Sunday, December 28, 2008

Movie binge

With a lot of free time on my hands, I've been keeping myself occupied. While on the positive side that means I'm doing a lot of crocheting, it also means I've been doing a good deal of movie watching, much more than I usually do.

Here's a sampling of movies that stuck out for one reason or another:

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - My response to this is mixed. It was, for one thing, rather long and slow-moving. That in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but I did find myself a bit impatient. Redeeming features were a great soundtrack, stunning landscapes, and fascinating characters. Brad Pitt was surprisingly good as the famous outlaw, balancing both his human side and the less glamorous aspects of his temperament. Casey Affleck did well, though, too--his transformation from starry-eyed hero-worshipper to assassin is compelling viewing indeed.

Grace is Gone - Meh. It had potential. The story of a father who could not tell his daughters their mother had died in Iraq could have been very poignant, but it just seemed to drag, and as someone who was raised in a family that values honest communication even about uncomfortable subjects, I wanted to shake the John Cusack character and tell him to just spit it out already. Additionally, the movie tried, in a couple places, to engage with the politics of people's views on the war, and it felt too forced--and a little less nuanced than I think the writers intended.

Martian Child - Somehow, I ended up with two John Cusack movies from the library. This one, however, redeemed him. It's a story about a lonely widower who adopts a boy who claims to be from Mars. I say the movie redeems John Cusack; in a sense, it does, but the real star is the title character--Bobby Coleman plays a downright weird kid--he eats only Lucky Charms, is convinced he will float away without his gravity belt of batteries, appreciates the "holding down belt" in the passenger seat of the car, and delivers it all with a spooky otherworldliness. Ultimately, it's a sweet story about two people trying to figure out the intricacies of forming a family. If you liked K-PAX, I think you'll appreciate this one.

The Island - Tacky. 'Nough said.

Edward Scissorhands - A re-watch of an old favorite. Also, it has Johnny Depp in it. 'Nough said.

Little Women - Another re-watch of an old favorite. If I were put on the spot and asked to name an ultimate favorite movie, this would be it. The movie is almost, dare I say, better than the book, and them's strong words of praise from a staunch purist like me. Winona Ryder is engaging as Jo March, and oh, do I ever identify with so much of her character. Also watch for young Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale. The movie has it all--great acting (one of my favorite scenes is less than a minute long, but it's portrayed so beautifully in few words and poignant expression), a wonderful soundtrack, and a satisfying tale with coming-of-age aspects, a dash of romance, and an enduring tribute to the love of home and hearth and family. Gah. Listen to me ramble. It's a great movie, OK? Trust me on this.

Now playing: The Wallflowers - One Headlight
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Tab Calhoun said...

An upcoming selection on my bookclub's list is Little Women. I will read it (I've never read it!), and then watch the movie since you recommend it so highly.

I recently watched Adaptation with Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep. First read the book The Orchid Thief and then watch the movie. As a writer, you are going to love it. (Or have you already done this routine?) Let me know what you think.