Sunday, January 4, 2009

Holiday Movies

One of the things I like to do during the holidays is go to the movies.  I already blogged about Australia.  Here are some others that I saw over the holidays:

  • Slumdog Millionaire, based on  Q and A, the debut novel of Vikas Swarup.  I had never read the novel so I had no idea what to expect.  Since it was about an Indian call center worker who ends up on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" I thought it would be a feel-good movie.  It isn't.  It's intense.  It makes me not want to visit India because I think the poverty would overwhelm me.  I thought this film was really well made but I didn't really enjoy it. On the other hand, I possibly could bring myself to watch it again some day.  So I foresee awards in its future.
  • Marley and Me, based on the book by John Grogan (another book I'd never read).  I should have brought more tissues. Marley was called the "worst dog in the world" but he seemed like a typical Labrador Retriever to me - albeit an untrained Lab. As with any story of the life of a pet, it has a sad ending.  The entire movie theater was full of sniffles through the last 20 minutes.  But up until that point, it was pretty funny in the way that dog movies can be funny.  It's a trite story and I didn't think that Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston had much chemistry, but they all had chemistry with the dog(s) who played Marley and that's all that mattered.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald (that I have not read). This is the story of a man who is born old and grows younger.  It's an interesting concept but after you accept it as a concept, well there's not much left to the movie.  Nothing else really unexpected happens.   Brad Pitt is great (I predict  an Oscar nomination).  So is Cate Blanchett, but that's not unexpected.  Tilda Swinton is in it and I always enjoy her performance.   It's kind of a combination of Big and Forrest Gump.  But without Tom Hanks.  I enjoyed it well enough but I liked other movies better. 
  • Doubt, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play by John Patrick Shanley (that I have not seen), who also wrote the screen adaptation and directed.  He also directed Joe Versus the Volcano.  That should tell you all you need to know.  This was fabulously acted by Meryl Streep (although we agreed that, gasp, her accent wasn't always consistent), Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams.  But the acting wasn't enough. It needed to be opened up more, it needed to be less of a filmed stage play.  It tended to drag.  It kept my interest because it is set in a parochial catholic school in 1964 and I started kindergarten in a parochial catholic school in 1965. It brought back a lot of memories. 

I still haven't seen Frost and Nixon, which I want to see.   Leave any of your own movie reviews in the comments.