Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thanksgiving Movie Reviews

FilmstripWhat I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation, by Jamie Hawkins.

Good Night, and Good Luck: This is a really interesting movie directed by George Clooney about the Edward Murrow and CBS uncover of Senator McCarthy's Communist conspiracy. I'm never been a huge fan of Clooney, but I adored his directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and his sophomore project is just as thrilling. I think he's a really fine director. The film is in black and white (although it was shot on color film and retouched, so it's not as dark or shadowy as old black and white movies) and stars David Stathairn (of L.A. Confidential, coincidentally, my favorite movie of all time), Robert Downey, Jr., George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson, and many other familiar faces. It's smoky and jazzy (sensational soundtrack by Diana Reeves) and recalls a time when the fact that television was "being used to detract, delude, amuse, and insulate us" was a shock. Whatever you believe about George Clooney's politics (and this movie will clue you in if you're unaware), there is no denying that he is a man of uncomparable STYLE. All in all, a very interesting and enjoyable movie.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The fourth installment, and as one reviewer put it, the Empire Strikes Back of the Harry Potter Series. It's the first PG-13 chapter, and at least two characters forbode that "everything is going to change." In my personal opinion, it's not as good as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabahn (I watched 2, 3, and 4 this week), but the cinematography is amazing and it really sets up the next events in the mythology, I think. I know a lot of people are disappointed in how much was cut, and indeed, they cut a LOT of material, but it's like an 800-pg novel, people! I think they did a good job of keeping the tone and the themes of the story.

Rent: I freaking loved this movie. You must adopt a certain level of suspension of disbelief- not only because the character randomly burst into song and dance, but more because these damn-the-man Gen-X starving artists are now pushing 40. However, I think it was a good choice to use the original cast because of the fan base of the play is so rabid. Rosario Dawson and Traci Thoms are both newcomers, and I thought they were both fantastic. I didn't at all like Mimi's character in the stage production I saw, but Rosario Dawson played her with a delicacy that was really touching, and as one reviewer said, is the first actress to "render Mimi screechless." Hee. Jesse Martin, be still my heart. That eulogy scene rocked my world. I especially loved "La Vie Boheme." It kind of bothered me that they ADDED so much dialogue to the movie, it's supposed to be an opera, ie: exact lines that were sang or at least spoken in rhythm to music in the play were just said as natural speech in the movie- and I was like "did that just rhyme?" but I saw it with my cousin who had never seen it or heard the soundtrack, and she said it wasn't noticeable to her, so maybe that's a by-product of being TOO familiar with the work. Although I'll be the first to say that it's not a movie for everyone... I think the soul of Rent shone through and I can't wait to see it again.

Walk the Line: WOW. The performances in this movie were outstanding. Joaquin is SMOKIN' hot, and even though the time-worn story of how all the best cowboys have daddy issues was wonderfully told, I really thought this film was about June Carter. I don't LOVE Reese Witherspoon, but I think she's a very talented girl and she played June with a sincerity and depth that not many actresses could've pulled off. The scene where the drug store attendant admonishes her that "divorce is an abomination," she so honestly and gently says "I'm really sorry I disappointed you, ma'am" that it literally brought a tears to my eyes. Johnny Cash and June Carter had a truly great love and it was portrayed beautifully.

LOST last night was freaking AWESOME. I'm flying to Columbus today, where it is snowy and cold. Boo hoo. Tonight will be spent catching up on the last 2 weeks of House, M.D. and Desperate Housewives. I'll see you kids on the flip side. XOXOX

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