without a definite route

film flam: smokin’ aces, catch and release, music & lyrics, dreamgirls, the painted veil

on June 4, 2007

smokin’ aces – a twisty-turny story with narrative spunk. it is good? not so much. fun? you bet! solid performances. stylish. i actually wasn’t sure who to root for, which was kind of freeing in a way. quite fun if you keep a check on your expectations. that is, until it gets a titch contrived. even low expectations can’t save that ending. it’s like guy ritchie married quentin tarentino and they had a movie-baby, but got so caught up in how cool it – and they – were that they didn’t really want it to end, but some nasty producer said, “dudes it has to end.” so they slapped something on that didn’t match the rollar coaster ride of the rest of the thing and called it an ending. i recommend watching it until there are about 10-minutes to go then turning it off and making up your own ending. you seriously could not do worse then they did.

catch and release– a romantic dramedy with very little comedy, no drama and barely any romance. super-bland except for juliet lewis, who is kind of in her own little movie. there’s one hot kiss, but it’s not enough to save the other hour and a half.

music & lyrics– just what i want out of a romantic comedy. totally did the trick. in fact, josh laughed more than i did and he was more or less forced to watch it. is there much chemistry between drew barrymore and hugh grant? nah, but they are both so charismatic on their own that it doesn’t even matter. grant, by the way, not aging so well, except that i like him more now than i ever did before. he’s great with the singing and the dancing and the self-mockery. opening sequence is hysterical. enjoyable empty headed fluff.

dreamgirls – although i want to be a hard-ass cinematic elitist, i love the idea of people busting into song at any given moment. i often fear that the story will be eclipsed by the hullabaloo, but there are many examples of movie musicals that succeed in keeping the story focused whilst dancers dance and singers sing: the sound of music, chicago, nightmare before christmas, the wizard of oz, the blues brothers, moulin rouge… [examples of the not-so-successful? willie wonka (great movie, but the songs drive me crazy) and from justin to kelly]. i was really impressed with dreamgirls. jennifer hudson. wow. she owns the movie and totally deserved her oscar. eddie murphy actually acting is a nice surprise. complex characters. gorgeous costumes. stunning sets. great performances. okay music (sometimes more broadway than mowtown, but still enjoyable). I cried a little.

the painted veil– the most romantic ’20’s period piece about tainted love set against a cholera epidemic in a remote chinese village that you’ll ever see. why oh why is edward norton so hot? i mean, he’s skinny and shortish (at 5’11”) and totally nerdy. when does that equal hot? well, often i guess if you think about adrian brody and ryan gosling and…uh…other guys. multi-leveled chemistry between norton and naomi watts, from loathing to love. and oh so pretty to look at. the cinematography of the chinese landscape isn’t bad, either.


One response to “film flam: smokin’ aces, catch and release, music & lyrics, dreamgirls, the painted veil

  1. lacochran says:

    Interesting take on Music and Lyrics. Fluff about covers it. My take is at http://lacochran.blogspot.com

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