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Found 3 results

  1. Why hadn't I seen "No Country for Old Men" before ?! As entertainment, this was pretty darned intense, and very, very well-done. As art, I need to think about it some more, but I think there's a lot to extract from this film. I don't like the sudden, undramatic loss of the anti-protagonist, but there must be a reason for this.
  2. I don't get to nearly as many movies as I used to, so the smaller independent movies - particularly those that look like a downer - get bumped off the see list. With the multiple Golden Globe wins, my wife and I decided to check this out and I felt that this was a better contender for best picture than others in recent years (I'm looking at you La La Land). It was a dark, angry film. But it also had moments when I was laughing out loud in the theatre. Several articles have recently been written about this style of film - you often see this in Coen brothers movies, and this did remind me somewhat of Fargo - an easy comparison to make with Francis McDormand starring. But I did feel that the levity in this film was more of a release valve on the darkness and helped carry the story to the end, whereas I lost interest in Manchester by the Sea last year for, frankly, being too depressing. McDormand and Rockwell have both played similar characters before, but both turned in fantastic performances. And three cheers for any Best Pic nominee/winner that clocks in at 2 hours or less (1:55 in this case).
  3. Feeling out of touch with the zeitgeist, I watched the first Hunger Games movie a couple of nights ago. Generally, I'm predisposed to like post-apocalyptic science fiction movies with attractive lead actresses. But I'm also predisposed to dislike movies based on teen novels. So how would these two sources of bias interact? (Plot Discussion and Minor Spoiler Alerts Follow) I guess my conclusion is that if you can convince yourself that the plot device the movie is based on is plausible, then it's a pretty enjoyable movie. The device, of course, is that this society keeps its proletariat in check by having each district submit two teenagers to a yearly battle royale in which only one survives ("The Hunger Games"). Donald Sutherland (the leader of this Nation) explains it as a way to remind the Nation of futility of previous uprisings, and provide hope, but not too much hope (hope for what, I couldn't say - perhaps hope that you or your child can be that one person who survives and lives on as some kind of pseudo-celebrity). I should also say that the Hunger Games are televised and treated like the most popular reality show of all time in this world. Sort of like the Truman Show. So as I'm sort of indicating, you really have to do some mental backflips to make this twisted prison logic make sense. My guess is the reason kids like it is the confluence of action, the there can only be one reality TV/Kardashian component, and the easy to draw social commentary (Obama is President Snow - OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!). It's also not hard, knowing there are two other installments, to figure out where this is all going. But that said, it's a pretty well-executed action movie with a compelling performance by Jennifer Lawrence. It's hard to not make parallels to her coming out party in Winter's Bone, which I'm sure the Hunger Games producers were much influenced by. A lot of similar ground is covered. In both movies she hunts and cooks squirrels, is beat up, and takes care of a younger sister (and is indeed driven by her desire to protect her siblings). Of course, it was all done in a much more evocative way in Winter's Bone, making it even harder to take Hunger Games seriously. That said, Lawrence is a commanding presence, and there are times when she portrayed internal conflict in such a strong yet understated way that I had to pause to movie to try to figure out what I really thought she was feeling. My only other complaint is that, out of no where, we learn that the Hunger Game producers can manifest giant pumas at will and insert them anywhere in the tournament grounds. That was a shocker.
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