Catching You Up On My Netflix Activity

I think the last movies mentioned were the Illusionist and Prestige comparison. Since then, I’ve been plowing through some new releases and a few movies I missed the first time around.

Marie Antoinette
I thought Kirsten Dunst did a great job portraying a misunderstood queen, but I thought the way that it was directed was lacking a certain depth. As I mentioned, the cinematography was first class and the art direction was pretty amazing too.

Hollywoodland
Another movie that was shot beautifully. Ben Affleck will always be overlooked as an actor, probably more for a couple of poor choices of films and the whole J-Lo thing than any performance he’s ever done. You have to remember that he was amazing in Good Will Hunting, Chasing Amy, and Shakespeare in Love; and overlook Gigli, Pearl Harbor and Daredevil. I feel like his portrayal of George Reeves had a lot of himself in it too. Adrian Brody is one of those actors that causes you to hold your breath without realizing it whenever he’s on the screen. He’s so talented and unique that you can get captivated by the characters he creates.

The Last Kiss
I think all the performances in this film were great. Zach Braff, Rachel Bilson, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, Casey Affleck, and Michael Weston were all spectacular and well acted. I think the story was too spread out and the direction didn’t lend itself to the film. I was intrigued much more by the Casey Affleck storyline, the Blythe Danner/Tom Wilkinson storyline, and the roadtrip to South America storyline than I was with the Braff/Bilson/Barrett story. I’m interested to see the original Italian film (L’ Ultimo Bacio) to be able to compare.

All The King’s Men
This is an example of a deep cast not being able to make up for a weak film. The film stars Sean Penn, Jude Law, James Gandolfini, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo and Jackie Earle Haley. Sean Penn plays Louisiana Governor Willie Stark. While the movie might have been better served to have been about the change between the idealistic and passionate Willie Stark we meet in the beginning of the story to the idealistic, passionate and corrupt Willie Stark we see at the end, the film focused on Jude Law’s character instead. The film is based on the book by the same title by Robert Penn Warren and was made into a film in 1949 that won three academy awards including Best Picture, but where the 2005 version differs is ultimately it’s downfall. The character of Willie Stark is based on Louisana’s corrupt governor Huey Long.

Casino Royale
Best Bond movie ever; hands down. I think Daniel Craig portrays the James Bond that we all imagined as kids, before we understood all the double meanings of the words. A classic example of this is towards the beginning; while the guy he is chasing is displaying some pretty good parkour, there’s Bond crashing through walls like the blunt object he’s described as. Craig does a great job portraying James Bond as the heroic genius, but also as the tragic character with nothing to lose we meet later (err…earlier) in the series. I did think that the sequence with Eva Green went on too long in the middle for the ultimate payoff, but the deception of Bond as well as us the audience are done better than other Bond twists.

Idiocracy
A very clever, entertaining movie from Mike Judge (of Office Space, Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill fame). Luke Wilson plays the character he’s played in most of his movies, but still manages to be believable in a ridiculous, unbelievable story. It’s crass and slapstick, but funny all the same. Overlooked might be Maya Rudolph’s brilliance.

Winter Passing
One of the harder movies I’ve seen recently. Despite having Will Ferrell in the cast, this is a haunting film about some pretty broken people and how they live and learn from each other. Zooey Deschanel is amazing as is Ed Harris. Will Ferrell, in the bonus features, says he’s the closest thing to a comedic performance in the movie, but mainly because his character is so awkward. It’s an interesting look at death, family, drugs and writer’s block. To fully show her talent, Zooey Deschanel sings a couple songs in the film, though they aren’t on the soundtrack.

Borat
Hilarious. I’d watched Ali G a bunch over the last few years, and didn’t think that the movie would go beyond the overall joke of the skits on the show, but whether the plot made any sense or not, the movie was funny. I’m glad to see that Sacha Baron Cohen is putting together a Bruno movie, but this is the type of performance art that can’t be repeated, so get in while you can.

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