Monster's Ball – A Movie Review

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Jul 252008
 

Monsters Ball PosterHank, an embittered prison guard, lives with his aging racist father, Buck, and his own twenty something son, Sonny. Hank and Sonny work for the local prison where they are preparing the electric chair for a black inmate. After the man is executed, Hank falls in love with Leticia, the inmate’s widow. This emotionally-charged affair forces Hank to re-evaluate how deeply prison work and his father’s infectious hatred have affected his soul.

Genres: Drama, Romance and Thriller; Running Time: 1 hr. 51 min.; Release Date: December 26, 2001 LA/NY; MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, language and violence.

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle, Heath Ledger, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs

Directed by: Marc Forster

I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to watching this movie. This was another movie watched last weekend. Given that I’ve always liked Billy Bob Thornton, I should have watched this movie a long time ago. All the parts were very well played, and the story was extremely well told. Berry won Best Actress, and I can say she certainly earned the award. I felt I could easily see this as a true story.

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Oct 212007
 

Astronaut FarmerA NASA astronaut (Thornton), forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm, has never given up his dream of space travel and looks to build his own rocket, despite the government’s threats to stop him.

Director:
Michael Polish

Genre:
Adventure, Science Fiction, Drama

Cast:
Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Max Thieriot, Jasper Polish, Logan Polish, Bruce Dern, Mark Polish, Jon Gries, Tim Blake Nelson

This was the first movie I downloaded and watched using the Tivo and Amazon.com’s “Unboxed” system. I’ll write more about that in a later post. I approached this movie as just a good time – a celebration of the joy that comes with hope, and, in the end, of victory.

Overthinking the unwise choices made by Farmer along the way, or the clanky plot bits ( what’s with the FAA hearing in the high school anyhow?) just ruins the fun. When I read the reviewers critiquing the decisions to mortgage the farm, the taking of the kids out of school, I thought “haven’t they seen Its A Wonderful Life?”

Not a great film, not a think piece, but lots of entertainment value, and, in the end, a great message about the power of the human spirit. .

Billy Bob shows surprising calmness. Virgina Madsen again threatens to steal a movie, doing wonders with a small part. Bruce Dern reclaims his throne as king of the over the hill gang in a small role, not allowing his eccentricity to be abused into craziness for once. Even most of the bit players are wonderful, from the farmer kids to the lawyer, to the waitress.The campy FBI agents are unwanted comic relief, though.

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