I’m not sure how this happened. Sure, every year-end Hollywod dumps its Oscar hopefuls into limited release so January is often blessed with some excellent perormances (often in egregious films, but that’s another thread.)
Right now,though, my local cineplexes seem blessed with a feast of fine features for my view pleasure. In the last couple of weeks I have caught:
Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon Simply a magnificent visual spectacle with a deeply textured peformance by Michelle Yeoh and ass-kicking martial arts mayehm. Uso!
Castaway Magnificent Tom Hanks performance, the best plane crash ever filmed (what, there isn’t an Oscar for that?), the year’s coolest shperical accessory, and I liked the bookend sections. They added texture to the theme and demonstrated a level of personal loss that simply “surviving” cannot erase. (Okay, I could have done without the last 30 seconds – big deal.)
Finding Forrester Simply the best work Connery has done in more than a decade. Intelligent script, wonderfully understated performances (Rob Brown is a keeper), and a “tragic event” that actually makes sense and informs the actions of the characters. I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. truly a gem. And the soundtrack was so good it actually made me like listening to Somewhere over the Rainbow. Twice.
State and Main David Mamet, William Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Rebecca Pidgeon (Why won’t she act in anything her husband didn’t write?!). Both a fantastic Hollywood satire and a paean to small-town romanticism. Hell, even Alec Baldwin (in yet another self-parody) couldn’t detract from this one.
Traffic Fantastic piece of stylistic filmmaking. Benicio Del Toro actually deserves the buzz he’s been getting, and Don Cheadle turns in another excellent perfrmance as his US counterpart. One or two small missteps are not enough to derail this tour-de-force. See it with tour favorite undercover narc.
The Gift Great movie? No. It runs to predictability and contrived actions by the protagonist. But Cate Blanchett is a wonderfully grounded centerpiece and she keeps it from flying apart. Sam Raimi does a very effective job of building and maintaining tension throughout, and some of the individual shots have startling power. The uneven script (from a Billy Bob castoff, IIRC) keeps this from being great, but it was still well worth my $7.50.
And I still have Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, The Pledge, Snatch, Thirteen Days, Before Night Falls, and whatever Indie films gain a distribution after Sundance (I still have my fingers crossed for Panic, but I’m an optimist) to look forward to. Woo hoo!
So – any other doper film buffs feeling phat these days?