Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Recently on the Home Screen

When both girls were home, our movie viewing went way up. That seems possibly counter-intuitive but they have extensive collections and we all like to force movies on each other which simply must be seen. I present to you here the good, the bad, and the ugly (or shallow).
  • Dr. No: the first of the James Bond movies, this is a pleasure to watch for the introduction of many now-institutional elements. The "gun barrel" credits, theme music, Sean Connery, the first "Bond" girl (Ursula Andress), and hip visual style all have been carried on and modernized over time. Surprisingly this movie was produced on a low budget, which is quite a contrast to the ramped-up, legendary high budgets that are now lavished on Bond movies. The time it was made also makes it somewhat of a time capsule presenting what we might call "socially unaware" attitudes about race and gender. Well worth watching in it's own right as an entertaining spy story.
  • Gattaca: In the near future, everything is determined by your DNA analysis, beginning with your parents' choosing to give you life. Several of us had been meaning to watch this for some time and we all liked it with much conversation resulting over the next few days. This will be part of the "movies you might have missed" series.
  • Crazy Heart: save yourself some trouble and watch Tender Mercies instead. Jeff Bridges does a creditable job of portraying washed-up country singer Bad Blake, who calls Waylon Jennings to mind for those of us who know about his hard life. However, this movie skates along the surface and rarely dips below that to show us anything new about motivation or character. Bad's life changes seem to come fairly easily, especially his romance with the much-younger journalist played by Maggie Gyllenhall (which produced many cringe-inducing moments for us all) and the super-supportive attitude of former band member, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell). The music is good and it isn't a bad movie. It just isn't what it could have been.
  • Mary and Max: an eight year old Australian girl and a 40 year old New Yorker strike up a pen pal friendship that carries them over 20 years. See my review here.
  • Angel - Season Five: not a movie, but it was on our home screen. Rose and I dedicated a fair amount of time to finishing the last season of Angel and it became a homecoming ritual that I enjoyed a great deal as we polished off an episode almost every weekday. I mention it because the last episode of the series stunned me with how perfectly it worked. I'm not sure that Joss Whedon would appreciate my saying it, but Angel offered an unbelievably Christ-like sacrifice for his fellow man in order to give the forces of evil a jolt. It occupied my mind for several days because of that.


  1. Huzzah for Gattaca! One of my all-time favorite movies and proof that good sci-fi is ultimately about people and how they fit into their world, not about crazy technology or weird worlds.

  2. And Huzzah for Buffy season 5! I'm in the minority but I really preferred the show after (character name redacted for those who haven't seen it) left.

    Also, "You're a wee puppet man!"