Seven Pounds

December 12, 2008

Or Seven Tons (of Crap) as I like to call it. How did this movie get made? Oh, right, Will Smith.  

I heard the screenwriter (who was previously a showrunner’s assistant on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and some other kiddie fare program) based the story on the Merchant of Venice and the idea that a creditor demands a pound of flesh.  

Unfortunately, Seven Pounds doesn’t have a creditor demanding anything. As a matter of fact, there isn’t an antagonist to be found. How can we root for the protagonist if there isn’t an antagonist? It was similar in a way to 21 Grams (in addition to their titles) in that they are both basically sappy Lifetime movies made non-linear to add an edge and a sprinkle of star power to give it the feel of a feature.

I don’t have anything good to say about this movie. It was predictable. The story was awful. The dialogue was on-the-nose. It was preachy. There was no conflict. The acting was sub-par. The music was uninspired. And the trailer makes the movie look way better than it is.

But the worst thing about it? It’s actually fooling people into thinking it’s good. I’ve heard that some of the Academy elders thought it was great.

Go figure.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

How do I get my 2 hours back?


December 10, 2008

I certainly wasn’t jazzed to see this movie, even though I heard it was good.  I mean, who needs another movie about politics?

But, guess what?

This isn’t a movie about politics.  It’s a movie about people.  Human beings.  Their wants.  Their needs.  Their flaws.  Their goals.  

And I was moved.  To laughter.  To tears.  The whole ball of wax.  And what surprised me most of all was that I was really moved by Richard Nixon.  Thanks to writer Peter Morgan, Ron Howard and especially Frank Langella, Richard Nixon was portrayed as a human being.  I could relate to him.  And feel for him.  Even though he was the antagonist, I found myself rooting for him…hoping for a different outcome.  If only he could have had a do-over.

I think this is Ron Howard’s best film to date.  I think every writer and filmmaker should see it.  If only to learn that it’s great characters that result in great stories/movies.

And one last thing…major kudos for Peter Morgan.  He adapted his play into a screenplay, skillfully opening it up to make it cinematic (yes, I’m sure Ron Howard had a lot to do with that too).  There was not one frame of the movie that made me feel like it came from a stage play.  Unlike another movie that is coming out this Friday.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I loved this movie.

The Reader

December 8, 2008

Aahh…the joys of movie marketing.  

The TV ad for The Reader opens with the narration “Fate brought them together…A secret tore them apart.”  Whaaat?  In truth it should be: Vomit brought them together and when she got a promotion at work that she knew would reveal one of her “secrets” she moved away without telling him.

And that particular secret was very apparent long before she left.  Of course, the boy didn’t pick up on it until much later when we got to see his realization played out in memory flashes, like a row dominoes tipping over.   Wow.  Didn’t see that coming.

Besides opening with vomit, the biggest mistake this movie made was jumping into the sexual relationship with no sense of longing from either character.  Hence, the sex was boring.  Ho hum, in fact.  Couldn’t have cared less.  Unless you really want to see Kate Winslet naked.  In which case, I recommend you see Little Children.  It’s a much better movie.

Through the explicit sex scenes that went on for what seemed like an eternity, director Stephen Daldry (We’ve seen nothing from since The Hours in 2002. What have you been up to Mr. Daldry?  A nervous breakdown, perhaps?) didn’t convince me that these two people were in love.  

The movie tried to redeem itself once the trial set in – maybe at the halfway point – but they killed it for me at the end when Michael Berg (Ralph Feinnes at this point) travels to New York to deliver Hanna’s worldly possessions (some cash in an old tea tin) to the only surviving victim out of 300+ Jews who were burned to death in a church fire at the hands of Hanna and other Nazi guards.  The survivor (Lena Olin), who lives in a mega upscale apartment, refuses the money but keeps the worn tea tin.  Are you kidding me?  Even though she had a tea tin that was taken from her when she was taken to the camps, I can’t imagine her wanting to hold on to such a keepsake that has been in the possession of her Nazi guard for some fifty years.  Maybe, just maybe, if it was HER tin but she made it very clear that it was not.

The Reader was adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by author and legal-beagle, Bernard Schlink.  Turns out the novel, although fiction, was somewhat autobiographical.  I haven’t read the novel but I’m going to assume it worked a lot better in print than it did on film.  Maybe they blew something in the adaptation.  Maybe they focused on capturing the events and missed out on the essence.

Rating:  1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 

It could have been way, way, way, better.

Coming Soon…

December 8, 2008

…my opinion on the movies I see.  Straight from the heart.  I believe movies should move me…to laughter, to tears, to anger, to wonderment…I don’t care.  As long as I’m moved.  I am not swayed by the marketing nor the opinions of others.  I’m here to call it as I see it.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  No holds barred.

What I’ve seen lately and will be opining on soon:




Seven Pounds

Slumdog Millionaire

The Reader