Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Film Frenzy

Lately, I've been on a movie watching kick. Like novels, it seems like I'm always behind, that there aren't enough hours in the day to see every film when it comes out. So forgive me if some are a bit old, but if your like me and missed them in the theaters, there are a few worth renting. Disclaimer: I have a wide range of movie tastes often including sappy, cheesy, predictable, it's-been-done-before flicks...and I'm not ashamed of it!
  • Maybe it's just because I'm a swimmer or that I love sports movies, but Pride was definitely two hours well spent. Based on a true story, Terrence Howard plays a former collegiate swimmer who has battled racism at every meet despite his unbeatable talent. Now out of work, he takes a job from the employment agency to clean out a park district that the city has decided to shut down. But instead of cleaning it out, he cleans it up, taking in the local kids and teaching them how to swim. The plot is somewhat predictable, but the acting is so terrific and the story is so uplifting that you won't care. At least I didn't.

  • I know I'm probably the last person to see Blood Diamond, but if I'm not, you must head out to Blockbuster right now and pick it up. I'll save the summary and say that seldom do movies make my heart race the way this film did. It has all the things that I love about books: flawed characters that you learn to love and that you watch change throughout the story, suspense that comes from more than just gun fights and exploding cars (although there was a lot of that too), and strong social commentary that is done in such a way, you don't feel like you're being preached to. The acting was fantastic and the special effects made me wish I saw it on the big screen.

  • After that, I needed something a little lighter, so I got Stomp The Yard. I love dance movies especially when they have no plot (when I was younger I'd watch Breakin' all the time). This was a little different, focusing on Stepping in Black fraternities and sororities, but it definitely lived up to my expectations. Again, the plot is predictable and a little weak, the characters are only slightly developed, but the dance moves are great and so is the soundtrack, which is really all I'm expecting from these types of movies.

  • If you want a great thriller, I'd pick up Shooter, especially if you're a fan of Training Day. Mark Wahlberg plays an ex-Marine scout sniper who gets framed for the attempted assassination of the president. Lots of great explosions, cool gadgets, and lots of interesting plot twists. Kind of reminds me of a Gayle Lynds book, on screen.

  • I liked the book, so I picked up Fast Food Nation. The film itself was pretty bad, not a very good adaptation. But what was striking to me was how images as opposed to words can have a more powerful affect. When I read the book, of course I found it a little disturbing and haven't eaten McDonald's since, but when I watched the movie, when I saw the cows being slaughtered and gutted and skinned, I haven't touched red meat since. Guess my imagination isn't as vivid as the director's.

  • Last night it was back to Africa for The Last King of Scotland. Not the most feel good movie and definitely enough gruesome violence to make me close my eyes. But, the actors did an amazing job, especially Forest Whitaker who portrayed Idi Amin, and the story was so riveting, the two hours flew by in what seemed like seconds.
Finally, there were two movies that I have labeled "must-miss". First Daddy's Little Girls. The first 30 minutes were promising; I was getting into the characters, the dialogue was fresh, there were some interesting conflicts arising. But as the movie continued, it started to fall apart. The plot was loose and unresolved and the ending couldn't be described as anything but cheesy. Save your 3 bucks and your 2 hours. Next was Night at the Museum. I know, I should have expected it to be bad. But sometimes, I like dumb movies. Dumb movies can be really funny. And I thought the premise was kind of cool: museum exhibits come to life. But there weren't any laughs except at the plot attempts and corny dialogue.

So I guess the cat's outta the bag: I have questionable tastes in movies. Guess this is why I couldn't be a film critic. But all I'm really asking for is an interesting premise and characters I care about. And besides, sometimes you just need a good, bad movie.

No comments: