Sunday, June 27, 2010

Knight and Day

My friend Amy and I happened to have movie passes at a local theatre so off we went to see the latest Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz movie. (I'm not implying they do movies together a lot, the only other movie they've done together that I can remember is Vanilla Sky.) The movie hadn't received much in the way of good reviews but I was interested as it was filmed in Boston and I really wanted to hear more regional language screw-ups. After all, no one around here says: "and then, we were driving down the I-93". No. Around here, time is precious. We drive down 93. 128. The Pike. The Pike is the only highway that gets "the" before it, the "definite article". There is another little language anomaly that had me in giggles but I won't repeat it here. After all, I don't want to spoil it for you.

I will tell you this was not Cruise's or Diaz's best performance. I won't blame it on them. Tom and Cameron were clearly trying their darndest to entertain, be comic, goofy and deliver a delightful summer movie. The fault lies, not in the stars, but in the director and the screenplay.

The story revolves around a young genius inventor(to whom we are introduced late in the film) played by Paul Dano. If I have this right (and I hope I do), Paul Dano played Dwayne, the brother, in Little Miss Sunshine. If you haven't seen Little Miss Sunshine, do yourself a favor and see it as soon as possible. He is probably the best actor in there. At least, he is my favorite. And he does a very nice job here, for the limited time he is on screen. But I've wandered away from the central thought...... Oh yes... the story. It revolves around the young genius inventor, a group of agents who are purportedly protecting him, and an arms dealer who wants his invention..... that everybody believes is working.... and into this mix unwittingly wanders Cameron Diaz. Or did she? We all know what happens next. Mayhem. I love that word.

I very much enjoyed the movie. I laughed quite a bit. I had a lot of moments that were "Wait.... how did they get there from here? they can't do that!" It was fun to try to recognize different sites in Boston but they kept mixing it up. Overall, I'd give it a B- in general but I laughed a lot. Not always where the filmmakers wanted me to.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jonah Hex- NOT a Chick Flick!

This is, as far as I know, and I'm not an expert, a movie made from DC Comics. And it is not a chic flick. That said, I really liked it. It took me awhile to let it simmer and stew after I saw it. Sometimes I have to let movies do that. It was nowhere on my list of films to see. But, as it happens, one of my movie-going lady friends picked it out and it was "Sunday brunch and a movie" day and we had to find something to see. After all, once the four of us decide on a day, it's sacred. These days, it's been hard to get us all together. And, unusually, we saw the movie first and then ate. I'm not sure we've ever done that in the 16 years we've been getting together. We've bagged the movies a couple of times in moments of crises. We've seen movies and not eaten because time is too short. But we've never, ever had the meal afterward. New precedent. Traditions can change. But enough about us. Back to the movie.

Here's a little background without spoiling the movie:
1. Jonah Hex fought for the Confederacy (the South) during the Civil War until he disobeyed a direct order of his commanding officer- Quentin Turnbull.
2. Quentin Turnbull wanted him to destroy a hospital full of innocents. Hex wouldn't do it. Unfortunately, this led to the death of Hex's best friend and Turnbull's son, Jeb Turnbull.
3. The death of Jeb Turnbull seriously angered Quentin Turnbull. He blamed Jonah Hex.
4. Quentin Turnbull took it out on Jonah.
5. Jonah sought out QT but found that he was dead. Became a drifter and bounty hunter. And then........ he found out that QT still lived!

The rest is wonderful mayhem and shoot 'em up. Some wicked cool effects and an awesome Eli Whitney machine that I think he didn't make. Aidan Quinn plays the President of USA, in case you are wondering.

This is a fun, entertaining movie, but not for the youngsters. I recommend it to comics fans who like the darker side, those who like adventure and westerns and of course, those who like short movies and the aforementioned other attributes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This Is It.!

Seems to be my night for documentary type movies. This is the Michael Jackson movie of his work that was put together after he passed away. It is impressive, charming and illuminating. I have always wondered just how much he put into the music and the rest of his professional life. My doubts have answered. He is a master of his destiny. A control freak that only another control freak can love and admire. He's absolutely wonderful. I "so get him". Would not want him anywhere near my life. (But I have great respect for him, that is before the death scene.) Remember.... control freak. He had it mastered. In fact, I think he took the prize. But that was a digression.

The movie gives us a glimpse of his ability and talent and how he was able to translate to the entertainment world and thus, to us. He brought his songs back to the stage with dancers, carefully chosen. He also had decide to have a segment of the show with brothers... Sadly, this reunion did not take place where he wished it to be.

Overall, in my life, I haven't listened to the Jacksons much, listened to Michael and once in a while seen a video. I do know that that he that he has a huge talent. But tonight, to see him in documentary footage, of rehearsals, I realize how amazing, how talented, how humble he was.

Every Little Step

Every Little Step: It could be the name of a stalker movie. Or a horror movie. But no. It's the documentary of the revival of The Chorus Line on Broadway. The Chorus Line is one of my favorites when it comes to musicals and movies. I've only seen it on stage once. That was in Memorial Theatre, Burlington, VT. It was a great show. A bit far away from Broadway, but we had a great line into some really great traveling shows. I remember I didn't like my seat so I stood up on the side for the whole show to see better. It was fabulous. And I never noticed I stood the entire time.

Then came the movie. It wasn't bad for a made from the musical on Broadway to movie theatre. In fact, I thought it was very well done, considering. So, I thought, I wonder how this backstage look will do.

It was wonderful- especially for theatre geeks and dancers. Or I should have put that the other way around. Dancers first, then theatre geeks. After all it does deal with a chorus line. The spoiler alert- lots of decent commentary from original members. Also, the true origin of the musical. Lots of great stuff for someone like me who wants to know the story behind the story behind the story. Fascinating to me. Must be the history degree.

The bottom line: Geri- If you haven't seen it, I'll wonder why! Everybody else, put it on your list. You can stream it from netflix! That's what I did. Well worth your time and very accessible. Also, you might make it a night with the movie, A Chorus Line.
Happy Popcorn and Movies!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Iron Man the First!

Yes, this time I did things backward. But I think it was good. I really enjoyed watching the first Iron Man by myself especially after seeing Iron Man II. I could concentrate on what was going on and focus on where the story was going. I saw Iron Man II in the movie theatre before I saw Iron Man at home tonight. There is a disclaimer: I am a fan of Robert Downey, Jr. And he was fabulous. There. That's out of the way.

Let's see. It took me a few moments to realize that was Jeff Bridges. Oh, yes. I knew it was Jeff, but my brain said it didn't look like him. Then I watched a bit more and realized he could play that part, a part not usual to Mr. Bridges. I won't say more. If you haven't seen it, I don't want to give anything away.

Gwyneth Paltrow shows up. She's okay. To tell the truth, she's better in the second movie. But then, perhaps it is how the part is written and directed. She works with what she has. It could be more.

Here's the real deal: Iron Man. The movie itself explains how this all happens and how it becomes one man. It is very, very cool. Especially if you are into how to beat up the enemy with unconventional means in a weird way upon having an epiphany and can afford to fund such a project. It's great entertainment that is not going to win a Best Oscar (I am sure of this since time ran out) but it is wonderful entertainment and well worth watching. At just two hours and eight minutes without breaks, a perfect rental. Have fun and enjoy it with popcorn!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Robin Hood- and this time It's Russell Crowe in Tights! or was he?

Ahhhh.... Another Robin Hood movie. Something I am not a fan of, unless you are Mel Brooks, Hi Mel Brooks! That has to my absolute favorite movie that you ever made! I loved it! It hit my funny bone in all the right places. Must be my history degree. Mel, you and Cary and the gang, and that moving mole, BRILLIANT! Ahhh, but once again, I need to focus. So, here we go:

Russell Crowe. Cate Blanchett (Can she do any wrong, I don't think so, she was marvelous), William Hurt, Max Von Sydow. Here's the deal. I know the reviewers have already told you.

No tights. I was so disappointed. Imagine Russell in tights. That's what I was looking forward to, salivating for and instead? Lots of chain mail, tunics, etc. Not so much of the fun stuff. But I must say there was the real stuff.

Realistic costuming.
Realistic sets.
Lots of battle, lots of realistic sets of how life might be in 1199 and thereafter.
There will be spoilers coming. But I don't think anyone will be surprised. Who doesn't know Robin Hood. It's just........

Acceptably historically accurate. Considering what we get thrown at us.

Here's the problem.....
Braveheart Redux.
Saving Private Redux.

I am not in the mood to look up the technology that the French had in the early 13th century (and they do have intelligence, even though they still can't build a car, I will defend them, I am part French after all- though really I am better called Western European Mutt), but during a scene somewhere in the movie it may remind you of another movie.......

Like Braveheart. There are lots of battle scenes that could have been lifted from the cutting floor of Braveheart if only there were no kilts. And at the end it, the French are invading England in boats that are remarkably similar to those used in the D-Day Invasion of the beaches of Normandy. And to top it all off, the movie ends, it ends, with Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) being OUTLAWED! It's the Prequel. So, after two and one half hours, you will now be ready to see the next movie.