Monday, October 20, 2008

Movies - My Main Distraction

I really have been busy with work, but one of the main things I do when I'm not working is watch movies, so I've done a decent amount of that, too. Here are some of the things I've watched recently:

This is a movie set in Spain, starring Penelope Cruz. The premise is that her mother is back from the dead. It's an entertaining movie, and Penelope Cruz was very good, as usual. There were some serious themes that seemed to come out of no where, for a movie that is fairly light thoughout. Overall, I'd recommend seeing it.

Jeff and I are fans of Wes Anderson (Royal Tennenbaums, Darjeeling Limited, etc.) but had never seen Rushmore. It's about a student, Max Fisher, who has a horrible academic record, but involved in tons of extra-curriculars. Bill Murray plays the disillusioned father of some other students at the school. His character, who befriends Max, is hilarious - definitely one of the highlights. Max, Bill Murray, and a teacher at the school become involved in a love triangle that leads to all sorts of trouble. As with other Wes Anderson films, its a bit of an odd story, and ranges from funny to creepy to cute throughout the film.

Bottle Rocket
Another Wes Anderson film, Bottle Rocket was also quirky. The main character has just left a mental hospital and goes on a crime spree with a friend. They don't shoot too high, but still manage to boggle the job. Overall, it's a pretty funny movie - lighter and more silly than some of Wes Anderson's other films.

No Country for Old Men
This is a Coen Brother's film (like Fargo, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, etc.), but all the commercials I had seen billed it as more of a thriller film, which seemed odd. The commercial were true - don't expect this movie to make you laugh. It's about a guy who finds a bunch of money that at a drug deal in the desert that went bad. He then gets chased by Javier Bardem, who is extremely creepy throughout the whole movie. (He's got a sort of Kill Bill-like emotionless "kill everyone" style.) It's pretty violent, but doesn't show a lot of gore, which keeps it edge-of-your-seat, but not gruesome. Tommy Lee Jones does a good job playing the small town sheriff that's suddenly in the middle of everything. It's a well made and interesting movie, so I'd definitely recommend it.

The Game
The Game is a bit older, and is about a super-rich, hermit-like business man whose wild brother gives him a birthday card telling him to sign up with Consumer Recreation Services (CRS) to play a live-action. Soon the banker's life starts to go wild - his TV is talking to him, people are chasing him, etc. And "CRS" keeps showing up. The whole movie he (and you) is trying to guess what's part of the game. I thought the movie was exciting and entertaining - it was hard to tell what was real. The main issue I had was the ending. (Spoiler Alert - don't read any further if you haven't seen it and don't want to know the ending.) When he figures out that everything was part of a game - the death threats, etc., and is at the party, he seems pretty ok to me. This seemed so odd to me - like he needed no time to take everything in, and wasn't upset or in shock. I also wasn't sure how this was going to solve the issue of him being a hermit. Other than that, I did enjoy the movie.

So You Think You Can Dance
This is such a great show. I danced for about eight years when I was younger, and its so cool to see these amazing dancers do all sorts of forms of dance. It's pretty impressive, and is a quick-moving show. The competition episodes are the best. Check out the group dance on the episodes where they tell who is voted off, but you can skip the rest.

Firefly is a TV series that used to be on the SciFi channel, and was also made into a movie "Serenity". The idea is that there was a war in space, and one group (the Alliance) won, taking control. The rebels now operate on the outer edges of the galaxy. Firefly is about some of these rebels, operating an illegal cargo ship. It's almost Western-like, even in the way they dress and talk. The characters are all really great - there are lots of laugh-out-loud funny moments. There are only about 15 episodes made, so it's fairly quick to see the whole series - and definitely worth the time.

Doctor Who (and Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures)
Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows. It's just so creative and fun, and the current Doctor - David Tennet - is amazing. If you're not familiar with the plot in general, it centers around The Doctor, who is the last Time Lord - a species that can travel through space and time (in the Tartus, his ship that looks like a 1960's British Police Box). He generally travels with another person. The Sarah Jane Adventures are actually based on one of the women that traveled with the Doctor on some episodes in the 1960's. Now she investigates alien plots on her own in the UK. Torchwood is a spin-off based on people that work in the UK to deal with alien issues - sort of like an MIB organization. All very fun shows.

The West Wing
This show is all about the president and his staff working in the West Wing. It's really interesting to see how the interaction happens between the White House, Congress, and the media. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but they deal with realistic and interesting issues, and it's fun to watch.

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