Monday, March 11, 2013

Three Movie Reviews

Pam and I watched three movies that had Oscar nominations over the weekend. The first was Anna Karenina, then Hitchcock, and finally Argo. Here follows three brief reviews:

 The great Tolstoy book was placed on screen in an almost surreal way with the heavy use of 3rd party dream sequences that were a bit confusing at times, but I would sit down and watch Keira Knightley for two hours in practically anything, her of the beguilingly crooked teeth but amazing beauty and talent. Jude Law is terrific as Anna’s faithful husband, while the dude who plays Count Vronsky is positively dreadful. His only qualifications for the roll seem to have been his striking blue eyes and the fact that he “looks Russian”. Karenina is a great story of infatuation, temptation and the wages of sin, great book, mediocre film. The costumes and photography were amazingly well done, and the despite its 2 and a half hour running time, the story moves right along. Still, when Knightly wasn’t on camera, I was bored.

 I love Alfred Hitchcock. I’ve seen all his movies multiple times. I believe him to be one of the few real geniuses in cinematic history. I also love Anthony Hopkins, who may be one of the two or three best actors alive today. So, what was not to like? Enjoyed every minute of this film, which essentially tells the story of the making of Psycho, of how Hitchcock was considered old and over the hill, and couldn’t get Paramount to approve the movie so he financed it himself by mortgaging his house in exchange for 49% of the profits. Of course, the rest as they say is history. Great performance by Hopkins. I especially loved the 98 minute running time, as if the ghost of Hitchcock was in charge of editing!

 Finally we watched the 2012 Best Picture winner…Argo. Terrific picture. Suspenseful, great pacing, amazing actors. In short, it deserved its awards. The fact that Affleck didn’t receive a Best Director nomination just proves how screwed up is “the Academy.” I lived through the 1979 hostage crisis with Iran. I remember it very well. As I watched the film I kept thinking, here it is 34 years later and we have learned absolutely nothing. We’re still hip deep in Iran’s business, still getting our guys killed in Afghanistan, still rubbing shoulders with towel-heads from Jordan to Yemen, WHY??? Nothing good has ever come from fooling around in the Middle East. Can we just develop our natural gas reserves here and tell the whole lot of them to hit the road?! I say Frack, Frack, Frack and then Frack some more until we have to buy ZERO barrels of oil from the Abdul’s of the world, then we’ll see what becomes of their “civilization”. But, I digress. Argo was amazing. Who knew that Ben Affleck had actual talent?