Thursday, January 24, 2008
at the movies: four things i highly recommend
Ironically, although I love movies it seems like I rarely get around to actually watching them.  A Netflix subscription has helped, but in general I'm still rather shoddy at keeping up with the cinematic world.  However, if there's one good thing to come of the writers' strike it's my gigantic increase in movie consumption, which became self-evident when the list of Oscar nominations was released and - lo and behold - I discovered I had already seen three of the five noms for Best Picture.  Even on a good year, my batting average is never that high.  

And so - seeing that I have this bloggity thing-a-ma-jig - I thought I'd tell ya about some of 'em. You don't mind, right?  Fantastic....

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Recommended for: people who enjoy improbable and spontaneous operatic singing, cannibalism, and heavy, heavy eye makeup.

Tim Burton+Johnny Depp+Stephen Sondheim=Right Up My Alley, so this was an obvious choice.  Although I wouldn't recommend it for people who blanketly claim to despise musicals, I would contend that Sweeney Todd makes the short list of "musicals for people who hate musicals."  Johnny Depp's vocals were surprisingly capable of the insanely difficult role, Burton's dark and dreary London was a perfect backdrop, and the boy who played Toby was amazing.  Sure, there were moments that fell a bit flat (Depp's rendition of "My Friends" immediately comes to mind), but it was a highly enjoyable movie, albeit not for the squeamish.

My Grade: B+

Recommended for: fans of The Great Gatsby, people who like gorgeous, sweeping and epic period pieces, and those who find Keira Knightley and James McAvoy terribly attractive (i.e. - people who aren't blind). 

Although I didn't love Atonement, I did like it quite a bit.  I couldn't help but compare this to Pride and Prejudice and in the shadow of that film Atonement felt like it had a bit less chemistry and heart, but it was excellent even still.  I don't particularly want to see it win Best Picture, but Joe Wright and Paul Webste sure do make some pretty movies together. (And by the way,  add the little girl who played Briony to the list of celebrities I'd like to fight.)

My Grade: A-

No Country for Old Men
Recommended for: fatalists, people who like don't mind the occasional bath in a pool of misery, and those who understand that some journeys don't always end the way we'd like them to.

I won't mince words, No Country... is a hard movie to watch.  It's violent, slow, and terribly oppressive; however, it's also very, very good.  Javier Bardem scared the living bejeezus out of me (which isn't an easy thing to do), I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and unlike the book, the film contained moments of unexpected humor.  Which was nice.  Kept me from slitting my wrists.  

My Grade: A

There Will Be Blood
Recommended for: fans of P.T. Anderson, Upton Sinclair, and scenes that start out funny but then take a terrible, terrible turn.

I'll just come out and say it - There Will Be Blood was brilliant. I saw it three days ago, and I still cannot get it out of my head.  Daniel Day-Lewis was predictably incredible, but Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) blew me away.  It was perfectly directed, the soundtrack thoroughly nerve-wracking, and the final act was equal parts terrifying, comical and bizarre.  I loved it.

My Grade: A+

And a Bonus DVD Rental Thrown in at the Last Minute For Kicks: Waitress
Recommended for: people who enjoy sweetness, light, and pies.

Everyone said I should see Waitress, but I kept ignoring them because it looked like such a easily dismissible romantic comedy, and I'm not generally drawn to that sort of thing.  Fortunately, I ignored my stubborn resistance and just rented it already, and I'm so glad I did because I absolutely adored this movie. In fact, it even made me break one of my New Year's Resolutions! (No, not the one about murdering people. The one about crying, silly.) If you haven't seen it yet, you really, really should.

My Grade: A

And tomorrow...Cloverfield.  Oh yes. It's on.



Blogger Gregg said...

I definitely relate to your comment about loving movies but never watching any...and it seems to me like you watch a bunch and a half more than I do.

I, apparently, am too busy not blogging lately to find time to watch movies.

You're review of No Country... made me very anxious to see it.

And I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that anything with Keri Russell in it can be good. Although I think Cheryl Hines totally rocks.

Blogger Mrs. White said...

I hope your "anxious" is an excited anxious rather than a leery one, because it's very, very good. It might even be a better overall movie than There Will Be Blood, but that's the one I saw most recently so it's still walking around with me, so to speak.

And I'm right there with you on Keri Russell, but even she was great in Waitress. 'Tis good.

Blogger Carrie said...

I'm curious- what do you think of Johnny Depp's Best Actor nomination? I was slightly surprised to see him on the list, but since I haven't seen the movie yet, I wouldn't know. I mean, when is Johnny Depp bad? But how do you feel about his performance versus someone like James McAvoy, whom lots of people are saying got snubbed? Just curious.

And if you liked Waitress, then I really, really think you should see Juno. Don't let one negative review turn you off. If you can handle the cutesiness of Waitress, you can definitely handle Juno, which I think is a better movie (and I'm picking this over a movie that has Nathan Fillion in it). I am disappointed, however, that Waitress didn't get any Oscar love. I guess it came out too early. But I would've at least liked to see a writing or directing nom for Shelley.

Blogger Mary said...

I am pathetic and haven't seen any of the Oscar picks. My husband and I just saw The Bucket List, it was really good, but partly we saw it just because we seriously couldn't remember what movie we'd seen last. It most likely was Ratatouille.

Oh and I gave up on The Abstinence Teacher. It sucked.

Blogger Gregg said...


Did I just write, "You're review...?"

I could plead until I'm blue in the face that I've known the difference between your/you're since I was like eight weeks old, never going to believe me now, are you?


(oh. my anxious is a good anxious.)

Blogger Mrs. White said...

Carrie, I don't think I even realized Johnny Depp got nominated. His performance was really good, but best performance of the year good? No. I have no problem with his nomination, but I'd be much happier if Daniel Day-Lewis won. And yes, I agree that McAvoy got snubbed.

And no worries, Gregg. I'm not exactly a spelling bee champion myself. :)

Blogger Nathan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger cornshake said...

D just finished reading "No Country..." so i HAVE to read it now b4 we see it. i too am sooo annoyed that Waitress didnt get a screenplay nod. Easily my fave movie of the yr. and i thought it was just b/c i'm a new mom that the waterworks were turned on. good to see you liked it too.

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