Thursday, October 19, 2006
Flags of Our Fathers: Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort is the highly anticipated adaptation of the best selling novel of the same name. Flags tells the story of the famous picture taken of the six marines who raised the American flag on top of Iwo Jima. The picture became famous instantly back home in the states and was used everywhere to show US victory. It also was a way of drawing up more support for the war, thus selling more war bonds to keep the fire burning. Wanting to put faces to the picture, the army and US government flew the 3 surviving marines from the picture back to the states. Once home they did a city to city publicity tour for the army to raise money. Problem is, were these 3 marines even in the picture? Were there multiple pictures taken?
The film is shown in three different aspects – One, we see the 3 marines making the publicity tour around the country. Secondly we have the marines when they are older telling their story. Finally, we have flashbacks to the invasion of Iwo Jima. The war scenes here are up to par with Saving Private Ryan, showing the brutality of war and the sacrifices made. The movie jumps back and forth between the different aspects, which I felt hurt the emotional impact of the movie. I also found the musical score which was also written by Eastwood, not up to par with the epic story. The acting is adequate, nothing noteworthy, but not distracting either - which is good when we have Ryan Phillippe in the cast. Coincidently the film stays away from that “one emotional peak in the story” that will really draw you in. Instead the movie plays out like the message it tells, that there is no “one” or “six” heroes that should be singled out and celebrated when it comes to the horror of war.
* * * or Grade: B
If this movie had parents they would be: Saving Private Ryan & Born on the 4th of July
With a running time of 132 minutes
This film is rated R
Monday, October 09, 2006
The Departed: Martin Scorsese returns to the gangster movie genre with style. He brings with him a cast that only includes the names DiCaprio, Damen, Nicholson, Wahlberg, Baldwin and Sheen…….he’s not messing around. The movie is actually a remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. We have two cops working undercover -infiltrating both aspects of the Irish mob scene in Boston. One cop was raised by the mob since he was a young kid and worked his way into the police force, basically working undercover for mob boss Frank Costello (Nicholson). The other undercover cop is working for the police force and is part of Frank Costello’s mob. Suspicion arises on both sides that there is a rat in the house….but finding out who it is, is not that easy. As for the cast mentioned above = OUTSTANDING! All the actors stepped up to the plate for this movie. I can’t say enough about the acting – I wish all movies could have this high of caliber. The writing has to be mentioned next – I have not seen a movie with this crisp of screenplay since………....... Goodfellas – “A real F*cking shame” it’s been that long. The story gets you involved early and keeps you there the whole time. Tense moments throughout the entire film will keep you glued to the screen. The violence that takes place seems so naturally placed….never forced just for shock value – that is the sign of a good gangster movie. The only aspect keeping this movie from a perfect rating is the core of the story…..it seems way more is going on than should be for what is at stake. On the whole, The Departed is a stellar film (top 10 of the year) that will only get better after a few spins in the DVD player!
* * * and ½ stars or Grade: A-
If this movie had parents they would be: Infernal Affairs & Goodfellas - a lay up
With a run time of 149 minutes
This film is rated R
Friday, October 06, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction: Will Ferrell makes the transition from comedy to ……heartfelt dramedy in Marc Foster’s new movie. The story is very imaginative – Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a lonely tax auditor who one day starts to hear a voice of a narrator, who is actually narrating his life. He is the only one who can hear her and everything the narrator says is right on. The comedy scenes here are played perfectly by Ferrell. The film jumps to more of a drama when the narrator hints at what is about to happen to Harold Crick’s life. This leads Harold to seek out a literary theorist, played by Dustin Hoffman. Also in the mix is a love interest that Harold is in the middle of auditing – Plus we are introduced to the Narrator of Harold Crick's life (Emma Thompson) who is actually a living author writing a book whose main character is named……..Harold Crick. Shake all this together and you pour out one hell of an entertaining movie. The film works on all levels, from well written comedy to bizarre comedy to plain silly comedy – it is all there. We also see Ferrell move up to a new level in some of the more dramatic scenes in the film, which might be hard for some fans of Will Ferrell’s Anchorman type movies to understand. I could feel people wanted to laugh at everything Ferrell does even when it is not appropriate – (also known as the Jim Carrey Factor). This film will not only make you laugh, but it will tug at your heart and will also make you think – Bravo
* * * and ½
If this movie had parents they would be: Adaptation and 12 Monkeys
With a running time of 113 minutes
This film is rated R