November 19, 2010, - 4:32 pm
Wow, a banner weekend for movies. Not only just one FOUR REAGAN movie, but two of ’em.
* “The Next Three Days“: My kind of movie. This is a great thriller. It’s tight, it’s fast and full of action and suspense, and you never know where it’s going. Loved it, but beware, it’s an adult movie and not for kids. It has blood, killing, and a discussion of women at the beginning that uses the t-word. (I liked the discussion, by the way, which was about how attractive women can’t work for other women.) This movie, though there isn’t any sex in it, isn’t for prudes.
Russell Crowe is excellent as a community college professor who is desperate to get his wife, Elizabeth Banks, out of prison, after he believes she is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life behind bars. Is she guilty of the murder? You’ll wonder the whole time, and I guessed wrong. Liam Neeson has a cameo role. And Brian Dennehy, who has aged a great deal, plays Crowe’s father.
If there’s anything that doesn’t ring true, it’s the speed and brilliance of police work in this flick. In real life, things just don’t happen as fast, or as cleanly. As I noted, there is some bloody killing and even though it’s the elimination of deserving criminal thugs, it shows that the character who does it is no saint. He’s just an every day guy who will do what is necessary for self-preservation. Can’t say more, or I’ll ruin a great movie.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “127 Hours“: This isn’t for the squeamish. But I really liked it, even though I thought I wouldn’t and didn’t want to see it. It’s the re-telling of Aron Ralston, played here by the under-rated, excellent James Franco. Ralston is the weekend mountain climber who gets his arm stuck under a boulder that has crushed it in a deserted canyon. As you may know, Ralston cut off his arm to free himself and save his own life.
So, how does a movie tell this story with only one actor on screen for most of the time and little dialogue? It’s intense. Well shot and well acted. They show everything that happened, and it has a great soundtrack, too. Beautiful scenery versus the ugly desolation and despair of someone trying to save his life before time runs out. And you feel like you are there, experiencing the anguish. Very uplifting at the very end, too.
Like I said, it’s not for the faint of heart. I looked away in a couple of scenes ‘cuz I just couldn’t watch. But it’s definitely an adventure. And it’s not boring at all, contrary to my expectations. There is a lot of Oscar buzz for Franco because of this movie, and it’s well-deserved. Well directed by one of my favorite directors, Danny Boyle.
[On another note, in typical Hollywood fashion, the filmmakers tried to insert a masturbation scene that just didn’t happen in real life. Sad. I heard Ralston tell Detroit morning radio hosts Drew & Mike that the producers tried to write in a scene where Ralston tries to masturbate while he’s stuck in the canyon. He says he never did that in real life and he opposed it going into the movie, so it was finally nixed. Figures. Hollywood perverts who try to distort a heroic story with their sickness. Glad they failed and Aron stood strong.]
Watch the trailer. . .
* “Fair Game“: This is former CIA employee Valerie Plame’s propaganda flick based on her propaganda book of the same name, and it’s produced by Muslim extremists from Abu Dhabi. You know the drill: She and her husband Joe Wilson are heroes and Bush and Cheney and Lewis I. “Scooter” Libby (who never disclosed her name to Robert Novak) are the villains. Been there, seen that. Sick of it. And it’s all the more ipecac-like, given that Jeff Spicoli . . . er, Sean Penn, plays Wilson. Naomi Watts is Plame, whom the movie portrays, at the beginning, as some sort of action heroine who is fighting off and capturing Islamic terrorists before she goes back to the U.S.
Nice try, but no cigar. As I’ve noted in my previous accounts of the reality check on Plame and Wilson, Plame was a CIA employee who chose her husband to go to Niger, in an attempt to discredit Bush and his administration. And, at first, Wilson returned with the belief that there was, in fact, evidence that Iraq had tried to obtain “yellow cake” to make weapons of mass destruction. Since Plame and the CIA didn’t like that, they made him change his story, as an independent U.S. Senate investigative report found.
But the movie pooh-poohs that and portrays it all as wrong and defamatory to the Plame-Wilsons (or is that, Wilson-Plames). Like I said, we saw all of this already . . . every night on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, Al-Jazeera, you name it. Even FOX News wasn’t exactly accurate or objective about who the Plames really were and what they were about. But we know better.
As I always say, Sean Penn’s best roles were as Jeff Spicoli and Mr. Madonna. It’s all down hill from there. This is Keith Olbermann’s kind of movie. ‘Nuff said.
FOUR MARXES PLUS A BIN LADEN
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows“: So far, I liked this the best of the Harry Potter movies, and it’s the beginning of the last of these movies. It had beautiful scenery, suspense, cool special effects, and the best of all the stuff you’ve come to expect from Harry Potter. Parts of it were confusing to me, as I’m not a Harry Potterphile. But I still enjoyed it. It was a little long and could have used some tightening. Plus, as the title indicates, it’s only pare one of the movie. It leaves you hanging, and part two doesn’t come out until the summer. They should have released it in December, so we could remember all the many things that happened in the first part.
The villains of the Potter books are killing the families of the young wizards who are the main characters, and they are targeting Harry Potter, too, as he is the world’s best, last hope. Harry, Hermione, and Ron travel the countryside trying to find harmful pendants (horcruxes), so they can destroy them.
If you don’t like computer generated snakes jumping at you, this may not be your movie, and it might scare kids. But otherwise, it was okay. Standard Harry Potter fare, but a little less crowded with stuff than usual.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Inside Job“: There’s something very wrong about Client 9 (Elliot Spitzer) and Nazi George Soros lecturing America about their version of corruption. Ditto for narrator Matt Damon (who needs to lecture himself about a lot of things, including his Howard Zinn version of revisionist history).
They and the makers of this “documentary” diatribe rail against the Bush Administration, the Council of Economic Advisors under Bush, Wall Street execs, investment houses, derivatives, and investments in subprime mortgages. They also rail against the bail-out of Wall Street investment houses and banks.
While there are some good points–the bailouts and how the banks misspent the money, as well as the absurdity of so many subprime loans (which liberals like Barney Frank pushed on banks, though this movie makes him into a critic of the problems, not the creator of them)–the movie is mostly anti-business, anti-Bush, anti-Reagan propaganda with some minimal anti-Clinton and anti-Obama stuff mixed in for a thinly-veiled ruse of impartiality. It was long, boring, repetitive, and merely a less-interesting repeat of Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” (read my review). Hearing it a second time didn’t make it any more valid.
The movie is hypocritically made by uber-capitalist billionaire Jeffrey Lurie, who owns the Philadelphia Eagles. Funny how he is never on camera. Would have been nice to see the interviewers from the movie ask Lurie the same questions about limits on salary and income that they ask every other guy in the film. But, hey, what’s good for the rest of us according to Hollywood filmmakers, should never ever be applied to them. Only the little people. The gotcha interview tactics in this movie are appalling and make Michael Moore look like a saint in comparison.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Today’s Special“: What could have been an otherwise charming (but hackneyed and unoriginal) story about an ethnic immigrant family’s dying restaurant and their chef son’s rescue of it, was, instead, a cheesy, not-so-subtle propaganda comedy of in-your-face Islam.
In this movie, Samir (Aasif Mandvi), an Indian Muslim chef in New York, is a sous-chef at a gourmet restaurant. He quits when he is passed over for a promotion, which goes to a younger, less-experienced chef. Soon, his father has a heart attack, and Samir must take over the family’s run-down, failing Indian restaurant. He meets a cab driver who brags that he’s cooked gourmet Indian food for the leaders of India. And you can figure out the rest of this very predictable flick.
In the movie, the entire family are nice, jolly, endearing Muslims. They pray, Samir’s mother wears a hijab, and they buy halal meat. The point is to show us that these things are minor and that they are nice and just like your neighbors. It’s subtle and yet not so subtle. The only accurate part is when the Muslim halal meat purveyor is repeatedly described as a crook and a thief, who is ripping them off. That’s common in the Muslim community and a lot of halal meat actually isn’t halal at all. The only meat Muslims can truly trust as meeting their dietary needs is kosher meat.
We’ve seen a million movies like this, and it would have been better, had religion not been a starring role in the movie.
ONE BIN LADEN
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: 127 Hours, Aasif Mandvi, Abu Dhabi, Aron Ralston, capitalism, Client 9, Eliot Spitzer, Elisabeth Banks, Elliot Spitzer, Fair Game, George Soros, Harry Potter, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Inside Job, Islam, James Franco, Jeff Spicoli, Jeffrey Lurie, Joe Wilson, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, movie, Movie Reviews, moview reviews, Muslim, Muslims, Nazi, Russell Crowe, Sean Penn, The Next Three Days, Today's Special, Valerie Plame