Saturday, January 26, 2008

Harmony: Once

This movie is the most simple of the year and that makes it great. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova play two musicians (which they are in real life) who happen to meet on the streets of Dublin and make music together. This movie has a wonderful soundtrack with songs like "Falling Slowly", "When Your Mind's Made Up", and "If You Want Me". Is one of the best movies of the year. A
Note: Hansard is the frontman of the group the Frames.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Fix: Michael Clayton

This mind-blowing, 120-minute law firm thriller can grasp anyone's attention. Clooney plays Clayton, a "fixer" for his company who has to help a case that involves Arthur Edes, who strips in a deposition room. Wilkinson plays this role to perfection, possibly even better than Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild. Swinton is great as part of U North. She is mechanical, a true mirror speaker. Her portrayal is scary and amazing. These performances combined with a perfectly sizzling script, great direction, a virtuoso score are a fantastic mix that provides for one of the best pictures of the year. A

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Death of Heath Ledger

I feel sad as hell right now. Heath was great. I feel bad. Reportedly, he took Ambien because of his part in the new Batman movie.

Oscar Nods: Disappointing

The Oscar Nods were undeserving this year. Into the Wild was snubbed in the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Song, Best Original Score, and Best Cinematography categories. The Diving Bell... snubbed in Best Actor and Best Foreign Film. Rescue Dawn's Bale and Zahn both shut out. Once got "Falling Slowly", but was snubbed on "When Your Mind's Made Up". Enchanted's songs are some of the most hideous ever nominated.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dan in Real Life

"Dan in Real Life" is a somewhat lukewarm film that is built around Steve Carrell making an idiot of out himself and being an awkward father. Carrell plays Dan Burns, a columnist, widower, and father. He has three children, and he's being overprotective, awkward, and a "murderer of love." When Dan goes to Rhode Island for a family reunion, he meets Marie (Juliette Binoche), a French beauty. When he tells the old fam about his newfound girlfriend, he in fact can't: Marie is his brother Mitch's (Dane Cook) girl. It goes down the tubes from here. He continues his secret relationship. While this is going on, we get to see the Burns family. The weird, wacky Burns family. Not cardboard cutouts, for once. They do all sorts of random stuff, like competitive crossword puzzling, family football, and cardio. You know that phrase "you could be this family"? Well, in this case, you probably wouldn't be. This weird family takes a loving to Marie and Mitch, something that Dan is sad about. His mother sets up a date for him with longtime old friend, Ruthie "Pigface" Draper, inspiring laughs and songs. If I say anymore, I'll have described the whole movie. What I should say is that Carrell is fine, Binoche makes things good, and Cook actually stands out with a laugh out loud performance. The script can't keep up with these guys, though, and it's flat and flatter, especially when it comes to Dan's daughters. Some say it's not a typical romantic comedy, and they're right, but what's important is that it's not a great romantic comedy. B

Welcome to the 60's: Hairspray

This film is extremely over the top. You would expect over the top, but not to this extent. Everything, from Nikki Blonski singing "Good Morning, Baltimore" to John Travolta's femme turn, to Walken as Blonski's father, to the Corny Collins show, to Alison Janney as Amanda Bynes' religious mother, to the recap of the "brutal assault". The main issue is race, as you may expect, and this movie plays it pretty subpar. Not good enough for my Top 10 list. B

Eye of the Beholder: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Exceptional foreign cinema. The film opens in the eyes of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of Elle, after his stroke that paralyzed everything but his eyes. He cannot communicate with his surroundings with speech. He is helpless. For now. The movie is a biopic of Bauby, covering his struggle to write his book, his struggle to speak, his relationship with his father (Max Von Sydow) and his past, including a hostage situation. This film is brilliant, even though the opening seconds were a little predictable, knowing the synopsis. Wow. A