Two movies

Dec. 30th, 2008 05:18 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Buffy quote: action fig deployed)
[personal profile] mellicious
SPOILER NOTE: If you didn't come in through the cut, watch out for the second part of the Slumdog comments. The rest should be ok. (Or click over here to see the cut version.)

I have seen two movies during the holidays and I would like to talk about them a bit, except I am a crappy movie critic. My reviews tend to go like this: "I liked it a lot" or "It was so-so." I mean, what do you say? You recap the plot but you can read Rotten Tomatoes for that. And I'm not Pauline Kael and I don't want to be. But these are pretty complex movies, I ought to be able to come up with a few things to say about them!

Movie 1: Slumdog Millionaire - I really did like this a lot. I am not organized enough to come up with things like "Best of 2008" lists - I'd have to know what movies I actually saw, and I don't. But this might rank pretty high. (Now I'm thinking, "Did I like it better than Wall-E?" and actually the answer might be yes.) I wasn't sure I would like this at all, but - I don't know how, but somehow they managed to make the lives of slum kids in India believable without seeming too horribly tragic. I mean, tragic things happen, I don't think it's really a spoiler to say that, but, well...
when their mother gets killed it's tragic, of course, but they don't seem to grieve over it too long. That feels sort of right to me: in that situation you couldn't, really, you're too busy trying to stay alive yourself. I had issues with a couple of things... the questions just fit too perfectly into his life, but I guess you could just put that down to the conceit on which the movie (and book, I gather) is based. It's almost like he only knows these 20 things and gee, wouldn't you guess it, they ask him exactly those things. That and the too-perfect ending, those are my gripes. (But even with the ending, there's tragedy. They just don't know about it yet when the movie ends.)

Movie 2: Frost/Nixon - I liked this a lot, too, but it's a very different movie. It's very obvious that it's based on a stage play. The acting is really superb. I remember Watergate and I remember what Nixon was like, and even though Langella didn't look exactly like Nixon, I found myself forgetting from time to time that it wasn't really Nixon. I read up a bit and I gather that Langella and Michael Sheen (who I assume is not related to the American Sheen family of actors) originated the play in London and later took it to New York. It's a must-see if you like politics, really, and I do... but I was also rather fascinated by the entertainment-related side of it - that is, about Frost and how he put his entire fortune on the line to finance the interviews, and so forth. It is a fairly warts-and-all portrayal on both sides, of both Nixon and Frost, that is.


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