Archive for April, 2009

Blindness

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , on April 7, 2009 by ldw

In this movie, Julliane Moore and Mark Ruffalo expose how the world we all see as civilized may have turned out if anarchy ruled.

Ruffalo plays an optometrist who treats a patient who spontaneously goes blind and the next morning Ruffalo is blind as well. This spontaneous blindness starts running rampant in New York City until the government steps in and quarantines all those infected.

Julliane is quarantined but she is not infected. It is the question throughout the movie – why didn’t she get it? The cab driver of the first infected man got it, but not the wife of the optometrist! Huh.

Throughout the ordeal of quarantine, Julliane helps create a better environment. She helps people stay relatively clean and healthy. She helps speak with the guards and “leaders” of the different floors. She works hard to make this place work. But her efforts are almost completely in vain. They are overrun with people, there is little food, and the floor leaders are tyrannical!

Eventually a fire is started in the quarantined building and all the blind flee to the courtyard just to find out that no one is guarding them after all. They “escape” to find that even after all their efforts, everyone in NYC is infected. The streets are practically deserted and there is a scarcity of food, clothing, and shelter.

Julliane leads a small group of the original infected folks back to her and Ruffalo’s home where they stay together while Julliane cares for them. They speak one night and Danny Glover makes a profound statement – the blindness is the best thing that happened to him because he met these people and found a place to belong.

I won’t tell you how it ends! See it!

There is a rape “scene” – more like a portion – that is extreme and there are lots of naked butts and some boobs (they’re blind what do they care if other blind people are around).

This movie is filmed in such a way that everything is simplistic and white. Not hospital-room-sterile-white but blurry-hazy-shadowy-white. Julliane looks sad throughout the movie but in a way that makes her real and beautiful and strong in her frailty.

The movie is about dreams and hopes and new beginnings – even in the face of terror and pain and discomfort. In one scene (the best in my opinion) the blind group with Julliane runs out and dances in the rain. They dance for joy in the midst of the most horrible situation they could imagine. But they found hope in the rain! Beautiful!

Julliane is perfect, believable, and strong.

Rating: * * * *

Layout 1

Boys Don’t Cry

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , on April 3, 2009 by ldw

Hilary Swank should be getting so many job offers that she has to turn half of them down! She is a very versatile actress and this movie just shows that first hand.

Boys Don’t Cry is based on a true story of a girl named Tina Brandon who feels she is a boy trapped in a girl’s body. She goes by the name Brandon Tina and lives in a part of the nation where these kinds of things are not tolerated – Nebraska.

Brandon meets some redneck guys and white trash girls and becomes “one of the gang.” He falls in love with one of the girls and even has intercourse with her.

After a while the other guys realize that something is different about Brandon. They eventually go through his stuff and find used feminine products and pamphlets about Sexual Identity Issues.

These guys take Brandon out in a field and rape her numerous times. They then take her back to their house to “be one of them” again. The girlfriend is still in love with Brandon … no matter what he/she is.

*Spoiler Alert*

Brandon hides out at the girlfriend’s house but the rednecks find her and shoot her in the head.

The boys are arrested and still serving time in prison. But the moral of the story is that prejudice still exists. Tina needed people to care about her instead everyone turned their back on her.

The movie was beautiful. They did it in such a way that it didn’t feel like a real “mainstream” movie. It almost felt like someone was just walking around with a video camera, taping their life. But at the same time it was edited and videoed in such a way that you felt like you knew them all.

Great movie … very hard to watch!

Rating: * * * ½

boys-dont-cry

Austrailia

Posted in Movie with tags on April 3, 2009 by ldw

This was one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen in a LONG time! The story wasn’t fantastic but everything about the movie was beautiful.

Okay, the story is that Lady Ashley (Nicole Kidman) believes her husband is in Australia because he’s cheating on her with the aboriginal women, so she makes a trip to the ill-fated country herself intent on proving her theory and selling their land – “Faraway Downs.” But when she gets to Darwin (a town not the person) she learns that her husband has been killed and the prime suspect is an aboriginal man named King George. King George happens to be the grandfather of the story’s narrator a “creamy” (half white, half aborigine) kid named Nullah who lives at Faraway Downs with his mother while trying to escape the “police” as they round up all the creamy kids to send to the mission to “teach the brown out of them.” Now Dover (Hugh Jackman) is a rough and rugged herder who “is never hired or fired by any man.” Dover moves cattle from one place to another during “the dry.” He agrees to move Lady Ashley’s cattle for her but his team ends up being Nullah, his mother (who dies quickly), another aboriginal servant, his brother-in-law (who is an aborigine), Lady Ashley herself, and the drunk accountant (he also dies soon into the trek). Well the cattle get moved and sold to the military “just in time” causing the worth of Faraway Downs to rise significantly and not allowing King Carney to have a monopoly on cattle! Oh, and Lady Ashley falls in love with Dover (and vise versa) and learns to love Nullah as her own so she stays in Australia at Faraway Downs. Yay! Happy ending and at 90 minutes it was a good movie.

Oh, but this movie is actually 165 minutes (for those who can’t calculate this it’s a 2 hour and 45 minute movie!). So here comes the next storyline – Lady Ashley starts to miss her “boyfriend” because he is only playing house with her during the rainy season and out moving cattle during the dry season. This leads to discontent and eventually fights and Dover leaves on a six month military cattle move leaving Lady Ashley for the last time.

She gets a job in town and one day the Japanese come and bomb the place and Dover thinks she’s dead and she thinks Nullah is dead (he was finally picked up by the police and shipped to the mission). Dover saves the kid because he finally realized how much he loved the boy and the woman. And in all the chaos of trying to leave the bombed city, all three are reunited and go back to Faraway Downs! Well, that is until Nullah goes off with King George for his Walkabout (this made me think of John Locke – “You can’t tell me what I can’t do!”) which is the aboriginal people’s ceremonial transition into manhood.

There are other side stories about the identity of Nullah’s real father, who really killed Lady Ashley’s husband, and the cattle monopoly, but I want to keep this short.

The music was some of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard in a movie. The filming style and camera work was masterful in it’s gritty beauty – it was like looking at an oil painting the entire movie. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman had great chemistry and even with the “Yeah, Hugh Jackman is in this movie” scenes they were amazing! Even the length didn’t get to me!

Rating: * * * * ¾

australia

Twilight

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , , , on April 3, 2009 by ldw

This was a good movie but it should have been great!

It is based on the cult hit book by Stephanie Meyer with the same title. Bella Swan moves from Phoenix, AZ to Forks, WA to live with her dad – Police Chief Swan – because her mother is remarried to a wannabe professional baseball player. Bella hasn’t been to Forks for many years because she dislikes everything about the small town her mother left soon after she was born.

But this time is different because Bella meets Edward Cullen. Edward and his family of “foster kids” are different from the other kids at school because they are vampires but no one knows. And in about a week Bella figures it out because Edward saves her life by stopping a speeding van from hitting her.

Vampires are super strong, super good looking, super … everything really. Edward can read minds – except Bella’s – and he loves her as much as she loves him. The Cullens are different from other vampires because they are “vegetarians” – they don’t drink human blood. While playing a game of baseball, a trio of “normal” vampires comes around. The leader wants to drink Bella’s blood.

This starts a fight to the death that leads from Forks to Phoenix and Bella almost dies!

Like most books to movies, the book is better.

Kristen Stewart may not be a stupendous actor but she is perfect for Bella. The annoying character was Edward – played by Robert Pattinson. He pauses at awkward places in his sentences and doesn’t “do” Edward like the book. Book Edward is torn between wanting to be human and being so much more but Movie Edward seems happy to be a vampire and excited to show off his abilities. He is also very boring to watch – no facial expressions or movement of any kind.

This movie was filmed beautifully and on a very small budget! I am very impressed with Catherine Hardwicke’s ability to bring to life many great moments from the books without tarnishing our imaginations’ view of those moments. I wish she was directing New Moon!

Rating: * * * *

twilight

1408

Posted in Movie with tags on April 3, 2009 by ldw

This is supposed to be a “horror” movie but I cried because it was touching and sad at one point. It’s about a writer who used to write wonderfully sappy books about life and love and blah, blah, blah and now writes about haunted houses and hotels and lighthouses and anything else that is haunted. The only problem is he doesn’t believe in ghosts or hauntings and hasn’t found proof in any of the places he’s gone so really his books are lies and he hates writing them. So he gets a new haunted place – room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel in New York City. Here’s the catch, he hasn’t been back to NYC since he left his wife after their daughter died – gasp.

Samuel L Jackson (the hotel manager) tries to talk him out of room 1408 saying that no one has lasted longer than an hour in the room but the writer will not be persuaded. Well the room is haunted or something and he starts seeing crazy things and even tries to kill himself … sorta. In the end he even sees his dead daughter who then dies again (this was the sad part). Then after his hour of hell the room goes back to normal and the phone rings and he is informed that he can either kill himself (noose conveniently at the ready in the bed room) or endure this torture forever! He chooses door number 3 and burns the room down … even though that may kill him too!

It doesn’t and he and his wife are reunited! Aw! She doesn’t really know what to think about his crazy story of room 1408 until, as they are packing, he plays his tape recorder from that night and she hears her dead daughter’s voice!

John Cusack was good – and he didn’t do a movie with his sister. I liked him in the “horror” movie realm.

Rating: * * *

1408

BOLT

Posted in Movie with tags , on April 3, 2009 by ldw

This is an animated movie about a dog who stars in his own TV show but he believes that everything in the show is real – including his super powers. Well, Bolt (John Travolta) thinks that his person Penny (Miley Cyrus) has really been kidnapped by Dr. Calico so he escapes his trailer to go save her. But he is accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York City! Now he has to cross the country to save Penny but he doesn’t know the way. Fortunately he captures a kitten named Mittens (Susie Essman) who Bolt believes is working with Dr. Calico. He and Mittens are joined by Rhino the hamster (Mark Walton) and travel back to Hollywood using a map of waffle restaurants. During this journey Bolt learns that he is not really a super dog but a TV actor. This is not a huge issue for Bolt because he quickly bounces back from this news and uses the rest of the journey home to learn what being a real dog is. Think Homeward Bound meets Buzz Lightyear with less drama or depression. *Spoiler Alert* In the end they all live happily ever after – after saving Penny in real life.

The animation was cute and fun with just enough darkness for the bad guys to show a difference without being too scary. The actors chosen for the voices were perfect. Cyrus, Travolta, and the others did a great job. It was entertaining for kids and I had a good time too.

It was a sweet movie and my 8 and 3 year old nieces loved it!

Rating: * * *

bolt

Eagle Eye

Posted in Movie with tags , , , on April 3, 2009 by ldw

In this movie Shia LaBouf and Michelle Monaghan star as two people who are being guided by cell phone calls to “stop” an act of terrorism on the United States – they just don’t know that’s what’s happening. Jerry Shaw (LaBouf) gets a phone call that tells him he’s been “activated” and that he must do exactly what the lady on the phone tells him. He meets up with Rachel Holloman (Monaghan) and they realize they are both getting these mysterious phone calls – except if Rachel doesn’t do what she’s told her son will die. They comply as best they can but eventually find out that the lady on the other side of the phone is actually a machine. They also figure out that the terrorist attack is being perpetrated by this machine against the President and all his cabinet members. So they decide to stop the machine and the bomb! In the end they succeed and end up together. Aw … love!

It was a good movie kind of The Net + iRobot. It wasn’t new but it wasn’t overly predictable either. The action was good and kept me involved with the movie. I also actually cared about the characters and what was going to happen to them. The cinematography was a little sketchy. Some of the action scenes were hard to follow because they weren’t extremely detailed. A lot of it was blurry. The actors were perfectly chosen for the characters. The directing was well done and over all the entire movie was good. I enjoyed it!

Rating: * * * *

eagle-eye