Saturday, March 24, 2007

Movie Marathon

I'm going to take a slight break from the review formatting style I've been using, due to the shear amount of movies I'm likely to watch in the next week. You see my parents and my sister went out and rented a bunch of movies, and usually when they do that there's maybe one among them that I actually want to see, but this time I wouldn't mind watching all of them (including a few I've seen before). In addition I've got the netflix and saw a movie with some friends tonight, ect., so I don't really have a lot of time for lengthy reviews. So that all being the case I best get started:


World Trade Center (2006): I generally find it kind of hard to write about 9/11 movies, the story and subject matter are generally so straight forward that there's not a lot to analyze that hasn't been made clear during the films proceedings. I have the sense that there is more to Oliver Stone's take here then might appear on the surface, though I've not yet been able to sort out what that might be in detail. The movie is more cinematic then United 93 but feels less real. 24's Mike Novak (Jude Ciccolella) has a small role.


The Illusionist (2006): One does not often get to see a film set in turn of the century Vienna, so to start off with the setting's cool. But even cooler then the neat atmosphere, flash-bulb cinematography, and Philip Glass score, is the central 'illusion', one that really pulled me in and fooled me. Even the presence of Jessica Beil can not diminish this movie.


The Holiday (2006): Each December requires at least one Christmas themed romantic comedy for me to watch out of season, and The Holiday is serviceable in this role. The Kate Winslet story was likable enough, but I didn't really care about Diaz. In fact the only strong reason to watch this movie, at least for me, was the Eli Wallach subplot. I applaud the producers for taking the risk of casting the then 90 year old legend as elderly screenwriter of the 'Billy Wilder school'. Also while this movie is strictly average in most ways, it at least recognizes what good movies are, as evidenced by repeated references to various classics throughout the film, that alone bumps this up from a C to a C+.

Stranger Then Fiction (2006): I was with this movie from conception to nearly through execution. This is a spoiler but I have issues with the ending, as my first instinct would have been to kill Harold. Not killing him lessened the dramatic impact and irony of his transformation, as pointed out by the Dustin Hoffman character (in a performance I really enjoyed by the way). However when the film cheats, it at least acknowledges that its cheating, when trading in greatness for an okay but more likable alternative. This acknowledgment is what saves the film and makes it work in a perhaps less artistic but more populist form. Maggie Gyllenhaal becomes more likable with each performance.

Rocky Balboa (2006): I confess that I had only seen the first one of these films about ten years ago, but that's really all you need to have seen to enjoy this final entry. Balboa surprised me in its being so sad and sentimental, really one of the most unexpectedly moving films I'd seen in some time. Kudos for the casting of Milo Ventimigilia as Rocky's son, and some totally engaging boxing action. Totally satisfying.


At 4:39 PM, Blogger hortinthewho said...

I was interested to see your comments on "Stranger than fiction." I enjoyed the movie, but agree with you it would have made it more memorable if Harold had died at the end. Either ending I enjoyed it the same.


Post a Comment

<< Home