Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Celluloid #72

In Theaters

Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire (2009) Daniels - Story about a Harlem teenager facing the harshest of life circumstances. She lives in extreme poverty, practically illiterate, overweight, has one child with Down's syndrome, and pregnant with another kid. Both pregnancies are results from being raped by her father. The actual plot in this film revolves around Precious' new alternative school and the improvements she makes while attending there. The acting all the way around is quite good and the story avoids most sappiness and false hopes. 4/5

Up in the Air (2009) Reitman - So, I've been staying at my parents' house for the last week. We all wanted to go see a movie, but honestly my tastes and their tastes are at near opposite ends of the spectrum. That being said, this was a film that we all enjoyed. I don't think any of us thought it was amazing, but it had enough to merit watching. George Clooney plays a guy whose job is to fire people for other companies. He's the type of guy who takes pride in his work, and he feels most at home travelling around, working towards airline elite status. Natalie is a recent college graduate who tries to reduce costs by implementing a video conferencing model; a move that would threaten Ryan Bingham's (Clooney) way of life. While Bingham shows Natalie the ropes, the story incorporates musings about life and marriage. 3.5/5

In Home

Casino Royale (2006) Campell - My dad is pretty into action movies and has always been a fan of the James Bond films. I remember watching several marathons as a kid, but I have a hard time distinguishing one film from another. I enjoy this new style of Bond featuring Daniel Craig, and nearly eliminating the quippy one-liners and portraying Bond in a much more ambiguous light. It's very anti-hero, Bourne series-feeling. The story is probably always secondary to the stunts and the dashing style, and this film is no exception. The main story has to do with a high stakes card game, but the memorable parts have to do with racing around a construction site and lots of fighting. I also enjoyed Mads Mikkleson taking a turn as the villain. 4/5

Frozen River (2008) Hunt - A mother who is struggling financially comes across a Native American woman on the nearby Mohawk Reservation. That woman makes good money smuggling immigrants across the US/Canadian border. Ray collaborates with her for a while in order to get her kids Christmas presents and a new trailer. 4/5

In America (2002) Sheridan - Great drama about an Irish family who comes to New York to start over shortly after their youngest child dies. It's the early '80s and New York is still sketchy. The girls see events through an unique lens and befriend people normally considered undesirable in the neighborhood. I cried and cried watching this film (and I'm pretty sure that I've seen it years ago too), but I never felt like Sheridan was manipulating the tears. 4.5/5

the Limits of Control (2009) Jarmusch - I guess in a form of film watching revenge, my parents ended up watching this film with me. Technically labelled a thriller, but still slow paced and featuring a protagonist that rarely speaks. The film is very beautiful and I liked the soundtrack of Boris songs (Jarmusch is too cool for his own good sometimes). However, even though I love most of Jarmusch's filmography, this one was disappointing for me. The whole thing comes off like a giant scavenger hunt, where the man gets a clue, meets a character that philosophizes about film, or music, or bohemians, or science, and gives him another clue, where he meets another character, etc. Needless to say, my parents both fell asleep. 3/5

the Proposal (2009) Fletcher - So, like I said...staying at my parents' house, both my mom and my sister enjoy romantic comedies. This one in particular was very could predict the whole movie in the first two minutes. Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Reynold's bitchy boss. She's Canadian and about to get deported, so she forces her assistant to marry her by threatening to fire him. In order to convince INS that this isn't a sham marriage, she accompanies Andrew on his trip back home- to Sitka, Alaska. Wackiness ensues and of course they grow to love one another. Blah. 1/5

Sunshine Cleaning (2008) Jeffs - This was my sister's suggestion, incorporating her like of indie cutesy films. Amy Adams plays a single mom struggling to raise her son when she finds out about a job that pays pretty well. She has experience as a maid, and this job is essentially cleaning up crime and trauma scenes. You find out early on that her own mother was a suicide, and most of the film centers around her relationship with her sister, her father, and a few other people in the community. 3/5


Roman said...

you need to do a blog where you just watch the 4 most recent sandra bullock movies.

raridan said...

According to IMDB, that would include the Blind Side, All About Steve, the Proposal, and something called Premonition...I would do your requested blog if I didn't have to actually watch any of the films, but just made up the plot based on the poster or jacket pictures. My guess, is that my storyline predictions would come pretty close to reality...