Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Catching Up On My Projections

It had been quite awhile since I had seen a new movie, well before I went to Europe, but here's my take on a few I just saw (I tend to see them in bunches). To remind, my rating scale is based on the @@@@@ system.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
This one's on it's last legs at the cheap shows, but I'm glad I saw it on a big screen (especially for $2) and for fun, escapist entertainment with a new technological twist, I recommend it. It combines live action performances by Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Giovanni Ribisi with scenery that I believe is 100% computer generated. But it looks good and despite a somewhat simplistic "hero saving the world" storyline, has pretty good writing including some humorous banter between Jude & Gwyneth.

Written by Patrick Marber based on his acclaimed (though unknown to me) late 90's play and directed by the legendary Mike Nichols ("The Graduate"), this is a movie that didn't seem all that good, or meaningful, as I watched it, but like a good play, it has depth that didn't reveal itself until the end, and even beyond. I enjoyed reading Roger Ebert's review (after the movie, as I tend to do with him; I knew he'd given it 4 stars (out of 4) but he tends to give away too much in his reviews) and I also gained good insight & food for thought by reading message board discussions at IMDB.com. There's more going on than you may initially pick up on, though even at face value (and with Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen, it'll be hard for anyone to complain about its "face" value) it's entertaining.

Finding Neverland
This was a real treat. Albeit with some creative liberties, this is a reality-based film about J.M. Barrie's inspiration for writing "Peter Pan" through his friendship with a widower and her 4 sons. With great performances by Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and some of the child actors, this may be the best film I've seen this year. I always have some trouble with creative liberties in bio-pics because I don't know if I should believe the subject is as admirable as he is being made to seem; though I did some post-film browsing on J.M. Barrie, I don't really know enough about his "reality" to make certain assessments. But especially if you take this as simply a movie, and not necessarily a factual biography, it's fantastic.

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