Sunday, March 4, 2012

Playing Movie-Catch-Up

Last night we finally got around to watching "Moneyball". Brad Pitt's incredibly attractive aging notwithstanding, this is a very good movie. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it was generally well reviewed, and, of course, it was nominated for 6 Academy Awards. That doesn't always equal movies I like, but in this case, I thought it was worth a look. Pitt's performance is solid-- charming, witty, passionate, and authentic. And, yes, still hunky at 48 years old. He reminds me a lot of Robert Redford, and I really think he has matured as an actor and is easily one of the better actors working in movies today.

Jonah Hill was perfectly cast, as well. I haven't watched him in anything, so I didn't have any expectations or preconceptions, and I really enjoyed him. The rest of the cast was great, the directing was tight and the story enjoyable even for a non-baseball fanatic like myself. It's definitely worth your time.

Tonight we had a double feature, catching up on movies we missed last year that are now out on Blu-Ray. First up was "Tower Heist" featuring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick and others. I wanted to like this movie-- who doesn't enjoy a fun caper movie where the little guy gets the evil, rich jerk? And I keep wanting so badly to see a film with Stiller that has something new, something different from what we've seen, or if he can only do the one schtick, at least a fresh face on the schtick. Not so much here. In this film, he seems to be basically channeling his museum security guard character from "Night at the Museum"-- it wasn't unpleasant, but felt like I'd seen it all before.

Murphy seemed to be trying to return to his "Beverly Hills Cop" persona, but the angry-black-man bit just isn't funny. The sexual humor wasn't funny, the yelling and cussing was overplayed and obnoxious, and he just wasn't funny. I wanted SO much more from him, especially.

And then there was Broderick. Matthew Broderick has been trying for a while now to reignite his film career, and while I sympathize (I thought Ferris Bueller was adorable!!), he seems to be just missing the mark. His performance in "Heist" wasn't bad, it was just a bit bland. And who the heck did his makeup??!! Terrible! Just awful. I realize movie stars feel like the rest of us about aging, only moreso, but I don't think a bad makeup job is going to help.

This movie was a dud, not worth the money they spent making it, for sure... and not a family movie...

The second movie tonight was "The Big Year" starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. This was pretty good, but my husband thinks that was mostly because we watched it so soon after "Tower Heist", but I thought it was pleasant and entertaining. And mercifully clean, except for a few cusses. The story was about the three of them trying to accomplish a birding record for spotting the most birds in one year and the way their obsessive hobbies affect the other aspects of their lives. It was a light, gentle movie, with sweet, genuine characters and believable sub-stories. I enjoyed it a lot and would recommend it. It's a refreshing change from the usual shoot-em-up movies we watch around here.


Chris said...

Well, said, Steph; your assessments on all 3 are astute.

About "The Big Year" -- it was slow and easy, and very sweet, but I think young people today have trouble sitting through that kind of movie, cinematic ADD being what it is in the modern world.

I also liked seeing all the old-timers I hadn't seen in awhile: Dianne Wiest, Brian Dennehy, Jobeth Williams, Anjelica Huston, Kevin Pollak and the voice of John Cleese in the opening bit. Liked Jim Parsons' cameo, too.

Steph said...

Thanks, and yes, it was nice to see so many actors we don't see much anymore, and Jim Parsons was great.