Monday, May 23, 2005

The Up Side of Leaving Movies Early

I went to see The Up Side of Anger mainly for 2 reasons; i.e. I heard Kevin Costner gave a decent performance, and being the crabby old man I've become, hoping there might be some wisdom I could take home that would make me feel less crabby about being crabby... It turns out that this was actually a remake of Terms of Endearment, with Kevin Costner playing the Jack Nicholson character (this time an ex-baseball player instead of an ex-astronaut), Joan Allen the Shirley MacLaine character, and 4 lovely young girls all taking on parts of the Debra Winger character. The dialogue at least was fairly humorous, and there was at least one scene that I thought was about as funny as anything I'd seen in a while (though upon reflection I realized that this was also stolen from another movie; i.e. Scanners). (I think I popped a blood vessel behind my eyeball, I laughed so hard, as I immediately started having a severe pain back there...)

In any event, the movie started out with Kevin, Joan, and one of the girls attending a funeral, and then immediately switched to 3 years earlier. I sat there for about an hour and a half enjoying the humor in the crabbiness of Ms. Allen, and wishing that I could enjoy alcohol the way they enjoyed it (sans hangover)... but... about an hour in I started remembering the way the movie started, and then started wondering which one of 'em was going to die (a la Ms. Winger) and/or how. There were various possibilities... One was pregnant (also a la Ms. Winger), one got sick enough so that they thought she might have cancer (though apparently it was not...) and one could possibly have died from bungie jumping... I'm sure there were other possibilities, but as this question began to prey upon my psyche, well, I jumped ship... I'd gotten my laugh, had gotten no wisdom (though I never do anyway), and well I didn't want to know; I didn't want to be sitting there bawling like a baby because some fictional character met their demise too early in life. I couldn't help but feel as I left the building, why did they need to kill someone? Of course, maybe none of the girls died. Perhaps it was the hated ex-husband, perhaps it was the hated... Ah well, perhaps someone will see this movie and let me know. Otherwise, Alice was happy to see me return a few minutes early. I only yelled at a couple of drivers on the ride home...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Best Star Wars Ever...

The Best Star Wars Ever... If you don't believe me, go see it and decide for yourself...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Buffet de Cinema - La Mousse Chocolat

I doubt I've seen a movie sweeter or more delicious in recent years than Finding Neverland. I had to pause and go blow my nose several times before I got through this movie... Not because it was sad, no, rather it was just very very beautiful. Considering the range of Johnny Depp's performances, from at least Gilbert Grape, Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Pirates and this movie, makes me think he might be our best screen performer... But in this movie he really grows up. We might need to start calling him John instead.

Everybody is quite good though; Peter's cold blue stare makes you drop your jaw. Those of us old enough to remember Julie Christie from the 60's will be amazed to note that she actually looks more beautiful now... From the imdb, I note that she's 12 years older than me, and well, I wish I looked so good.

Buffet de Cinema - There's Always Room for Jolly

Okay, this is a just a general recommendation that Meet the Fockers is worth a watch. Yeah, it's just silly, but I don't find much good in the way of comedy on films these days. Sideways might be considered a comedy but it also has it's serious edge. Sahara is comedic but is more of an adventure. And then of course there's always Steve Zissou... (opinion previously stated...). If you just need to have a giggle, without anything else intruding, well then, Meet the Fockers.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Buffet de Cinema - Bloody Raw Meat

It's so nice to see Frodo with his arms and legs chopped off... Oh, but this is a different Frodo, of course... A decapitator behind shiny glasses, with that sly smile that doesn't disappear, even now in what should be his moment of torment. Or perhaps your cup of tea is in the toilet with Benecio Del Toro? Or maybe you would like some leg of harlot served up with a little cream sauce? Um, yummies... All to be found right here in Basin City, with a capital "B" and that rhymes with "P" which stands for puke.

Well, certainly Sin City probably isn't everybody's 'cup of tea', but if these dishes sound appealing, I think you'll find this town a tasty treat...

Buffet de Cinema - Norwegian Ice

A movie that I've been looking for in video stores and tv listings for many years, which I found recently at Scarecrow video, is Anthony Mann's The Heroes of Telemark. Made back in the '60's, it stars Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris. It's the 'true' story of Norwegian resistance fighters who interfered with the production and delivery of heavy water by/for the Nazi's atomic bomb program, per the movie, in 1942-43. For some un-explanable reason I really like this movie. Maybe it's the cool skiing sequences, but I'm not a skier. Perhaps it's because of Kirk Douglas, but reality is I thought it starred Richard Widmark. Perhaps it's because even though I know it's probably no where close to being representative of the actual facts, you still get to imagine that there were 'real' people that did commit at least some of these 'brave' acts.

Generally, the Nazi's are always stupid and the Heroes are able to perform incredible feats. Wow! Cool!

I've done some web searches to see if I could ascertain the actual facts behind the story, but I couldn't find any.

I found one web site devoted to Anthony Mann, but interestingly enough the only mention about The Heroes of Telemark were that he'd made a 'compromised' war movie near the end of his career. There was no mention of what they meant by 'compromised'. They indicated that he'd worked with Kirk Douglas on Spartacus but was 'removed early... because of creative differences with star-producer Kirk Douglas'. Apparently they patched things up as this movie was made 5 years later.

Buffet de Cinema - Les Vins de la Californie

Okay, someone already wrote about Sideways, but hey, the dvd just came out and I thought I'd add a male perspective. Not being a wine afficianado, I probably know less about pinot noir than the Thunderbird winos down at Pioneer Square. For some reason when I read/heard this movie was about a trip to california wine country I was imagining a trip to Napa Valley. The fact that this movie was actually about a trip to Santa Barbara and Santa Maria was a pleasant surprise. The 'road trip' and location aspects of this movie were the best parts, but otherwise it is peppered with intelligent and realistic conversations that somehow reminded me a little of My Dinner with Andre from back in the '80's. The male-male relationships rung much more truly than the male-female relationships. I personally had a problem believing the Sandra Oh character would've really been taken in by the Thomas Haden Church character, nor that she would've risked possible incarceration for felonious assault, though I'm sure most in the audience were happy to see him get his ass kicked by a little girl... Paul Giamatti is very sympathetic as an everyman-type loser. A lot of us probably identify with his failings. Definitely get the 'vacation' feeling of getting to go to a pleasant little vacation location without any of the road weariness... Generally pretty good; worth a dvd rental price...

Buffet de Cinema - La Cuisine d'Afrique

In the wake of Hotel Rwanda the 2 new Hollywood offerings with African themes are rather sad, but at least one is somewhat entertaining and otherwise demonstrates the beauty in the colors of the 'forgotten' continent.

I went to see The Interpreter yesterday... mainly because I didn't have anything else to do. Though I like Sean Penn, he was about the only thing interesting in this movie. The plot is otherwise extremely thin, and incredible. If you're able to imagine Nicole Kidman as an 'ex' African freedom fighter, well, you have more imagination than I have. You also are stupid enough to think that the pope might actually have a 2nd life up there on Mars... This movie tries to be suspenseful, but... hey, it aint even worth talking about.

A few days ago I went to see Sahara... Again, I really didn't have anything else to do. Starring 2 of my least favorite actors, Matthew McCoffeehead and Skinny-lope Cruz, I went for the promise of adventure. Well, both actors surprised me by not being too bad, and the story was otherwise packed with action, explosions, treasure, and pretty pictures. Oh, it was pretty fucking incredible too, but hey, nobody was trying to be serious here. Definitely worth a matinee ticket price or as a dvd rental.