October 22, 2010, - 3:11 pm
A few decent movies at the box office, this weekend:
* “Hereafter“: I loved this movie. Moving, deep, intense. One of the two MOST POWERFUL movies of the year (the other is “Mao’s Last Dancer,” and I haven’t posted my review of that yet, but I will). Directed by Clint Eastwood, don’t let the fact that uber-liberal Matt Damon is one of the stars in this ensemble cast movie. It was terrific. And, especially, if you are a person of faith and believe in the afterlife/heaven, as I do, you will love this. It’s well done, well directed, well acted, well shot.
Three sets of people, psychic Matt Damon, a French newscaster, and a set of very cute, young English twins are touched in various ways by death and communication by deceased loved ones and others. Damon is tired of being a psychic–he was once a successful one–because it keeps him from ever having a normal relationship. But many people, including his semi-sleazy, opportunistic brother (Jay Mohr) try to get him back in the biz. Meanwhile, in England, young identical twin boys must care for their alcoholic mother and be the adults in the family. It makes them tight in a way only young kids affected by such trauma can understand. And a famous French journalist (terrific, beautiful actress, Cécile De France) finds herself clinging to life in the middle of the tsunami, while she is vacationing in Asia.
The twins, George and Frankie McLaren, are so incredibly cute, and their acting is fantastic–which is amazing, given that this is their first and only acting credit. At this point, I plan to vote for them for “Best Breakthrough Performance” in the Detroit Film Critics Society voting at the end of the year.
The movie successfully weaves current events, like the tsunami and the 2005 bombing of the London subway by Muslims. If there’s one drawback to the movie, it’s that, sadly and typically, the movie doesn’t show you or tell you that Muslims did it. Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and NPR must have helped write the script–nah, typical Hollywood stuff. And there are a couple of ways they stealthfully push Islam on you, showing a peaceful, smiling Muslim girl in a hijab in the classroom of the twin boys. And showing a YouTube video pushing Islam, though it is kind of shown in a mocking way.
I don’t want to tell you much more than that, or it will spoil the movie. But I liked it so much that when it was over, I wanted more. It ends on the right note with the perfect ending, though. I don’t think atheists will like this.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Conviction“: Hillary Swank plays Betty Anne Waters, the real-life mother and sister, who got her GED, went to college and law school, and passed the bar–all to help get her innocent brother out of prison for a murder he did not commit.
Although this is very slow-moving at times, it’s uplifting in the end and I liked it for a number of reasons. It shows the brother, played by Sam Rockwell, as not the nicest of guys. In fact, he is a criminal, a thug, and a lousy guy. The movie doesn’t glorify him as some sort of saint, as movies like this typically do. I know, as an attorney who does some criminal defense work, sometimes the innocent are crappy people, which is often why cops, prosecutors, and juries are so willing to go after and convict them. Plus, you don’t have to be a bleeding heart liberal to know that sometimes innocent people are convicted of crimes, and sometimes big government and its corrupt actors go after those innocent people, as was the case here. That’s actually a conservative view.
In the movie, Waters’ desire to free her brother is stronger than his. She loses her marriage and custody of her sons in her quest to do what is right. She asks her two young sons what they would do in her place, and only one of them said he’s sacrifice it all for her brother like she did. And that’s a sad epidemic of society. Few will fight for what’s right. Not that you should sacrifice your family for that as Waters did in the movie (I am against abandoning your family and she could have done this without doing that), but her fight was righteous, even if it was for a man who wasn’t the most decent of human beings.
I’m not sure the constant flashbacks to their bad childhood were necessary, as a bad upbringing is never an excuse for what you do later in life as an adult, a premise the movie seems to press. But otherwise, the movie grew on me after I saw it. It’s directed by actor/director Tony Goldwyn, scion of the Goldwyn family of Hollywood’s yesteryear.
Though the movie’s end is positive and uplifting, in real life, the crime here is that Betty Ann Waters’ brother died six months after gaining his freedom, the result of an accident on a ladder. Sometimes Hollywood leaves out the most cruel of endings we face in real life.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Stone“: I absolutely hated this movie. I thought with Robert De Niro in it, I would like it, but it’s an anti-Christian, left-wing movie, in which those who believe in the Bible are frauds and hypocrites, and the scum of the earth criminals are the smartest of them all. (De Niro, by the way, has really sunk to new lows in the roles he plays. As you’ll recall, this summer, he was in the pro-illegal alien “Machete” (read my review), playing a murderous state senator who opposed amnesty for illegal aliens. New Equation: De Niro = De Nada.)
De Niro plays a religious Christian parole officer in a Michigan prison, who must decide whether or not to recommend psychotic killer Edward Norton for early release. Norton’s wife, Milla Jovovich, comes on to De Niro in order to try to secure the release. I didn’t buy Norton’s cornrow hairdo (Memo to White Men: Don’t Do Cornrow) or his fake Black accent (Memo to White Men, including Eminem: Don’t Do Ghetto Accent). And I didn’t buy the rest of the performances. Nor did I need to see dismembered bodies being set on fire and a prison inmate being brutally bludgeoned and stabbed to death by other inmates.
To make sure you know that De Niro and his crazy wife are religious Christians, scenes show them at church, reading the Bible, and listening to conservative Christian talk radio. And the movie doesn’t even get that part right, since De Niro mentions that he’s an Episcopalian, and clearly he and his wife and the talk radio to which they listen are Evangelical.
Sickened that this movie–made in Michigan to collect the Michigan Film Tax Credit and rebate of 42% of all money spent–was financed in large part by the taxpayers of Michigan, a good number of whom are the Evangelical Christians this movie very clearly defames as cheating, lying, corrupt, oversexed hypocrites and frauds.
FOUR MARXES PlUS A BIN LADEN
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Paranormal Activity 2“: This one is far better than the original version, which stank (read my review). It’s also scarier and scarier more often. But it’s still very boring and seems soooo much longer than its 1.5 hours. And it has a lot of the same plot points, in terms of what happens. It is helpful to see the original first, but not necessary. This movie explains what happened in the first movie and is sort of a prequel/sequel to the first installment.
A family discovers frequent break-ins into their home, so they install cameras to tape all of the rooms. Strange things continue to happen. I saw it with a largely Black audience, whose frequent comments and mocking of the movie were appreciated–in this case only. This movie is aimed at teens and 20-somethings. If you are over 40, you probably won’t enjoy it.
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Betty Ann Waters, Cécile De France, Clint Eastwood, Conviction, De Nada, Edward Norton, Frankie McLaren, French, George McLaren, Hereafter, Hillary Swank, Jay Mohr, Matt Damon, Milla Jovovich, movie, Movie Reviews, paranoia, Robert De Niro, Sam Rockwell, Stone, Tony Goldwyn