Saturday, November 11, 2006

Movie time

Time for another movie review post as I sit here at my desk preparing for the Husker - Aggie showdown. Go Big Red.
  • Stranger Than Fiction This was a perfect example of a movie that I knew absolutely nothing about until the title popped up on the calendar of movies being shown in November. My usual routine is pulling up unknown movies on imdb and doing a little research on the cast, director, etc. So when I pulled up Stranger Than Fiction and saw that Will Ferrell was the star, I was very intrigued. When I walked into the theater last night (on the same night the movie debuted in the states, I believe, which is pretty sweet) I still knew next to nothing about the film, save for the Ferrell starring role. In the movie, Ferrell's character leads a boring, non-descript life until he suddenly hears a voice in his head of a woman, who is narrating his life as he lives it. I won't go into two many details about the plot, except to say that it is definitely not your normal sophomoric comedy, and especially not your normal Ferrell comedy (Old School, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, etc) I think the best comparison I can make is that this movie is to Ferrell what Punch Drunk Love was to Sandler, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was to Carrey. Ferrell absolutely nails the role, and is able to carry the movie and create a lot of laughs, without the slapstick humor that he is normally associated with. I must also mention the outstanding job done by the wonderful Maggie Gyllenhall - she is warm and energetic and a perfect yin to Ferrell's yang. Pay special attention to the cookie scene in the bakery - awesome stuff. Ferrell and Gyllenhall are great together, and at times I just couldn't believe my eyes as I saw Ferrell come through in moments that require a delicate touch of drama - much the same way I had to rub my eyes watching Sandler steal every scene in Punch Drunk Love. I can say with confidence that Stranger Than Fiction currently tops my list as best comedy of 2006, and easily qualifies as must see material for any fan of comedies that make you think, along with fans of Ferrell's previous work. Definitely a pleasant surprise and a movie I will surely own on DVD, once it comes out.
  • Flags of Our Fathers This movie rocked. I have always known next to nothing about history, which is embarrassing, but true. Iwo Jima was one historical event that I thought I understood - we kicked butt, raised a flag to signal the end of the conflict, and after that we all drank fruity drinks on the beach and basked in the glow of our victory. After seeing this movie I was harshly reminded of the facts - I blow at history. The movie (based on a book of the same name) follows the story of the Marines and Navy Corpsman whose act of raising the flag over the island of Iwo Jima was forever immortalized in one classic photo. From watching the movie, I learned a couple of things: there was way, way more to the conflict after the flag was raised; the media and the people love heroes; people don't understand what war is really like unless they've been there and finally - Clint Eastwood kicks ass. The battle scenes in this movie are expertly done, and prove once again that just like fine wine Eastwood has gotten better and better with age. His work in this movie reminded me of the jaw dropping scenes created by Spielberg for Saving Private Ryan. The story was interesting and kept me involved right up until the very end. Recently single Ryan Phillipe and the rest of the actors cast perform well, although the story presented here is much bigger than one or two actors. Defiantly a must see for a multitude of reasons, but most notably to witness a master (Eastwood) on top of his game and for the history lesson everyone should know regarding the Battle of Iwo Jima.


Nicki Picky said...

Damnit Jonathan, come home so I can see these "must see" movies!! It's sad that my bf in Iraq has seen 10 times as many movies as I have. Argh.

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