Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Few Movies...

In case you're looking for anything to see (or avoid), here are some brief write-ups of films I've seen in the last week...

 Shutter Island - 2010
Love the tone of this movie! The locations are great, some beautiful camera work, some outstanding performances (strong cameos!), and a solid thriller storyline. Sure there are a few holes and suspension of disbelief moments, but those were actually pretty easy for me to look past in the moment, and enjoy the film experience as a whole. Not quite The Shining, but along that path... I could easily compare the plot (and plot devices...) to other movies, but I think that would give away too many spoiler-ific details. Definitely worth checking out! 

Frozen - 2010
Essentially Open Water on a mountain.  Three kids gets stuck on a ski lift overnight -- hi jinx ensue. Audience has time to ponder: what would you do??  Fun stuff (though not for the faint of heart!) -- see it in a theater with a crowd if you can for maximum enjoyment. 

The Wolfman - 2010
Hopkins, Blunt and Weaving are fine, but del Toro is much more convincing as Fenster in The Usual Suspects than he is here with his vaguely American accent and wooden lack of charm. The setting and tone set at the start are cool, but the story doesn't hold together and violent gore is used as a substitute for any sense of foreboding or suspense. Too bad.  

The New World - 2005 
Terrence Malick's The New World is a very deliberately-paced, thoughtful meditation on life, love, sacrifice -- and the human place within the natural world. Of course, that summation pretty aptly describes all of Malick's films, and that is too simplistic. Indeed, during the course of the movie's 135-minute run time, so much is explored that at its close you feel both exhausted and sated. The film is rife with lingering shots of nature's beauty (including the very first and the very last) -- water, trees, birds, rain -- and these images and their corresponding sounds are a respite, a chance for us to consider what comes has come before and what is to come.

The usually hyper-kinetic Colin Farrell is reined in here and plays Captain John Smith with great care, and Q'Orianka Kilcher is wonderful. The end feels a bit abrupt, with some seemingly vital story points revealed in voice over and montage. But, after some thought, I realized that such a maneuver is perfectly in keeping with the rest of the movie. Through the use of his camera, his particular (though unhurried) edits, and his characters' internal monologues, Mr. Malick expertly guides us to contemplate what is important to the story he is telling and to let our preconceived notions go...

I, for one, cannot wait for The Tree of Life (his next movie with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn) this winter. 

Good Will Hunting - 1997
Matt Damon is pitch-perfect as Will Hunting, a brilliant though damaged young man from Southie.  Robin Williams is outstanding as Will's therapist.  The two men form an unlikely friendship and realize that each has something to learn from the other...  Instantly, one of my all-time favorites when I first saw it in '97, and it remains so today.  If you haven't see it (or haven't seen it in awhile), do yourself a favor and rent it right now!


  1. Hmm.... Chad and I will have to check out "New World" - we didn't give it a chance at first, but now we're thinking perhaps we should!

  2. well, you definitely have to be in the mood for it... I'll lend it to you if you'd like :)


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