W - ****4
What can I say about this movie except: SEE IT. If you have any interest in politics, and particularly in the Bush administration, you really must see this film. Josh Brolin does an incredible George W. and James Cromwell is brilliant, as always, playing Big George Bush. This movie explores the life of W. from about the age of 20 to almost the end of his presidency. It delves into all we have been wondering and were kept in the dark - George's family life, what it was like being Big George's son (and following in his footsteps), what Laura is like, and why W. made some of the choices he did.
One of the biggest themes is W.'s inability to please his father, and constant desire to do so. The film also dares to uncover some uncomfortable political relationships, like that between the Bush administration and Colin Powell. W.'s relationship with Dick Cheney, uncannily delivered by Richard Dreyfuss, was explored and his coaching from Karl Rove, played by Toby Jones, was clearly conveyed.
Very, very interesting, not at all dull, this movie will intrigue those with even the mildest interest in politics. NOT a documentary, this is a drama, with weight on the personal life and motivations of our most recent President. Josh Brolin NAILED the accent and mannerisms of George W.! Laura is well portrayed (though not too deeply explored) as a once Democrat (!) by Elizabeth Banks. Ellen Burstyn also does a great Barbara Bush. Thandie Newton, however, was almost unbearable as Condoleezza Rice, and if Condi's voice is really like that, I hope never to meet her. Talk about nails down a chalkboard!
Not sure why this didn't win any Oscars, except for political reasons. See it for yourself, consider what you think, and please, let me know. I've become a bit of a political junkie these last few years, and I'd love to do some speculatin' with you!
Committed - ****4
In this charming and thought-provoking dramedy/romance, Heather Graham plays Joline, a young twenty-something who is in the process of losing her husband Carl, played by Luke Wilson. Carl has decided he needs to "figure some things out," and Joline, taking the commitment of her vows to their fullest, agrees to let him go off on his own. But she follows him across the country and stands vigil, waiting for him to return. It is a sweet and quirky, abnormal - and beautifully so - way of looking at love in the twenty-first century.
This movie is not going to be for everyone, but it is very sweet and really makes you think about the meaning of marital commitment. I loved it. I think people who liked movies like "Punch Drunk Love" or "Waitress" or even "Little Miss Sunshine" could appreciate it. There are great dialogue and delightful side characters, played by Casey Affleck (he's so cute!) and Goran Visnjic, who is just hysterical in this movie. Heather Graham does a phenomenal job in her role too; she is a beautiful person, shining from the inside out. Perfect for the role. (Btw, the above movie picture is totally stupid and doesn't represent the spirit of the movie.)
The Secret Life of Bees - ***3 1/2
This movie is based relatively well on the best selling book by Sue Monk Kidd. Dakota Fanning, who has grown up by the way, plays Lily Owens, a 14-yr old who runs away from her harsh and unloving father. Dad blames her for the accidental death of her mother several years before. I think the father was not quite played or written correctly, as he was more clearly unlikeable in the book.
Once Lily and her African American nanny end up at the home of beekeeper August Boatwright, played beautifully and sensitively by Queen Latifah, the story becomes that of Lily's coming of age, her reconciling the death of her mother, and the race wars in the 60's amidst the deep South. The plot also explores themes of family, emotional sensitivity, motherhood, spirituality, and beekeeping (which is woven more heavily throughout the book). This is a touching drama with enough tension to keep it out of the Hallmark arena. There is also a beautiful boy named Tristan Wilds who plays a young black man, Lily's eventual love interest.
Other Movies We've Recently Enjoyed:
Burn After Reading: ****4
One word... hi-freaking-larious! (Very possibly Brad Pitt's most hysterical role.)
Transsiberian: ***3 1/2
Dark, and beautifully interesting, with some horrid torture bits that will definitely cure you of your desire to ever ride the Transsiberian railroad (which I totally wanted to do at the start of the movie, ahem); also an interesting new character for Woody Harrelson.
Totally outrageous injustice movie with your favorite and my least favorite, Bubba-Lips-Tits-and-Guns (a.k.a. Angelina). It's a good movie worth seeing and it's all "Erin Brockovich Circa 1930" and will get you on her side in about 2.2 minutes (and that's if she irritates you like she does me). Yes, she deserved an Oscar for it. See it. She and Brad need the money for all those children.
Hope you enjoyed this little trip to the movies!