Lar and the Real Girl – stars Ryan Gosling, you might know him from Fracture or The Notebook, but you should know him from Half Nelson (made my top movies of 2006 list) and United States of Leland (think Donnie Darko without the weird timetravel stuff). Much like in the previous three movies I have seen of his, he was very very good in this. He is making his way onto the short list of best actors going.
The real gem in this movie is the performance by Paul Schneider. I hadn’t seen any of his previous work, but he is hilarious. His delivery in this is priceless. (If you go see this or have seen it, he is Lars’ brother).
The story, which under the control of different actors may have been corny, leads to tons of laugh out louds moments and still had heart as well. It walked the comedy/drama line very nicely.
Not much else can be said about the movie that wouldn’t ruin the plot. Another highly recommended movie.
Cloverfield – I didn’t expect much from this movie, as I thought it would be nothing more than a typical popcorn action flick. I was completely wrong. It’s soooo much more than that. They really stuck to the vision of the film. That being a handheld account of an event that at the time was mysterious and incredibly destructive. The camera work stuck to the idea of being handheld and actually what the camera would be looking at during any point of that event. I figured at somepoint they would stray from that to show you overhead angles or shots of the monster or information of what is going on, but they didn’t. I have to credit JJ Abrams (of Lost fame) as I believe without him being attached to this movie, the studio would have not allowed it to be shot the way it was.
The camera work is being compared to the Blair Witch Project, while I agree its similar, this movie was far more entertaining as it uses the shakycam not only to make you feel like you are there experiencing what the characters are, but also to up the level of chaos.
The movie is also very short, clocking in at 84 minutes or so. Despite that it almost felt like it was in real time, so kudos to the editor on that.
If you like action movies, go see this. It might be higher concept than most action movies, but its worth it. You will feel like you were just in New York while a monster attacked the city.
There Will Be Blood – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, of Boogie Nights fame, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. This is only the 3rd movie Daniel Day-Lewis has done in the last decade (Gangs of New York and a movie you have never heard of, seriously I haven’t even heard of it and I have a nonsexual mancrush on Mr. Day-Lewis), and he just might be the best actor alive right now (I know Pacino and Deniro are still alive but there careers have peaked long ago and neither are showing any signs of a career resurgence). In fact, I am crowning him the best actor. There I did it. Daniel Day-Lewis is the best actor alive. This performance only reinforced that. The movie also stars Paul Dano, of the kid who took the vow of silence in Little Miss Sunshine fame, and he is shockingly good in a far more serious and larger role than he had in Little Miss.
Onto the movie, while it is quite long and very slowly paced, it didn’t seem long or slow to me. It just felt epic. It reminded me a lot of Giant, the epic about a family’s oil business starring James Dean. Also, I really enjoyed the subplot about oil (money) versus religion (morality).
From what I hear, because I have only seen one other PT Anderson movie (Boogie Nights) and saw that over a decade ago, this movie doesn’t look or act anything like his other movies. So, for those out there worried because it was directed by PT Anderson, don’t worry. It’s very restrained and beautifully shot.
This movie was technically released theatrically in 2007, although it was, and to a certain extent, still is in limited release. Basically, it is…(had to take a break there as the commercial for There Will Be was on and it got all re-excited to see the movie again, and yes what the commercial is saying about it being a great ending, is totally correct, the ending was amazing)…the leader in the clubhouse for best movie of 2007. It’s up for best picture and the only thing I can think of (and have seen) that has a legit argument as a better movie last year would be No Country For Old Men. Still There Will Be just felt grander and epic-er (new word I just made up) and featured the more entertaining ending.
GO SEE THIS MOVIE!
This will be a super quick review, mostly because I am in no way an expert on musicals.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street– this isn’t the first adaptation of the musical into movie form, there was one from the 80s starring Ben Kingsley (aka Gandhi). I haven’t scene it, and nobody has acknowledged it exists, so it couldn’t have been that great. There are probably others, but I am too lazy at this moment to go check imdb. This adaptation features another collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. If you like Johnny Depp, and at this point who doesn’t, you will probably enjoy this movie. It is actually a very cool story, and features some plot twists that I found amazing, even though its pretty easy to see them coming.
Being a Burton movie, obviously it looks insanely good and is a unique vision of a world that is completely and fully realized. As for the songs, I will admit I have a problem with most musicals. I can’t suspend my disbelief when someone just bursts into song for no reason. Also, I find most songs that are burst into are pointless, annoying, and do nothing to advance the story. I felt that way about almost all of the songs in this, and would have enjoyed this more if they could have somehow taken out the musical aspect, although that might not have been possible. I did enjoy the “I will have vengeance” song that was sung by Depp. I found it catchy.
One other thing I enjoyed, the casting of Alan Rickman (of Hans from Die Hard fame, HAAAAANNNS!). He is one of my villainous actors, yet he seems to be stuck on the Harry Potter movies which I refuse to see.
Rating – 7.5/10 (Probably lower than most because of my anti-musical bias)