Friday, December 26, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

When you have 3 hours, it is worth the price of admission if only for the computer generated images and how they get Brad Pitt's face and body into the different ages he plays. If you are from New Orleans, beware- because if you are a certain age, these houses and cafes and people will make you homesick. Like me. In the movie, Pitt ages backwards. His brain goes from old man to baby, and his body ages in reverse- which doesn't explain why he is born as an infant and dies as an infant. But that detail didn't matter to the script writer I guess. Kate Blanchett is, to me, the very definition of the phrase "she is so homely that she is pretty". And the supporting actors do a very nice job. The worst performance is actually by Pitt- who just isn't up to carrying the weight of the human compexity of Benjamin Button. Probably the biggest flaw in this film is the length. The mid part of Button's life, when he is at sea, becomes tedious and filled with well, filler. A story that tells an ENTIRE life, well, it has to pick and choose how it does that. I thought Forrest Gump was a scene too long. And this film is really about 25 minutes too long. I could have edited it myself- very easily. The other problem is the score- a maudlin and intrusive score that distracts from the movie, and encourages weeping from the sensitive souls in the audience. I am glad I went to see it as the entire premise is intriguing, the actors are lovely to look at, New Orleans is and always will be my home. But this is not the second coming of film perfection- and in fact, it was as if the filmmakers fell in love with a script and then no longer paid attention to the fact that the REST of us mattered.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

I don't know why Indian films consistently show the crap parts of their country- but they do. And they don't mince words. This film shows horrible poverty, the grim results of a caste system, religious discrimination, police brutality, and a disregard for children and childhood. But perhaps we Americans romanticize childhood long past its usefulness anyway. The people in this film are survivors. They have lived brutal lives, but it is the power of a consistent and unrelenting love that smooths the edges. It is a 4 star film for the wonderful performances and for the inventive and well written plot (adapted from a novel). It is grueling to watch the torture sequences, and painful to think we have humans who exploit children with such cruelty, but it explains the people and events in the film. With the backdrop of the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire- a life story unfolds. It is a powerful and moving film that ends in a way it should. Go see it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I have to say, I haven't enjoyed an animated film like this since Monsters, Inc. The premise was inventive, the voice work (yes even Miley Cyrus) was done perfectly, the animation was well done, and the action moved at a good clip- not a boring moment. Animation has had some rough moments- CARS was almost disastrously boring- but BOLT is funny and witty and charming. I smiled throughout the film and laughed out loud many times. I may actually buy this DVD when it comes out so that I can watch it again and see if I missed anything. I'd say any adult with a sense of humor will love this movie. It's almost perfect. When BOLT realizes that he is really an actor, and is just a dog- well, it is priceless. The cats are wonderful- particularly the cat who is the foil to BOLT. The parody of the Hollywood film industry is sharp. Go see it.

Quantum of Solace

bang bang bang bang bang bang- WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?-punch punch punch- I SAID WHO ARE YOU?- bang bang bang- BOND keeps killing people, find him- bang bang- owwwww that hurt- bang- runrunrunrunrrunrun- look into my steely blue eyes- kaboom bang run punch. There's the review. There is no finesse, and it's like following a confusing map that someone has spilled coffee on - you'll get there, but you wish the lines were clearer. I love the rugged Bond, but there has to be a story with some dialogue in this somewhere. Even Bourne has more personality than this. If Daniel Craig wasn't such a good looking guy in his rugged beat up way, this would have been just tedious mayhem.