Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Entertainment Update

It's movie time again. Because of the plague that hit our house the last week or so, we've spent a lot of time making use of our beautiful new toy.First off, we FINALLY finished West Wing. And I have some general thoughts. . . I know Aaron Sorkin was doing cocaine while he wrote the first few seasons of this show, and I don't condone drug use AT ALL. BUUUUT. . . He's a flippin' genius writer, and the show was SO much less good without him writing. I find that I am a snob when it comes to writing. (I've probably said this before here. . .) Good dialogue can pretty much make a movie or TV show for me. Good dialogue has a rhythm to it that makes it clever AND believable. But just as important as well written dialogue, is having actors that understand the rhythm inherent in that writing and know how to act it. The two things go hand in hand. And while having one or the other is nice, and can probably fool most people into enjoying something, when the two coexist, it’s genius. THAT is what makes the first 4 seasons of West Wing great. GREAT writing and GREAT acting. The acting remains in seasons 5-7, but the writing. . . not so much. It was all we could do to make it to the end.

Also watched since the last report:

PS I Love You
Bless Hilary Swank’s heart. . . You are no Meg Ryan. You are no Julia Roberts. You are no Sandra Bullock. You are 2 time Oscar winner, and I’m thrilled for you, but please don’t ever ruin a perfectly well conceived sappy chick movie for me again. Especially one starring Gerard Butler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Thank you.

Seriously, though, it wasn’t that well written, but Hilary really ruined it for me. She tried, but she’s just not right for a role like that.

Gone Baby Gone
Beautifully directed, well written, and Casey Affleck, for once in his life, didn’t annoy the crap out of me. That said, like Mystic River, I never need to see this movie again. It was very well made, and I’m thrilled that Ben Affleck is such a talented director, but it’s depressing and intense in the extreme.

Persuasion has always been my least favorite in my collection of Jane Austen films. It’s just never hit me in the same way that the rest of them do. That MAY be because I have a thing for pretty movies, and the one I own is really not pretty. Ciarn Hines is way too old to be playing Wentworth. . . and the rest of the cast is too old as a result. THIS version is so much better. I was thrown by the fact that Wentworth was a blond at first (I know, silly) but in the end, it really touched me the way it was supposed to. I definitely prefer this version. It’s nice and short without leaving too much out.

Sense & Sensibility
I am a huge sucker for the Ang Lee version of this film. I’ll admit it. Besides Emma Thompson being way too old for the role she played, I thought it was a brilliant movie. So I didn’t expect to like a different version. But, I was wrong. The cast resembles, both in appearance and in manner, the Lee cast, sometimes so much that it was distracting. That said, it’s a different movie. The acting is great, the writing is beautiful, and the cuts they made were great. The BBC did a great job with these new versions of the classics.

Miss Austen Regrets
This was a second disc in with Sense & Sensibility from the BBC. I love Olivia Williams, so I watched it too. I’m not sure how close to reality it is, as far as Austen’s real life (since apparently no one really knows. . .) but it was entertaining, and Olivia Williams was fabulous.


Heidi said...

Have you seen Charlie Wilson's War? I believe the screenplay was also written by Aaron Sorkin. The dialogue is very snappy ans Sorkin-esque. I was surprised at how well I liked it!

Melanie said...

Charlie Wilson's Was is actually the very next thing on my Netflix list, so hopefully I'll be able to watch it over the weekend. I didn't realize Aaron Sorkin wrote it, but now I'm even more excited!

Loraine Edwards said...

I really liked sense and sensibility. I like the blond actor a lot. He is the main guy in Spooks (renamed MI5 in the USA). I have to say I did not love Miss Austin regrets. I am glad you enjoyed the good old BBC production. They do period dramas well. God bless the home land.

too_intensified said...

Mel, I must say that I am cut to the quick by how you dislike the old Persuasion. It is one of my top 20 films, I love everything about it and I think Ciaran Hinds is a perfectly fine age-- do they ever specifically say in the book how long it's been since the breakup? He is sexy.

Here is a movie I think you and Ben will like a lot: The Lookout. I think it's one of the top ten films of last year for me. Very underwatched (I think the publicity dept. for that film just let it go totally unnoticed by almost everyone in the nation). But very well written and very well acted. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was superb. It was a nice surprise when I just happened to watch it last week. I love Netflix.

-Bridget said...

I love your take on movies. I'll refer back to this list.

I totally agree with your assessment of Hillary Swank. She is too manly to be in a romantic role. Blech.

Jess said...

okay, p.s. i love you is next on my netflix queue and your review of it is dissapointing. i was hoping for a fantastic chick flick night. boo. well, nonetheless, i love your views on all the movies. i'm adding the casey affleck movie right NOW. :)

megan said...

I also have to disagree about the old Persuasion. It's one of Kevin and my all-time favorite Jane Austen films. Maybe that's why I like it so much--because kevin likes it.

However, I had no idea there were new BBC films to enjoy, so what'll we be doing this weekend? I bet you can guess! Thanks for the update!