Movie Quick Hits
With the winter school break and the time that goes with it, I have actually been able to watch some movies these days. Some of these are new, and some are older films. With the newer films, check the drop down box above for Chris' take.
BEYOND THE SEA: I have to agree with much of what Chris said, except with much added negativity. Yes, Spacey can sing, and sing well, but that was almost all this film had going for it. Almost every scene was cliche, and usually very boring. So, okay, here's the scene where he and his wife fight. Here's the scene where they ignore their child. Here's the scene where he stands up for civil rights. Here's the scene where he's very comfortable on stage. And, oh god no, here's the scene where he's a burned out hippy. Even the dance scenes seemed cliched, to the point of being horribly painful.
The worst part about the script is that most of the negative story lines were never resolved. Did he ever get around to fully supporting his wife's acting career? Was he forever distant from his son, or did he grow to be a better father? I can only assume that he never did, which only makes me feel more distant from the film, and from the man. I don't understand why Spacey was so captivated by his life that he spent his money and time making a film about him.
Finally, I don't feel that the thing with the kid worked at all, and I'm still not sure of what his role was. They gave his an aura of wisdom, and it fell flat. And what was the deal with that watch that the kid had? The symbolism is lost on me. This movie is best left for older folks who already know Bobby Darin and remember and love his music, not for smartass twentysomethings who would probably be more comfortable with a violent movie. Speaking of violence...
THE KILLER: Boy, is this a good movie. John Woo at his Hong Kong best is a sight to behold. I saw it years ago, and I enjoyed it. Not as good as Hardboiled, another John Woo's Hong Kong gun classic, but still an exciting film. Sadly, he hasn't been so good recently, and I'm afraid that this could soon be the case with the makers of...
THE LIFE AQUATIC: Two and a half hours is way too long for this film. It's whimsical and fun, like Rushmore, and it's certainly better than most everything else that Hollywood puts out there. But it's not a good sign when you leave a film thinking "what exactly was it I didn't like about that film?" I'm still not sure, but this is the closest I feel I can come - the film didn't have much heart. In Rushmore, I cared about the main character, and I wanted him to make his mistakes and grow up and become a better man. In this film, when one of the primary characters died, I didn't care. And so, it becomes a whimsical film, but not one that touches your soul like great art should.
I think that Wes Anderson may need to move onto a new style. It felt like he was trying to make one of his other movies. You can understand this instinct, as they were popular and very good, but an artist needs to develop or he becomes stale. This film was stale. A good stale, like stale pizza, but still stale.
SECRETARY: A good film from a few years ago. About a Dominant/Submissive relationship. Great performances, interesting story. Worth seeing if you don't mind, or actively enjoy, this sort of sexual thing. I think it gives some interesting insights into the kind of woman who cuts herself, of which I've known a few.
ROMEO MUST DIE: Decent Kung Fu. And some nice shootouts. One of my girlfriend's favorites. Something of a chick flick. Don't go out of your way for it, but it's not bad to watch for some fun.
MEAN GIRLS: I was so afraid this was going to be a chick flick, but it wasn't at all. It's all about how women can be mean, crazy, and cliquish, and how this one girl deals with it. Simply comedic gold. The comic timing by the gay guy in particular was outstanding. If you're wanting a good laugh, this is a great way to go.
Hmm, I think that's it. I hope to see some more this weekend.