1 May 2010

Monthly Movies: March+April '09

March and April: the "couldn't get to the cinema much" months thanks to a bloody pair of crutches! grrr... That and not much time to blog, figured I'd just combine the two movie months... :s
So we've got a trip down the rabbit hole, a old country singer, some passionate letter-writing, a stint in a criminal psych ward, a very high body count and some boys' time!

Alice in Wonderland... what a disappointment! 
 Alice was perhaps missing much of her "muchness", but so was the rest of the movie! I didn't know quite what to expect, but I had expected something a bit more magical, more enticing, with more heart! It was hard to get a feel for the characters, the script seemed all over the place, and while the 3D work seemed fine, it was no Avatar (and after two 3D films in several months, I can now confirm that the glasses are perfectly comfortable and do not distract me at all! Just don't sit too far away from the screen 'cause people's heads are distracting). I think I actually enjoyed to crazy SyFy take on this story a few months back better than this one! I can't quite put my finger on what was wrong with this one, except to say it felt off. I had expected to write a whole "Movie Magic" post on it... but without much to say, and this close to the end of the month (and the publication of this post), I don't see the point. I think I need to see Johnny Depp step out of the "crazy roles" for a while and remind me of what a good actor he is and not a bag of gimmicks and tricks. As for Tim Burton... dunno. It's been a while since a movie of his has "wowed" me.

Crazy Heart = an awesome (and yet scary) Jeff Bridges + some damn fine music! ;o)
But I had trouble buying into Maggie Gyllenhall's character falling for him... I mean, anyone can see the man's a train wreck, why go there?! I also had trouble emotionally connecting to the characters, much as I admired the work done by the actors. Big surprise in seeing Colin Farrell! Didn't know he was in it! Nice voice... Not as good as Bridges' though. I'm glad my dad got me to go see this one with him, if it had been just me I would have missed out on it. Much as I enjoy a bit of country music... not enough to go see a music about an alcoholic has-been country singer-songwriter. Was very pleasantly surprised and loved the music and the acting (plus the gorgeous scenery! I miss that corner of the US)! Now my dad wants me to see the similar movie "Tender Mercies" for which Duvall won the acting Oscar in 1983... :p I'm glad Bridges got it for this one, well-deserved!

Sweet and manages to avoid the sappy. But writing about it a month later (why do I do this to myself?!), I can't seem to remember much! Except that it wasn't as tragic as I expected from a movie based on a Nicolas Sparks novel... although there are enough sad points that this definitely wouldn't categorise as a romantic comedy. And I'm a sucker for punning and word play, so I liked the fact that the guy was named John giving a double meaning to the title! ;o) I thought Amanda Seyfried did a good job, interacted well with the others. Loved the coin-collecting Dad! Made me want to dig my much more modest (and less valuable) set out of boxes and jars and start organising them again (no time or space at the moment). And all the letter writing made me nostalgic for when I used to write pages and pages to friends and family! E-mail just isn't the same...

Based on a story by Luc Besson and produced by Luc Besson? You know this is going to be one action-packed shoot-em up movie! This is one of the movies that tricks people into seeing a European film (French in this case) without realising... since it's in English! Well, Spanish (dubbed) in my case. I was divided into yes/no for going to see this since I really can't stand Travolta anymore, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers is good acting plus eye candy and since my dad really wanted to... off we went! Well worth it! As long as you know you're signing on for a "shoot-em up" spy flic, you're good! It's quirky "bloody" (not too much) fun (at one point Meyers says he lost count of the body count and Travolta replies 26 in 24h, so averaging 1 an hour. I tried to keep count after that but still lost count), quick-paced, and although I could smell the "twist" a mile away, it didn't negatively impact my viewing. Oh, and Besson may not have been behind the lens... but you can totally tell it's him involved in this! Reminded me quite a bit of Leon, The Professional. Also, I'd caution against combing this with a caffeinated drink and then getting behind the wheel of your car, the adrenaline rush might be a bit much for the traffic cameras... ;o)

So, Scorcese's latest, another combo with DiCaprio (when is he going to share him with some other director?!). The first half hour is kind of hard to get through, it starts off really slow and if you've got any inkling about the film you know the "official" reason they're there is just a bunch of excuses and you want the "real" reason to make itself apparent soon! I also saw the "twist" coming a mile away (but not the cause, nothing to do w/ Michelle Williams - that was a big surprise!), probably because I've read an excellent book (Los Renglones Torcidos de Dios by Torcuato Luca de Tena -read it!) with the main character in a similar predicament. But I couldn't foresee the end, that surprised me! And Leo pulled it off so well, making you really wonder whether he's truly gone or just taking the "easy" way out (from the look in his eye towards the very end I'd say the latter). The atmosphere is great, the acting excellent (although in this case I think the dubbing was pretty badly done, damn!), but the music was just a bit much! The soundtrack was too invasive in my opinion, too heavy-handed in wanting to make you "feel" that something was about to happen, or scare you or whatever. Would have preferred a more subtle touch! Still, now that I know the outcome, I'm looking forward to catching it again on dvd to see if I can pick up any clues seeded throughout the narrative. ;o)

The preview wins an award for sneakiness! I thought I was going to see a fun father-sons-brothers bonding movie with lots of goofiness (after one sad sequence), and fell into a movie about grief and coping and rebuilding a family and learning how to be a dad and... Don't get me wrong, I LOVED it! But I was in the mood for a full-blown comedy that day. It's a beautiful story, very well put together, gorgeous cinematography (whereabouts in Australia is that?! I want to go!!!), and I really wish I'd seen it in English (even more than other movies 'cause must be full of fun accents!). Clive Owen is definitely on my list of actors I'd watch in just about anything, and he doesn't disappoint! The two kids are great as well and between the three of them they make the story their own. It's funny and cute and sad and oh so definitely bitter-sweet. I wouldn't mind seeing it again! ;o)
Whoah! And I just realised how late we are in getting this movie, it's out on dvd already in the US!

So that's that for these two months. 3/month is definitely not much for me, and I've missed a couple I wanted to see on the big screen that just didn't hang around long enough (or were just there for the week in VO and I couldn't go because of my foot situation). Movie "summer" has now officially started, what with the April 30th première of Iron Man 2... so future movie viewing over the next couple of months is probably going to be heavy on the popcorn and light on the serious, but since I'm really looking forward to several of those blockbusters, I'm not complaining. ;o)

What's your take on this lot? Seen them yet?


  1. Alice was not quite as good as I'd have hoped, but come on Helena was excellent, no?

    "I love a warm pig for my aching feet."

  2. well, seeing as how I heard her in Spanish... :p
    But yeah, that was the one character that actually felt alive!

  3. I felt the same way about Alice: something was off about it. I didn't see the point of the 3-D in it, either. It would have been the same with or without it. I loved Crazy Heart, but I agree with your take about Maggie's character, although we do sometimes fall for train wrecks. I know I have. Haven't seen the other three but I'll put Paris and Boys are Back on my list. I don't like the sappy movies so I'll skip Dear John. Thanks for the great reviews, you've given my weekend a great start!

  4. DJan, I've got an icky feeling there will be plenty of movies in the next couple of years for which we ask "what was the point of 3D"? Studio execs are just seeing that people are willing to pay extra for that new experience... they just don't realise we'll pay when it works! They're planning on turning so many future movies into 3D... I've already read that Clash of the Titans is to absolutely be avoided in 3D because it was done too quickly, not well enough, and the actions scenes are crap in 3D... Until I read that several places I had fully intended to see it in 3D. I've realised I'm going to have to take each future 3D release at a time and investigate them properly before dropping the extra cash into them.

    If you don't like sappy movies then definitely skip Dear John (although it wasn't that sappy), and from what I've learnt Boys are Back is on dvd in the US so you should be able to rent it... and I envy you the chance to hear all those Ozzie accents!


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