Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quick DVD Reviews

Dan in Real Life
I liked it quite a bit, but Steve Carrell carried the entire thing on his back. The fact that his sadness from his wife’s death is so skipped over really minimized the dramatic impact of him finding love once again. It’s all a bit clichéd – does every American family play touch football on Sunday mornings? Does the reformed lotahrio always revert to his old ways within 12 hours of a broken heart? Still, there’s enough humanity here for me to recommend it. Grade: B

Yes – I’m the last person on Earth to see it, but I was trying to let all the hype die down a bit. The script is a bit too perfect in the ‘no one really talks like that’ kind of way, but how can I not fall in love with something featuring Michael and George Michael. Seriously, it’s solid stuff – quite touching in parts and I’m surprised more of the supporting cast (Simmons, Janney and Garner in particular) did get more notice at awards time. Olivia Thurley should become a big star, as she really turned the role of BFF on its head. Grade: A-

Becoming Jane
Don’t watch this one if you’ve seen Price and Prejudice within the past year or so, as it all starts to blend together a bit. It’s a film with potential as anything about impossible love should be dripping with drama and passion, but it is all weighed done by its proper manners and Queen’s English. I was quite surprised by Anne Hathaway, she didn’t do a bad job at all. I love James McAvoy, but it’s tough to buy him as a Tom Jones clone. All in all, it’s one of those standard period pieces that does not offend, but fails to inspire. I also deducted a few points for the lame flash forward. Grade: C+

The Darjeeling Limited
I’m experiencing a bit of a ‘Law of Diminishing Returns’ thing with Wes Anderson movies, although I do think this one did more for me than Life Aquatic. It’s a bit unfair, as I don’t think any movie has even won me over so completely the way Rushmore did. It was a perfect storm of writing, acting, and music for me. Since then, all the pieces have been present, but they just haven’t fit together all that well. The Tenenbaums, Aquatic and Darjeeling all have wonderful moments, but I don’t know that any of them add up as a great film (Tenenbaums is close, though). The three leads do a fine job, and it’s lovely to see a Road movie take place on the rails. The final 20 minutes should have been shorn like Angelica Huston’s hair. Grade: B-

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