I'm Bill Murray, you're everyone else

I've seen quite a few films lately. Here, I'll write about them.

Michael Clayton: Finally! A film that tells the truth, that the legal industry - my destination of choice - may be actually quite shady! But seriously, Tony Gilroy, a man who can probably make my daily walk to the mailbox seem tense and dangerous (this is a compliment) wrote and directed a solid, if unremarkable thriller in which George Clooney didn't come off as smug. The plot keeps ticking along nicely, though I imagine that non-law-students may have been a little lost/bored at times. Tilda Swinton won the Oscar, but I wish Tom Wilkinson had too, because he was great in it. Which leads us nicely into...

Dedication: I have real trouble with films in which the main character is entirely unlikeable. This indie stars T-Wilks, briefly, along with Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore. A pretty standard socially-awkward-guy meets free-spirited-pretty-girl-with-her-own-skeletons story, except this socially awkward guy is a rampant misanthrope who's angry at everything. There really wasn't much to like in the film, so stay away.

Persepolis: I've been getting through the graphic novels very slowly (thank goodness for boring classes), so I was glad to finally see the film. And it was terrific! The main thing to note here is that it's far funnier than you'd expect for a first person account of the Iranian Revolution. There's an "Eye of the Tiger" montage in there, and some Bee Gees dissing, which I am fine with. All that, and the animation is swish. Check it.

La Vie en Rose: Marion Cottilard is great, and definitely was a worthy winner of the Oscar. That aside, I didn't care for the film at all. Another pretty interesting real-life story was lost in a very run-of-the-mill drugs/sing/yell at everyone/cry/sing some more/yell at everyone/be old/repent cycle. Also, following Basil Fawlty's instructions, they completely failed to mention the War at all, which was a really odd and conspicuous omission.

The Savages: This film was really heavy, but not heavy in the way a good funk song is heavy. Caring for a parent who's in the throws of dementia is terrifying, and Hoffman and Linney were great and the script really got across their fears and vulnerabilities well. It was just so dark that I had trouble getting much enjoyment out of it. Sorry.

Great World of Sound: Nice idea, low key indie film. It didn't really do much for me, I've got to say, but the dynamic between the two leads was pretty good. The musicians in the film didn't know they were being filmed for a movie, and so all the auditions are completely natural, which is a nice touch. Here's the trailer - worth keeping an eye out if you're a fan of producer David Gordon Green.

Meet the Spartans: Well, I promised I'd see it. No real shocker to say that it wasn't very good, but I was disappointed to see at least two jokes recycled from Epic Movie. This time they throw in "parodies" of television commercials as well as just movies/tv shows, etc. There's an Anna Nicole Smith joke toward the beginning, which I thought was in poor taste, and it didn't get much better for the remaining hour. At least it was really, really short. Tegs, what happened to you?

Be Kind, Rewind: As you may have seen, white people really like Mos Def and Michel Gondry, and I do too. But I found this one mostly unsatisfying. The heart of the film, where they recreate old movies, is pretty neat, because Gondry has a great flair for stuff looking amazing. Unfortunately, the set-up and the ending are really clunky. Check out the Sweded films on their site - especially Gondry's own reworking of the movie trailer, and that's most of the joy of the flick. Better luck next time. Oh, and it's always worth giving a shout-out to Adam and Joe, who did similar stuff years ago. Only, they did it with toys.

The Good Night: I don't know what to tell you. This one was all over the place. Terrible, despite the fact that the first voice you hear, and the first face you see, belong to this man. The characters are all whiny and unlikeable, the plot is so muddled and baffling as to make me furious, and nothing good happens at all. There are people involved here that I like - Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Penelope Cruz - but it's a train wreck. Avoid like schoolteachers at bus stops.


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