Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December, week 1 - mini reviews.

I think that shorter reviews are sometimes more appropriate for some films I see. So I think that I will try to do this about once a week or so to supplement the more in-depth writing I do on the other films.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Liman, 2005)
Brad & Angelina's marriage is on the rocks because they haven't told each other everything, especially that they are both secretly spies!
I did enjoy this one for the most part. But it never really left the box of its own premise, and everything sort of plowed along as it should have. Screenwriting 101 - (SPOILER!) Pit two spies against each other who are in love and we will inevitably end up in a fight scene between the two of them that will morph into a sex scene. Ah yes, the conflation of sex and violence, still such a witty choice! (END SPOILER!) I would have enjoyed it a little more if I hadn't been clued in on the movie's secret right at the beginning. Don't worry, if you blink, you'll miss that clue, my husband did. But if you catch it, there is no missing its significance. Still fun to watch Brad & Angelina pretend to be ordinary to each other when anyone else can look at them and know they are anything but ordinary. And there was a fun retro-ish style to it all. Plus, loved seeing B & A get drunk on Aguardiente in Colombia. (The same brand we had at our wedding!)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Clooney, 2002)
George Clooney's directorial debut. A biographical piece on game-show legend, Chuck Barris, with one foot planted firmly in historical depiction and the other foot doing pirouettes through la-la land.
I really liked it. And didn't even know until the credits rolled at the end that the screenplay was penned by none other than my fave screenwriter: Charlie Kaufman. This man is seriously a genius! (Maybe I should revisit Human Nature, since that is his only one to date that I haven't liked.) This story was great. Truthful, fanciful, stylized, crazy. It was great. Did I say it was great? And it made me really want, no need to read Chuck Barris's autobiography (on which the film is based) to see how convincingly he tells it. What a story! A big-time game show host/producer who was also a CIA hitman? Also can't wait for the next Kaufman film to come out. Hurry up Charlie!

March of the Penguins (Jacquet, 2004)
A nature doc on the emperor penguins, narrated by none other than Morgan Freeman.

Well I think after the bar was set with Winged Migration other nature documentarians had to rise to a new level. March of the Penguins, like Winged Migration, was beautifully shot (though perhaps not to the same, groundbreaking degree) but lacked the simple peacefulness of the nearly uninterpreted image that WM offered. Instead it was candy-coated and packaged by Hollywood and became something that was so sugary at times that I began to watch the clock. Though the 'story' is compelling and the imagery gorgeous, I couldn't get past the feeling that I was watching something heavily processed. And I got a little tired of Morgan's voice telling me what emotions the penguins were going through. Check out the other long doc on the DVD. Same story, shot by same guys, much more honest.

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