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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Latest movies

Thanks to the library and Netflix, and a quick trip to the multiplex, I've seen a bunch more movies. The stuff I'm finding on video is totally under-the-radar, and all the better for it.

Valentine's Day - I had fairly low expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised. Really sweet and fun and entertaining. SPOILER ALERT! The film managed the extra large cast masterfully and I especially liked that so many different kinds of love were included (teens, an older couple, a middle-age married couple, an interracial couple, a gay couple, new loves, and even parents and children). Very similar to Love Actually, but I found this one less uneven. One of my favorite aspects was that both teenage couples were waiting to have sex - you sure don't see that in movies very often and it's refreshing when it doesn't come across as smug or preachy.

The Deal (2005) - the book by Peter Lefcourt is better (I read it years ago), but this is a very fun adaptation, with a spot on performance by William H Macy and Meg Ryan is terrific as always (though her overly collagened lips are freaking distracting). Great supporting players, like Elliot Gould as the rabbi, Jason Ritter as the naive nephew, and LL Cool J as the black action star recently converted to Judaism. A less expletive drenched version of 1995's Get Shorty, it also made me think of State and Main (2000), another droll movie about making a movie, also featuring William H Macy. Definitely worth watching, though the humor is sly rather than gut busting.

Weather Girl (2009) - I saw this without knowing anything about it and I loved the actors, the story, and the humor. Terrific to see a woman grappling with real life issues like her future employment, and even better to see a romance between a (slightly) older woman (35) and younger man (28) without all that "cougar" baggage. It's formulaic, but it has that indie feel which makes it seem a lot fresher than bigger movies with bigger stars. The sibling relationship was an especially nice addition. I'm a huge fan of the romantic comedy genre, but so much of it is recycled and cringe-worthy. Most Hollywood rom-coms are a few good scenes amid barely watchable dreck (see for example The Wedding Date, The Wedding Planner, 27 Dresses, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, the list goes on). This was totally watchable and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who likes a happy ending.

Lie With Me (2005) - a sexy (to put it mildly) romance, with great performances by the always compelling Eric Balfour and Lauren Lee Smith (who made a strong impression as Lara in early seasons of The L Word). The sex is more explicit than I really require, but I found the romance touching and realistically portrayed. Not a movie I would watch over and over, but I'm not sorry that I saw it.

Food, Inc - finally watched this doc from last year. Very well done, though less shocking than I expected and therefore maybe less compelling but more watchable. Makes the point without getting too in-your-face. Not new information for me (I probably learned more from Super Size Me), but well done. Should be watched by everyone.



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