Michael Clayton: 8 out of 10.
This is a smart, well acted film that I thoroughly enjoyed. At first I thought George Clooney's Michael Clayton was sort of like Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction. He's a janitor of sorts who gets called in when the shit hits the fan. Where Mr. Wolf could make the problem go away, Clayton is more of a realist. He's not a miracle worker, he's a janitor.
Tilda Swinton won an Oscar for her supporting role in this film and both George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson were nominated. It's the only movie last year to get that many acting noms.
Sadly, both the producer and one of the executive producers have passed on since this movie's release. Sydney Pollack, who also has a juicy role in the film, and Anthony Minghella are no longer with us.
The Bourne Ultimatum: 8 out of 10.
Like most of you, I enjoyed the Jason Bourne trilogy based on Robert Ludlum's books. I really liked The Bourne Identity, didn't like The Bourne Supremacy as much, and I think The Bourne Ultimatum might just be the best of the bunch.
And just in case I've forgotten what I thought about The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, I have this handy, dandy blog to remind me.
Things We Lost in the Fire: 7 out of 10.
Although it started to lag a bit in the last chapter, Things We Lost in the Fire is a pretty good movie. Do you know why it's a pretty good movie? Three words: Benicio Del Toro.
Benicio Del Toro is awesome. Halle Berry is pretty fine herself, but Benicio Del Toro carries this sucker. It's hard to believe we're already a decade removed from his performance in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Was Traffic really eight years ago?
It's a shame he doesn't work more. My math suggests we're getting short changed.
Breakfast with Scot: 6.5 out of 10.
"Breakfast with Scot" was the first of the two Toronto Maple Leaf movies released over the past twelve months. I first wrote about it here. You may recall the buzz about it because it featured an ex-Toronto Maple Leaf who just happens to be gay and the film received permission by the NHL, and the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey organization to use jerseys, clips, and other items relating to the Leafers. It is the first time in major professional sports history that such permission has been given.
Yes, there is footage of the ACC and a Leafs practice and plenty of Maple Leaf posters and hats, but this isn't a hockey movie. It's a nice little Canadian movie about a couple who have a unique child thrust upon them. Yes, the couple happens to be a same-sex couple, but it's all pretty sweet and classy I'm willing to bet they could have viewed this film at the Republican National Convention and nobody would have squawked afterward.
Go Leafs Go! There are only 32 days, 10 hours, 16 minutes, and 34 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener!.
Margot at the Wedding: 6.5 out of 10.
For the first half of Margot at the Wedding, I was digging it. It was kind of different and moody with just the right amount of family dysfunction. Then, it started to get boring.
It's only 91 minutes but by the end it feels like 3 hours. You're sick of this family and wishing they'd stop pestering you with their idiosyncrasies and melodrama.
And what happened to Nicole Kidman? She no longer looks like Nicole Kidman. I found her new eyes and nose distracting.
Across The Universe: 6 out of 10.
I was at a party recently where a woman was raving about "Across The Universe". We were chatting about music and the role it plays in our lives. "Across The Universe" moved her with music, Beatles music, to be precise.
The premise is kind of neat. A story is told via Beatles songs sung by actors in the film. In practise, however, it's surprisingly boring. The psychedelic feel seems contrived and something in the story is missing. It kept reminding me of those cheesy American Idol spots when the competitors sing a pop song to push Ford products. Just like this.
I thought maybe I was missing the immense joy because I'm a guy, but my wife thought it was pretty boring, too. I don't want to spoil the party, but it's all too much.
Get Smart: 8 out of 10.
I just shared a bit of how I ended up at Get Smart this afternoon. I'm glad I caught this film that seemed to be flying under the radar.
I'm a little young to remember the series, but I knew enough to appreciate the homage in this updated flick. Carell and Hathaway are great, the writing is very funny and at the end you're left wanting more. I suspect I would have enjoyed it even moreso if I had seen the television series.
Get Smart is smart fun.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters: 8 out of 10.
Let's see... there's the Leafs vs. Habs, Celtics vs. Lakers, Red Sox vs. Yankees... then there's Ali vs. Frasier, McEnroe vs. Conners, Kobe vs. Shaq, and Billy Mitchell vs. Steve Wiebe.
What? You never heard of that last one? Neither had I until last night, but I've caught up quick. If you, like me, came of age in the era of Pacman, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Asteroid, Zaxxon, Q-Bert, Frogger and the classic arcade games, you will love this documentary about the underdog Wiebe coming at the great ego of Billy Mitchell.
And check out this sweet soundtrack that complements this ultra cool flick. "Pictures Of You" performed by The Cure, "Obsession" performed by Animotion, "You're The Best" performed by Joe Esposito, "Eye Of The Tiger" performed by Survivor and "Everybody Knows" performed by Leonard Cohen.
Note: You crazy canucks with TMN have The King of Kong sitting there On Demand just waiting to be viewed. Trust me, you'll love it.
Bomb It: 7 out of 10.
I got to watch the Toronto premiere of Bomb It at the Bloor Cinema tonight, thanks to the cool folks at GelaSkins.
It was a great crown in a great old theatre and that just added to the atmosphere. Who owns public space? What is art? How deep can superficiality go?
This doc takes us from the origins of graffiti art in Philadelphia to New York, several cities in Europe, South Africa, Brazil and Tokyo, Japan. Yes, it does glorify graffiti, and that's not necessarily a good thing, but it makes you think about the questions above. Hell, Bomb It had me picking up some spray paint on the trip home. If you see the tag T.M., that's me.
The director Jon Reiss was there and we peppered him with question after the show. Somebody asked him how he feels about making money off of street art. He laughed and told us he'd love to make money off of street art but the project is currently $300,000 in the hole. There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money either.
American Gangster: 8 out of 10.
In 2006 I was invited to a world premiere of a Ridley Scott directed film starring Russell Crowe. The film I saw that night couldn't hold a candle to this gem of a flick chronicling the rise and fall of Frank Lucas.
I saw this movie on DVD so I got to see the 176 minute unrated version. I had to break it up over two night, because that's just too long, but I was never bored and I was left wanting more. I didn't know much about Lucas going in and that made it all the sweeter.
Hey Ridley, avoid the romantic comedies.
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