Friday, April 11, 2008

Movie Reviews

I'm devoting most of this to one particular movie I saw while I was flying to Atlanta. I....well...let's just leave it until the end.

Bee Movie: I like Jerry Seinfeld. I think his sitcom is still one of the funniest friggin things that ever hit the screen. I also liked the idea behind this movie (worker bee who didn't want to work), but let's be honest, Seinfeld doesn't exactly have a charming voice. Plus, this movie takes a bizarre turn when Seinfeld's bee decides to sue the human race. This results in no flowers being pollinated and the collapse of the entire ecosystem. Don't ask. There are some funny moments, but they're scattered and it makes the rest of the movie frustrating.

Letters from Iwo Jima: First off, I never saw the first movie (Flags of Our Fathers - although it just arrived from Netflix), but I don't think it's necessary. This stands on it's own as a distressing, rather confusing examination of the Japanese defense of Iwo Jima. One scene in particular is tough to stomach as a supposedly defeated bunch of soldiers begin killing themselves rather than let themselves be captured. One by one, men pick up a grenade, arm it and cuddle it close to themselves while it goes off. It's senseless and useless. Clint Eastwood does a great job getting to know the characters and motivations behind the soldiers. They aren't just the nameless, faceless enemy any longer.

3:10 To Yuma: This is my kind of movie. Down and dirty and bloody and funny and interesting. Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are phenomenal and the old western lifestyle is portrayed as gritty and dangerous. I had a bit of a problem with the ending, but I don't want to ruin things. I'll discuss with anyone who has seen it later. I haven't given Russell Crowe to much credit in the past, but he does his best work here. Top notch all around and highly recommended.

No Country For Old Men: This movie had me completely sucked in after 10 minutes. Josh Brolin stumbles across a drug deal gone wrong and finds a case full of cash. The entire scene smart, expansive, troubling and absorbing in a way most movies could never be. The Coen brothers' best movies (Blood Simple, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, Fargo, Miller's Crossing) involve the lower sections of our society. The so called 'losers' or 'crazies' that litter the fringes of our world. This one is no exception; introducing us to the single craziest dude ever put on film who goes around killing people with the flip of a coin. Or not. Depends if you win the toss.

Anyway, this crazy is hired because the drug management needs to find that missing case of cash. He agrees and promptly kills them, too, then heads out after Brolin and the missing case. Brolin, showing he's smarter about these things then he looks, figures someone will be coming for him and gets him and his wife out of Dodge. Thus begins a killer game of cat and mouse, culminating in one of the more suspenseful shoot outs in movie history.

Muddling things up further is Tommy Lee Jones as a local sheriff who is on the trail of the hitman. He comes so close to figuring things out they're actually in the same, darkened room at one point.

Also, involved is Woody Harrelson who is tracking down the hitman for their shared employer. There is a great scene where he says 'You don't know how crazy you are, do you?'

And sadly, this is where things go south. Everything in this movie is leading up to an historic showdown between Brolin (the one guy in the movie that has bested the nutcase) and the hitman. Only this movie decides to get philosophical instead and random - at times unclear - events start unfolding.

For those of you that have seen this, I get it. I understand that life is random and shit happens, but so much random shit happens over the last 20 minutes of this film it doesn't come off as more contrived then unexpected. Plus it deprives every person invested in this movie the one climax we were all looking forward to: A rematch.

I hope I haven't given away too much, because I do recommend this movie. I just feel cheated by the ending. I would love to hear anyone else's thoughts on this, but don't want to ruin it for those who haven't seen it yet.

And on that note, I'm off for the weekend. Catch up to you all next week.

Today's distraction: Some more movie trivia. I scored a 90, but it's fairly easy. Enjoy your weekends.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely NEED to see "No Country for Old Men."

Hammen said...

yeah i just saw it recently, it is pretty awesome.