A Month of Movies (August 2004)
If you travel a great deal it's nearly impossible to see first run movies. Personally, I rely on the rental market to 'catch up' on the movie viewing required to participate in our culture. Fortunately film makers send everything to DVD as a once aftermarket alternative come necessity. Additionally when we are not often at home it's silly to maintain an HBO subscription. I tried to view as many rentals as possible and decided to address some of them for our movie review feature:
'Under the Tuscan Sun' - This is by far the best film I have seen in a very long while. The tone is quite fragile. A great deal of information is relayed in subtly and innuendo so don't look away too often. It features fabulous vistas of Tuscany and the equally fabulous Diane Lane. I left the film feeling good about life and that says a lot.
'Sex and the City' - I had never seen this series from HBO (it ran for 6 seasons) until it was released on DVD. Of course I've heard about it. The Fab 4 are amalgams of everyday people at work and on the street and very likable (not to mention incredibly HOTT!!!). The language is very frank and the situations are not unrealistic. The oddest thing for myself is to view the episodes out of sequence. Our group of friends is very genuine. Somewhere in the script is a little message about how life is best enjoyed.
'Lost in Translation' - I've always been a Bill Murray fan. He's no kid anymore and his characters reflect a maturity when compared to the early SNL days. I liked this movie on many levels and plan to purchase it for my collection. Travel confronts us with an aspect of reality in that we are often faced with the very real 'gap' between what is stated to us and what is expected from us.
'Eurotrip' - This was a very funny contemporary 'Animal House' style comedy about American students on a journey across Europe. There were many original comedy pieces that cannot be addressed here. It's big fun with no chance of encountering substance. Enjoy!
'Boat Trip' - Cuba Gooding Jr. and Horatio Sands (SNL) make this a memorable story. Take one heartbroken American with his friend and send them out looking for love on the high seas. Throw in a vindictive travel agent (Will Farrell) who signs them onto a cruise for gay men and the antics ensue. Place the Swedish sun tanning team on board (they feel safe) and the goofiness multiplies. Worth it!
'Master and Commander' - Some actors can always be trusted to deliver the goods. Russell Crowe makes a great movie about a very realistic Captain on the high seas. He is no Captain Bligh nor is he an Ahab. The movie has periods of great action followed by comparative inactivity. To my knowledge the movie is historically accurate apart from Crowe's playing of the fiddle. A great afternoon movie.
'Starship Troupers 2' - This was a thoroughly disgusting gory movie for those who like bug goo and limb severing. The Troupers still shoot bullets at giant arachnids instead of using flame throwers, but should anything change there would be no plot at all.
'Intolerable Cruelty' - Put two very attractive people together and hope for the best. George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones conjure up an adversarial romance based on greed and fear. It wasn't the most compelling film but it did have a few moments... I give it a C+.
'Along Came Polly' - Jennifer Anniston is the most incredible woman of contemporary culture. Always playing the average girl and encountering Ben Stiller's neurotic and stifled character, it is certainly worth the view. It is the only film ever to feature a blind weasel!
'50 First Dates' - I loved this film. Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler create a memorable romance that has to be renewed each morning (she loses her memory every night). The film ends in a non-typical way and that makes it so much more endearing. See it!
'Love Actually' - This film embodies a very real exploration of relationships and in a most entertaining fashion. There are dozens of cameo appearances and an all-star cast as well. Don't miss the very moving 'All I Want for Christmas' finale.