Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Back to movies and other fun things

School is out, the newspaper is on hiatus until January and I have all this free time to do anything I want. There are a lot of things I want to do, as is usually the case with me, but before I let myself go crazy with a suddenly open schedule and tons of free time, I asked myself what it was I was not able to do when school and the paper were keeping me busy.

Why, watching movies and reading for leisure took quite a hit once school and the newspaper got underway in September. I have other more serious things planned for this break from school involving the research and writing of my labor of love novel, but when all that gets to be too much, I decided I'd do the things that I love to do the most other than writing... I would read fun books and watch DVDs. That's my plan as long as I'm in Denver through the break.

As things started winding down with school, I was able to finish the book I had started in August and now I am almost done with another book. I have at least two other books to keep me in reading heaven without interruption after I finish the current one, and I am fully covered and one happy camper in the reading department.

Now, the movies. I have watched uh-lot of movies since last Friday and I'd like to recommend a few of them. This way, I get to flex my movie reviewing muscles and you will know what movies I liked or didn't.

First, I will begin by talking about The Last King of Scotland. I really liked this movie that gave Forest Whitaker a well-deserved Oscar for playing a man who can scare with a look; former Ugandan leader Idi Amin. This is probably a movie most people have seen already, as it's relatively old now, but if you haven't seen this, see it. James McAvoy, an actor I never paid much attention to-- come to think of it, I don't think I've seen any other movie with him (No, I haven't seen Atonement yet either, but it's on my list of movies to see over break)-- has a new fan in me, thanks to his amazing performance as Dr. Nicholas Garrigan. This movie is quite disturbing and perhaps not one that can be stomached by all, but the disturbing images are necessary to demonstrate Amin's brutality and atrocities against his own people, sometimes those very close to him, even. Of course, this movie is a fictionalized story based on real events and people, so I hesitate to believe everything the movie depicted, and besides I don't let Hollywood teach me history, but I think it did a good job in showing us a take on what kind of man would do all the things Idi Amin did. The Last King of Scotland is unforgettable for a lot of reasons.

The next movie I'm going to talk about is Beowulf. I don't know why I picked this up, but I did with great interest and brought it home. Again, I don't know why I did that, seeing as how I hate Angelina Jolie and having read the epic poem in high school, I wasn't sure how you would make a movie out of it. I also found it surprising that Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn and John Malkovich were part of the cast. I had missed the fact that this movie was done in 3D and thought there was something really weird about Robin Wright Penn... she didn't look real. Then Anthony Hopkins entered the scene and he looked weird, too. Then I figured it out-- that this movie was done in 3D. Weird, I thought, but OK. Then the dialogue began as well as the conflict. Suddenly, Beowulf, a mere monster slayer in my memory, became a complicated man with some major inner-demons and conflict. What a clever twist to an otherwise straightforward story about a hero who saved the people from the evils of a demon and its mother! This take on Beowulf gives each character depth and plenty of story and plot to keep you engaged. The good news is, Angelina Jolie's part is relatively small and it suits her... she's nothing but a hot and sexy demon who lures men away from their duties to fulfill her own agenda. I thought she did a fantastic job and I was entertained throughout this fun movie.

Next up is a horrible movie titled Before the Devil Knows you're Dead. I picked this up, because it starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman, whom I love. The title was a little intriguing, as was the plot, which involved two brothers deciding one day to rob a mom & pop jewelry store. *Snore*, but there is a twist... it is their parents' jewelry store that they decide to rob. Things go completely wrong and it's a downward spiral from there that drives each character to do things that make you want to smack each one of them upside the head for being so stupid, or just plain horrible people. Hoffman is the brother with major marital, financial and drug issues, who thinks up the whole thing. Ethan Hawke plays the younger brother whose incompetence leads to his mother being shot and Marisa Tomei is the annoying wife of Hoffman's character. To be honest, I don't understand why Tomei's character was written into the script to begin with, because all her character offered was way too much unnecessary nudity and a means for us to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman naked and huffing and puffing, if you know what I mean... which is quite disgusting, by the way. Just when you think these two brothers and Tomei's character are awful, you are then introduced to their father, and then you begin to understand why these two brothers are so messed up. In every group of movies brought home there is bound to be one that aggravates you, right? That's what this movie did... it aggravated me. Greatly.

Death at a Funeral is the last movie I'm going to talk about, because you always want to save the best for last. This is a great movie hailing from Britain and ranks, in my book, as one of the funniest, if not the funniest movie I've ever seen. It's rare to find a truly funny movie geared at adults without drugs or sex in the equation... err... wait. This movie is pretty much built on these two things. Sex and drugs. At a funeral. Doesn't sound so innocent does it? But it is! This movie is a look at what might happen when you bring a bunch of people together to attend the funeral of a man with a secret, with an American little person as one of the attendees and a very mobile bottle of valium with something else in it. Bottom line: You will laugh a lot at this movie up until the very last minute.

These are the movies that I had opinions about. I hope you find them helpful, agreeable, or at the very least interesting. Until next time!

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