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Solid film with a riveting performance by David O as MLK Jr.
My husband and I saw this well-done film at a screening this evening. I found it totally absorbing as well as extremely painful to watch, but realize what I felt was nothing compared to the racist brutality inflicted on the peaceful marchers in this portrayal. David O gives a riveting performance as MLK Jr., so that to me is one of the most important reasons to watch the film. It's also an honest depiction of our history that should be seen by people of all races. Although the pacing is sometimes slow and a bit wooden in places, this could be the perfect technique to use as counterpoint to the portrayal of the explosive violence and viciousness that the peaceful protesters must endure. We found most of the acting to be excellent, such as the actors who played Coretta Scott King, John Lewis, Andrew Young, and President Johnson, but a few of the actors cast did not seem correct at all: Tim Roth was excellent playing an evil racist, but he did not seem to me to be Wallace as I remember him. And the actor who played J Edgar Hoover was laughable in that role.
My husband and I saw this so-called Bond film, and while we both appreciate Daniel Craig as an actor, we do not think he is James Bond in any way. We adore Judi Dench and thought she was great, and we are sorry to see her go. I for one was not so sure that the fine actor Ralph Fiennes is a good substitute for her. Javier Bardem was suitably menacing as the villain. In this film there were way too many echoes of The Bourne Identity and Jason Bourne, which is too bad because because that Bourne series is much more clever and innovative overall, but this film seemed like "The Boring Identity" to us. While the ending was somewhat spectacular, we felt that the whole Skyfall back story was not very well done. It looked like Wuthering Heights. We were amused at least to see Voldemort and Mrs. Malfoy on a political panel together!
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
A Wonderful and Quirky Film
My husband and I really enjoyed this quirky and charming film. We thought the acting was quite good all around, especially the lead kids. The locations are wonderful. The plot is wonderfully twisted and strangely fascinating. It has intriguing background "bits of business" that are fun to watch. It made us think of a dysfunctional American Harry Potter and Hermione Granger together in love at last on their own adventure, running away from their prescribed roles. Sam is even an orphan. Suzy's parents aren't both dentists, but they are both lawyers. All of the great adult actors in odd and amusing parts even seemed like the litany of British actors who filled up the Potter movies. We wondered about the books Susy read aloud (she seemed like Wendy with the lost boys) and who wrote them. We can hardly wait to see it again, and to see the DVD when it comes out, so we can slow it down and look at it like a storybook.
Super 8 (2011)
My husband and I went to see this after one of our kids said they enjoyed it. We sure wanted to like it. After viewing the film however, enjoy is not exactly a word we could really use of our experience, but we certainly thought there was some fine acting by several of the young people in the movie, especially the lead boy and the girl, the film-maker boy and the fire cracker kid. There was a lot of exciting but confusing action in the story and not enough emphasis on filling us in (as far as we could see) as to what the "alien" had been through in captivity on Earth - so to us the very valid point of view of the alien and his sympathetic scientist-friend seemed lost in the shuffle for the most part. We had a lot of questions such as what exactly was the alien doing with those humans he captured? And why did the space ship fall apart into cubes? And what is the relationship between the magnetic issues and the water tower? This made the end a bit puzzling, although it tried hard to be poignant. The plot sort of reminded me of a "Star Trek" episode where mining operations were interrupted on a planet because a "monster" was killing the miners, until Spock did a "mind-meld" with the "beast" and found out it was a desperate mother trying to protect her children in their eggs. She would stop killing and help the miners get the ore they wanted from the shells, if they'd stop killing her babies.
Water for Elephants (2011)
Not so much
Although we had not read the book, we wanted to like this movie, but my husband and I spent a lot of time during it feeling bored and restless for some reason. He is a horseshoer and for one thing was not impressed with what the film said was wrong with that poor horse that was supposedly going to "founder." Then also the pacing of the film seemed a bit static, and so was Reese Witherspoon's acting. Pattison certainly has potential and a good strong screen presence. The ring master part was played with great intensity, so that character was compelling to watch. And many of the bit parts were very good. But mostly we thought the charming elephant was the real star and deserves an academy award.
The Last Sin Eater (2007)
Unconvincing, offensive, and trite film
My husband and I were intrigued by the title of this film because he knew that the concept of the "sin eater" was an old Welsh custom, and we were also interested in Appalachian stories. We did not know when we ordered the film that it was from "Fox Faith" and that it is basically evangelical Christian propaganda filmed in Utah. We found some of the acting to be earnest, but other than that the film was unconvincing, offensive, and trite. My husband teaches Welsh, and the film's "Welsh" accents were pathetic. And the idea that the Welsh settlers in 1830 to 1850 Appalachia were just superstitious Celts ignorant of the Bible and Christianity, and lacking any Christian values and virtues, is totally false, misleading and just plain bad history!
A good, solid film
This was an enjoyable Western for both my husband and myself, but particularly for him as he especially likes the books of Robert Parker. He was impressed with the fidelity of the movie to the book and liked the scenery and acting. I thought it was a pretty good film, but was not as impressed with Ed Harris's acting for the most part as much as I expected to be. I kept "seeing" him step back into scenes after setting them up as director, or conferring with someone on the script. Jeremy Irons was surprising in a Western, and suitably villainous but complex as well. I thought Viggo Mortensen was perfect in his role, and quite low-key but strong. There were subtle undercurrents in his acting that made me think of "Brokeback Mountain." We both felt that Renee Zellweger did an adequate job, but was also a bit troubling in the role. Like was she really up to it? We both decided we were trying during the film to think of who else could have played this role? I thought of Diane Lane right off. We would see the film again.
I think this is an exceptional film, with some fine acting. The acting for the most part is underplayed and complicated by some more subtle nuances than many of us are used to seeing. The characters do not woodenly represent good or evil; they often give many mixed messages, and intentions might be good but are provocative to others as well as the audience in the actions shown. Some of the characters are very clear, and quietly and sensitively played. These are not the typical "noble savages" who crowd some Hollywood portrayals; they represent real and suffering people who, each in his or her own way, struggle with inner demons and addictions, like the rest of us, and for the most part try to do the right thing. The characters portrayed who don't seem to care about doing the "right" thing, or care about the rights of others, seem like they are possessed by hopelessness in their destructive actions. They feel trapped in a bleak and seemingly hopeless environment; this is a third-world cultural inside of our very materialistic, greedy American society. The unusual sense of humor, and enduring familial love, and attention to Native American spiritual practices, that come through despite every obstacle, violence, and frustration are the keys here. This film has a different, but intense, cultural point of view that we might be unfamiliar with, but that makes it stark and compelling. The director's commentary and extra features on the DVD are worth listening to/watching as well.
Lady in the Water (2006)
Not bad at all
Surprisingly, this film was much better than I had expected from most if not all the reviews I had read. It didn't bother me that the writer, director, producer is in the film. He did an OK - not great, but adequate - job of acting; it was not embarrassing at all as I had worried it would be from what the reviews said. The story is quite absorbing and full of totally interesting and quirky characters. The personalities and their interactions are great fun to watch. The plot worked for me as a "fable" or "fairy tale" with oddball twists and is worth the time and effort to follow. I could see this as an elaborate, continuing story that the director as a youngster might have thought up and kept adding to to entertain himself, and wanted to follow up on as a movie script. Paul Giamatti is truly wonderful as the paunchy and hangdog, forlorn and lonely, but determined "hero." The downside for me is as usual the unbelievably poor quality of the creatures or monsters in this director's films. They so often seem really stupid-looking and tacky, but then, perhaps they are the products of a childlike (childish?) mind that is working through some complicated inner psychological dramas? Somehow they did seem to work for this far-fetched but fetching story.
Friends with Money (2006)
Interesting but inconclusive
This film was recommended to us by someone who loved it, especially the part played by Jennifer Aniston. She did a good job, among a whole group of good actors. We thought the film was fascinating and quirky because of the fine acting, especially Frances McDormand's. The female and male characters are for the most part more interesting personalities than often found in American films. But the abrupt ending left us cold. We were just getting into the drama of it all, and it was over. We wonder if there are alternative endings on the DVD? Deleted scenes? I'd like to read the screenplay. I enjoyed some of its parts, but not the sum of its parts.