| Movies, Gardening
||[Aug. 13th, 2007|11:39 am]
I don’t have much of a weekend movie update this week. I only had two Netflix movies to watch and one of them was a badly messed up Project Runway disk that I had to send back with a messed-up-disk report. Even after two cleanings it would only show me parts of episodes 5 and 7. I was pretty sad about this because I was looking forward to those 5 episodes of Project Runway. |
The one watchable movie I did have was Eight Women, and it was a fairly strange experience. I can recommend the film to anyone who really likes French movies, but otherwise, I don’t think it’s very accessible to the general American public. It’s a murder mystery-comedy-soap operaish women’s drama. Oh, and a musical. The reviews of it I’ve read seem to be very positive about the musical numbers, but I thought they were not very good from a musical standpoint and that their addition seemed really contrived.
Oh, and by the end of the movie, almost all of the 8 featured characters in it are lesbians.
There were three things about the movie I really liked – 1) it echoed George Cukor’s 1939 movie, The Women in that there were no actual men shown in the movie (just the back of one man’s head a few times) and in the way the credits were done at the beginning of the movie (in The Women they are depicted as animals and in Eight Women they are depicted as flowers). Also, 2) I absolutely loved the costume design. The movie is set in the 1950s and the costumes are perfect and beautiful. And finally, 3) it features some excellent mature French actresses, including Catherine Deneuve, and they are all lovely and wonderful in it.
Overall, the movie was funny, has some terrific acting by some great actresses, and very french and had some interesting twists, but it was also a bit strange. If you’re in the mood for it you may love it. If not you may spend two hours wondering WTF?
Since I had a so-so Netflix experience, I decided to treat myself to a Cusack-fest with movies I already own.
Fine Print: I practically worship John Cusack, and as a result I love all of his movies, even if they aren’t otherwise good. I am completely irrational on this point, and there is no sense arguing it with me. There is no such thing as a negative review of a Cusack movie from me. I tend to really resent people harshing the joy buzz I have after watching his movies.
I don’t know why I didn’t get around to seeing The Runaway Jury back when it first came out, though it was possibly because I tend to shy away from movies about the field I work in (I also refuse to read Grisham’s books for the same reason, so I haven’t and won’t read the original of this). Seeing the ads for 1408 made me decide I needed to get my Cusack DVD collection up to date, so I ordered this and a few others a couple of weeks ago.
And of course I loved it.
Most of the reviews I’ve read are not that hot on it, but most of them seem to compare it to the original novel, which I have no interest in, so I really didn’t care if it didn’t match up, and because of the extreme pro-gun control bias, which I happen to share. Yes, it is undeniably preachy, and that usually bothers me, but this time it didn’t.
I thought all four of the main actors (John Cusack plus Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, and Rachel Weisz) did a fabulous job. Since I hadn’t read the book, I was actually surprised by the ending, and I thought Cusack and Weisz both did a superb job keeping their characters’ motivation hidden. I adored their sneakiness for a good cause and while I recognize that Nick Easter was way too damn good to be true, I got a big thrill out of seeing Cusack in that role.
I loved it so much I watched it twice, and liked it even better the second time. And I'd like to go home and watch it again this afternoon.
Then I watched Pushing Tin for probably the 12th time and while it’s an older movie and not really the top of the Cusack oeuvre (so I'm not going to actually review it), that lovely scene where he throws Cate Blanchett over his shoulder and carries her upstairs and I could probably be happy just watching that one scene over and over and over. *sigh*
I concluded my mini-Cusack-fest with another film I hadn’t yet seen, The Ice Harvest, a reasonably funny black comedy/crime caper directed by Harold Ramis and also starring Billy Bob Thornton and Connie Nielsen. It wasn’t laughing-out-loud funny, in fact, it’s even fairly depressing. But it is somewhat clever and Cusack’s so wonderful as the put-upon, stressed-out mob lawyer at the heart of this thing that I enjoyed it probably more than I should have. Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton took a mediocre script and with the help of Oliver Platt in a bit-part as an obnoxious drunk actually make it work much better than the script ever deserves. Randy Quaid also appears in this, but he’s sadly under-used.
Oh, one more thing - it’s a Christmas movie and as “dark” Christmas movies go, it’s okay. Really, Cusack saves the thing, and I hope Harold Ramis appreciated that.
I would watch it again, but I’d rather watch Grosse Point Blank.
In gardening news, it was hellishly hot this weekend. I finally got my petunias cut back and did a little bit of other work, and I thought I was going to faint by the time I was done. Looking on the bright side, at least we are almost halfway through August.