Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Talkin' Movies.

Flying Air France helped me to catch up with a few movies I'd either missed or that were not released in our corner of Belgium.  I love seat-back screens, because if I can't sleep on the plane, I can watch whatever I want.  And if my choice happens to suck, I can change to something else :)  They are also wonderful as you can press pause to go to the loo, or to speak with someone.  I should compliment Air France on the large and varied selection of movies they had on offer.  It was fab, and I must say the selection outdid British Airways (who also had seat-back screens last time I flew with them.)  There were even video-games on offer on our flight, which I did not play but which boyfriend took advantage of and seemed to enjoy.  No, Air France didn't pay me to say this (but while I'm at it I'll also mention their food was better than BA, and the ticket was cheaper too!)

Brief movie reviews:

Where the Wild Things Are - I was all ready to hate this movie, since I remember the book fondly and really wondered if anyone could capture the essence of it on film.  But Spike Jonze did it!  If you haven't read the book, you should visit a bookstore and take a few minutes with it.  If you like the book, know that the movie doesn't try to BE the book, but is absolutely an appropriate attachment/cinematic version of the work.  I discussed the film with my sister upon landing in Toronto (she was also a WTWTA fan, and was ready to hate the film too,) and she as well said that it was such a pleasant and beautiful surprise to watch!  James Gandolfini's voice-work in this is also very strong, and a bit of a departure from what I know of his other work.  Sweet little picture.  (view trailer)

The September Issue - Anna Wintour, Editor-In-Chief of Vogue & one of the most powerful women in the Fashion Industry, is followed around during the creation of the largest Vogue issue ever.  We get to know some of the other key players in Vogue as well, notably Anna's other hand, Grace Coddington (responsible for some of Vogue's most beautiful photo-shoots.)  This film is not really about fashion (though there are some great insights into how the industry moves,) rather it shows why Vogue has so much influence, and how it has come to be this way.  Hint: Anna + Grace = dynamic duo (even if they sometimes seem to be reluctant about the duo part.)  (view trailer)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - This computer-animated movie was very enjoyable.  Funny, fantastic, and family-oriented without moving into schlock-territory.  I passed this one up at the cinemas during the summer, (the previews just didn't engage me,) but now I'm glad to have seen it, as it was a funky, fun little ride.  Who doesn't like a story about a geeky kid wannabe-inventor who grows up to be a geeky adult wannabe-inventor that figures out how to make it rain food?  (view trailer)

This is It - I started watching this, thinking that maybe there would be something in it worth sticking around for.  Then after about 20 minutes, I began fast-forwarding and watching 2 minute chunks to see if it was anything other than an "oh my god, let's watch Michael Jackson rehearse for a show he never got to put on" love-in.  If there is cinematic gold in this, I did not find it, and gave up after giving over a good 35-40 minutes of my time to this film.  I found it boring, and so that was it for "This is It".  Off to another film I went.  (view trailer)

Lagerfeld Confidential - Not all fashion-related documentaries are created equal.  The problem with this one is that the film-maker seems to revere, and at the same time fear Karl Lagerfeld.  A fanboy with a camera and a few questions.  Thankfully this film is not feature-length, because the pacing drags.  There is too much time spent on pseudo-artistic shots that contain little meaning.  It is worth it however, to hear Lagerfeld discuss his mother.  (view trailer)

GI Joe - What can I say, I grew up when this cartoon was on TV, so I was mildly interested in seeing the movie.  I watched this when my brain was reeling from the effects of strepto-plague on the plane back from Toronto, and suitably it was not terribly mentally challenging.  If you have not seen the cartoon, you will still get what's going on, but if you have seen the cartoon, you will 'get it' more, since you know what bigger things are to come.  Things blow up, and the background stories are laid for a (hopefully more interesting) sequel.  The acting is well done in that it captures the essence of many the cartoon-characters very well, however Sienna Miller doesn't quite get the Baroness right, according to my recollections of the cartoon.  Let's hope that this was because the Baroness becomes more of the hardened and vindictive person I remember due to something that should happen right around the beginning of the sequel, (since I don't feel like watching a watered-down Baroness.)  (view trailer)

Public Enemies - Watched this one at home recently.  It is a good little gangster-flick, but nothing epic, and not even terribly profound.  Kind of a waste of a great character actor like Johnny Depp.  After seeing it, I was glad I passed it up while it was in the cinemas here.  (That, and it's a crime to watch Johnny Depp dubbed into French.)  (view trailer)

Into the Wild - This picture is great.  I will say that some people I know were disturbed by it because it's not really the happiest story in the world, and might be a little more jarring for some simply because of the ideas the lead character had, but you know what?  I think those people are wussies.  This is not really a sad story, rather one that is bittersweet.  Sean Penn directed the picture, and I believe I may be looking out for more of his directorial work because the film is very well done; both visually and emotionally beautiful.  The acting is excellent, earthy, and believable.  I discovered here that Kristen whatsherface (who stars in the Twilight vampire-y films and who I had no interest in seeing on film whatsoever,) actually can kind of act (and not come across emotionally as a sheet of plywood)... who knew?    If you have not read Thoreau, you may find you want to after this film.  If you have, you may find you get a little extra out of the film.  This is one everyone should see.  (view trailer)

And there you go.  Hope this steers you toward a little cinematic enjoyment.

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