Saturday, April 11, 2009

Five Films

We like movies. A lot. It's something Cynthia and I both brought into our marriage. We don't go to the theaters as often as we used to, and we don't buy many movies, but we still probably rent 4-5 per month (man, I should really switch to Netflix again).

It's great when the two of us talk about films around others; Cynthia will mention (in reserved tones) the human nature and emotional aspects of the film, the morals and lessons, etc. and I will talk (usually with strong opinions) about the art direction and cinematography, the story and how it's played out. We're two very different people, but we both love cinema.

Presented here are five movies we saw this past month for the first time. All five have a different rating (1-5 stars) and strangely enough, Cynthia and I actually agree on how to rate them.

Seven Pounds - star

Ugh. Regrettably, I cannot give a review on the full movie because I didn't care to prolong the agony. After getting only 15 minutes in, I checked out the full synopsis on After reading how the ending of the movie went, I decided it wasn't worth my time. I watched about an hour total before heading to bed.

Dear Will Smith, I know you're trying to get awarded a golden man, but your strength does not lie in dramas. Please, please, go back to action films...or rapping. Sincerely, Everyone.

Alright, maybe Will Smith was decent enough. But the story? Stunk. As Cyn said, "for someone trying to be a noble hero, he sure was a selfish quitter".

Australia - starstar

These guys tried WAY too hard to get some awards. Australia could have been a great wasn't. Acting was standable but improperly directed. Nothing original was put into the film. The score was downright distracting. And a Wilhelm scream during WWII??? Where's the tact?

It seems like a comedy at first, then an epic, but altogether an unpolished train-wreck. Plus, the movie has at least three different endings. I thought the show was over half-way through the run time.

Moonstruck - starstarstar

The 80's classic Rom-edy that we somehow failed to see before now. Probably because of my great dislike for Nicholas Cage. Four main actors/actresses in this film - three were nominated for an Oscar (two won). Which one wasn't nominated? You guessed it.

This was a fun film. Lots of good moments. The whole ending of the movie (around the breakfast table) was perfection. If not for Nicholas Cage, this probably would have been an outstanding show. Still, the script was a little bare bones, but it was an enjoyable watch.

Fun with Dick and Jane - starstarstarstar

I rarely disagree with the aggregate opinion of Rotten Tomatoes. This is one of those times. They called it a '(a) muddled comedy...(that) never sustains a consistent tone.' It did have a consistent tone - a satisfying parodic view of suburban life. Hilarious show. So funny, we watched it two nights in a row. Thanks to Sheila for the recommendation.

I'm not much of a Jim Carrey fan, so it's a welcome surprise that TeĆ” Leoni is the one that really drags you into the flick. "Not my SpongeRoberto SquarePantalones!"

Doubt - starstarstarstarstar

What a refreshing movie. A flick with a simple yet effective story, short run-time, stellar acting, thought-provoking subject matter, and no scenes that I felt uncomfortable watching. It's rated PG-13 on the basis of subject matter, but it's a very mild film for adults.

There are four main actors/actresses. I'd say 95% of the film's dialogue came from those four characters. All four were nominated for Oscars this year...supremely well-acted.

The dialogue and action were sharp, effective, and symbolic.

I highly recommend this one. One of the 2008's bests.

The movie's not perfect though. It felt like the director and director of photography (well-respected Roger Deakins) were either asleep at the wheel or completely in disagreement. And though I give kudos to John Patrick Shanley for adapting his own play to the screen (getting an Oscar nod in the process) AND directing (he should stick to writing), it has too much the feeling of a stage play.

Disagree/agree with the reviews? Sound off in the comments section.


  1. I don't like Nicholas Cage either--why is he still around? Thanks for the reviews...we'll watch your 4 and 5 star recommendations.

  2. I used to be a movie watcher, but don't watch more than one a month these days...too many other things taking priority these days. But I'm glad people write reviews when they watch films as it keeps me from wasting my time. As I haven't seen any of these, thanks for the reviews. I appreciate it.

  3. You'd never seen Moonstruck before? I'm shocked, appalled, and offended you only gave it 3 stars. Okay, so the love story between Cher & Nicolas Cage (I mean, Loretta & Ronnie) doesn't completely draw me in, but the rest of it is so dang good that that just doesn't matter! It deserves 4 stars for any of the family dining scenes alone. And Olympia Dukakis is absolutely fabulous as the mother. That character & that actress together: it just doesn't get any better than that.

  4. Thanks for posting, Penelope. I was getting very tired of all the 'I totally agree' type comments. Intellectual challenge is in short supply on blogs.

    Honestly, the 3-rating had more to do with the flow of the post than the movie. Cyn and I were torn over rating it a 3 or 4 star film.

    The version we watched was edited for TV, so we picked up the DVD from the library and watched it yesterday. A lot of little scenes were taken out so it was nice to see the full film.

    The result? I liked it even less. It went from a near 4 star to a solid 3 star. You mentioned the major problem yourself: in a romance/romedy, the romance should pull you in to the movie. There would be more chemistry in this film if it were Cher falling in love with Cher. Nick Cage just didn't get his character - I honestly feel that I could have played (and understood) Ronnie just as well if not better...and that's not saying a lot.

    Olympia Dukakis is pretty good (yes, I said pretty good), but she does not the movie make. I find I like the character mostly because she's the only one that stays faithful and becomes the foundation of the family; doubt I would have liked the character otherwise.

    Could it be that you saw the movie early on in your development and it's just sentimental to you? There are several not-so-good movies that I like because I saw them at an early age....hmm...that wouldn't be too bad of a post!