What was the last movie you saw at the theaters?

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Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Finally got my unlimited cinema card, and went to see Match Point. I'm glad I didn't pay to see it, that's the best thing I can say about it.



The Chronicles Of Narnia, I thought it was just amazing
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Tristan and Isolde

Story of love and war in the British Isles after the fall of Rome.

This was one of those "almost" movies. It was almost there but not quite. The "not quite" IMO was mostly due to James Franco. He's tall, studly and pouts well but can he act? I'm not sure since he wasn't given much dialogue. Maybe there was a reason for that.

However the acting from female love interest, Sophia Miles as Isolde, was more than adequate. She had lots of dialogue and handled it well. If only Tristan had been her equal.

Rufus Sewell as Lord Marke, adoptive father of Tristan and third side of the love triangle, was very good too. Sewell usually plays the bad guy and does it well but this time he was subdued and sensitive and did that well also. The strong but quiet type.

To the story's credit, it didn't have the usual stereotypical characters (mostly among the bad guys.) For such an ancient tale, it was less formulaic than most of what is written today.

It just occurred to me what would make this movie really good...a young Joaquin Phoenix as Tristan. Maybe not as handsome as Franco or a heartthrob to the screamin teenies, but oh what a better movie it would have been!

Rating: B without Franco, C with him
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Saw The Producers for a second time last night.
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Little fish



Hugo Weaving stole the show
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Jarhead, but i'm definitely going to see King Kong tonight.
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Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2006 - Albert Brooks)

Albert Brooks is back in form. I love this guy so much. Check out THIS thread for much more.

GRADE: B+



The last movie I ventured out to see is King Kong. This movie was a masterpiece upon enormous porportions. The CGI of all the characters including the dinosaurs, the bugs, and Kong himself was beautifully orchestrated with the other human characters making it very realistic looking. The ability of Peter Jackson to shoot the majority of this film in New Zealand was also a great asset to this film. The beautiful backdrops of New Zealand made for the perfect pictures of the island where they captured Kong to bring him back to New York. The acting in my opinion was weakest of all the aspects of this film, but I wasn't expecting academy award winners here. I give King Kong a 9/10




Transamerica (2005 - Duncan Tucker)

Pretty darn good little road movie made very engaging by some excellent acting, most obviously Felicity Huffman who definitely earned herself an Oscar nomination here. Transamerica is the story of a man named Stanley who is one last operation away (the last operation) from becoming a woman. Now calling himself Sabrina, or Bree to her friends, he's all ready to make the change he's been yearning for for years. One complication has come up though, and it's not a medical one: turns out Bree may have fathered a child seventeen years ago in his life as Stanley that he never knew about. When Bree's therapist learns of this wrinkle she insists that Bree go and meet with this boy, since this is one part of Staney's life that cannot be surgically removed, before she'll sign off on the consent form for the operation. Reluctantly Bree flies from L.A. to NYC to bail the troubled boy out of jail and see if she can't make sure he's able to take care of himself. The boy, Toby (Kevin Zegers), is certainly troubled. Having run away from Kentucky after his mothers death, he has been scraping by on the streets of Manhattan as a male hustler.

What follows is a pretty standard road movie in terms of plotting, but elevated by the acting and two very interesting characters. There's a fine supporting cast too, including Burt Young, Fionnula Flanagan, Elizabeth Peña, Carrie Preston and the always wonderful Graham Greene, who I find to be one of the screen's most charming and instantly likeable presences. Zegers is good as the troubled Toby, but this is Felicity Huffman's movie all the way. I've been in love with her since "Sports Night" (that William H. Macy is one lucky dude), and despite not caring much for "Desperate Housewives" I am happy for its success if only because it thrusts Felicty into the bright spotlight where she belongs. Transamerica does that and more for her film career. In her first starring role she simply knocks it out of the park as the conflicted, hormone-filled Bree who is forced to try and guide somebody else's life when she's had nothing but trouble and friction in guiding her own. And talk about a role that strips away all vanity...and straps on a pecker!

Felicity's performance alone makes the movie worth seeing, but it's also a nicely made road movie and character piece that has strengths beyond the seldom examined transgender issue.

GRADE: B+



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
A Cock and Bull Story, at 11 last night...probably the latest cinema screening I've been to...it's nice to have a cinema within walking distance. Much better late at night, no queues, no crowds, almost empty screen.



Just Friends - I honestly don't know why I went to see this......



the new world....beautifully filmed, lovely music, and faithfully told, with a few exceptions here and there, but much better than disney's version...

very slow moving, but what can you expect from terence malik....



Put me in your pocket...
Hoodwinked ~ Fun family fare. The animation wasn't that great, but the story made up for it. And, "Schnitzel" is my new favorite word.



Welcome to the human race...
King Kong

Not as much fun as the 1933 version but still fairly entertaining. Why did it have to be so fricking long?
6/10
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The New World (2005 - Terrence Malick)

Terence Malick is a director you either get or you don't. Either you find his cinematic storytelling compelling to the point of breathtaking or you find it boring to the point of snoring. His latest movie - his fourth - is even more so going to divide audiences into one camp or the other. I happen to love Malick, and I don't think any fan of his work will be disappointed with The New World. Still, I'd have to rank it fourth of his work thus far. After only one viewing anyway. But that's also like ranking Beethoven symphonies.

In The New World Malick tackles the Seventeenth Century story of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia. But Malick is a filmmaker who isn't overly concerned with history in the grandest sense. The physical details recreated seem incredibly authentic, showing the dirty, small little fort in a bit of swampland as it must have been in 1607. But when it comes to the details of people, liberties are taken. These are along the same lines of liberties that have been taken over the last four hundred years as there has built a sort of myth around the names Captain John Smith and the young Powhatan princess Pocahontus, the native pleading with her chieftan father to spare his life and the romantic love affair that followed. Malick chooses to retell the myth...though he does it very much on his own terms. Colin Farrell is Smith and fifteen-year-old Q'Orianka Kilcher is Pocahontus. She does save him from execution that first year in the New World, and they do fall in love. But this is no Disney cartoon, and the beats and tenor of this legend are not the ones you may be used to. After Smith returns to Jamestown and the colonists manage (just barely) to survive the winter and hold off the natives long enough for more English to return in the spring in numbers big enough to truly make their presence and canons the power in the region, Smith leaves. The despondent and outcast Pocahontus eventually agrees to marry another of the settlers, John Rolfe (Christian Bale), though she never stops loving Smith in her heart.

If that sounds like the makings for a steamy, sweeping epic soap opera, you must not be at all familiar with the films of Terence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line). The passion between Smith and Pocahontus is shown, to be sure, though without hardly any physical contact, and certainly no nudity or anything overtly sexual in the Hollywood sense. The love triangle between Pocahontus, Smith and Rolfe is painful and tragic, but without the two men even catching a glimpse of the other, much less pointed words and declarations of love or a dramatic duel with pistols or sabres. In fact for a two-hour and thirty-minute film, those unaccustomed to Malick may be surprised at how little dialogue there actually is. But the film speaks volumes. While they may not speak aloud to each other very often, we are privy to the thoughs of all three principle characters in voice over. And of course most importantly there are the visuals from Terry and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Sleepy Hollow, Y tu Mamá También). James Horner's score is also wonderful, especially the last crescendoing measures that end the movie and gave me chills.



The larger and more constant Malick themes of the natural world and how man is both juxtaposed and in harmony with it are on full display in The New World. Malick is a cinematic poet, which is really the key point of audience division. If you go into Terry's films expecting traditional narrative you will likely be frustrated, confused and bored by the images, no matter how beautiful. But if you open yourself up to his unique brand of storytelling, these are momentously engaging and emotionally moving films. Like The Thin Red Line some may wonder why some of the background characters seem to move in and out of the spotlight, or are thrust there for only one scene never to emerge again? The timeline of the editing can be confusing in the traditional linear sense, and your brain or the person next to you may be asking how did he get there, or what happened in between this scene and the last? Malick's narratives aren't concerned with aiming at those types of details for two and half hours, he's going after bigger game. And this is where you either do or don't go along with him on his poetic journeys. I definitely went with him to The New World, and can't wait to return.

GRADE: A-



And for the record, this is how I'd grade Malick's filmography....

The Thin Red Line (1998)
GRADE: A+
Days of Heaven (1978)
GRADE: A
Badlands (1973)
GRADE: A-
The New World (2005)
GRADE: A-




Match Point (2005 - Woody Allen)

First let me say right off the opening serve I am not much of a Woody Allen fan. I can intellectually appreciate some of his stuff, have little use for much of it, despise a handful but just plain adore a few of his movies. In the past twenty years I have adored exactly two: Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Happily for me, Match Point in some key ways is very similar to both of those flicks.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, thankfully not stuck doing a Woody Allen impersonation as a surrogate for him, stars as Chris Wilton, a former tour tennis player who never seemed to get the right breaks of luck on the court when he was a player, so he couldn't quite compete with the top players in the world. Not to his satisfaction anyway. He's bounced around as a tennis pro at posh private clubs here and there, and as the movie opens he has taken a new position in London. There he meets the affable and easygoing Tom (Matthew Goode), who invites him on a couple of his wealthy family's outings. They are all charmed by the tennis pro, especially Tom's sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer). They fall into an easy relationship that, while not exactly passionate, is certainly comfortable and brings opportunities to Chris he's never know. Things might have continued along that track uneventfully except that he also meets Tom's finace Nola (Scarlett Johansson), an American wannabe actress who immediately interests him. To his peril.

That's the basic set-up, and if you think from that description and whatever impression you've gained from the trailer or TV ads that this is going to be a soap opera about the complications of love, lust and fate....you're only partially correct. First of all, Woody doesn't play any of this for laughs. It's probably the "straightest" movie he's ever made, and almost entirely (and intentionally) humorless. Rhys-Meyers has no comic neuroses or asides to the camera and the like, Johansson is not an exotic personality, the rich family both may be marrying into is not quirky or eccentirc. Everybody's cards, including writer/director Allen's, are played very close to the chest and layed down very conservatively. I dare say if you knew nothing about the movie going in and missed the title cards you might not even know it was a Woody Allen movie at all. But the Wood-man has one joker up his sleeve, and I think it rivals the best of his plotted punchlines (my favorite still being Bullets Over Broadway). The last twenty minutes hold the only two real laugh-out-loud moments, and they are played by a master. The punchline(s) is one of delicious irony, and layered in so perfectly and so satisfactorally that I barely minded that the set-up was a tad too long. The pay-off is most definitely worth the trip there.

Don't worry about whether or not you like, love or loathe Woody Allen's body of work, just go in for a damn gratifying and ultimately quite entertaining movie. And for goodness sake, don't walk into it late.


GRADE: B+