Amelia – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Amelia – A Movie Review
Feb 232010
 

Click to watch the movie trailers at Yahoo MoviesAfter becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, Amelia was thrust into a new role as America’s sweetheart – the legendary “goddess of light,” known for her bold, larger-than-life charisma. Yet, even with her global fame solidified, her belief in flirting with danger and standing up as her own, outspoken woman never changed. She was an inspiration to people everywhere, from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the men closest to her heart: her husband, promoter and publishing magnate George P. Putnam, and her long time friend and lover, pilot Gene Vidal. In the summer of 1937, Amelia set off on her most daunting mission yet: a solo flight around the world that she and George both anxiously foresaw as destined, whatever the outcome, to become one of the most talked-about journeys in history.

Genres: Drama and Biopic; Running Time: 1 hr. 51 min.; Release Date: October 23rd, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG for some sensuality, language, thematic elements and smoking.

Starring: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston, Joe Anderson

Directed by: Mira Nair

I wanted to see this movie when it was out in theaters, but we never made it. I downloaded it from Amazon, and Lay and me watched it Saturday night. We were both disappointed.

This film had so much on its side. Excellent actors, a fascinating subject, in fact the whole thing reeked of Oscar-Worthy…until I saw it. I can tell an attempt was made at an epic movie, but it falls short.

Swank gives a solid performance as the flying ace. She both looks the part and acts the part very well. I must say that I did not know an awful lot about Amelia Earhart other than the common knowledge about her, but I feel like Swank embodied pretty much what I would expect Amelia to be, and her physical likeness to Amelia remarkable. But the director failed to remind Richard Gere that he wasn’t playing Billy Flynn in “Chicago”, coming across as a shallow opportunist whose emotion for Amelia seemed forced, as he was only in love with money. Ewen McGregor was no less wooden, appearing as just another rich sleazebag in search of a shag. Add in a faint hint of lesbianism, dropped completely no sooner than it was picked up, so why bother? Add in an excessive amount of focus on Gore Vidal, maybe to try and portray Amelia’s suppressed maternal instincts, but again, merely toyed with in the bedroom scene, in which I genuinely thought she was about to break into “whistle a happy tune”!

“Amelia” is a highlights reel of Amelia Earhart’s life, faithfully chronicling all the significant events of the famed aviatrix’s career. However, it is hollow and nowhere is this more apparent than in the depiction of Earhart’s relationships. Or the lack of it. There’s no buildup, no exposition, no sort of character interaction to motivate any kind of bond or love forming between individuals. Things just kind of happen. Amelia falls in love, falls out of love, and falls in love all over again, all without any sort of event or prompt to motivate it.

In fact, that’s the problem of the entire film. Things just happen with little or not buildup or motivation in between. Poignant moments come and go with no warning or conclusion, rendering them meaningless and out of context. It seems almost as though the director Mira Nair tried a little too hard in the wrong direction.

The script fails with the jumping around in time. While this can be an effective technique, it did not work here because we weren’t given queues as to where/when we were in each scene until later in the scene. We were both disappointed in this film.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 10)
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Men Who Stare at Goats, The – A Movie Review

 Culture, Fun Stuff, Movies  Comments Off on Men Who Stare at Goats, The – A Movie Review
Nov 132009
 

Men Who Stare at GoatsReporter Bob Wilton is in search of his next big story when he encounters Lyn Cassady, a shadowy figure who claims to be part of an experimental U.S. military unit. According to Cassady, the New Earth Army is changing the way wars are fought. A legion of “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers can read the enemy’s thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it. Now, the program’s founder, Bill Django, has gone missing and Cassady’s mission is to find him. Intrigued by his new acquaintance’s far-fetched stories, Bob impulsively decides to tag along. When the pair tracks Django to a clandestine training camp run by renegade psychic Larry Hooper, the reporter is trapped in the middle of a grudge match between the forces of Django’s New Earth Army and Hooper’s personal militia of super soldiers. In order to survive this wild adventure, Bob will have to outwit an enemy he never thought possible.

Genres: Comedy, Thriller, Adaptation and War; Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.; Release Date: November 6th, 2009 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for language, some drug content and brief nudity.

Cast: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Rebecca Mader, Stephen Lang and Robert Patrick

Directed by: Grant Heslov

Lay and I went to see this last weekend. The movie is supposed to be based on fact (from Jon Ronson’s book) but the concept is so silly that director Grant Heslov and George Clooney  really can’t help but make fun of it, and there are some good laughs here. Just no real story.

Ewan McGregor plays journalist Bob Wilton, a jilted husband who goes to find a big journalistic adventure to provide his masculinity to his backstabbing wife. But he winds up stuck in Kuwait waiting to get into Iraq. One night he meets Lyn Cassidy (George Clooney), a familiar name to him from a previous interview he did years before about psychic-spies. Lyn was the best in what was called the “New Earth Army”, started by Vietnam-Vet Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) in the 80’s to create soldiers with super-powers who could prevent conflict. The Army was later dismantled and used for evil purposes by the movie’s antagonist Hooper (Kevin Spacey) but Lyn tells Bob he’s been re-activated, and has a secret mission to do in Iraq. Bob, thinking Lyn crazy but interesting at the same time, decides to ride along with him and go where the action is. Along the way, Lyn tells him stories of others dubbed, “Jedi Warriors.”

Most of the movie is flashbacks, beginning with Iraq War 2003 and chronicling all the way back to the beginning of New Age warfare. There are weird and crazy laughs. The lines are good too. “We tried invisibility but then worked it down to just not being seen”, Lyn tells Bob during on of their discussions. Clooney is perfectly eccentric as a guy who lives by the mindfulness-over-warfare principal and McGregor is a whiny, but solid straight-man. Bridges is also terrific as this free-spirited hippie. Only the laughs and flashbacks (which feel like a series of sketches) aren’t enough to distract from the fact that “Goats” really has no compelling narrative. The forward-moving story in Iraq 2003 has very little momentum. Spacey appears later on again as the villain but the conflict is weak and the movie has more than over-stayed its welcome.

All-in-all, it’s probably worth seeing, but I’d wait to rent the DVD.

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