05 May 2009

Movie redux

We are caught up on our TV, after a spring of being behind by at least 3-4 episodes on all of our various addictions, to wit:

United States of Tara
Mad Men
Breaking Bad
Burn Notice
Ugly Betty
30 Rock
whatever I'm forgetting

We have thus begun renting movies, something that the AppleTV combined with the TiVo Amazon makes incredibly easy. Our feeling about movies is this: they are 2 hour (plus) commitments, they are singular entities, and thus if you dislike them, you've just wasted an evening, you have a bad taste in your mouth, and it's just not a Good Thing. We had a bad run of films 6 months or so ago, and so it seems that we are returning to the film genre with trepidation. We had mixed results.

To wit!

Rachel Getting Married: um, not for us. Perhaps the title would have warned us of this, what with the married bit, and what with our lack of love for the whole wedding process. But it has Rosemary DeWitt! We love her in Madmen and in Tara, right? And there were nominations for acting awards, and people were excited, so maybe it's not that thing. But it pretty much was that thing, in an artsy way: 2 hours of documentary-style filming of a wedding. With only ambient soundtrack, but of course the family is hooked into super-artsy musicy people, so they have a normal soundtrack to their lives of jazz musicians and string quartets anyway, which is utterly realistic. Problems with the film included the neo-liberal oh-so-wealthy yet hippie multiculti how many different musical dance styles can we pack into a wedding thing, the tragic narrative of drug addict/rehab/horrible family truth buried, the I love you I hate you sister/mother/father thing, and the filming that said in all caps: hey, look! here's great acting! here! look! great acting! So, no. Not for us.

Role Models: expectations not so high for this, although reviews were good, so we were up for some light entertainment. It delivers. Well-crafted, a modicum of stupid frat-boy jokes, but not too many, the deadpan Paul Rudd worked well, and the medieval battles were awesome. Typical comedic narrative, but does it well. Not trying too hard.

Zach and Miri Make a Porno: Also good, with Kevin Smith delivering again, better acting (or fewer bad actors) than some of his earlier efforts, and the development of the relationship between Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks was well crafted. 10-year high school reunion scene made us feel old. Probably because we are. Sigh. Didn't try to do more than it set out to do, and that was refreshing. Recommended.

State of Play (in the theater): Good remake of the excellent British series (that one starring our fave British actor, John Simm, and the woman with the best scottish accent known to man, Kelly Macdonald, along with Bill Nighy (can't go wrong) so we went in reminding ourselves that it couldn't be as awesome as that). Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren deliver. Why does Crowe have to be fat for the film? I don't understand that, except that perhaps they were going for "typical american" which means obese? Hm. Maybe he's just fat now. Seems odd. Rachel McAdams' eyes are a bit too doe-y, Affleck isn't quite believable as a Gulf War vet-now-representative. And he switches between Massachusetts accent at the beginning and a Pennsylvania and/or flat accent in the remaining 3/4ths of the film. Odd. The real star of the movie, though, are the locations. A love for DC's 1950s-70s architecture (I know, unbelievable, right?) shows through here: gorgeous shots of the Kennedy Center, Watergate Hotel, and then fun shots of hangouts like Ben's Chili Bowl. The movie is about the street-level work reporters do, and the locations underscore that. Well done.

Charlie Wilson's War: Why did this not get more press/acclaim/interest? Wonderful film, very interesting in relation to present day interests in Afghanistan without being heavy-handed about it, Tom Hanks is amazing. Aaron Sorkin screenplay (say no more). Rent it asap if you have not yet seen it. Provides insight into answers about why Washington can screw things up so badly, and also how politics works in general. Also: cool architecture in this one too.

We are back to watching Northern Exposure, catching up mid-4th season where we left off. Burn Notice new season starts early June--how I miss the voiceovers. And Dollhouse: getting very very good.

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