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The Company Men (2010)
Chris Cooper Steals the Show
Time and time again, when I watch movies, there always seems to be one actor who is the real star. Sure, Ben Affleck has the top billing, but Chris Cooper steals the show in The Company Men.
Cooper is one of those amazing actors that never seems to come to mind when you rack off your favorite actors to your buddies, but is the one that made the movie for you. His performances continually make any ordinary movie - extraordinary.
In movies like A Time to Kill, American Beauty and The Kingdom - He was not the "star" of those films, but he made them incredible. Chris Cooper has a way about him. He portrays tragic, angry, frustrated and forsaken better than any other actor I can think of.
His character in The Company Men, Phil Woodward, is like most of the other men in the film. The have all been let down by their hopes and lofty dreams that good things last forever. Phil struggles coping with his new reality. In his last scene - it is shot in silhouette and even that performance was the most drawing part of the entire film. Your heart just wrenches and you can't even see the mans face! If you watch The Company Men for no other reason, watch it for Chris Cooper's performance.
The Road (2009)
Don't be fooled by the trailer
The Road is a great story, but don't be fooled by the trailer. This movie is not about a post-apocalyptic world of cannibals always trying to eat non-cannibals. This movie TAKES PLACE in a post-apocalyptic world of cannibals always trying to eat non-cannibals. The story itself, in my opinion is about the hope and courage we get from our family. Even in the face of tragedy, if we hold tight to whom we love, we have something worth fighting for. This is not a zombie movie.
Viggo Mortensen is brilliant at playing dirty and desperate. And with, what might as well be cameo appearances, by great actors like Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron and Molly Parker - the movie is well rounded.
Charlize Theron plays a flashback character. She does an amazing job. From where I was sitting I hated her character and that means the acting was great. Feeling selfish and suicidal in the ravaged world she abandons her husband and son and wanders off into the darkness never to be seen again.
The journey of this father and son is touching. An excellent drama, just don't set out to watch it thinking you are watching Dawn of the Dead. Cormac McCarthy is not James Gunn.
I am in awe...
I went to an 11:45 PM showing last night and I am so blown away I am almost speechless. The special effects were cool (not anymore spectacular than you'd see in Star Wars or Lord of the Rings), the plot was in line with any Transformer episode (if you watched it as a kid) - the movie itself as a movie, was good. What made in excellent was the spirit of the movie.
Michael Bay is a genius. Watching Optimus Prime roll down the highway as a real semi, hearing Peter Cullen's powerful voice telling the other Autobots to "roll out"...it was like deja vu or pure nostalgia being poured into my senses. I felt 10 years old again...playing in my front yard - being the Witwicky that helped the Autobots whip the Decepticons and send Megatron squealing to his maker. Not many movies take you back to a happier time. And even though the movie is bang, bang, shoot 'em up - to see these robots that I just loved as a child...it just took my breath away. I am in a state of euphoria.
The movie had enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat, enough plot to keep your mind from turning into mush, enough comedy to keep your sides hurting and enough love for both the people and Autobots that I cannot see anyone not enjoying it. It is almost as though these robots are something you could see driving down the street - pun intended. I even got teary eyed when Bumblebee was captured.
And maybe I could attribute it to the fact that we left the theater and 2:30 in the morning, but both myself and my kids think Tranformers may blow Star Wars out of the water - and trust me - we are a nerd family. If it is a geek thing, we like it. Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, Spiderman, X-Files...but this movie....this was amazing. I have not felt this way about a movie since 1977 after leaving the theater from seeing Star Wars IV: A New Hope. But this is different somehow. George Lucas' Crown o' Cool has just been man-handled away by Michael Bay and his Autobots.