I've watched a few movies since the last movie post. First, there are the DVDs. I f.i.n.a.l.l.y watched Flags of Our Fathers. It had plenty of violence (and some of it pretty graphic), but it was a good story. Ryan Phillipe played one of the guys that raised the flag at Iwo Jima. He and some of the other dudes toured the country re-enacting the event to sell war bonds. It was a good movie, but I don't like watching war footage - whether it is real or not.
Hoodwinked is a cute, animated film that gives a modern twist to the back story of Little Red Riding Hood. Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close and Jim Belushi provided some of the voices.
I had been waiting for Away from Her to come out in video since it was playing at the Angelika in Dallas. Julie Christie, Olympia Dukakis and Gordon Pinsent star in this movie about a long-time married couple who are separated when the wife is stricken with Alzheimer's and chooses to live in a nursing facility. It was very good...great story and well acted.
When I first heard the title of this next movie, I really didn't think too much about it. Sometimes, I try to guess what a movie is about by the title of the movie. 51 Birch Street is a documentary film in which a filmmaker documents his own family. His mother dies unexpectedly and three months later, his father reconnects with a former secretary and later plans to marry her. The son struggles to reconcile his parents' seemingly good relationship with the details in his mother's diary. It was very, very good.
Another movie I had been waiting to watch on video is The Lives of Others. This movie is set in the 1980's prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. A writer in East Germany comes under surveillance by an officer in the East German Secret Police, or Stasi. A superior officer (who is trying to steal the writer's girlfriend) is interested in getting information that might be used against the writer. It turned out to be very good.
I love Cate Blanchett, and she did not disappoint in The Good German, with George Clooney and Tobey McGuire. This movie is set in post-war Berlin. Clooney plays a war correspondent who returns to Berlin and runs into his former lover (Blanchett). She is now a woman with some things to hide, and she wants to get as far away from Berlin as possible. It was good, but I'll bet the book was better.
Yet another WWII Nazi movie, The Black Book is about a Jewish woman living in Holland during the time of German occupation. It is based on a true story. She watches her family and some other people get killed by the Germans when they were on what they thought was a safe passage out of harms way. She narrowly escaped by diving into the water and getting away. She then goes on to be a spy to help the Dutch Resistance. It was good, but I think I need to step away from the WWII movies for a while. They can be quite depressing.
Jim wanted to watch We Are Marshall. This movie is based on the true story about the tragedy that befell the football team of Huntington, WV's Marshall University. In 1970, most of the team, coaching and university staff, as well as some athletic boosters died when the plane carrying them back from a game crashed. Matthew McConaughey portrays the coach brought in to reorganize a team, and Matthew Fox plays one of the surviving coaches. It was a good movie.
Finally, I wanted to watch Elizabeth again to remember what had happened, because Elizabeth - The Golden Age is coming out later this month. Cate Blanchett, who was incredible in this movie, will reprise her role as the famous monarch. Geoffrey Rush was great and will also be in the new movie. Excellent film...although a little gory and dark in parts.
I watched these movies at the theater:
3:10 to Yuma - So, I am not really a fan of westerns. I don't like the "shoot-em-up" action. Lately, Hollywood has really gone overboard on the graphic violence. It's rather macabre, if you ask me, but I digress. This movie was moderately violent, and despite being a western, it was pretty dang good. It is always interesting to watch Russell Crowe. The man is a gifted actor. He has such a range. Then, there's Christian Bale. The first movie I watched with him was "American Psycho." I really did not like his character at all, and from then on, it was hard to look past that. I had a hard time separating the IRL (in real life) Christian Bale from that character...despite the fact that I don't know Christian Bale IRL. I've seen him in several movies since then, and I have to say, he's good. I think he's rather underrated in Hollywood. Anyway, I really liked this movie about a bank robber (Crowe) and the efforts to bring him to justice. It's a remake of a 1957 classic.
2 Days in Paris - I really wanted to like this movie. I like Julie Delpy, except in the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset movies. I didn't like the dialogue that was trying to be all spontaneously conversational and, in reality, sounded self-aware and forced. Anyway, this new movie is about a French woman who now lives in New York. She and her boyfriend are returning home from Vienna, when they stop over in Paris for two days. She shows him the town and he gets glimpses of her past life. There were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, but overall, I was not impressed.
Eastern Promises - despite the good performances by Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts, this movie was just okay, and graphically violent. The first scene should have tipped me off. Yuck! There was an article where the director boasted that the movie had only three scenes of violence. I think it was actually four, but none-the-less they were disgusting. Viggo plays a Russian mobster. Naomi plays a midwife who attends to a teenager that dies after her placenta abrupted. The girl kept a diary and in it, there is plenty of incriminating information. The movie is getting good buzz, but it just didn't send me.
Gotta dash now....Break over...Gotta get back to the mess that is my house right now. The flooring people did not finish yesterday and had to come back this morning. (Lovely.) Actually, they did a good job. I am happy. Now, I am trying to get everything put back in order.