Friday, January 02, 2009

The week in movies.

Starting on Monday, I have seen, with either the historian or one or another of my daughters, the following:
  • I've Loved You So Long
  • Seven Pounds
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Marley & Me
  • Doubt
Tomorrow, we're going to see The Reader.  I might also try to squeeze in a viewing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, about which the historian's main view is that it appears to be long  (Me: "You know, David Fincher directed it!  Who directed . . . " Historian: "Fight Club. Zodiac."  Me: "So, you think you want to see it with me?"  Historian:  "Seems kind of long to me.").

Do not read the following if you don't want to know certain facts about the movies under discussion:

1.  I've Loved You So Long is marred only by a slight letdown in the final revelation which seems a little improbable.  The performances are all wonderful.  I loved this film.

2.  Seven Pounds is ridiculous.  I never mind seeing Will Smith, and the only reason he should be blamed for what is wrong with this movie, which is almost everything, is that he agreed to make it.  I'm going to tell you that his character dies in the most absurd way I have ever seen in the movies.  Rosario Dawson is lovely and adorable, however, so you can figure that into the equation in whatever way you do that kind of math.  College daughter and I saw this for her birthday, and we had a perfectly fine time at it, nonsense and all.

3.  Frost/Nixon:  The historian and I fear that, in order for this film to work as a meditation on the power of spectacle in politics, people need to remember more about Watergate than they probably do.  Because this film does not give a tutorial on Watergate.  How you feel about the way Frank Langella represents Nixon depends, I think, on how much knowledge you bring to the film.  However, we both agreed that the film was fascinating, engaging, very entertaining, and provocative.  

4.  Marley & Me:  I resisted seeing this film and then my daughter the makeup artist persuaded me.  I cried so much I  hurt myself (which is what college daughter said about another movie).  It's possible I may have brought to the viewing a certain sorrow about the loss of a dog.  If this is you, be careful, or you may also cry yourself sick at the ending of this movie.  Alan Arkin has a part in this movie that was quite wonderful and hilarious.  Also, great dog.

5.  Doubt:  This is another film that invited discussion afterward.  Thrilling--possibly slightly hammy, but thrilling nonetheless--performances, and a provocative argument that cuts a lot of ways.  I am currently considering a proposition that perhaps the two dilemmas of the film don't quite dovetail--the very specific question of doubt about the actions of the priest, along with the larger question of whether a the purpose of a church or system of belief is to erase all doubt or to provide a community of people who keep each other company in a near-permanent state of being lost.  Even so, this was a pretty riveting film and there was plenty to enjoy about it.

I am currently awaiting the arrival of The Class, Waltz with Bashir, Revolutionary Road, Che, The Wrestler, and Wendy and Lucy.   I also hope that Adventureland is as awesome as it appears it might be.


  1. Benjamin Button is a long movie, but was a perfect movie for a 3 month old baby..nice and quiet with lots of narrating dialogue. So, of course we enjoyed it!

  2. The only of your movies--seen or planned--that I have seen is Benjamin Button and while the story began with a rather magical note, it ended in quite a pedestrian way.

  3. I need more about this Marley U Me. It can't be good, can it?

  4. I saw the original, Doubt as a play at the Pioneer theatre--quite engrossing; looking forward to reimagining the story through Hoffman and Streep.

  5. I want to see everything! And Marley & Me was good for what it was, and we could take Son, so that was good too. I'm always very envious of your movie watching!

  6. We love the movie reviews you provide!

    And Jack and I cried to pain also at Marley & Me.

    I've often thought that when I'm in charge, dogs will never get old. But hell, neither would I...



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