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Started by overthejordan, May 17, 2019, 11:40:50 PM

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This past weekend was Mission: Impossible 2 (Cruise) and Dan in Real Life (Carell).  MI2... I will say there was one scene that I liked quite a lot.  But overall, the director's choices just seemed a bit much.  I think it's neat that a lot of the installments have different directors, and I expect the movies to feel different because of that.  But I definitely preferred Brian De Palma's style in the first one to John Woo's in this one.  It was so melodramatic! Good grief.  I didn't find it nearly as engaging.  That is the end of John Woo for the series, so we may watch the third one next weekend.

Dan in Real Life is one I had never heard of but that my husband suggested.  It's a dramedy about a widower with teenage daughters who goes to a big family vacation getaway at a cabin and ends up falling in love with someone after he never thought that would happen again.  Unfortunately, it's his brother's girlfriend.  This is the blurb on IMDB, so I am not spoiling anything.  Obviously, some amusement and shenanigans result.  It was a cute movie with some good laughs, but I didn't really like any of the characters and wasn't rooting for them as much as I would have expected to.  It's got a good ensemble cast, though! I would watch it again if it were on TV.


Friday night was This is Where I Leave You (Bateman et al.).  The story largely takes place at the home of Bateman's character's mother after his father has passed away.  All the (adult) children gather after hearing that their father's last wish was for them to sit shiva.  This allows them all to find out out miserable they and their siblings are, and hijinks ensue.  It's pretty entertaining at times, and I think the cast is very good.  In addition to the lead, Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver, Dax Shepard, Timothy Olyphant, and many others contribute. 

Last night was The Italian Job (remake with Wahlberg et al.).  I remember liking this one a lot when I first saw it, and it has held up well.  It's a fun action tale without much filler centered on a group of thieves and their work.  In addition to the lead, there's Jason Statham, Edward Norton, Mos Def, Seth Green, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, and others, comprising another good cast.  It has a similar feel to Ocean's Eleven in a lot of ways.


This past weekend was Mission: Impossible III and Do the Right Thing.  MI had JJ Abrams as director this time, and I feel like the Alias similarities are there.  I would say it's more straightforward action than the previous two.  The ending seemed a bit unbelievable, but I guess that's to be expected.  I'd rank them 1>3>2 so far. 

We decided to watch the latter movie because there are so many cultural references to it, and we'd never seen it.  For others who haven't, it takes place on a very hot day in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of NYC, which has plenty of characters living there and a couple shops owned by people of other ethnicities that seem to be a point of contention for various reasons.  The main issue is a pizzeria that has been there for many years and is owned by an Italian family who lives in a nicer neighborhood.  There is much racial tension, and the final straw is broken this day.  The movie clearly had a message or two to get across (with some attention to different ways of handling these kinds of tensions and events), and I think it was very good overall.  There were certainly some people who seemed a bit more villainous or who committed more clearly villainous acts, but there weren't any saints.  On a side note, I thought it was interesting that the street scenes often had a musical quality to them, sometimes feeling a little old-timey or like they're a part of West Side Story.  I was wondering when whatever was going to happen was going to happen, but the final half hour was action central.   

Wahoo Redux

Do the Right Thing is one of the most original and brilliant films of the 20th century.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.


Since we're about to go into another weekend of movies, I figured I'd better update on the past two.  Two weeks ago (actually Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving since we had guests that weekend), we watched 42nd Street and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.  Last weekend was Singin' In the Rain and Boyz in the Hood.  We enjoyed all of the above for different reasons (of course).  The musicals were just fun, and I had no idea that 42nd Street basically helped to save the movie musical genre.  I also didn't know until watching Singin' In the Rain (for the second time, though I couldn't remember any of it) that Gene Kelly was such a miserable person to work with.  His main male co-star, Donald O'Conner, was really amazing to watch, having a vaudeville background.  The "Make 'em Laugh" number is so physical.  Apparently he ended up on bed rest for several days and then had to reshoot it because they messed up the original filming? And he smoked 4 packs a day at the time.  Also interesting that Debbie Reynolds had not taken dance lessons before this movie and went through quite a lot at a young age while filming this.  I was having bad flashbacks during the extended dance sequence with Cyd Charisse, as it reminded me too much of the end of An American in Paris, which was apparently held in higher esteem.  I think my favorite numbers in this one were "Moses Supposes" and "Good Morning."

I think Ghost Protocol might be my favorite of the MI movies so far (maybe tied with the first one).  It had yet another director, Brad Bird, and also seemed to be a much more straightforward action movie with a good pace and fun effects.  Boyz in the Hood is a star-studded tragedy that's really hard to watch.  It's so well acted, but you just know how things are going to go down, and a lot of what is going to unfold is telegraphed.  But I guess maybe that's the point.  They know what's going to happen, as it's how it always happens there.  The cycle of violence continues.  No matter how many times it's pointed out, the players don't seem to be able to step away from the game, and of course it's often those who are not involved who get killed along the way.