One of the all-time great movie musicals is a veritable feast for the eyes and ears. Yes, the costumes, sets and music are all exquisite, but the film’s inflated 3 hour length does start to plod after a while. Rex Harrison is the quintessential Professor Henry Higgins and Audrey Hepburn makes a charming Eliza Doolittle. Won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
Archive for November, 2008
Francis Ford Coppola’s follow up to The Outsiders was a critical and commercial flop when originally released in 1983. Panned for being over-stylized and lacking a clear narrative, audiences shunned the film. Yet it is those artistic touches that set the film apart. Black and white cinematography, which recalls French New Wave cinema and German Expressionism, never looked so beautiful. In fact, this surreal film more resembles life in the mid-50s, despite being set in the modern day. Stellar cast adds to this visually arresting teen drama about streets gangs and sibling relationships.
Romantic fantasy about a clumsy high school girl and a brooding vampire boy is simple tale of forbidden love. What would have made a superior TV show is unexceptional as a feature length movie. Bella is an introverted, awkward tomboy of a girl so it’s not clear why Edward is immediately drawn to her. All those longing stares cause laughter more than erotic tension after a while.
Animated adventure comedy about a superstar TV pup inadvertently shipped to New York City and must travel cross country to get back home to Hollywood. Along the way he encounters a streetwise cat and an awestruck hamster who assist him in his task. Heartfelt film is vibrant to look at and features wonderful voice work by Susie Essman and Mark Walton as the cat and hamster, respectively. Above average animated film is reminiscent ofThe Incredible Journey. Not up to the standard of Pixar, but easily Disney’s best animated film in years.
Frantic action thriller feels more like a Jason Bourne film than James Bond. This guy is out for revenge and there’s little of the debonair super-spy we know and love. Where are the gadgets, girls and quick witted quips? This Bond is angry and humorless. Some impressive stunts, but the camera is shaking so much and the jump-cut editing is so haphazard it’s difficult to tell what’s happening. A step back from Casino Royale.
2 guys compete for the same job of running a new grocery store. Wildly uneven in tone: is it subtle satire or wacky workplace farce? Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly show restraint like never before and the laid back attitude works against this material which should have been more zany. There is a work retreat sequence in the middle of the movie that is just wonderful, otherwise the movie is sort of a puzzling bore.
Comedy drama about a woman who finds strength to assert herself in the modern day through the stories of two women in the past. The film’s framing device is somewhat awkward, but this likeable feminist drama benefits from a great ensemble cast. Actress-turned-author Fannie Flagg was nominated for an Oscar for her screenplay in adapting her novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.
Comedic buddy film about a couple of energy drink salesmen who are forced to spend 150 hours of community service after they break the law. They become mentors to a couple of kids, one a shy, dorky geek, the other a foul mouthed disrespectful brat. Despite that formulaic recipe, the movie succeeds because it skillfully straddles the line between crude, sexual humor and sweet, likable characters. The cast has great chemistry. It almost feels as if they’re making it up on the spot. That climatic battle scene left me smiling.
1920’s period film about a mother who fights the system when she believes the kidnapped child returned to her by the LA police, is not actually her son. Angelina Jolie gives a memorable performance as Christine Collins, the true life woman who never gave up looking for her missing son. Director Clint Eastwood shows uncharacteristic, but admirable restraint in what could have been a much more gruesome tale detailing the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders.