I managed to catch up on some movies I had missed. It turns out there were very good reasons to have skipped some of them, but others were my loss.
The worst of the recent crop – and this film should have been killed before release – was “Love Happens” It is quite bad enough to regret the waste of time of one’s own love affairs. To regret that Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart ever met feels even worse, on some levels, because this is meant to be entertaining you.
I fell asleep. It’s contrived, but not in an interesting way. I won’t bore you with the plot. Okay, I suffered so you should too, but I’ll make it quick for you. They fall in love, face obstacles and get together in the end. There you are; you have now seen the movie painlessly. I love a good rom com. This isn’t one of those “good” ones. It’s execrable. And I am a Jen fan, although she is now on probation, pending rehabilitation.
At the other end of the spectrum is the truly excellent “The White Ribbon”. This classy and thoughtful German film assumes intelligence on the part of the viewer. It’s a deep and meaningful plot which sheds light on Germany before World War I. Clever insights on the nature of childhood, adult lies and secrets all make for a very enjoyable film.
Be warned that even if your German is up to it, the guttural northern regional accents and the speed of dialogue mean you will need the subtitles a few times. This should have won the Oscar. Maybe it lost out to “A Prophet” because that movie is more populist and overtly political. But the deep political message and depth of meaning in “The White Ribbon” make this a much better movie.
“Milk” with Sean Penn, which won him the Best Actor nod in 2009, is a real tour de force. I enjoyed the original documentary “The Life And Times Of Harvey Milk”, about the young gay activist politician killed in a shooting in San Francisco’s City Hall. The documentary said interesting and real things about political activism.
To give you an idea of how good this performance is, I put Sean Penn’s image onto Harvey Milk when I watched the original documentary again. I have been critical of straight men pretending to be gay in cinema (like Colin Firth) but Penn proves that some actors can do it.
“Amelia” features Hilary Swank and I did forget that she looks and sounds nothing like my heroine, Amelia Earhart. The flying scenes are luscious, the cinematography glows and it passes the time in a dreamy romantic glow with the fire of passion for flying.
“Ondine” has Colin Farrell, but not a lot else to recommend it. The people are very pretty and the scenery looks like a travel advertisement. Other than that, I remember nothing about it. The chocolate ice cream I ate during the first 20 minutes of the movie lingered longer on the pleasant side of my memories. Which foolish producer thought this was worth funding?
Although I gather Farrell is now in love with the pretty female lead whose name I cannot remember, nor wish to look up, so he clearly sees more in her than I did. I’ll see her again in something. I just hope I care a little more about that movie.
That’s it for now. Normal blogging will resume at the weekend.