the movie as what the military hierarchy should be like in real life.