Monday, February 27, 2006

 

If he picked the winners...


The Academy Awards are coming this weekend, and for the most part, I think the nominated pictures this year are largely ho-hum. Add that to host Jon Stewart who annoys me to no end and it is the culmination of an awards season I just don't really care about. All that aside, here are my picks for some top categories. Now these are not who I think is going to win (that belongs to the nominee with the most connections and best advertising campaign!). Rather, these are who would win if I were the sole voter.

Best Supporting Actor: Matt Dillon, Crash
The only nominated performer from an all-around award worthy cast.
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Junebug
This is the only category that I really am invest in this year. If Amy Adams does not win, I will be emotionally devastated (at least for a little while, after that I'll just rant about anytime I discuss the Oscars with anyone).
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Hoffman doesn't "become" Capote before our eyes. From the moment we see him, he is Capote.
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
A lovely performance from a lovely lady.
Best Picture: Crash
A challenging movie that challenges and haunts.

Here's hoping the Academy actually agrees with me!

Who would you pick?
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Monday, February 27, 2006

 

Capote, he said 4.0


"Capote" is a good film, but not a great one. I enjoyed the movie, but I am kind of surprised that it was nominated for Best Picture (not that I really put a lot of stock into the Academy). The movie just didn't pack any kind of "oomph" be it visually, emotionally, thoughtfully, etc. But it was not bad.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, however, is great. I completely understand his nomination and would not mind seeing him win Best Actor. Chris Cooper and more round out a very competent cast.

The stark visual look of the movie appropriately mirrors the nature of the crime Capote is researching and his character.

I don't have much to say about this movie. I'm pretty late in seeing it so there is already more than enough written about it elsewhere. Sorry, I'm just not that into writing more right now.

What did you think?
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Monday, February 20, 2006

 

Nanny McPhee, she said 4.0


I know, I know. The two fans we have are very upset that we have been so slack in posting. But here is a brief opinion about this movie and I promise I will get much better.

Emma Thompson plays a magical nanny that claims, “When you need me and don’t want me – I will be there. However, when you want me and don’t need me – that is when I will leave”….or something like that. The movie pulled on the heart stings more than I had anticipated. Also unexpected, the storyline and characters were well more developed and original. The mischievous children feared an evil step-mother and therefore scared everyone off, except Nanny McPhee. With a stop of her gnarled cane she could right wrongs, influence time,
While there was emotion there were many funny moment too. There was a bit with cake at the end and some humor about knocking on the door (you will have to see it, and written explanation doesn’t do it justice). The most impressive aspect of the movie was the clarity and combination of colors. The audacious and creative art direction works for the film because the book bound fairytale images are able to come to life on the big screen. Each character and set has a distinctive color scheme that popped off the screen.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

 

Nanny McPhee, he said 4.0


This may be a traditionally dry time in theaters, but there are some really solid family movies coming out this year. This movie, like "Hoodwinked," came as a complete surprise to me. A charming fairy tale, this movie star and was written by Emma Thompson.

Thompson, Colin Firth, Imelda Staunton, and Angela Lansbury all play extremely fun characters as do the other actors. I really liked the set design which was similar to that seen in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfirtunate Events" with its Burtonish feel. The movie is very sweet and very funny with lots of heart.

What did you think?

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

 

GUY'S NIGHT OUT: Firewall, he said 3.0


Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors ever. Since childhood, I have loved Ford. Unfortunately, he has made few good movies since the turn of the century. This doesn't really break that trend, but this was a fun outing to the theater with my dad.

"Firewall" breaks no new ground. Don't think about it too much or you will ruin it. The cast makes the material better than it is. Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, and another favorite of mine, Robert Patrick are all solid as usual. To my surprise Mary Lyn Rajskub was in the movie. To those who don't know, she plays Chloe O'Brien on TV's "24" and is a TV crush of mine. Jimmy Bennett who is becoming one of my favorite child actors plays much the same character he played in "Hostage" last year. Don't you wish you could have been a cartoon character, on a TV show, and in movies with Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford by the time you were ten?

Again, there is nothing special about this movie, but it is enjoyable as escapist action fare.

What did you think?
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

 

Hoodwinked, he said 4.0


I've gotten really behind on writing these things lately so I am going to do a few rapid fire reviews to get caught up. "Hoodwinked" was a very fun movie. It was made with a much smaller budget than most animated movies, and this shows as the computer animation looks very rough compared to the likes of Pixar. Still, I liked the character designs for the Wolf, the frog, the squirrel, and the bunny (Never trust a bunny).

The humor was very good. I appreciated that the movie was funny for both kids and adults but never resulted to innuendo, toilet humor, or profanity such as other so-called family movies of late (i.e. Shrek). Also, unlike many recent animated movies, there were songs! And they were funny. The film features a fun and unusual soundtrack.

The voice cast was also good.

This movie was a pleasant surprise. I didn't really expect much out of it, but it delivered.
What did you think?


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Monday, February 06, 2006

 

The Producers, she said 4.0


The Producers Could NOT have been better with the exception of a private like stage performance; the brilliant casting, cleverly written screenplay, and the innovative direction of the musical numbers combine to make the producers unstoppable. Why I have not seen this on the stage I have no clue. – Though there is a part of me that fears the impact would diminish without the stellar performances of Nathan Lane and Matthew Brodrick.
I really dislike the seating in the dollar theater and I wish to not return for a while. However, I will concede that The Produces was worth the trip.
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Thursday, February 02, 2006

 

The Producers, he said 5.0


So, we were back and then left again, but I think we are back to regularly scheduled movies now. Of course, this time of year that is not always something to look forward to. Fortunately, there are still a few end of the year releases for me to get around to during this cinematic famine. Case in point, "The Producers." This is the movie based on the musical based on the movie by Mel Brooks. Despite mediocre reviews by most critics, I must say that I have not laughed this much and this hard at any movie in quite awhile.

Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane reprise their roles from the original stage run. Sadly, I never got to see it on stage, but I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. These two have amazing comedic chemistry together. Uma Thurman, quite possibly my favorite modern film actress, joins the two as Ulla. She is hilarious in the role and beautiful as always. Will Ferrell somewhat redeems himself from a string of bad movies as the crazed Nazi playwright. Gary Beach steals every scene he is in as stage director Roger DeBris. The film is also littered with cameos by other comedic actors such as Jon Lovitz and Michael McKean. The acting is solid though there were times when I could tell that Lane's and Broderick's performances would come off much stronger on stage. On film, at times it's overacting, but this is a comedy musical, a genre where that is rarely a problem. They do a great job, but they fail to outdo the performers from the original movie. Johnny Depp may have bested Gene Wilder in 2005, but Matthew Broderick falls short despite being good in his own right.

The movie is just as funny as the original film, and for me, the added songs just added to the fun. The comedy is crude without being raunchy and is deliciously un-PC. The song "Keep It Gay" pulls out nearly every gay stereotype and provides possibly the funniest scene in the movie. Just wait until you see DeBris' production crew. Like in the original movie, the stage show "Springtime With Hitler" is deliciously crazy. I was rolling during this scene. I may be the only one, but I would love to see "Springtime for Hitler" turned into a full-length musical on its own. That would be so absurd!

This movie is the most laugh out loud funny movie made last year that I have seen. I am disappointed that it did not do as well as it deserved. Although I was forced to see it in a dollar theater, this movie is far more than a 3. If all the heavy drama of Oscar contenders and all of the crap released in the past few weeks have gotten you down, do yourself a favor and seek out a theater that is still showing this overlooked gem.

What did you think? Would you see an entire musical of "Springtime for Hitler?"
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