Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More Movies, kids

1. Atonement: Didn’t particularly care for “Atonement” much…the performances were good, James McAvoy was excellent but nothing really happened! I was disappointed because of all the hype around it. Basically it’s a chick flick…basically. The only redeeming aspect of the movie is the much talked about continuous 13 minute camera shot on the beach during World War I…very, very impressive. Performances were good, direction was above average but the movie was very underwhelming.

2. Eastern Promises: Another movie that disappointed somewhat. Noami Watts underachieved in this role and never showed what she is capable of (read: 21 Grams). However, Viggo carried this movie on his deranged fake Russian back. He was incredible and deserves every bit of acclaim for this role. It’s another David Cronenburg (most recent: History of Violence) so it moves a little slow and the story isn’t terribly well developed. However, this movie is seeing simply for Viggo’s performance…so apparently he spent a few months in Russia, without knowing the language, just driving around talking to people and getting a feel for the culture. I must say, it paid off. He plays a stone cold Russian Mafia “driver” (amongst other things) and just nails it.

3. Juno: I liked it but didn’t love it nearly as much as everyone else seems to. So I’ve heard it’s good from my 14 year old sister and 30 year old hipster friends…which, of course, make me wary right there. However, the performances are good—Ellen Page especially and there are some very funny moments. Jason Bateman has some quality scenes there as does Allison Janney, who plays Page’s stepmom…in sort of a role that normally would go to Joan Cusack if she didn’t suck so bad and could act. Ba Zing! Anyway, I’d recommend seeing it on dvd or hbo when it hits one of them…clearly it’s this year’s “Little Miss Sunshine” but not as funny or endearing. I recommend it (to everyone but AWM, who will surely dismiss it as gay, even though the story revolves around an underage girl get pregnant) but don’t go in expecting a classic. I was surprised to see it get a Best Picture nomination this morning, that’s for sure.

4. Finally…the best film I’ve seen this year: No Country for Old Men

Javier Bardem: Wow. Just wow. An incredible performance on all fronts. Believable, terrifying, cold-blooded. The Coen Brothers have done it again. Of course this is based on the Cormac McCarthy book, which I have not read, but definitely want to after seeing this, takes place in Texas and involves a drug deal gone bad and $2 million going missing. James Brolin (James Brolin!?) has had a huge year with this and American Gangster (which will have to wait for another review session) and he’s very good in this movie. Tommy Lee Jones, who I’m typically a huge fan of, delivers in his role as an aging small town sheriff. I haven’t seen There Will Be Blood yet, but so far this is the best film I’ve seen all year…couldn’t recommend it more. Bardem’s performance is one of the best of the year, no question about it. “What’s this guy supposed to be, the ultimate badass?”

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