Here is the second part of the February 2010 edition of ‘Delightful moments at the movies’
(1) Before Sunrise – Directed by Richard Linklater - Lead Actors and Actresses : Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy – Saw ‘Before Sunset’ a few years back and liked it very much and so have been wanting to see its prequel ‘Before Sunrise’ since then. A beautiful movie which only has a marathon conversation between the main characters, in Vienna, during the course of a night. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have done quite well, though I liked Julie Delpy’s character a little bit more. ‘Before Sunrise’ is better than ‘Before Sunset‘, though ‘Before Sunset’ is also good. One of my favourite movies of the year!
(2) Rules of Engagement – Directed by William Friedkin – Lead Actors and Actresses : Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L.Jackson, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Greenwood, Anne Archer – Legal drama based on a war scene. A bit disappointing. Some of the scenes reminds one of ‘A Few Good Men’. But ‘A Few Good Men’ is a wonderful movie with stellar performances by most of the cast (Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson), but though here there are heavyweight actors here, in Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel Jackson, Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce, the movie somehow doesn’t work. There is no surprise in the end and things are a bit too predictable.
(3) Half Light – Directed by Craig Rosenberg – Lead Actresses and Actors : Demi Moore, Henry Ian Cusick, Kate Isitt, Hans Matheson, James Cosmo, Joanna Hole, Beans El-Balawi – Saw a Demi Moore film after a long time. She looks as young as ever! It was an interesting thriller which grabbed my attention, but unfortunately, towards the end, everything became predictable – like a 1950s/1960s murder mystery. The scenes in the movie have been sculpted beautifully and the locale – seaside Wales – is breathtakingly beautiful.
(4) Kettle of Fish – Directed by Claudia Myers – Lead Actors and Actresses : Matthew Modine, Gina Gershon, Christy Scott Cashman, Isiah Whitlock Jr. – Nice romantic comedy about a sax musician in a nightclub and a biologist who is his roommate and starts her acquaintance with him by hating him. I didn’t know any of the actors or actresses but liked most of them. Matthew Modine does well in his role as a sax musician in a nightclub and Gina Gershon does well as the biologist. Christy Scott Cashman as the wife of a rich man does well too. Ending is predictable, but the movie was romantic. There is an interesting romance between a frog (the biologist’s) and a goldfish (the musician’s). Was surprised to find that this movie didn’t have a Wikipedia entry – even the vaguest movies have. Looks like it didn’t do too well in the box office. It is sad, because the movie was actually nice.
(5) Analyze This – Directed by Harold Ramis – Lead Actors and Actresses : Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow – Robert De Niro plays the role of a mobster and Billy Crystal is his psychiatrist. Lisa Kudrow is Billy Crystal’s character’s girlfriend. Nice comedy. De Niro does well – after the critically acclaimed hits of his younger days, he has reinvented himself as an elderly comedian now.
(6) Rails and Ties – Directed by Alison Eastwood – Lead Actors and Actresses : Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Miles Heizer – Story about a train driver who has an accident which kills a woman, who commits suicide on the tracks. An added complexity is that the son of the woman who died, likes the train driver and his wife, and becomes a part of their family. Kevin Bacon does excellently in the role of the train driver and husband and mentor to the young boy – he shows all the vulnerability of the family man on his face. It is sad that in the first part of his career, he was just given bit-parts and it is nice that he is getting meatier roles now. Marcia Gay Harden plays the role of the wife of Kevin Bacon’s character and does quite well.
(7) Mama Mia! – Directed by Phyllida Lloyd – Lead Actresses and Actors : Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters, Christiane Baranski, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard – Interesting story about a girl who invites three men (one of whom could be her actual father) to her wedding. Reminded me of a movie called ‘Definitely, Maybe’ which I saw sometime back, which had similar elements in its plot. The film has all the famous ABBA songs and so is a pleasure to listen and watch. I loved the performance of Meryl Streep (the mom), Amanda Seyfriend (the daughter) and all the three former boyfriends of Streep’s character, one of whom is played by Pierce Brosnan (why did he walk out of the Bond role? Sad!)
(8) The Time Traveler’s Wife – Directed by Robert Schwentke – Lead Actors and Actresses : Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana – Interesting story about a time traveller and about his beloved and his family. Rachel McAdams as the time traveller’s girlfriend and wife does well (I really liked her role as Irene Adler in ‘Sherlock Holmes‘ and her performance in this movie is nice as well). My favourite character was the younger version of the heroine played by Brooklynn Proulx. Earlier the only way to write story about time travel, was to write a science fiction novel about it. Audrey Niffenegger has used the premise to write a love story (on which this movie is based) which is wonderful!
(9) Under the Tuscan Sun – Directed by Audrey Wells – Lead Actresses and Actors : Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Raoul Bova, Pawel Szajda, Lindsay Duncan, Giulia Stiegerwalt – Beautiful story about a woman whose husband leaves her and how she is able to find her life and love after moving to Italy. The Italian culture and people depicted in the movie are very wonderful. I am hoping to read the book (the memoir of Frances Hayes) on which the movie is based, sometime. Diane Lane does well in the leading role, while her character’s Italian boyfriend Marcello (played by Raoul Bova) also does very well. Liked the way Italian men are portrayed in the movie – handsome, masculine and flirting with women all the time (though I suspect that it is just the archetype and not true). Loved the movie. One of my favourites out of the ones that I have seen this year.
(10) Love Happens – Directed by Brandon Camp – Lead Actors and Actresses : Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart – Story about a bestseller writer who helps others overcome grief, but who doesn’t recognize his own grief. Liked watching Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston, but something didn’t come together in the movie and though it was nice in parts, overall it wasn’t satisfying. Also Eckhart does quite poorly in the emoting scenes, which was disappointing, because I have liked all of his movies that I have watched till now (Erin Brockovich, No Reservations, The Core). It is difficult to believe that Jennifer Aniston has crossed forty now – she is so beautiful!
(11) Alex and Emma – Directed by Rob Reiner – Lead Actors and Actresses : Luke Wilson, Kate Hudson, Sophie Marceau – Watched it for the Nth time! It is a movie about how a novelist has to finish writing a novel within thirty days to repay his debt and how he uses his own life experiences to write the novel, and how, in the process, he falls in love with the lady from the stenographer agency who transcribes his novel. Loved Kate Hudson’s role in the movie. It was also interesting to see Luke Wilson’s character trying to write a novel – the process described is very real and true (many times authors don’t know how a particular scene will turn out or how the novel will end), though the movie is a comedy.
(12) The Road – Directed by John Hillcoat – Lead Actors and Actresses : Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall – Film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel. Bleak from the beginning to the end, though the ending offers a ray of hope. The landscape, the sky, the houses, the road, the sea – they are all grey. It looks like the director didn’t need any colour to film this sombre story. I read somewhere that the role of Charlize Theron’s character has been expanded in the movie, when compared to the book. She does well in her role. I haven’t read any Cormac McCarthy novel before, but with the kind of bleak tone the movie had, I think one needs to be in the right mood to read any of McCarthy’s works. I am surprised that this movie was not one of the ten nominees for the Best Picture Oscar this year. Maybe this is the year of the sunshine movies – most of the nominees I have seen make one happy and smile in the end. I have seen Director John Hillcoat’s movie ‘The Proposition’ before and liked it very much. It has its violent and dark moments but was wonderful overall. I would rate it higher in terms of likeability, though in terms of cinematic art, ‘The Road’ is at the same level.
(13) P.S. I love you – Directed by Richard LaGravenesse – Lead Actresses and Actors : Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, Kathy Bates, Jeffrey Dean Morgan – Old-fashioned romantic movie about a young woman who loses her husband with whom she is very much in love with and how her husband had arranged for his letters to reach her which show her how to get on with her life. I loved the movie! I can’t imagine Hilary Swank in a romantic movie, but she does quite well. Gerard Butler looks cool! I loved the song ‘I took a stroll on the old long walk’ which comes in the movie – it is so wonderful that I couldn’t get the song out of my head You can see two versions of the song here (how it comes in the movie) and here (has movie scenes with singer and lyricist Steve Earle’s voice). Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the role of an Irish singer and he looked to me like Javier Bardem. Critics seem to have panned this movie, which is sad. (It is like some of those unhappy people I have met, who say that icecream and chocolates are bad – what do they know about icecreams and chocolates!!) Critics have even panned the above song! (If you do see the videos do tell me whether you agree with me or with the critics ) I am glad that movie makers don’t listen to critics and continue making romantic movies! Thank God for romantic movies! I was in a terrible mood when I sat to watch this movie and by the end I was laughing and crying – that is what an old-fashioned romantic movie can do. I am going to unashamedly say that it is one of my favourite movies of the year I am going to watch it again
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