30 January 2011

The Fighter

Amazing film. From top to bottom. I won't go into the details, because I'm saving up all my strength for Black Swan, but this film really impressed me. Bale and Wahlberg are amazing. Adams was luke warm. Not sure why she got an oscar nod. But Melissa Leo (Frozen River) was really the most amazing of the four.

For the uninitiated, The Fighter is based on the true story of Micky Ward and brother Dicky Eklund (same mother, different father). Dicky is a has-been fighter who once fought ten rounds against Sugar Ray Leonard (before drugs ruined his life). Micky Ward is a loyal, albeit slow, boxer turning pro... and not doing it well.

Amazing character study and dramatic action. Not to mention some really good boxing.

Better than the King's Speech, but not as good as Black Swam.

Black Swan

Movie of the year. Hand's down. Aronofsky is the king of complicated film-styles, story-telling, and character development.

Granted everyone is going to focus on the lesbian love scene, but they are clearly missing the point if they do. The movie is a constant dichotomy regarding the inner struggle of courage and cowardice (displayed visually in the visual landscape of black and white costuming), which also reflects the white and black swans of swan lake, which is a metaphor for Natalie Portman's fracturing sanity.

That said, the lesbian sex scene isn't about sex at all... as Aronofsky clever does in most of his movies... sex is always about something else. It's about Portman's obsession with how Kunis can be so carefree and she is so inhibited by everything.

Portman is sensational here. But than again, she's in an Aronofsky film. And what did everyone say after the Wrestler came out? [Actor X] was sensational. Kunis is also good, considering how much I usually dislike her. And Barbara Hershey is phenomenal as the control freak mother who can't let go of the past or her grip on her child.

Winona Ryder (oh yeah, can you believe it) also makes a small appearance and raises her game a little. Vincent Cassel is creepily good as well. But the true strength of this and all of Aronofsky's work is that everything seems so effortless. I can't even imagine how hard this movie was to make. All that dancing.

Crap.

The final word of the film is "perfect." And I have to ask myself... is Aronofsky arrogant or sublime? Does he know that his film is near-perfect? Or did it just happen that everything came together so well and he never analyzed the gravity of this final statement on the film?

Rotton Tomatoes gave this movie an 88... and I want to meet those 12 people who need to be trepanned.

The King's Speech

A true account of King Charles VI's stammer and his rise to power after his father passes and his older brother marries a twice-divorced American woman (and falls from grace). Colin Firth never really does anything wrong and Geoffrey Rush is one of my favorite actors. And of course, Helena Bonham Carter had to be quirky, even in her small role.

Emotional. Courageous. And very very British.

It was the weakest of the three powerhouses I saw this weekend, but that's hardly saying much against The Fighter and Black Swan. I could have waited for video on this, but I'm glad I saw it anyway.

The Mechanic

Dear Simon West,

Next time you make a movie, please make sure your name is bigger on the credits, so I know to avoid your film.

Thank you.

- jim

Dear Simon West,

Was this an action movie, plot-drive narrative, or a character study?

Thanks for your quick response.

- jim

Dear Simon West,

Who was the protagonist of this film? Was he a good person?

Thanks in advance for your attention in this matter.

- jim

Dear Simon West,

Is anyone available to play aging criminal "fixers" other than Donald Sutherland?

Just wondering.

- jim

Dear Simon West,

Was this film enjoyable to make? Because it wasn't enjoyable to watch. I'm curious if anyone had a good time.

Awaiting your reply.

- jim

Dear Simon West,

What do you want to do when you grow up? I'd like to make movies. I bet you'd like to make them someday, too.

Have a great summer.

- jim

Dear Simon West,

Thanks for unburdening me of my $11. You're the best.

- jim

Beer Wars

What starts poorly and ends even worse is a good documentary in there somewhere about the beer industry... once you get past the grandstanding of annoying self-important director, Anat Baron.

Anat Baron is the female, non-political version of Michael Moore. Or is she? She's hardly intelligent or interesting. She's not really pushing 90 minutes of information at me. And she clearly has a political agenda as you near the end of this tiresome documentary.

However, somewhere in between the bad minutes are a few good interviews with people with elocution, a mind for business, a quality product, and a real story to tell. Instead of someone who quits the industry and then comes back a year later to still feel involved.