Movies I've seen in 2011
- Jane Eyre
Also having seen the 1996 movie, I didn't remember that the story was so dark and gloomy; befits the landscape,
I suppose, with only the very end providing some uplifting thoughts. It is sort of a mystery why the otherwise content
and reticent Jane suddenly acquires oratorical skills when talking to Rochester; silent waters run deep, maybe.
Four fine actors go from having a polite if awkward discussion to full-throttle personal attacks in the space of an hour.
Comedy and drama get mixed into one, and these four bring it to life at its fullest. Jodie Foster is downright scary
in her intensity, and Christoph Waltz' glued-to-his-mobile character is somewhere between his roles in Inglourious Basterds
and Herr Lehmann. Entertainment at its best.
In the memorable words of R.E.M.: It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.
Gory doomsday plots may be all the rage, but Lars von Trier shows how the world can end in a much more stylish way.
It begins with a bout of melancholy at the most inopportune of moments -someone's own wedding-, and a couple of weeks
later it's all finished. A great cast is playing a good story to its max - enjoy to the end!
- Full Frontal
Very entertaining film-in-a-film about what supposedly really goes on in Hollwood, with high caliber actors.
Surprisingly, it's the somewhat smaller names (like David Hyde Pierce, Mary McCormack, Nicky Katt and Enrico Colantoni)
that provide most of the best bits.
- Funeral in Berlin
It's the espionage version of smoke and mirrors - side A is trying to put one over side B, while in reality side B is
putting one over side A. It's always a pleasure to see Michael Caine, and have some dry British humor along the way;
playing an agent in cold war Berlin he has plenty of opportunity to show that off.
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
When I read Le Carré's book a long time ago it seemed to be slow in getting to the point, and a bit convoluted
(maybe just a consequence of the spy subject, where nothing is straightforward). This 1965 film does a great job of
getting the plot across and showing how dirty it actually is, how everybody is used, and nobody gets away clean.
- Ice Age 3
OK, so I'm a little behind times with this one. In the first two films I mainly enjoyed the antics of acorn-hunting Scrat
and Sid the sloth which, of course, are out in full display again. But overall I thought it was too sappy, what with the mammooths
having a kid and Scrat falling in love. Plus, the dinosaur plot invites (unfavorable) comparisons to Jurassic Park.
- Coyote Ugly
According to Wikipedia, a review of this movie on askmen.com admitted that while "incredibly attractive" women "flaunt that fact"
in the film, "that's all there is"; that is spot on, and not much can usefully be added. The plot takes all the predictable turns
(and no surprising ones), the characters are not fleshed out all that deeply, and the acting is flat. It's not entirely without
entertaining moments, though.
Chuck Palahniuk's novels are ever ingenious, and this one -featuring the Second Coming of a sex addict who also cons people
out of money- is no exception. While this is no Fight Club it's dark, it's funny, it's outrageous, and the characters
are lovable in all their flawed ways. Well, maybe not the protagonist...
Filmed in 1972, the movie has a psychologist setting out to explore mysterious goings-on in a remote space station circling the
planet Solaris. He finds that there's a form of intelligence at work that materializes one's innermost thoughts and desires.
One is reminded of Sphere, except it's not about fears but positive thoughts - even if not entirely satisfying.
Now I'm curious to see Tarkovskiy's Stalker as well.
- The King's Speech
Ever being a fan of these British period films, I was looking forward to this one - the Oscar for the title role is well deserved.
In addition to the purely personal story, the film also provides a look at some of the historical context, like the rise of Nazism
in Germany and the abdication crisis in England. It's a great story well told. Long live the King!
- American Crude
A bachelor party where everybody is involved with everybody else, either romantically, sexually, or as partners or enemies in crime.
It's always a pleasure to see Ron Livingston and Jennifer Esposito. I was greatly entertained, although I suspect the movie
did not do well at the box office. Oh well, summer flicks are for sheer entertainment.
- A Few Days in September
This is a strange one. Frankly, I'm not sure what it's about. Superficially, it's about mysterious goings-on in the
days before 9/11, but not chiefly a crime or intelligence plot. Mostly it's about step siblings who didn't know about each
other's existence getting to know one another and falling in love. It's safe to say that Juliette Binoche does not handle guns
convincingly, whereas John Turturro is a natural playing a slightly psychotic hitman. I don't think I'll want to see it again.
- The Town
And another film set in Boston ("Town" in the title is Boston's Charlestown neighborhood) - love it! Ben Affleck last
prowled Boston in Good Will Hunting, but now he's on the other side of the river, and on the other side of the law.
Falling in love with one of his victims complicates matters, and after a grand shootout in the bowls of Fenway Park
his gang is done for, and only he can set out for the sunset. There's even hope that his girlfriend/ex-victim may join him.
What a guy! Entertaining, with lots of crime and punishment, neighborhood complications, and plenty of Bostonian backdrops.
- The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
I only now got around to watching the long-awaited sequel, but it wasn't worth the wait. What was fresh and original
in the first part now seems just warmed over and served up again. What kind of brother's duo supposedly working alone has
support by the FBI itself in the shape of the detective that chases them? And one thing's for sure: Julie Benz is no Willem Dafoe.
- Berlin Alexanderplatz - Die Geschichte Franz Biberkopfs
The first of several movie adaptations of Alfred Döblin's famous novel drives hard the point that social conditions
influence man's behavior, and that even well-intentioned folks need a helping hand in tough times. Made in 1931, the film gets
extra points for being shot on the original locations in Berlin when they still existed.