some movies to see

These are what I’ve seen lately and liked.

BARNEY’S VERSION
Some of the most subtle storytelling in a long time. Set ups that are so smooth you never see them until the pay off hits you between the eyes. At the start, the makeup is so good, I thought, “Whoa. Paul Giamatti looks like shit.”

THE KING’S SPEECH
Should win best picture. It’s got that choke you up emotional thing that FORREST GUMP did. I used to think it was SECRETARIAT, but it’s not going to get nominated I don’t think. Not big enough. But, KING’S SPEECH is pretty damn wonderful.

THE FIGHTER
Not what I thought it would be. I hate the “my brother is a loser and ruins my life but I’m sticking with him no matter how badly he drags me down” stories. Walked out of A SIMPLE PLAN for that reason. I almost shut off THE FIGHTER but didn’t, and am glad I didn’t. It’s a great story, well told.

THE TOURIST
Sorry. Wrong list. Worst movie Mr. Depp has done.

COUNTRY STRONG
Go see it today. Amazingly horrific-ly bad. Rare do you get a chance to see a movie that never, ever should have gotten out of development. They look like they shot the first draft. Characters do crap that the writer forced them to that they NEVER EVER would do in real life. Boy, it’s terrible. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen, sadly. A learning experience, so I’d say go see it. Even though you’ll be squirming pretty damn fast.

TRUE GRIT
Read the book. See the adaptation. Very well done. These Coen guys, they’ve got a future. Loved every minute of it.

My thoughts for the moment.
Am trying to get back in gear to do a bit of pontificating / blogging… but I’ve said that before and nothing has come of it. We’ll see how I do now that I have student work to crit and think about. My teaching juices are waking back up!

If you see some good movies, let me know.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “some movies to see

  1. Melody Lopez

    TANGLED
    Disney proves yet again that they know how to tell a story. I was amazed by how they managed to surprise me with all the reversals. A fresh spin on a fairy tale! The ending was almost truly insanely great. Loved it. A must see if you want to learn how to tell a great story!

    BLACK SWAN
    Daring. Bold. Never boring. If you pay attention to the dialog and learn about the story of “Swan Lake,” you might think you’re gonna predict what will happen next. But I won’t be the one to spoil it for you. In my opinion, the filmmaker seemed to infuse himself into the movie via the character of the ballet’s choreographer. You experience everything that character wanted his ballet audience to experience. Well done. Although I wasn’t that surprised by certain things in the story, the clever visuals made up for it all. And I covered my eyes in fright and horror a couple times. That was cool.

    • I agree with you Melody on ‘Black Swan’, although I wasn’t totally sure if it was of the drama or horror persuasion, and it made me laugh out loud at one point.

      Anyway, I’ll forgive the genre confusion because it is just beautiful to watch. I went out and bought myself a cream jumper like Natalie Portman’s because now I want to look like her 😉

      I think it is the only film I’ve ever seen where the last line genuinely surprised me. I’m probably in a minority of one, but I really wasn’t expecting it. A great demonstration of rule #30!

      • Melody Lopez

        Let me guess the line that made you laugh out loud…

        was it: “Was I good?”

        Said by rival ballerina to leading lady….

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        I was not a BLACK SWAN fan. She was too nutty for me to attach to. She did have bad guys to fight, like her mom, but I got tired of her neuroses and pickinga t her nails constantly, but what I really didn’t like was that she never fought for herself until the very end. I did like it when she told her mom she was going out with a friend… that was a great battle moment. Another problem I had (and ladies, you can help me here!) was the ballet master, the French actor, wasn’t sexy in the slightest. If she’s supposed to be obsessed with him and throwing herself at him… then he needed to be hot, and he didn’t seem that way to me.

        I adored the last line!

      • Hi M, no, it wasn’t that, although it did make me smile. It was at the end when the knock-down kick-ass fight between the rivals ended in an unfortunate death. Stuffing the body into a cupboard to hide it really touched my funny bone.

        And B, I’d agree with you if the last line had been different. As it was, it made me re-evalute her whole story. I’m not sure it mattered whether he was attractive or not. In fact, now I don’t think she was ever obsessed or even attracted to him, she was just doing whatever it took to be ‘good’. All that said, he didn’t do it for me ;0)

  2. I’ve seen ‘The Fighter’ on quite a few ‘best of 2010’ lists, and watched it last night. My first thought? They’ve broken rule #57 (p.164 character names shouldn’t ryhme). I spent the first 20 minutes wondering why both brothers had the same name.

    Once I’d come to terms with Micky and Dicky, I got quite into it. High praise all round to (most of) the cast, who I came to love despite their obvious character flaws.

    However, I can’t help comparing it to ‘The Wrestler’, where Mickey Rourke puts in a blinding performance as Our Hero. Mark Wahlberg can’t hold a candle to him. Too pretty, too nice, too middle-class and (I’m thinking of Winter’s Bone here) got everything farrr too easy.

    It’s a shame because with a stronger male lead it could have been a really good film.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I sorta disagree but as I disagree, wonder if I’m wrong… I wonder if we’ll ever see anything else that good from Mickey Rourke, but I think Wahlberg has a lot left in him. I used to adore Mickey Rourke, but think now he’s a tad limited in range.
      I didn’t even realize until partway through that Dicky and Mickey rhymed… I just knew I was confused! Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. Out of the handful of 2010 films I’ve seen, the best one by miles is ‘You Don’t Know Jack’. It’s an HBO made-for-television movie, a docu-drama about Jack Kevorkian who is an advocate of doctor-assisted suicide. Directed by Barry Levinson, starring Al Pacino, I’m really happy to see it’s up for a GG nomination. Pacino (who’d I’d reckonded until now to be a bit of a one-trick pony) blew me away, but the whole thing is just excellent.

  4. “COUNTRY STRONG
    Go see it today. Amazingly horrific-ly bad. Rare do you get a chance to see a movie that never, ever should have gotten out of development. They look like they shot the first draft. Characters do crap that the writer forced them to that they NEVER EVER would do in real life. Boy, it’s terrible. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen, sadly. A learning experience, so I’d say go see it. Even though you’ll be squirming pretty damn fast.”

    I have to disagree with some of your comments here. I’m not saying that this was a good movie by any means. But as Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot say in WordPlayer (or maybe it was another writer’s blog), if you haven’t read the script, you have zero grounds to criticize the writer. There’s just too much that happens between the script and the shot (Now with this particular film, you actually CAN blame the writer because she was also the director, but that still means you can’t blame the writing until you read the script). I guess I’m being so defensive because I was a lonely intern at the particular production company that found and picked up this script, and let me tell you, not a single person read that script without a tear in their eye at the end. It was one of the better scripts I had read in a long, long time. Dynamic, believable characters with problems that you cared about. Now somehow between the script and the film a lot went wrong. But Shauna the writer wrote the crap outta the film. She just didn’t no how to transition it properly. A lot of the worst parts of that movie were different in the script. If you still feel the same way after reading it, then by all means, trash the writer. But until then, reserve your criticism for the film and filmmakers as a whole.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Very, very good point. I have not seen the script. It got made, which speaks highly for it. That’s, in a way, the measure of a script’s goodness… “it got made” and most of mine have not been made, so that one, by any measure was a success.

      I am just dying to know how the fact that she has her great triumphant moment, and then (off screen) decides to kill herself… how that plays on paper. It seems wholly unbelievable… and would be interesting to know if it worked on paper better than it did on screen.

      And yes, you’re write… if you haven’t seen the script, you shouldn’t criticize the writer.

      • Yes I completely agree with your problems with the film. I think one of the critical problems was the fact that the script was thematically very self-destructive with some glimpses of hope and optimism sprinkled into the relationships. However, and maybe it was a production decision to try and make it more “sellable”, but what came to screen seemed to be thematically optimistic and hopeful with glimpses of self-destruction, and therefore the story that was in the script felt contrived and forced on-screen. In the script, the motivations and character interactions and all seemed to progress to what ended up being a natural and inevitable ending. The triumphant moment wasn’t a “overcoming hardship” type of moment that the trailers tried to inspire. It was much more real. The script wasn’t without its flaws, but I think what was lost in transition was the over-arching theme and feel that the script had. I don’t know why they changed the execution, but it was certainly for the worse as you pointed out. Couldn’t agree more. But would suggest the script as a nice read especially after seeing the film

  5. You walked out of A Simple Plan? I’d recommend checking it out again and sticking with it – it’s a really well-made film, and also (like The Fighter) defies your expectations on where the story is going.

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