Monday, October 13, 2003

Out of Time

In a Nutshell: Great suspense flick! The previews are slightly misleading, but it works around that nicely.

Quick Plot: Matt Whitlock, chief of police in Banyan Key, Florida, is trying to solve a murder. To use the tag line for the film (which sums it up nicely): "How do you solve a murder when all the evidence points to you?"

In Detail: I haven't seen a really good suspense film in a long time. To me, there is a difference in a thriller and a suspense film. A thriller relies on both suspense as well as "jumpy surprises" and making you feel a little creepy. A suspense film, on the other hand, is actually harder to do well. You have to keep the "will he make it? can he figure it out? how will he get out of/around this?" going much longer, plus put in several (hopefully clever) red herrings. The misdirection in this case was a little lacking; I had it figured out even before the murder happened. The suspense, however, was quite well done. Lots of fun! If you're going to see it, do so in the theater. Suspense films are always better in a large group.

Will I Buy It? Probably not. It was good, but I don't think it would stand up as well to repeat viewings.

Roman Holiday

In a Nutshell: Is there really a more perfect film? Simply wonderful!

Quick Plot: Princess Ann is tired of royal life. After a whirlwind tour of Europe, she runs away to try and experience something of the "real world" while in Rome. But unbeknownst to her, the man who offers to show her around is an American reporter, hoping for the scoop of the decade.

In Detail: How can a movie get better than this? Audrey Hepburn (in her film debut) and Gregory Peck. That should be enough to cause you to run out and see this movie right now. The story is sweet and charming, and even manages to rise above it's 1950s sanitizing to be very "real." We've all had an experience like this, where duty (or morals) leads us away from something we want. Just a wonderful wonderful film! I'm ashamed it took me this long to see it.

Will I Buy It? Yep!

Funny Girl

In a Nutshell: No doubt about how Streisand became a star, with this as her first film. A touching story with some wonderful humor and fabulous songs.

Quick Plot: Fannie Brice has taken Broadway by storm, but her personal life has been a little stormy. Follow her journey from unwanted chorus girl to "Mr. Ziegfield is waiting" diva....

In Detail: I'm very glad I actually got to see this movie, and on the big screen no less. Quite the showwoman is Ms. Streisand. The story is pretty good, the costumes are exquisite, and the songs fantastic. The tone was actually not quite what I was expecting. It was much more serious than I had been lead to believe, especially by the title. While it was funny in places, it is also very dramatic. I question the G rating, in fact. I probably would have given it a PG, though a soft one. Definitely worth seeing.

Will I Buy It? Probably not. I prefer other musicals.

Friday, October 3, 2003

A Mighty Wind

In a Nutshell: Great music! Okay movie. The concert saved it for me.

Quick Plot: Another "mockumentary" from Christopher Guest, this time targeting the folk music scene. Fictional folk music icon Irving Steinbloom has passed away. His children organize a memorial concert starring all of the acts he represented over the years. Comprised of "interviews" with the groups as well as concert footage (both during and behind the scenes).

In Detail: Interesting. This was my first Christopher Guest film, and it was certainly interesting. I certainly didn't love it, but I think I liked it. LOL Okay, so not the most glowing review. Let's see if I can be a little more specific. It was pretty much what I expected, so I guess that was good. But I expected most of the humor to NOT be the kind I liked, and I was right. It wasn't the gross-out humor that I hate, but most of it was "I don't really see why all these people are laughing about that." It's not that I didn't get the jokes, I just didn't think they were funny.

Don't get me wrong, it had its laugh out loud moments! And we certainly enjoyed ourselves. We were obviously engaged in the story to a certain extend, because we cared whether or not a certain event took place during the concert (nope, sorry, I ain't tellin'!). The concert at the end saved it for me. If it has been mostly like the "documentary parts" at the beginning, I would have been disappointed. I'm glad I saw it, the music was *wonderful*, and I don't care to see it again. Nor will I probably see any further Christopher Guest films (unless he is spoofing something close to my heart, like Star Trek or something). I also think Eugene Levy should quit acting and sing for a living. WOW!

Will I Buy It? Probably not, but I might pick up the soundtrack.

The Rundown

In a Nutshell: It was fine. Certainly entertaining (and I have seen a film or two that couldn't even claim that), an quite funny in some places. And it certainly lives up to its billing: The Rock has definitely arrived with this film.

Quick Plot: Some time ago, Beck got in with the wrong people. In order to get out, and start a restaurant like he's always wanted, he has to do one last "job": find the boss's son, who has disappeared into the jungle.

In Detail: Not really much to say. It was entertaining, it was funny. It shows that The Rock is capable of carrying a film pretty much on his own, and he does equally well at comedy and action. Beyond that, it was your basic action popcorn flick. I do think some of the violence was out of line with the overall tone of the film, but perhaps that was part of the point (for it to be shocking). There wasn't a lot of it, and it wasn't gory, it just didn't seem to fit the tone. I also thought he would get out of the movie without actually shooting anyone with a gun. Sadly, not so. I think it would have been more difficult to write, but also more rewarding. As for the rest of the cast, the kid (can't even remember his name) was just annoying, IMO, though I didn't expect it to be otherwise. Rosario Dawson was good, just not really a big enough part. Many critics have been commending Christopher Walken's performance. It was fine, but I've seen better from him, including Catch Me If You Can. If you like brainless action and/or The Rock, then see it. We mainly caught it because we haven't seen a new film in the theater since mid-August! Not bad, but could certainly wait to be rented as well.

Will I Buy It? Doubtful!


In a Nutshell: Interesting. Strange. I'm still pondering it several days later, so it must have been pretty good.

Quick Plot: A group of strangers (or are they?) stop at a lone hotel after being randomly (or is it?) stranded in the middle of nowhere during a torrential rainstorm. And one by one, they are being killed. Who is next? Who will survive?

In Detail: Um, yeah. Wow. I'm not really sure what to say about this movie. I can't really say too much or I might give something away. Some very interesting twists, I assure you. I had one figured out almost immediately, and I was actually kind-of disappointed that I had it within 20 minutes or so of the start of the film. Then they totally broadsided me with another twist that had me completely spinning in circles. Very cool. I didn't see this movie originally because I was afraid it would be too scary or too gory (or both). But, I did take my brother's word for it that it was mostly psychological/thriller type stuff (I trust his judgement on these matters completely), and he was right. They generally imply a lot more than you actually see. But the little bits they do show were borderline on the "Erin Gore Tolerance" scale, especially the first murder. Worth seeing, though, if you like "thrillers with twists."

Will I Buy It? Probably not. I'm glad I saw it, but I wouldn't watch it over and over.