Monday, July 28, 2008

Mama Mia

Mama Mia- the musical with the simple plot and lots of ABBA songs put on film for posterity. It was beautiful scenery, not too much drama, some silly moments and fun to watch. Meryl Streep truly seems to have not done a thing to her face, and has let her body age rather gracefully, and for that I am personally happy. She comes across as very real. Her daughter, played by Amanda Seyfried, is bouncy and sincere with the best voice in all of it. The men playing the putative fathers are Colin Firth (too young for the role by 15 years), Stellan Skarsgard, and Pierce Brosnan (who is STILL younger than Streep and about as vocally talented as a pita wrap). Don't do the math- the daughter is 20 years old, the dads are younger than the mom (one ridiculously so), the plot depends heavily on the late 60s, early 70s hippy sleep around days, and it takes place in the present time or close to it because there is mention of starting a great web page for the inn. It is most disorienting in that regard, so just take a deep breath and let it go. And then they need to SHOOT the person who just HAD to put in that webpage reference. Probably a young person who has assumed that the internet has been there forever. Other than that, you can't ask for more fun just listening to music. It's like one long ABBA video. You will smile because you have to.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

I'll make this part short- Heath Ledger does the defining role of his brief career- I thought it might be posthumous hype at first, but he is positively compelling and brilliant in a role that could have come off as campy and banal. You cannot take your eyes off of him as he fills the screen with his performance. He will be forever on the list of top 5 movie villains of all time. Hands down. Now, for the longer part. When Ledger is NOT on the screen, you must endure Christian Bale as a rather miscast Batman. Why, you might ask? Thith is why. He lithpth. Tho much tho that I giggled at one point. As Batman, he has an affected, gravelly voice and his teeth look like piano keys. But you cannot be compelling when you are lisping like sylvester the cat. Then it becomes a weird obsession to listen for the way his lisp comes and goes. What Superhero lisps??? At least while in the Superhero mode? Then there is the homeliest actress in America today- Maggie Gyllenhaal. And in this film, she is referred to as beautiful and desired by not only Mithter Batman, but by the charming Aaron Eckhart. Not gonna happen. Even in a fantasy film. Was there no one else available? Michael Caine is charming as always. The film seems to have some extraneous and confusing story telling in spots. A film this long should have every plot twist clearly delineated. By far, this movie has one star- and for once it isn't the special effects - but the incredible performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker. And that is the reason to see it.

Monday, July 7, 2008


It's a simple story- little WALL E is in charge of finishing the clean up job the dirty humans left behind 700 years ago, and he is doing it one compacted trash cube at a time. A space probe with a sleek little robot named EVA is sent to find any sign of photosynthesis on earth so humans can return. WALL E is inadvertently brought back with EVA to the base where the humans are hugely fat with hardly any bone mass from inactivity. yada. And on for at least an hour 45. The pro- the story is a little, but not too, preachy, and the animation is incredible. If you only watch the detail in this you will be entertained. Not one detail is left out. The con- the film is 20 min too long. The kids got restless. I got restless. It was like the director was so in love with the animation that he just couldn't stop the film. But it is a wonder to behold and worth seeing just to look for the beautiful ways they used the physics of motion with such precision.