Eye Candy December 27, 2008Posted by lizp4 in Uncategorized.
One of my weaknesses is movies. I’ve mentioned before on the Sourdough how my sister and I grew up in front of the big screen, every weekend, every month for nearly fifteen years. We developed a great love for the movies we saw. When Leonard Maltin’s first movie book came out, I actually read it. After that, the subsequent editions were simply too fat, so I was reduced to simply ticking off the movies we had seen. I can still remember “arguing” with Maltin’s assessment of a movie I either loved or hated, and pencilling in my own star-rating.
There have been some good movies in the last year or so, although I am sure that the Gawd-awful turkeys that manage to squirm their way into the theaters to be cheered by adolescent boys of all ages are still just as forgettable as ever. Some of the movies that have impressed me in the last four or five years are here:
THE FALL **** R Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru. Pure eye candy. A beautiful, fantastical fairy tale too intricate to be described with accuracy. Two convalescents at an infirmary in the 1920′s; a young American movie stuntman and the little girl with the broken collarbone he befriends and regales with long and detailed stories of an imaginary hero and his band of friends who try to rescue the princess held captive by the evil “Emperor Odious.” The “R” rating is for some violence, but the film is worth every minute you spend looking at it.
HERO **** R Jet Li, Ling Xiong More GORGEOUS stuff to fill the eye. A martial-arts film with a difference. Even better than CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Any of the recent Jet Li movies will be worth your time, even if you don’t care for martial-arts movies.
GET SMART *** PG13 Steve Carrell, Ann Hathaway, Alan Arkin, The Rock Absolutely nothing like the old TV series, and much better for not trying to recapture that craziness. Just a lot of fun, well done, with goofy chases, improbable plot twists, and enjoyable cameos, including one by Bill Murray. Just enjoy it. Don’t try to analyze it.
KUNG FU PANDA *** PG Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan. Animated. Lots of fun. The secret is there are no secret ingredients. Just a pudgy panda called to be better than he thought he could be. Just plain enjoyable.
MEET THE ROBINSONS *** 1/2 G Animated You can never have too much fun when you combine a superbly well-done animation technique with a juvenile time-travel plot involving orphans and a magical bowler hat named “Doris.” Strong story. Well-done. If I tell you to just ENJOY this one, too, take my word for it, ok?
ROBOTS **** (extra star for technical excellence) G Animated Ewan McGregor, Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Halle Berry. More animated perfection. It is amazing to see what the CGI teams in the big studios have been able to produce and accomplish in the last few years. The story is a funny fable about following your dreams and not letting the big guys push you around. This is one you can even watch with the sound turned off, because the images are so ravishing and perfectly detailed.
IRON MAN R **** (extra star for lots of laughs) Robert Downey, Jr. Jeff Bridges, Gwyenth Paltrow The comic book come to life. Great fun, lots of cool technology and special effects. Gwyenth as a redhead. Hmmm…
So far, I have’t had an opportunity to view these films on a digital screen, but I can just imagine what a large LCD screen is going to do for any animated movie. I can hardly wait. I’m really excited about watching “Lord of the Rings” trilogy on a bigger, more advanced screen. (Whee! I’m getting myself all excited now…)
These are the most memorable movies that came to mind while I was writing, but they are by far not all the movies on my “Don’t Miss This One!” list. All the comic book superheroes had movies this last couple of years (except Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see those in the works).
As you can tell by my choices here, I’m not too impressed with dramas. The “olden days” produced dramas in black and white that were worthy of the crumpled tissues I sogged up and the cogitation they earned while my sister and I trudged back home, up the long hill, discussing and speculating, and comparing handsome heroes. Nowadays, most dramas are chickflicks or twisted psychological thrillers that leave me wishing for the good old days of “African Queen,” or “Casablanca.”
So, don’t expect to find a lot of “weight” on my movie list. I learned a long time ago that curling up with the grandsons with a bowl of popcorn and a dvd of “Meet The Robinsons” can be a great afternoon, a good way to impart some truth to young minds, or just a good chance to try out the new corn popper. Don’t miss a great slice of movie magic by bypassing animated movies just because they are animated, or “made for children.” We really are all just big kids at heart.
P.S. I get a lot of my movies from Netflix. The monthly subscription for three movies at a time, as often as you want, is about $16.50, and you can keep the movies as long as you like. No late fees. As soon as you return your movies, the next ones in your queue are automatically shipped. Fast and simple. Go for it. And, ENJOY!