Friday, May 15, 2009

Rachel Getting Married

I once read that Anne Hathaway has doe-like eyes. I think that is right on. Best known for her portrayal of Mia Thermopolis in the Princess Diaries series, Hathaway has grown up and is now fancied by many a man.

In her latest movie, Rachel Getting Married, she gets all slummed up and plays Kym, the drug-addict sister of the bride. Tensions are high from the beginning of the movie and they never ease. Kym has been in drug rehab, but continues to be brought down by a tragic event in her past.

To make things worse for her, the family only offers her shallow support as they still blame her for the tragic event. Not helping the matter is Kym's inconsistency in life and in rehab.

Meanwhile, Rachel is getting married in the most eclectic marriage ceremony ever performed. She is marrying an artsy African-American, which is really not even a conflict in the movie, which is nice to see. However, Kym, Rachel and the rest of the family are in a constant struggle that lasts throughout the movie.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not really into artistic films. I should have been clued in when Netflix mentioned that the movie was nominated for Best Feature Independent Spirit Award. I think the entire movie was filmed with a cellphone video camera. At best it was filmed with a held-held camcorder. This got to be really annoying. Especially when people were standing in front of the camera or when substances got on the lens of the camera and it was not removed.

I found the plot to be absolutely ridiculous and without end. The acting wasn't too bad, but when you're acting to a horrible story, it doesn't help too much.

The movie, which was directed by Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia , Silence of the Lambs, & Manchurian Candidate), also stars Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel, Sebastian Stan as Walter, Kym's boyfriend, and Debra Winger as Abby, their nutty mother.

The movie is Rated-R for language, some brief sexuality, smoking (Anne Hathaway, nonetheless), and horrible editing.

As you can probably tell by now, I didn't like the movie. I give it 1 star and recommend that you avoid this movie, unless you are an artsy film student.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I finally got around to watching Slumdog Millionaire. I wasn't in too much of a hurry to see this movie being that it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In my mind this usually means that the movie sucked. Funny how my stereotypes continue to be accurate in my own mind.

Slumdog Millionaire is about a young man named Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) who is retelling the story of his life and how he knew the answers as a contestant on India's Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The movie traces his life from his early childhood growing up in the slums of India, meeting a young girl (Freida Pinto - a very attractive young lady!), a girl who's love will forever be in his heart, to the struggles with his brother and his keeper.

If you've never seen anything about India you will most likely be struck by the hopelessness and poverty that lie across the country. However, there are signs of life and a desire to do good that can overcome the evil that seems to have penetrated everything.

Throughout the movie Jamal is being held in a police station and being grilled about correctly answering so many questions on the game show. How can a slumdog know so much?

Many will find the movie inspiring, while others, like me, see this as a movie which exploits a formerly popular game show which just connects the dots in the contestants life to get the answers. I find this to be a more convenient storyline than intriguing.

The movie is 2 hours long and was directed by Danny Boyle, also known for his independent movie Trainspotting. Slumdog Millionaire is rated R for violence, disturbing images, especially of children, and some language. They also made us watch a cricket match or football (soccer) game, also worthy of an R-Rating.

Not a big fan of this movie. I give it 2 stars.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Last Chance Harvey

I kept my expectations in check with Last Chance Harvey, staring Dustin Hoffman, one of the most formidable actors of our time, as the quirky Harvey Shine and Emma Thompson as shy but strong Kate Walker. My latest Netflix movie didn't get great reviews and some of Hoffman's movies can be a bit bazaar.

Harvey is a jingle writer and his daughter is getting married. He hasn't seen her much because she lives in London and, coincidentally, the wedding is in London. Upon arrival he passes one of those people that tries to gather information by conducting a survey. He's not interested and brushes off the lady. Once in his hotel, he learns of the wedding plans and starts to realize that he's not really welcome there. At the rehearsal dinner that night those feelings are confirmed.

At this point in the movie I was ready to kick his daughter's ass. His ex-wife wasn't much better. I could not believe how rude both were being to him and he coiled in defeat and surrendered into seclusion. I felt horrible for him and almost felt like I was there with him.

And then things got worse. Fortunately for Harvey, the lady that he shunned at the airport on his inbound flight shows up again and it goes from being that awkward obnoxious guy to that feeling of fresh sunshine and thinking that things can get better. Will Harvey be able to make good on his relationship with his daughter and find happiness again?
The movie is mostly predictable and quite short. It's only an hour and 30 minutes long. Though the reviews that I read were mostly disappointing, both Hoffman and Thompson both won Golden Globe nominations for their performances.

Last Chance Harvey also stars Liane Balaban as Susan, Harvey's daughter, Eileen Atkins, Kate's mother, Kathy Baker as Harvey's ex-wife, and James Brolin as Kathy's new husband.

The movie was directed by Joel Hopkins, a relatively unknown director who's only other direction came with Jump Tomorrow.

Last Change Harvey is rated PG-13 for some brief strong language and an attempt at boosting ticket sales because PG movies usually don't bring in as much money.

While the beginning of the movie was much more powerful to me than the end, I still thought the movie was decent and give it 3 stars.
My Zimbio