Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new. Domestic films and foreign too.
Up — You know a movie is good when you can pay an obscene sum for admission, including a ridiculous additional charge for equally ridiculous-looking 3D glasses, and have to put up with somebody’s one-year-old crying and yapping through half the movie and still really enjoy yourself. I have become so suspicious of anything marketed for children, especially when it hails from Hollywood, that despite the great reviews, I always have my doubts. Up is funny (I can’t tell you how many movies my kids watch without even cracking a smile), touching, and creative. I am not a fan of 3D, or the eyewear, but I highly recommend this one for the big people as well as the little ones.
The Visitor — This film was repeatedly recommended to me (including by Jim, since he saw it at Sundance last year), so finally I gave in. The performances were great and the story one that deserves be told. It manages to have a message without losing the magic of its storytelling. By tipping their political hand, subtly but unmistakably, early on, the filmmakers put me on my guard which was disappointing. Had they just let the story speak for itself and trusted the audience to draw our own conclusions, it would have been a much more powerful movie. Still, it is worthy of the recommendations. Keep them coming!
He’s Just Not That Into You — Romantic comedies used to be a guilty pleasure that, while lacking in nutritional value, you could ingest without fear of being poisoned. With movies like Knocked Up and Then She Found Me as the new template for a light-hearted evening, Hollywood has replaced fluff with rat poison. In the case of He’s Just Not That Into You the toxins are very carefully concealed in some descent performances, good writing and LOL moments. All of these elements are like the peanut butter masking the poison, tempting you to take a bite even though you know what is waiting in the middle. I planned to quickly dismiss this movie as just bad but found it more disturbing because it was well-done. All the clichés were present (the married couple who never have sex and are both miserable; the shacked up couple who are the only healthy relationship in the bunch; the disproportionate number of homosexuals with great advice and even better hair) while giving you the overwhelming sense that you had seen this film a hundred times before. Unlike so many that have come before, this movie was much cleverer. Be afraid—very, very afraid.
Honorable (and dishonorable) mentions: Vicky Cristina Barcelona — Woody Allen has officially broken my heart. You know you are running low in the creativity department when you start using lots and lots of voiceovers. Say it isn’t so, Woody. The Wrestler — A harsh but well-made flick. For me, the violence and nudity crossed the line, but if you have the stomach for it the film is worth watching. Little Dorrit —You knew I couldn’t get through this without mentioning something Dickens. If you like the period piece, you will love this love story/mystery. And if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?
Amy–I always love your reviews! I agree with them even when I haven’t seen the film–like “He’s Just Not That Into You”–I’ve read the book though which is kinda funny because the book is a non-fiction/advice/self-help book. I’m hesitant to see the film because I disagreed with a lot of the “advice” the book gave. Poison–like you said.
I’m glad you saw “The Visitor” and loved reading your thoughts on it. I would not recommend you see “In the Valley of Elah” though because the entire film was one big “political agenda” film. I actually found myself yelling at the screen at one point and I actually agreed with some of what they were “saying”, but golly, they abandoned the story to say it.
Now, for a recommendation! I think we all know how the British make good miniseries even with smaller budgets than American TV–“State of Play” is a really good miniseries. It stars Bill Nighly, Kelly McDonald, James McAvoy, Polly Walker and other great actors. It was remade into an American feature film with Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe but I haven’t seen it yet and can’t say if it measures up. That’s what I got for now…I have added “Little Dorrit” to my netflix list!
are you sure we don’t share the same brain? i saw “state of play” awhile back and was totally mesmerized! haven’t seen the remake either. i love reading your comments about my reviews as well as the recommendations. keep them coming.