Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inglourious Basterds - Brad Pitt (2009)

I don't know, I must be getting old.

And Brad Pitt is getting old.

But I just didn't think this movie was that good.

Don't get me wrong; I loved Pulp Fiction. But Quentin Tarantino's latest effort--Inglourious Basterds-- is more of the same, tired, overly violent crap.

The blood baths, so outrageous in Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, are no longer shocking. It is just gross.

And it just wasn't that funny.

I thought Pitt did an excellent job--I loved his bravado and his accent. A cross between John Wayne and Clark Gable, he was the funniest thing going. The plot was just silly, tho--a movie about wishful thinking and alternative histories.

The people who were laughing are predisposed to Tarantino. No matter what he says or does, to these folks, he's golden.

I was waiting for a spectacular soundtrack and was, again, disappointed.

Tarantino had his time in the sun. Now the sun has set and it is nightfall. He needs to stop while he's ahead.

I won't see another Tarantino. Not unless he really changes his ways.

Chéri - Michelle Pfeiffer (2009)

This gorgeously filmed movie, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, is an adaptation of two novels by famed French novelist, Collette.

Collette, a writer of the late 1800s and early 1900s, wrote the novel Gigi, upon which the same-titled film is based.

The novels, Chéri and La Fin de Chéri, are about a aging courtesan and her relationship with the son of a fellow courtesan.

Michelle Pfeiffer plays the 1890s version of a cougar with elegance and verve. Still startlingly beautiful, it is no surprise that Chéri, played by the equally beautiful Rupert Friend, is enraptured.

Opened with a fairy tale-like narration by the film's director,Stephen Frears, the stage is set for a magical, farcical tale with outrageously beautiful sets, costumes and staging.

Lovely to behold, it was a movie about beauty and its power to enrapture us and entice us to hold it at any price.

Pfeiffer did a wonderful job of capturing the certainty and knowledge of an aging beauty who knows her limits yet yearns to hold on to youth.

A truly French film, Chéri captured the ironic humor and angst typical of their films.

The movie also starred Kathie Bates, who made absolutely no attempt to use either a French or British accent. I was a little disappointed by this but she performed passably well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Julie & Julia - Amy Adams, Meryl Streep (2009)

I thought I was going to have to sit through GI Joe since my friend had brought her husband along with us to the movies.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had bought tickets for Julie & Julia.

Oh, what a wonderful movie. And Meryl Streep--what an astounding actress. She surprises me over and over again.

The story of a 29 year old's quest to "make something of herself" before she hits 30, Julie test her limits by cooking all of the famed American cook Julia Child's 536 recipes in 365 days.

Telling the tale of two stories--Julia's and Julie's--the film flips between the young New York Julie chronicling her year-long adventure on her now famous blog, The Julie/Julia Project, and Julia Child's 10-year development of her now classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

A movie as much about writing as it is about cooking, the parallelism was undeniable; the manner in which each accomplished their missions were indicative of the times.

Both women were blessed with a gifts of cooking, writing and loving husbands.

Amy Adams held her own against the strength of Meryl Streep's performance. I have heard some critics call her performance as "whiny" but, too me, she acted as most 29 year old women act.

And, I must add, Stanley Tucci, as Julia's husband, gave an excellent performance.

But the movie is not only for foodies or females. It is an amazing character study of a 2 women determined to mark their place in this world; be they 50 or 30. Both women, Julie and Julia, a little lost and brimming with intelligence, take a natural gift and human desire and turn it into a career. Julie's melodramatic melancholy is a smart counterpoint to Julia's bubbling good humour and earthiness, and embodies the their respective decades--the 50s and the 00s.

So go. Go hungry. Imbibe and enjoy.

Bon Appetite!