Saturday, September 25, 2010

At The Movies: Five Reviews

State of Play – An excellent movie with a talented cast. Russell Crowe is outstanding as Cal McAffrey an old-school newsman who fights to maintain the old ways as he sees the world of news reporting evolving. Rachel McAdams brings a spark to Della Frye, a blogger who has McAffrey’s contempt and seeks his respect. Helen Mirren plays the tough-as-nails editor and Ben Affleck does his usual wooden performance (only this time it works for the character) as Rep. Collins, a long-time friend of McAffrey’s, who is embroiled in a scandal. The twists and turns of an intelligent script will keep you glued to the screen until the end. State of Play has the feel of All the President’s Men and the movie as a whole serves as an homage to the world of newsprint, the dinosaur media, as some pundits now refer to it.

Duplicity –Tony Gilroy, screenwriter of the above flick and the Bourne series, penned this twisting and turning spy caper with a script that is too impressed by its own cleverness by half. Clive Owens is charming, but I never saw even a hint of chemistry between him and costar Julia Roberts. Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson and the remaining supporting cast gave excellent performances that were in the end unable to buoy a convoluted plot and unsatisfying ending.

The Young Victoria – I absolutely loved this film! Pre-coronation Queen Victoria is young and full of life and about to be tossed somewhat ill-prepared into the life of a monarch. The young queen finds remarkably egalitarian friendship, wisdom and love with Albert and the rest, as they say, is history. This film will charm you and make you crave more information on this perfectly matched royal couple.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief – This is a fun, imaginative, purely escapist film that will entertain the kids as well as their parents. It will make you scratch your head trying to remember your Greek mythology class (“Now what was the name of the ferryman on the River Styx?”). No acting awards here (although some big-name actors appear in small-sized parts), but lots of inventive mythological references and adrenaline-fueled escapades. It has sequel written all over it.

The A-Team hasn’t been released to DVD yet, but when it does – give it a chance. This was one of my favorite shows in the 80s and all the fun things about that series find their way into this flick. This is just a pure, unapologetic action film with lots of comedic moments. It didn’t get the box office results necessary for a sequel (which the filmmakers were obviously planning on), but maybe the rental market will make that happen after all. I hope so, because this was pure fun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Obama: Jimmy Carter's 2nd Term

Even democrats are comparing the Obama administration to the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter. Read about it here. For the record, I said this very thing before his inauguration! Here's proof.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Gag Reflex: Lady Gaga & the VMAs

I turned off the VMAs after Chelsea Handler's intro. The jokes, the music, the debasement - how desensitized we have become to vulgarity in all its forms.

Lady Gaga was the big winner last night. She has some of the catchiest hooks in music today, but that wasn't enough to keep Camille Paglia, writing in the Sunday Times, from skewering Ms. Gaga. Here's the link.

[FYI - I've been doing a lot more reading than writing lately. Lots of book reviews on the way.]