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An Education (2009)
Lovely but easy
This is an altogether lovely film. It begins with nice title sequence and then introduces Carey Mulligan who gives a remarkable performance.
Many have said Oscar worthy. I wouldn't say that. Her appearance is mesmerizing and fresh, but I don't think it is an Oscar performance or even an Oscar-worthily written role. Mullingan plays a 16 year old girl who is very smart, literate, charming, but not experienced yet, and she plays it with great self-confidence, which goes unrealistically with her youth. And there isn't much else than confidence and serenity in this performance. I wasn't convinced. I hope Carey Mulligan gets nominated though.
The movie itself is okay, watchable but it didn't challenge me enough. It lacks freshness. It's very Hornby-like. I know he only adapted a memoir here. But the material is similarly uninspiring to his however lovely books and movies based on them. What's the message here? That appearance can be deceiving and that education is a good choice. Well, yes. So I would say a decent juvenile film with good performances from just everybody.
It didn't feel like the grandest experience to me. Nevertheless an engaging fantasy, interesting science fiction, with a lot of great action. And visuals. "You should've seen your faces."
I wish there was more. I remember Odyssey 2001 and think of some scenes like the simple montage from the thrown prehistoric bone to the orbital nuclear device. Or the room scene at the end of Dave's life and the coming of star child to Earth. Or the tears in rain in Blade Runner. Great, transcendental scenes with indefinite meaning, low-index food for my thoughts. Nothing as such in Avatar.
Story is solid, archetypic. Similar to Herbert's Dune. Distant planet, exotic minerals, young outsider, strong heart, loses himself in the woods, makes contact with natives, falls for chief's daughter, learns their ways, turns against ruling system. Would anybody say the story of Dune is lacking something, that it is not solid? I don't understand some bitching about this. Avatar has a good story. Details matter and how the story is told.
While the love story is very similar to Titanic it ends differently, and to me Titanic ended more memorably which is interesting since it ended tragically.
Moonlight Serenade (2009)
Small jazz musical
I think this film deserves a positive response. It's a small romantic jazz musical, fairly low-produced, I guess shot in HD and in short time, with slow rhythm, editing not always smooth and seamless, but with solid performances and altogether a rewarding story.
Amy Adams is of course the big name here and she is lovely and interesting as usual, but the main actor is Scott G. Anderson. Sort of a momentous Matt Damon with a face not at all unlike Willem Dafoe, especially when laughing. You know, that kind of a devilish laugh with lips high into the cheeks.
I enjoyed the music and the story morale. Nothing grand, an okay treat nevertheless.
Dan in Real Life (2007)
I've never seen a bad movie with Juliette Binoche, so I guess she isn't a paycheck actress, but is a wise picker. But I'd been worried this would be the first bad one for obvious reasons, being an American film, a somewhat screwball romantic comedy, costarring Steve Carell.
Don't get me wrong, I think Steve Carell is a fine actor and I hope he will get more good roles and perfect them as this one, but some of his films doesn't mean anything to me, like Evan Almighty and Get Smart.
Anyway, it wasn't a bad movie! It isn't and I was really pleased. This has to be the best performance by Steve Carell I've seen. If I met him and was asked I would salute him. It is obviously still an American film, but a surprisingly good one.
I would really like to buy myself a DVD now to have the film close to me and watch it again sometime, even sometime sometimes. All the scenes seems well done and manytime enjoyable except for the end credits ending which could be somehow different, I don't really know, but does it have to show the wedding like zillion other films show? Perhaps something from the time Marie spent with Dan and her daughters prior to the wedding instead, like how were they forming as a family?