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This Week in Movies

In the last week I’ve seen more movies than I have in the same period of time for probably a year or two. Figured I’ll throw some of my thoughts down. Of particular importance for your reference is that I watched all but the last of these movies with Nate. Maybe I’m the only one, but often times I find my enjoyment of a movie affected by who I’m watching with or in some cases simply whether I’m watching the movie alone or not.

Ocean's Twelve

It definitely helped to attended this movie with a fellow Soderbergh, Clooney, and Cheadle lover. I don’t see what all the “not as good as the last one” fuss is about. While I agree to a point, it’s not like the last movie was some kind of artistic sensation. It was cooler and the pinch was more fun, but all-in-all this movie was a pretty good time.

An incidental side note. I find it interesting that Soderbergh is going to be directing a Che Guevara film, Che, starring Benicio Del Toro. It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the recent Motorcycle Diaries. It gets even more interesting when you see that Terrence Malick wrote the screenplay. Yes, the Terrence Malick.

Some Like It Hot

I had always meant to check this movie out. I was paging through one of Nate’s books and came across a dissection of Some Like It Hot, pointed to the chapter title, and then we were watching the movie. We laughed our asses off the whole time. There is so much innuendo in this film and it is amazing how each and every line of dialogue has meaning behind it. Sometimes it comes off cheesy, sometimes genius, but it was always apparent there was a lot of thought put into it. We also discussed the change in the definition of beauty personified in Marilyn Monroe. She was downright lumpy, but don’t let that take anything away from her. She was a pretty face and played “straight man” very well in this movie.

Viewing this movie also made me realize I need to watch some more Billy Wilder flicks. OK, so I already love Double Indemnity and, yeah, I’ve seen Sunset Blvd. But I really should probably check out Stalag 17, Sabrina, and The Apartment. What are his other must see movies? (To connect things even further, Wilder is listed as an uncredited writer for the original Ocean's Eleven at IMDB.)

Team America: World Police

I walked out of this with a similar reaction as when I left South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut. What I saw on the screen was so jarring that I don’t believe I could properly take it all in. What I like about the movie is that it leaves no side untouched. The title points to an anti-current administration message whereas the movie seems to lean to the right. In reality it is a huge send up of today’s action movies, personified by Michael Bay. Naturally, if Hollywood was the blueprint for the satire, then the actors needed to get it, too, and they did. I liked it. I’d like to see it again. Some parts have me giggling right now.

Sideways

We intended to hit Finding Neverland, but on route I spied Sideways playing at a small theater. It seems I happened on Denver’s “landmark” of an independent theater. The other surprise was that Nate hadn't heard of knew nothing about the movie , so I’m thankful that he trusted me enough to go anyway. After leaving the flick, I’d have to say it was up there in my favorite movies of the year, probably my second favorite just behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and just ahead of Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

Anyway, the movie tracks a week-long vacation hosted by a best man for his soon-to-be-married friend. Just the two of them are off to wine taste and enjoy life. Early on we find that Miles’ (the outstanding Paul Giamatti) buddy, who is getting married, thinks Miles needs to get laid. In reality, Miles’ buddy (did I say he is getting married) is the one who wants to cut loose. There are hundreds of great things to pull out of this movie. I know I missed a lot of them.

My praise is perhaps a little more justified with the Golden Globe announcements that came out the day after we saw the movie. I do hesitate to use something like awards to judge a movie, though. If you are still unconvinced, keep in mind it is directed by Alexander Payne, who also directed Election and About Schmidt. Sideways is the first movie he is setting out of his native Nebraska. Look at him step out! Oh, and I also love the poster they are showing at IMDB.

Closer

The venerable Mike Nichols (can you think of a director with a more varied resume?) directs this movie that studies sexually-caused flare ups in a series of interrelated relationships. The movie is based on a play, and that fact is readily apparent. Skipping all the “boring” parts didn’t work for me because I didn’t feel for the characters. On one hand, I will compliment the acting, my favorite of which was in the hands of Clive Owen. On the other hand, if the actors couldn’t draw me in to these scenes, should I really be complimenting them? Certainly the task before them was difficult, but the real victory would have been if they pulled it off. Still, I wasn’t horribly disappointed…perhaps this is rental status.

The Remains of the Day

To me, this movie suffered from a sort of Titanic problem. There is a love story set on the backdrop of something infinitely more interesting. Now this movie was much more intricate and nuanced then Titanic can ever be accused of being, but I felt it was overly long to the non-existent punch line. I can see that, given the right mood, this movie could be a heart wrenching watch. But I was still subconsciously distracted by the goings on that weren’t, well, going on the screen.