Movie Week in Review

Mel and I knocked out three movies this week – we joined the 21st century and rented our first three BluRay discs. PS3 + mega-clearance on a 37″ LCD = we’re finally living in the present, home entertainment-wise. 🙂

Gran Torino [IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes]
We missed this in the theaters and had been waiting patiently for the DVD; it was worth the wait. This was an incredible movie, even though I thought it suffered a little by a poor acting job by the kid who tried to steal Clint Eastwood’s car — particularly the scene at the end when Clint locks him up to go off to do his ultimate good deed. The kid just didn’t sell well enough his anger about being caged and missing out on his moment of revenge. Honestly, though, that’s a minor nitpick for what was otherwise an absolutely fantastic movie. Eastwood was great; the girl who played his next door neighbor, a person who ultimately pulls him not only out of his racist shell but offers an avenue for the general redemption of his life, was really good. The ending was also completely unexpected (not the final final scene; everybody knows who’s getting the car, and it’s not the bitchy granddaughter). Well worth the price of a rental, and then some. This is an amazing film.

Revolutionary Road [IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes]
Absolutely boring and a huge letdown, especially having just recently seen an exceptional Kate Winslet movie from basically the same time, “The Reader.” The performances by Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio felt very melodramatic and over-the-top; it felt better suited as a play. The ending was completely pointless and changed the whole tone of the movie in one turn of a hearing aid knob – rather than just being a tale about the difficulties that came with DiCaprio having to deal with a wife who had mental issues, the ending turned the entire movie into a cautionary tale about marriage being a trap that breaks the spirits of men. It was awful.

Changeling [IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes]
A powerful, incredibly-acted movie that I felt suffered by being entirely too long. At 2:20, it seriously plodded – especially in the front third. Too much exposition, too much time spent in the insane asylum, too much time developing the storyline of the serial killer. There was great effort here to tell the entire story – and it was very well-done. It just got to the point that it felt like the movie was trying to be too much. Angelina Jolie is really good; John Malkovich is fantastic, as always; the guy that used to have that sitcom on FOX where he’d sit in the basement, get hammered and talk to his friend the invisible rabbit was fabulous as her eventual high-powered attorney; and the kid who ultimately leads the police to what was the true fate of Jolie’s son was *really* good. I just felt the pacing of the movie was off, particularly compared to Gran Torino; both were directed by Clint Eastwood, but Gran Torino is a superior film in just about every way. Better paced; I was more involved with the characters; just a more enjoyable film. Some of the things that befall Jolie as the LAPD is out to persecute her for standing up to them are genuinely difficult to watch; it could be those negative feelings had something to do with my opinion of this movie.

Still, Changeling is very good; I’d have no problems recommending that you see it. It’s still, by a significant margin, the middle of the three movies we’ve seen this week though. Gran Torino stands far above, and Revolutionary Road far below.

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