It’s been a while since I updated my Movie Journal so here you go with some quick recaps of what I’ve watched in the last month and a half or so.
8/17 â€“ Sin City: A wonderfully violent movie that has such striking visuals itâ€™s not even funny. The performances by Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke are outstanding, not to mention Elijah Wood. If he wants to break out of the typecasting that he and the rest of the Lord of the Rings cast might be subject to it would be wise for he and them to take more roles like this. And the costumes on Jessica Alba, Britney Murphy and Rosario Dawson really are things of wonder. Iâ€™m serious, theyâ€™re works of art. I want to meet the costume designer and just give him or her a big hug. That aside itâ€™s a great movie and I canâ€™t wait for the directors cut DVD thatâ€™s on the way soon. (MMM column here.)
8/24 â€“ Coupling, Season 2: More sex-filled goodness from across the pond as Steve and Susan get more serious and the others bounce around their unfocused lives. Good stuff.
8/31 â€“ Off the Map: Good flick. Great performances by Jim True and Joan Allen. Every bit as good as I was expecting and then some. Too often these types of movies that deal with out-of-the-mainstream people veer into quirky but this one keeps the tone serious and never presents anything or anybody as caricatures. I really enjoyed it. (MMM column here.)
9/2 â€“ Angel, Season 1: My brother-in-law graciously lent me his copies of the first three seasons of this Buffy spin-off and Iâ€™m slowly working my way through them. This first season has its uneven moments but is at its best when it sets up the mythology of the series. Thatâ€™s especially true in the episodes where Angel and the gang begin dealing with Wolfram & Hart, attorneys from hell.
9/6 â€“ Coupling, Season 3: This season not only are Susan and Steve moving forward with their relationship but Patrick and Sally are increasingly having to deal with their feelings for each other. Seeing the unrepentant playboy Patrick slowly come to terms with the feelings even he didnâ€™t know he had is great fun.
9/7 â€“ Coupling, Season 4: The absence of Jeff is keenly felt this time around. His replacement, Oliver, just canâ€™t match him as the much-needed comic foil of the group. Oliverâ€™s just too earnest and his relationship with Jane feels forced, like the writers felt they really had to push her together with him. Iâ€™m just glad they havenâ€™t done a fifth season, since the addition of the baby born to Susan at the end of this one would have completely ruined the dynamic.
9/8 â€“ Oceanâ€™s Twelve: Is it as good as the first one? No, but then again I donâ€™t really think it was meant to be. They had to know there was no way to top the attitude of 11 so instead of trying they just set out to try again at having some fun while shooting a movie. No, Steven Soderberg didnâ€™t sell out his artistic soul. Heâ€™s just taking a break from being all serious. Everyone occasionally likes low-brow entertainment and when itâ€™s done as well and as slickly as this thatâ€™s fine by me. (MMM column here.)
9/13 â€“ My First Mister: Good flick with Leelee Sobieski and Albert Brooks. Nothing remarkable but pretty good. Brooks gives an above average performance right up until the last third of the movie, but thatâ€™s the fault of the script not Brooks.
9/14 â€“ Ikuru: Itâ€™s been too long since I dived into Kurosawaâ€™s world. A remarkable story of a mid-level government functionary who one day, when heâ€™s presented with his own mortality, discovers heâ€™s capable of doing extraordinary things. Incredibly well written, shot and acted, itâ€™s a masterpiece. Thereâ€™s nothing more I can say.
9/15 â€“ Hitchhikerâ€™s Guide to the Galaxy: What a disappointment. There are some good bits, but they all involve the narrator and not the actors. Other than that there are too many Vogons, not enough laughs and altogether too much of the wrong sort of characterizations of both Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox. Martin Freeman does what he can with Arthur Dent but itâ€™s a thankless role in anyoneâ€™s hands. Ford and Zaphod, thoughâ€¦well, I was just disappointed. Actually one of my favorite bits was Bill Nighly as Slartibartfast. Unfortunately by the time they got to his part of the story the movie only had about 25 minutes left and they really fucked up everything from that point on. This book, and all subsequent ones, really should be 3-4 hour Lord of the Rings type epics, not less than 2 hour toss-offs. (MMM column here.)
9/21 â€“ Crash: Good movie, but very disturbing. I think it might have made some its points a bit too strongly but overall I thought it was well above average. Almost uniform in terms of strong performances, even if most of them strictly involved emoting for long periods of time. Still, I liked the back-and-forth nature of watching the stories unwind.
9/21 â€“ Angel, Season 2: Now hereâ€™s where the show really kicked into gear. Wolfram & Hart penetrate every aspect of this season, even the season-ending trip to Pylea and thatâ€™s a good thing. The production values are better and it just seems as if everyone involved has found the key to their characters and the new settings they find themselves in. Canâ€™t wait to get into season number three.
9/22 â€“ Lost in America: As big a fan as I am of Albert Brooks there are a good number of his movies I havenâ€™t seen. Cross this one off that list. Brooks plays, well, the same character he does in most other films, with Airplaneâ€™s Julie Hagerty as his wife. The two drop out of society and basically ruin their lives and their careers in pursuit of a few adventures in this very funny comedy.