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I did a movie marathon in LA this weekend. I saw "The Day The Earth Stood Still" on Friday night. Then on Saturday I saw "Doubt", "Gran Torino" and "Slumdog Millionaire" all in a row at the great Arclight Theatre off of Sunset Boulevard.

 

I recommend all of the movies, but I especially recommend Meryl's acting in "Doubt". She always overwhelms me and this role was no exception. But my favorite movie of them all was "Slumdog Millionaire". If anyone watched the BBC America show "Skins" you will recognize the main star of this movie. It was an amazing movie and very well acted. I could not recommend it more.

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I haven't seen of these movies but want to see them all...and how I wished we had something like the Arclight here in New York, what a delight that movie palace is.

 

I loved the NY Times review of Doubt and I can't wait to see the movie:

 

"Mr. Shanley has nothing deep to say about the church and its sex scandals, and he’s still largely using words and more words, despite the tilted camera angles and pretty pictures. But the words are good, solid, at times touching. His work with the actors is generally fine, though it’s a mystery what he thought Ms. Streep, with her wild eyes and an accent as wide as the Grand Concourse, was doing. Her outsize performance has a whiff of burlesque, but she’s really just operating in a different register from the other actors, who are working in the more naturalistic vein of modern movie realism. She’s a hoot, but she’s also a relief, because, for some of us, worshiping Our Lady of Accents is easier on the soul than doing time in church."

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Last weekend when I was in Santa Cruz, California, I went and saw MILK. Before this particular film were superb previews of both DOUBT and SLUMDOG.... While I viewed these previews, I said to myself, "Yes, yes, yes, I must see these films.

 

Glad that you enjoyed and recommend these two films to us! Thanks! :-)

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I saw "Doubt" this weekend. A terrific film, but then, I'm a bit biased since I grew up with the screenwriter, John Patrick Shanley and although this film is a fictious story, it is loosely based on real people. John and I went through 8 years of Catholic elementary school education under the supervision of the Sisters of Charity together. The character of Sister James in the film is based on our real-life first grade teacher, who is still a Sister of Charity and teaching here in Manhattan. Meryl Streep and Philip Seyomour Hoffman are sure Oscar nominees.

 

I also saw "Frost/Nixon" and found it a riveting portrayl of the the interviews David Frost did with Richard Nixon in the 70's. Langella's performance is amazing. A sure Oscar winner. Look out Sean Penn!

 

"Slumdog Millionaire" is still on my list of must-sees and I am hoping to see Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino" tomorrow afternoon.

 

ED

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> His work

>with the actors is generally fine, though it’s a mystery what

>he thought Ms. Streep, with her wild eyes and an accent as

>wide as the Grand Concourse, was doing. Her outsize

>performance has a whiff of burlesque, but she’s really just

>operating in a different register from the other actors, who

>are working in the more naturalistic vein of modern movie

>realism.

 

 

The reviewer, obviously, didn't understand the performance. Her character actually explains that her role in the school is to be "the dragon" as PSH refers to her in the beginning. The "burlesque" part of her performance only occurs while interacting with the kids and it's intentional. When she's behind closed doors the volume is turned waaaaaaaaaaaaaay down and she's merely a force of nature. It's an amazingly calibrated performance and it might win her an Oscar - she last won TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ago.

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So many good movies right now - kid in the candy store time.

 

Don't miss "Happy Go Lucky" as well as all the others mentioned.

Mike Leigh (director) and Sally Hawkins (star) have already won

early awards and will probably be Oscar nominated. This one really

resonated with me.

 

Also, if still in theaters, "A Secret" from France is very good.

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I saw "The Reader" today. It's in limited release in a few major cities. I thought this was one of the best films I've seen in a long time, including "Milk." (And for guys into full frontal male chicken, you get to see ALL of the teenage guy who has an affair with an older woman in the first part of the film.) The combination of an ethically challenging plot, good acting from Winslet and Fiennes as well as the kid, and a great musical score by the talented young gay composer Nico Muhly, combine to make a terrific impression.

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Guest ryan2552

If you enjoy the blues check out Cadillac Records. This is a gem of a film recounting the beginning of the Chess Records era. I highly recommend it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My movie marathon over the holidays consisted of Happy Go Lucky, Frost/Nixon, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

 

I thought the first movie would be an upbeat and happy way to celebrate the holiday, but the other two guys I went with agreed with me...after 45 minutes we all gladly left the theater. What a stupid movie.

 

My sister and I both liked Frost/Nixon. Frank Langella was just great as Nixon. I don't doubt he will outshine Sean Penn for the Oscar, and I really liked Sean Penn's performance as Milk.

 

The Brad Pitt movie was just bizarre. The sets were great, but the story was confusing and not very interesting. At lest we didn't walk out.

 

For Christmas I bought myself the DVD of Bangkok Love Story. I could use some Bangkok love right now!

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I didn't find Button confusing at all... But it helped to have read a review before seeing the movie. The idea is that Brad Pitt is born as a senile old man and works his way backwards through life until he gives up the ghost as a little baby. Meanwhile, the little girl for whom he falls in a deep swoon ages until they are both at exactly the right age to be together, then they start to age apart as he gets younger and she gets older. I found it fascinating, and both Cate Blanchett and Brad do a marvelous job. And the make-up people have a field day - seeing Brad reverse-aging into a motorcycle riding young man and then a hot teen boy (remember his bedroom scene in his first big hit appearance!!!) is something fantastic.

 

Valkyrie - The NY Times review said that Tom Cruise was like an alien dropped among all those serious actors in a 1940s German war thriller. I can see that criticism - he does sort of stick out like a sore thumb, but the film is well made and gripping, even if you know the tragic outcome before going in.

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I agree with the comment about "Twilight." I just didn't get it but, then again, I'm not a teenage girl. I thought it was completely stupid and the lead guy was completely unappealing. White face make-up and red lip stick do not turn me on and he weighed about 125, another turnoff.

 

I loved "Gran Torino." Another quiet Eastwood sleeper comes along when you least expect it. Very enjoyable.

 

I saw "Doubt" twice on Broadway (once with Cherry Jones, and also with Eileen Atkins). I, too, couldn't figure out what Streep was trying to do. It was almost a caricature. I normally really like her but she seemed to be acting in a different movie from the others. It was disappointing. And I had the same problem that I had with the play. It ends too abruptly. It needs another 15 minutes.

 

"Frost/Nixon" was superb with great performances all around.

 

"Milk" disppointed me because I like to sell well-rounded portrayals of real people and canonization is very, very boring. There was nothing about the kickbacks Harvey took (and which may have been the real cause of his death) or anything else that took away from his sainthood. And giving him credit for defeating the teacher prop was silly. Ronald Reagan, the ex governor, did more to defeat it than anything else when he came out against it. But it's a well-made flick, it's just too saccharine for me.

 

"Slumdog Millionaire" is a charming movie that went in some directions I wasn't expecting. I cannot imagine anyone not liking this film.

 

I haven't seen "Benjamin Button" but the previews don't much interest me.

 

I would highly recommend "I've Loved You So Long (?)" with an amazing performance by Kristin Scott Thomas. She will literally knock you out.

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Guest zipperzone

>In the promos on tv, the moment he opens his mouth, Cruise is

>laughable as a German officer--he's Tom Cruise playing Tom

>Cruise. I'll pass on that one.

 

I pass on all TC movies. I refuse to put any of my money into the bank account of that nut-job and by extension that stupid religion he champions.

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>In the promos on tv, the moment he opens his mouth, Cruise is

>laughable as a German officer--he's Tom Cruise playing Tom

>Cruise. I'll pass on that one.

 

Reviews have been unilaterally bad. One of the reviews on MSNBC used the phrase distractingly bad about Cruise's performance.

 

I'll pass.

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The New York Times sadly has a different view:

 

"Still, the weekend’s most significant victory may have been scored by Tom Cruise, the director Bryan Singer and the distributor MGM with their “Valkyrie,” which for the last year has been chewed over as one of the most difficult bets in the movie marketplace.

 

The film, in which Mr. Cruise plays a German officer who tried to kill Hitler, placed fourth for the holiday with $21.5 million in sales for the three days and about $30 million since opening on Christmas."

____________________________

 

I guess Cruise still has some box office clout, or folks will spend money to see a film about Hitler & Nazis, even over the Christmas weekend.

 

I have not seen "Valkyrie." So far my favorite film of those released in November and December is "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." "Button" did better at the box office than "Valkyrie" despite being at least 30 minutes longer.

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Cruise is on the screen almost every minute of Valkyrie, so if you don't want to see Tom Cruise, don't see Valkyrie. I did not find his acting distractingly bad, I just agreed with the critics who said he didn't fit in with the rest of the cast in terms of the history and the drama being depicted. Frankly, it's hard to know how it would go otherwise, since it is the very qualities that make him distinctive as an actor that make him not fit in with the rest of this cast.

 

On the other side, if you're a Cruise fan, it's a feast.

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Guest ReturnOfS

>

>"Milk" disppointed me because I like to sell

>well-rounded portrayals of real people and canonization is

>very, very boring. There was nothing about the kickbacks

>Harvey took (and which may have been the real cause of his

>death) or anything else that took away from his sainthood. And

>giving him credit for defeating the teacher prop was silly.

>Ronald Reagan, the ex governor, did more to defeat it than

>anything else when he came out against it. But it's a

>well-made flick, it's just too saccharine for me.

>

 

If the movie gave Milk too much credit for defeating Prop 6, Briggs Initiative, you give him disrespectfully too little credit. While some gay people were sitting on their asses, Milk attended every event Briggs hosted, campaigned against the bill throughout the state, and took on Briggs numerous debates.

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I don't give him "too little credit" I don't give him any credit at all because the outcome was never in doubt. Figures from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan and the entire California establishment was against Prop 6. It never stood a chance at passing.

 

What it did do was catapult Harvey Milk to prominence as a political figure in San Francisco. That is without question.

 

But I would also have liked to see -- as recently detailed in The Advocate -- something about the $384,000 in kickbacks he took as a councilman and how that may have had something to do with Dan White's (he wasn't getting a piece of the action) killings of Milk and Moscone.

 

But the filmmakers chose to make Milk a saint. Saints are a bore.

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I went to see "Valkyrie" last night. Mostly because the supporting cast (Branagh, Nighy, Wilkinson, et. al.) is so wonderful.

 

But what a stink bomb. The film opens with Cruise speaking German and then he goes to English and no explanation. Silly. And he's the only actor in the film with an American accent (Good Nazis have English accents; bad Nazis have German accents in the film).

 

The worst thing the filmmakers did is the same problem with "Milk." Then turn Stauffenberg into a saint. What he did was courageous but to make it look like he was some noble saint fighting to save the Jews, etc. was completely ridiculous. He was a known anti-Semite as were most of the other plotters.

 

The filmmakers missed the point that the July 20 plotters wanted Hitler out of the way not because they wanted to save Jews but to "preserve Germany's honor" and either fight the war better and win or at least negotiate peace before they were all destroyed.

 

This is completely overlooked in the film. Cruise is laughable. But, then again, he always is but for him to take on an historical character like this was folly.

 

He should go back to yelling about Scientology.

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Lucky, you may be surprised by Bangkok Love Story. I don't want to give anything away. It is very art-housey.

 

I liked Slumdog a lot. Most people I know have loved it. One person I know hated it. I thought it was nearly great. The first half at least takes you to a world most of us have absolutely no idea about.

 

Gran Torino is excellent. I am not a big Eastwood fan, but his performance is great and the whole film is as well. It is funnier than we expected it to be. The unknown Hmong actors aren't the strongest but it all works.

 

I am planning to see The Reader today.

 

There are a ton of good films out there right now. I guess everyone is packing in their Oscar films now.

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RE: Slumdog Millionaire

 

After having seen Slumdog Millionaire with friends, I took the bf to see it. I have to say that I liked it even more the second time. I noticed the sound track more, and it is great. The bf enjoyed the movie as well, so, if you haven't seen it, it's worth it.

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