Monday, December 3, 2007

Movie Review: "No Country for Old Men"

What It's About: A low income Texan finds a LOT of drug money.

What I Was Expecting: You know, it's the Coen brothers. Expectations have been really high since "Fargo." Given that many of the reviews called it the "best film this year." Yeah, I'd say my expectations were pretty high.

What I Got: And my expectations were exceeded. I still can't decide whether or not I liked this better than "Fargo". How about this? There are moments in this one that are better than anything in "Fargo", but "Fargo" was better. Now, that's a cop out. Not really. This actually would've been the better film if it ended when the plot did, but it goes on for another 20 or so minutes. I mean, it just meanders. When the whole movie has focused on the plight of one character, it's not the best idea to spend so much time on the resolution of issues with peripheral characters, and in one case, resolving nothing, that didn't play a huge part in the overall plot. That said, the first 90 minutes are just lights out brilliant. There are many moments that are so intense, it's amazing. And then it has the Coen brothers quirky sense of humor to make things all better again.

Grade: A-

Oscar Potential: Where do you stop? Best Picture, easy. Best Director, a lock for a nod. Best Actor nod for Josh Brolin, strong possibility. Best Supporting Actor nod for Javier Bardem, for sure. Best Adapted Screenplay, likely winner. Then throw in cinematography and editing to boot. This will be a big player at this year's Oscars.

Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:

Is that the dude from "The Goonies?" It sure is. Where did he learn to act?
2. Javier Bardem will go down as one of the classic screen villians.
3. I got a big smile on my face when they introduced Stephen Root's character. Stephen Root is probably best known as Milton from "Office Space." In my opinion, any movie he is in can't be all bad because any scene he is in will be good. This guy can play anything. He was also the fish obsessed with the bubbles in "Finding Nemo." And the boss on "Newsradio." And Bill on "King of the Hill." Just phenomenal actor. He also funded the Stephen Root Acting Studio at the University of Florida. Nobody's perfect.
4. Man, Tommy Lee Jones is getting old.
5. Seriously?! That's the older brother from "The Goonies"?!

The Trailers:
The Orphanage:
I don't know much about the film, but the trailer scared the bejesus out of me.
In Bruges: If you thought really hard, could you come up with a worse title for a film? I was making my notes while watching the trailer. I wrote down "look up Colin Farrell" because 5 seconds after the trailer was over, I couldn't remember the name. That said, the film looks mildly amusing.
Pride and Glory: Is Colin Farrell the new Jude Law? Back to back trailers with him in it. At least this one has Ed Norton who does not make enough movies for me. They give WAY too much away as far as plot goes. Still looks good.
The Great Debaters: Denzel Washington and Forrest Whitaker about a debate team from an all-black college taking on Harvard's debate team in the...40s? 30s? Doesn't matter. It may follow the "Rocky" formula to a T, but damn, I'll go see this one. Looks terrific and inspiring.
Charlie Wilson's War: First trailer I've seen of this one. I cannot wait. Could play spoiler for "No Country" come Oscar time.
There Will Be Blood: Oh damn, I hope this one's as good as it looks. Daniel Day-Lewis pretty much playing the same character from "Gangs of New York", but this movie looks good. Can't wait.

Movie Review: "Enchanted"

What It's About: Disney princess from the animated world gets thrown into Manhattan..

What I Was Expecting: My wife had seen the film before I had and kept spouting that it was the best Disney movie ever. I had seen the trailer and had serious doubts that it would be better than "The Lion King" or "Aladdin."

What I Got: Definitely not the best Disney movie ever. It's goofy. It's a lot of fun. It's entertaining as heck, but it runs out of places to go. The ending itself has almost no logic to it. In fact, I would go as far as saying that they chose the wrong ending. I would explain further but it would require spoiling it. The performances are near perfect. I can't imagine a better cast and the mostly on location shooting was inspired in how they used it. Particularly the scenes in Central Park which left me...well...goofy.

Grade: B+

Oscar Potential: Best song, for sure. I would also make the argument that Amy Adams deserves a recognition. So many actors get recognition for portraying real people, but she just nails the Disney princess stereotype. Close your eyes and just listen to her and you would think it was an animated film. Special effects is another possibility.

Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:

All these big musical numbers and not one using Idina Menzel who has made a career in musical theatre. Go figure.
2. Wow! This movie would've gotten an A if it weren't for that awful ending.
3. Are Amy Adams' eyes really that big or did they tweak them digitally to get the full Disney princess effect?
4. Is Patrick Dempsey supposed to be a mediator or is he an attorney for the wife? They aren't really clear.
5. For as little time she spends in the movie, Susan Sarandon is really good.

The Trailers:
Golden Compass:
I can't help but wonder when this movie bombs, will the religious right try and take credit for it or will they just realize that it was the crappy trailers that drove people away?
Water Horse: I loved the movie Babe. I know it's from the same author, but man, this movie looks stupid.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: In a previous blog, I blasted a trailer for this movie. This was a new trailer. And I laughed out loud. This movie might be subversive enough to work.
Definitely Maybe: This trailer looked so good that I saw the title on my notes and for the life of me, I can't remember a thing about it.
College Road Trip: Oy vay. Is Martin Lawrence the new Robin WIlliams? When you make a career out being crude, don't do the family film please.
NT2: Wow. I need to take better notes. It took me five minutes to remember that NT2 meant National Treasure 2. I hope it's as fun as the first one. And just as implausible.