Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The Hours

In a Nutshell: Extremely well acted, good story. I liked it (didn't love it), DH not so much. Not wow like I was expecting.

Quick Plot: The story of three lives, all revolving around the Virginia Woolf novel Mrs. Dalloway in one way or another: Virginia herself writing the novel in 1928, housewife Laura reading the novel in 1951, and editor Clarissa, nicknamed Mrs. Dalloway by a friend.

In Detail: I liked this movie, though I didn't love it. It had its moments, it had some great lines, it had a fantastic cast (virtually everyone is "somebody"), and the acting was amazing. How all of that could lead to just an okay movie, I'm not quite sure, but it did. It was very slow, which isn't always a bad thing, but I did feel the pacing could have picked up just a touch. While I found it uplifting, despite its grim moments, I didn't find it truly inspiring or powerful. DH got very little if anything out of it, except that all women are lesbians, either secretly or openly (he's kidding; sort-of). There may have been some subtext that we missed, since neither of us knows much about Woolf or the book. It's certainly not for everyone, but it is interesting to watch. Rent if you aren't sure you would like it.

Will I Buy It? Highly doubtful. It was good, I'm glad I saw it, but there is not enough there for me to watch it over and over.


In a Nutshell: So much fun! Very very good, a definite must see.

Quick Plot: Velma Kelly, a vaudeville star, is arrested for double murder in jazz-era Chicago. Now notorious, it gives her what she needs to be an even bigger star, after she's acquitted of course. Roxie Hart, a vaudeville wannabe, shoots her lover, and starts giving Velma a run for her publicity. Who will make it out first, and win the spotlight both so desperately seek? Stay tuned. What about justice? Who cares!!

In Detail: DH and I both enjoyed this film immensely. It was dazzling, and so very much fun. The songs are catchy (I'm still humming "Cell Block Tango," must get the soundtrack), the singing is good to great (everyone is doing their own singing and dancing), the dancing is excellent (when it is edited such that you can see it well), and the acting is so over the top as to fit in perfectly with the outlandish story. I was also very happy to see that they kept some of the stage aspects in the film. For instance, when the women sing about why they’re on "murderess row," they use red handkerchiefs for the blood of the injuries. Obviously, being a film, they didn't have to, but they did, and I loved it. The movie is also very funny. Just fun, fun, fun! While not absolutely the best film I've ever seen, we both liked it a lot. But please let me say, despite the relatively "soft" rating of PG-13, this is NOT a film for children!! I wouldn't even want to see it with a 13-year-old, much less anyone younger. It is quite provocative and suggestive, in more ways than one. If you won't let your kids watch MTV, then you certainly don't want them watching this.

Will I Buy It? I really want to say yes, but I'll have to think about it a bit more. Maybe I need to see it again. I can't decide if I would watch it repeatedly, but it is certainly a must see, preferably on the big screen.

Addendum: Chicago upgraded to must buy! The more times I see it, the more I like it.

Thursday, January 2, 2003

Catch Me If You Can

In a Nutshell: A terrifically fun two hours, totally worth seeing.

Quick Plot: In this offering from Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abignale, the consummate con artist who impersonates a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, and various other professions, all while cashing millions of dollars in fake checks all across the US and Europe, and all before his 21st birthday. That puts the FBI on his trail, with Tom Hanks as the agent who's after him. Sound far-fetched? It's a true story!

In Detail: Please allow me to preface this review by saying that I was sick when I saw this. I had been feeling terrible for an hour or so, but we had already bought the tickets. And I still enjoyed the movie! Makes me wonder what I would have thought if I was well. I really did like this movie; it doesn't reach the heights of greatness, but it is very good. While I'm not a huge Leo DiCaprio fan, I thought he was well cast here. This is an unusual role for Tom Hanks, but he's great as always. Humor is the name of the game here, the most lighthearted Spielberg film in years. Laugh out loud funny in numerous places. You know I'm all about seeing films on the big screen, especially comedies (something about laughing with other people), but this one really wouldn't lose anything on the small screen if you really feel you need to wait for video. Regardless of what format, you really should see it.

Will I Buy It? Maybe. I know, I know, I sit here and talk about how good it was, but then I'm not sure if I'll buy it. Believe it or not, we're pretty picky about what we buy. I need to see this one again to decide if there is enough there for many repeated viewings. But it is absolutely worth seeing once.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

In a Nutshell: Fellowship was better, but this one isn't bad. (Remember, I'm a non-reader of this series.) Quite funny, actually. As my father put it, not the best three hours I ever spent at the theater, and certainly not the worst.

Quick Plot: When we last left the Fellowship, two members were gone, and the rest had split into three groups. Frodo and Sam head to Mordor to destroy the ring, Merry and Pippin were hobbit-napped by orcs, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are off to rescue them. We now continue this adventure, already in progress.....

In Detail: I am not kidding about the "already in progress" thing. No preamble, no recap (except one very brief scene), no nothing! The movie just picks up and runs, as if there was only a short commercial break between FOTR and TTT, not an entire year. If you’re fuzzy on the details, you may want to watch FOTR before you come, and the extended edition if it is available to you (it explains a few things more clearly than the theatrical version did). This is neither bad nor good, IMO, I just thought you should be prepared.

Personally, I found this one a little, um, pointless? I mean, I understand where it is going (mostly), and I understand why they showed what they showed, but I don't understand why it took 3 hours to show it. It would have been fine in less than two, I think. If you view it the way the film-makers do, then the Lord of the Rings is just one great big long (LLLOOOONNNNGGGG) movie that they chopped up into three pieces. Think about a 90 minute film. The first half hour is set up (and FOTR did a fine job; definitely got me hooked). The middle half hour is "okay, this is what we have done, this is where we are, let's throw some kinks in, and this is where we're going." Often the most boring part of the movie, but in most cases, it lasts 30 minutes or less. Here, it's three hours and the entire film. The last half hour is resolution, and I think ROTK (Return of the King) will be very good and interesting in that respect. I am really looking forward to it! So, I expect this is the weakest of the three films (having not seen the third, of course). It's still worth seeing, definitely on the big screen if you can manage, but not as good as FOTR. The humor (mainly between Legolas and Gimli) is worth the price of admission. Toss me! ;)

Will I Buy It? Yep. It is the middle of the story, and we already own the beginning. Just hope the end is worth it (though I'm pretty sure it will be). Only 349 days to go!!