Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new. Domestic films and foreign too.
John Adams—Any movie that I can get Jim to watch with me is a good movie (with the grim exception of Tropic Thunder—Ugh). Any six-hour movie I can convince him to watch is an instant classic. This one was so good that immediately after finishing the first disc via Netflix, we went out and rented the second at Blockbuster. I am a big Paul Giamatti fan (Sideways, Lady in the Water), and he doesn’t disappoint. Great performances, especially by Giamatti and Laura Linney who plays Abigail Adams. I was in awe of the production and grateful to the filmmakers for simply telling the story without getting in the way or passing judgment. Various perspectives are presented and you are to decide for yourself what you think of Adams’ choices, both professionally and privately. They even portray marriage and commitment in a way that neither glosses over the ugly bits nor makes it appear one step higher than purgatory. If you have any interest in American history, this is a movie for you.
Proof—One of my Netflix buddies once told me that I enjoy far too many films. That may be true. However, there are at least as many that I loathe. I particularly hate movies that make me feel like an idiot for not liking them. Perhaps there should be a warning alongside the rating and the two “thumbs way up” on such films, reading something like “Be advised: People who don’t like this movie are morons and just don’t get it.” What’s not to like after all? It’s a movie about math brought to us by the mathematical genius who brought us such greats as Shakespeare in Love and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. I felt like I could hear the writer giggling behind the television, waiting to explain the movie to me in long drawn about syllables, using very small words in case I was too dense to understand. “See…it’s called “Proof’ and she needs proof that she isn’t crazy. And that he loves her. And that she can trust him. Get it?” Take my advice. Never watch a film about math where the camera pans away and music swells every time the characters actually start talking about math.
Little Children—I watched this movie after a night of domestic duties, which this film suggests is a trap to avoid at all costs. Feeding dinner to the kids, cleaning up afterward, putting them to bed—all instruments of torture. The opening scene portrays moms who come off like Stepford wives on steroids—who would be enough to send women running to the nearest pharmacy demanding a lifetime supply of birth-control pills, or at least to their local childcare facility. I am not sure whom the makers of this film hate more—traditional stay-at-home moms, wives in general, husbands in general, or law-enforcement officers. You know it ain’t pretty when the most sympathetic character of them all is a pedophile. To me, this movie is a clear indicator of just how far into the moral abyss Hollywood has sunk. This is not dangerous beauty—lies and distortions wrapped in the seductively attractive wrappings of great art. This is lies and distortions wrapped in a brown paper bag with one or two corners ripped off. In other words, not only is the movie false and evil, it is also really, really badly done. It is as if the evil lurking in Hollywood has warped filmmakers’ aesthetic sense as well as their moral code. The combination of bad filmmaking, reprehensible preaching, and gratuitous nudity make this movie one to avoid.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall—I usually review three films, but rather than end on a down note, let me recommend a movie that is worth going out of your way to see. If you are at all inclined to watch people dressed up in movement-restrictive clothing and ride around the country side on horses while searching for true love, this is a flick for you. Romance that doesn’t require you to check your morals or good sense at the door? What a novel concept. (Subscribers to Netflix can find this one in “Watch Instantly.” Great movie and it saves space in the ole queue. Can’t ask for more than that.)