December 23, 2008

Movie Review: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Brad Pitt plays a solid Jesse James: frightening, off kilter, somewhat mentally unbalanced, and terrified of losing his power. His strategy is to keep those under him unsure of what he will do next. He thrives on having men around him who fear him. He keeps Robert Ford around him longer than others because Ford fears him and also idol worships him.

Casey Affleck as Robert Ford is amazing. Casey is Ben's younger brother and usually plays the village idiot. His first role I recall is playing the underling to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting. And he reprises this type of character as one of the two getaway drivers in the Ocean's 11, 12, and 13 movies. In this film, although he still plays someone's doormat, he is underestimated by those around him.

December 02, 2008

A Closer Look at the Dark Knight


I went to my second viewing of The Dark Knight over Thanksgiving weekend. During my first viewing, I remember thinking, "This is awesome!" What's not to like? It has great special effects, riveting performances by many of the characters, though not necessarily Christian Bale (What's with that lisp?), haunting music, and a stellar plot. Even though it goes longer than two hours, you don't get bored.

On this second viewing, I found myself in a more contemplative mood. I was thinking, of course, about Heath Ledger's Joker. I think this character has a great deal to teach us about the true nature of evil. In fact, I would say this is the most honest portrayal of pure evil we have ever seen in a movie. There is a trend in recent media to try to "understand" criminals. Oh, he had a rough childhood. Poor him, that's why he's the way he is. And I am not belittling that. Often there are circumstances we can't see. And if we are truly going to love people unconditionally we need to hear their stories without judgment.

But the Dark Knight's Joker has no reasons. He gives so many different stories about why his face is cut up, that we don't know which one is the truth. Maybe all of them are true; maybe none of them are. Why is he evil? Because he just is.

December 01, 2008

Movie Review: Twilight


Make mine Vampire!

As a young adult librarian, it was my God sworn duty to view the movie that is causing teen girls all over the universe to roll over, clutching their hearts and suffering from increased heart palpitations: Twilight. I am going to try to review this as the movie alone.

The acting was okay. Of course, not much acting was required. To be cast in this movie, you had to be sexy hot and make cool poses. It's similar to 300 in that sense. Robert Pattinson is convincing as Edward. He takes the acting up a step by hiding his accent and giving lots of smoldering glances. Kristen Stewart as Bella-- hmmm, I could go either way. Yes, her performance was a little bland, but let's face it, the character of Bella is bland. She has no life outside of Edward. She refuses to have any sort of meaningful relationship with her parents or any of her friends.

The supporting vampires were acceptable. Like I said, not much was required except to look attractive and make cool poses like you are about ready to pounce on someone.