Sunday, May 11, 2008

Movies

Spouse & I watched some movies recently and I thought I'd share my opinions of them.

Suddenly, Last Summer
In Tennessee Williams's tale of sexual repression set in 1937 New Orleans, rich widow Mrs. Venable (Katharine Hepburn) is distraught over the death of her son Sebastian during his vacation to Europe, where the two had traveled together every summer. This time, Sebastian had taken his cousin Catherine (Elizabeth Taylor), who appears to go mad the day Sebastian dies. Dr. Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift) is called in to assess her mental state.

We enjoyed this film alot. Made in 1959, they weren't able to come out and say that Sebastian was gay, but it is understood by the use of subtle and not-to-subtle language choices. Although I feel that Elizabeth Taylor often over-acts in films, I thought she did a very good job in this one. Montgomery Clift seemed uncomfortably cast as the doctor. The film is quite wordy, as it was adapted from a stage play, but still enjoyable. 4 out of 5 stars.

Juno
Facing an unplanned pregnancy, teenage Juno (Ellen Page) devises a plan to locate the proverbial perfect parents to adopt her baby. But the seemingly ideal couple Juno chooses still has some growing up to do. Now, everyone in Juno's world must do a little soul-searching. Michael Cera co-stars while Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner play the pair of affluent yuppies anxious for a child in this offbeat coming-of-age comedy, which won the 2008 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

I was really expecting to like this film because of the trailer and because several people I know had seen it and liked it. Unfortunately the character of Juno was so precocious I found her to be annoying. Despite being just 16 years old and obviously not smart enough to understand birth control, Juno seems to be "over" everything. She thinks she's an expert on vintage horror movies and rock music, and that proms are so immature. I just didn't buy it. No 16 year old is that mature, that cool, and that "over" everything. But despite my dislike of the Juno character, I thought the rest of the cast was brilliant. All the other actors (playing Juno's boyfriend, parents, best friend, the adopting couple) were very real and believable, as was the general story. Juno was the only one who seemed 'over the top'. 3 out of 5 stars.

Lars and the Real Girl
Ryan Gosling plays the title character in this oddball comedy about a delusional young man who buys a life-size sex doll over the Internet -- and then falls in love with her. When the besotted young man starts telling people that the doll is his girlfriend, his brother and sister-in-law decide it's time to intervene. Co-starring Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Kelli Garner and Paul Schneider.

My friend James saw this and told me it was good, although its not what you may think based on the description above. Its actually a very sweet story about a young man disproportionately affected by the loss of his parents, and about a community who tries to help. Ryan Gosling is tender and amazing as Lars. Patricia Clarkson plays the clever doctor, and Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider play Lars' concerned sister-in-law and brother. 5 out of 5 stars.

Crush du Jour: Juiano Lopes

4 comments:

Jeff said...

Well that's it. We're definitely going to have to rent Lars and the Real Girl. A colleague at work has been going on about it and about how much Brad looks like one of the characters - after a search, I've determined it must be Paul Schneider (with beard). I'll get Himself to add it to our list right away!

Stephen Rader said...

I love me some SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER! Kate calling him "Doctor Sugar" all the time. So incredible.

RAD said...

Lars is now on the list to watch...I will put it on the DVR....LOVE the crush!! Lopes is HOT!

Anonymous said...

Suddenly, Last Summer was the movie that I showed when I met M. I was running a gay themed video filmfest at the Unitarian Church in Arlington in 1994. It was the movie that brought us together the first time!

I concur with you about Juno. The juno character is basically Diablo Cody, the screenwriter, I saw an interview with her and she talks just like that. I enjoyed the movie.

I thought Lars was one of sweetest movies I saw last year. I am glad you enjoyed it.

Clarkles/gyr8or