Question of the Day

This one comes up on occasion, but the answers change.

Seen any good movies recently?

I rented The Queen over the weekend and enjoyed it very much; Helen Mirren was amazing. I also saw the first half of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on cable, got bored in the extreme, and turned it off. Mr. Depp’s charms and skill could barely keep this turkey afloat, and I can only imagine what the final entry is like.

I happened across 61* on HBO this past weekend. It’s Billy Crystal’s film about the 1961 competition between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris to beat Babe Ruth’s home-run record, and it is a great film. Mr. Crystal captured the time and the feeling, and Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane were perfectly cast as Maris and Mantle respectively. I also liked that in the credits Mr. Crystal showed that “Yankee Stadium” was played by Tiger Stadium. That was classy.



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33 responses to “Question of the Day

  1. Allie

    I just saw the Queen too – it was great. I also recently saw Stranger than Fiction & thought it was very funny and odd.

  2. “Dark City”, a very trippy flick about what’s real, what’s a dream state, and what if there’s outside manipulation that can change one’s physical reality literally from day to day?

    “Romeo Is Bleeding” One of Gary Oldman’s most underrated roles, he juggles a wife and two mistresses while, as a cop, he’s in the pocket of crime lord Roy Scheider. Needless to say, things start out bad for Oldman, and only get worse and more tangled

    The absolute star of the movie is Lena Olin, without doubt the baddest of all female badasses in moviedom-And she did the same thing by playing Jennifer Garner’s mom on “Alias”

    “The Hidden” A VERY well done B movie that blends action, sci-fi and law enforcement flicks into a damn fun ride of a movie, although true car-lovers will wince with what happens to the Ferrari in the opening scene

  3. I saw “Conversations with Other Women” recently and really liked it. It’s not for everyone, but I dialogue-driven experimental stuff.

    Also, watched Kubrick’s “The Killing” last night, which was *awesome*. Highly recommended, and it’s clear how strongly Tarantino was influenced by it for Reservoir Dogs.

  4. SAP

    This Film Is Not yet Rated

  5. I really liked the film version of The Namesake. It was very true to the book and really well done.
    I saw both Volver and Casino Royale on a plane and liked them both.
    And Hot Fuzz is hysterically funny.

  6. I finally watched The Prestige after having it sit on top of my DVD player in its Netflix envelope for a month, and I loved it. It was fabulous to watch that story come together.

  7. pidomon

    I am ashamed to admit it but I saw Spiderman 3 (ties into my business)
    As much fun as the first two were 3 just stunk on ice

  8. wedeman

    Pan’s Labryinth. Amazing.

  9. PortlyDyke

    Last night I watched “The Emporer’s New Clothes” on DVD — the movie itself was okay to good, but the cinematography!!! It was like watching two hours of a Vermeer painting. Ahhhhh!

    Ian Holm (Bilbo) and Iben Hjejle (High Fidelity) starred. How did I miss this one in 2001?

  10. Angelos

    We’re always a year or two behind, as we slowly wind through our Netflix queueueueue.

    Just saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang last week.

    Very good. Downey is such a great actor, that even trifles are elevated by his presence.

  11. Angelos

    We’re always a year or two behind, as we slowly wind through our Netflix queueueueue.

    Just saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang last week.

    Very good. Downey is such a great actor, that even trifles are elevated by his presence. And Val Kilmer is a trip in this one.

  12. bluestockingsrs

    I saw De-Lovely recently – which was very good in presenting the complexity of Cole Porter’s sexuality without any straight washing –very good in my opinion.

  13. We watched Brick over the weekend. It won awards at various film festivals last year. Basically it’s The Maltese Falcon in high school, even including some of the slang. Like “take a powder”. Highly recommended.

  14. RayCeeYa

    “The Good Shepard”,

    Most of my friends thought it was boring but I thought it was very good. It illustrated how painful and tragic it can be when you are forced to live a life surrounded in lies and intrigue for years and years.

    In many ways it reminded me of “Mother Night” by Kurt Vonnegut. In both the protagonist experienced extreme isolation from other human beings as a result of their work with a covert agency. In both cases they don’t see the eventual consequences of this covert lifestyle until its too late.

    By the way, if anyone is interested “Mother Night” was made into a movie about ten years ago if you don’t have the patience for the book.

  15. I can only imagine what the final entry is like.

    The new Pirates is okay, but the jokes are even more canned than they were in the last one. Johnny Depp is still amazing though. And they should have done more with Chow Yun Fat, because, well, he’s Chow Yun Fat. And he rocks.

    As for me, I actually thought Man of the Year was pretty funny and entertaining as far as the latest movies are concerned, though that really isn’t saying much. I thought they did a wonderful job lampooning the election spectacle as it continuously plays out. And I [small squeaky voice] really like Robin Williams [/small squeaky voice]Everything else I’ve seen, from 300 to a bootleg copy of Spider-Man 3 has been TERRIBLE.

    Though I haven’t seen Pan’s labyrinth yet…

  16. TSG

    I really liked _Conversations with Other Women_ with Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart.

    And I’ll second _Stranger than Fiction_.

  17. I will say, however, that the writers on the Pirates trilogy used their characters well, and made a somewhat plausible plot that worked well with said characters. I was surprised.

  18. “Volver” was very good, as was “The Queen.”

    “Pan’s Labyrinth” is amazing. And “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is the best movie that only a few people have seen, it seems.

    And last weekend, I watched “The Seven Samurai” for probably the 50th time.

  19. Oh, and this site looks great. Beautiful.

  20. And last weekend, I watched “The Seven Samurai” for probably the 50th time.

    It never, ever, ever gets old. I lurves it.

  21. I just watched Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee on HBO.

    It is definitely worth watching.

  22. Hippodameia

    “Alice’s Restaurant,” with Arlo Guthrie’s commentary. The first time I saw that movie I was horrified at how tragic his life was, so I really enjoy listening to him cheerfully explain that a lot of the movie isn’t actually true.

    “The Jacket,” with Adrien Brody, Kris Kristofferson, and Keira Knightley. Hard to characterize, fun to watch.

    And I’ll confess I saw Pirates this weekend and had a mostly good time. Not very thought-provoking, but entertaining — sort of the cinematic equivalent of a cheese puff.

  23. No.

    …just sayin’…

  24. mamajane

    Sadly, the only movies I’ve seen recently have been kid flicks. We have seen two Very good ones recently, A Bridge To Terabithia, and The Last Mimsy. Both were just gorgeously filmed, relatively realistic portrayals of kids, and didn’t dumb everything down. Plus, a lot of The Last Mimsy took place on my island, a big plus ;-).

    About a month ago I checked out Kurosawa’s Throne Of Blood from the library, liked it almost as much as Seven Samurai.

  25. Jay in Oregon

    Pirates of the Caribbean 3 felt like they had two really good scripts they wanted to use; they couldn’t pick one over the other, so they tried to take the best of both and work them together. It did not succeed; the plot was hard to follow, and ironically enough, there were parts that just seeemd to drag.

    I’m glad they decided that Orlando Bloom’s character had a purpose other than scowling every time Johnny Depp made lurvy-lurvy eyes at Keira Knightly.

    Chow Yun-Fat was criminally under-used. Keith Richards’ cameo was perfect; it didn’t feel forced or contrived at all.

    There was too much Jack Sparrow; and if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll have an idea of what I mean by that.

    The costumes were gorgeous, the fight cherography was good enough. What can you say about the CGi effects? They were CGi effects; I’m getting to the point where the eye-popping special effects don’t get me worked up any more, and I need a story to rationalize them.

  26. The Promise

    Absolutely gorgeous. I wish they had just done it with subtitles; trying to find dialog that goes with the storyline while sorta-kinda-looks like what the actors are saying really makes for bad dialog.

    V for Vendetta

    I love this movie. Love it. Way better than even the first Matrix.

  27. GayAsXmas

    I watched Black Book last weekend – its a WW2 film about a Jewish woman working for the resistance in Holland in 1944/1945 who passes for a German singer. It was directed by Paul Verhoeven and its absolutely thrilling – the main actress Carice is superb (most Holywood actresses would kill for the role) and its full of suspense, moral ambiguities and black humour

  28. "Fair and Balanced" Dave

    Pan’s Labryinth. Amazing.

    I agree 100 percent. I finally saw this last weekend and was just blown away. For all the reviews that talked about the pale man, The Captain was truly the scariest monster in this film.

    Letters From Iwo Jima The better of Clint Eastwood’s two Iwo Jima films and, IMO, the best film about WWII since Das Boot

  29. Betsy

    Pan’s Labyrinth and The Lives of Others. Seriously, The Lives of Others was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time.

  30. Gray Lensman

    I just bought “The world’s Fastest Indian” with Anthony Hopkins playing a dotty old New Zealander in love with an ancient motorcycle and speed. In an interview on the DVD Hopkins says it is the best thing he’s done. It is the best motorcycle movie ever, for what that’s worth.

    We’re also enjoying “Serenity” and the Firefly boxed set. Science fiction meets the old west. Funny, sexy, violent, with good characters. It should be as big a deal as Star Trek and Star Wars. Joss Whedon trumps Lucas any day. No bug-eyed monsters, thank you!

  31. Pan’s Labyrinth!!!!

    best film i’ve seen in a long time. i saw it in L.A. before all the buzz started (before the oscars hit it’s really cool to know writer’s guild members who have those “get in free” movie cards)

    now, i own it.

  32. I do a film round-up after the Oscars every year over on my blog. My top four of last year, in no particular order were: Letters From Iwo Jima, Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men and The Lives of Others. (I suspect many readers of this site would really appreciate Lives of Others, which deals with artists in East Germany and the Stasi, the secret police.)

    My other notable films from last year included: Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, The Queen, United 93, Casino Royale, The Good Shepherd, Babel, Little Children, Borat, The Prestige, Notes on a Scandal, Thank You For Smoking, and Stranger than Fiction. From 2005, I’d also mention Junebug, a great indie film.

    Mentioned above, Brick and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang are also great. The Promise is also good, but be aware it’s very violent if that sort of thing bothers you. Dark City and Romeo is Bleeding are both offbeat flicks that some folks will really enjoy. Dark City has a very strong aesthetic and is real sci-fi versus a space opera or space western. This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a fantastic doc and it’s actually forced changes to the MPAA and how films are rated.

    Finally, I was raised on Kurosawa and have many fond memories (I’m debating about buying the new Criterion edition of Seven Samurai). Yojimbo’s also great fun, and it’s great to see any Kurosawa film in a theater if you can. If you’re a Kurosawa fan and haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend Ikiru, starting Takashi Shimura, who plays the head samurai in Seven Samurai. It’s set in modern times (1950s Japan when it came out), and starts slowly, but is very, very powerful and moving. His Oscar-winning Dersu Uzala is also gorgeous and poignant, but this could easily start a whole other thread on Kurosawa and other classic Japanese films. Two other foreign films I’ll recommend: Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955) and Toto the Hero (Jaco van Dormael, 1991).

    Good question!

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