Wednesday, January 14, 2004

@ the movies


Hey Kari:

Any movies (rental or in the movie house) out there you would recommend? Our readers know of our fondness for the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. But what about other films?

I did see Paycheck with three other people of Chinese heritage since it was the latest John Woo flick. I think you and I disagreed on whether Face Off was any good. I thought it was a thumbs up with some reservations whereas I think you gave that a thumbs down. I found the finale of Face Off way too long and almost as bad as the finale to Patriot Games. I thought Patriot Games was going along reasonably well until that way too long Hollywoodish ending.

Paycheck was a marginal thumbs up in my book. I was in the mood for that kind of film: interesting premise but ignore plot holes and good action scenes. Ben was okay. I don't know, he looks good on screen but he is like an empty suit, do you know what I mean? The polar opposite would be Cary Grant in North By Northwest. I can only say I've seen Ben in Pearl (good battle scenes; unbelievable and unbearable romance), Sum of All Fears (if the writer is dead, they say he is turning in his grave; since Clancy is alive, what does he do?) and Good Will Hunting (now, in that one, he was great).

Anyway, Ben is the engineering guy caught up in something he can't quite figure out (losing one's memory does make things a little tough, eh?) and we have to follow along as he tries to figure it out as he leaves himself some clues (of course, this is a plot hole because why are the bad guys going to allow him to leave himself clues?). But, hey, this is the movies, not reality, right?

Uma Thurman is the love interest and she gets to beat people up but not as many as in Kill Bill. Also, it would seem Woo is taming down the mayhem. Yes, there are car chases and explosions and gun play and assorted violence but nothing like Face Off or Broken Arrow. But back to Ms. Thurman, was it my imagination or did they make Uma look a little... frumpy? Hard to imagine Thurman frumpy but she kinda was... but still adorable. (UPDATE: Hmm, frumpy may be a bit strong. She wasn't quite as glamorous as one would expect. But then she was playing the part of a scientist!) So I'd give it 2 stars out of 4. Okay for a rental or discounted at the theatre.

I also saw Love Actually and found that one to be quite the tear jerker. I confess, I do cry at movies and I did at this one. Love Actually is about relationships of various types all interweaving together. Some of the threads were more interesting than others. I really liked the father (Liam Neeson) and stepson thread. It is always a pleasure to see Emma Thompson at work and she got some amazing scenes. Laura Linney in the sister/brother thread was heart breaking. There were two threads for comic relief that I really didn't like at all and if they deleted those out, I think the film would be better off. The two old friends thread was goofy but the payoff at the end was worth it. Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister was actually (rimshot) kind of fun. The romantic triangle one was okay. And the one with the English writer and the Portuguese woman was I suppose what we hopeless romantics like to believe about the magic and power of love. Three stars out of four and bring multiple hankies.

Cheers,
Rene

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