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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Disappointing run of movies

So I finally watched Burn After Reading, which I thought was pretty dumb and not very funny. Tons of great actors and the performances were good, but I don't think I ever laughed. Too broad and too obvious and too heavy-handed. Basically vintage Coen brothers, but less accessible than their best efforts like Fargo and Raising Arizona. Oh well. At least I got to see Frances McDormand explaining why she would bomb in Hollywood - that was about the only amusing moment in the movie; well, that and John Malkovich screaming the f word at everyone (but that felt like such schtick, pretty stale actually).

Also watched The Yards (2000), which I think I actually saw before and just forgot. Moody and good performances by a bunch of great actors (Mark Wahlberg's first really dramatic role, and he's not bad, and Joaquin Phoenix is amazing as always, and Charlize Theron, and James freakin' Caan, and Faye Dunaway for god's sake), but so, so dark. Just not my cup of tea.

Also watched Sweet Land, which I also think I saw before (though it's not that old, released in 2005). A very understated period romance with the lovely Elizabeth Reaser and a fun performance by the always watchable Alan Cumming. But not especially satisfying or even that emotionally compelling.

Also watched The Other Man, with Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderes, and Laura Linney. Not a bad movie, but not as riveting as this cast and this storyline should be (man discovers his wife's long-term affair after her death). Some affecting moments, but not a great addition to this genre. I also strongly object to the way the daughter (played by Romola Garai, from Atonement) was portrayed - she kept telling her dad to get over it. I think that's completely unrealistic - I think the children of people who have affairs are often more angry at the parent than the spouse is (read The Bridges of Madison County, for a good example). It just annoyed me that the daughter, who is about to get married herself, is so blase. It was a missed opportunity to explore other real emotions that come from these situations.

The fun part for all 4 of these was watching the making-of featurettes, which were interesting and just a fun peek behind-the-scenes. The major argument for DVDs.



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