- The Hurt Locker: I am not a big fan of war movies, but I got pretty absorbed in this story of a bomb disposal expert. The dynamics between the soldiers and the insight into their personalities was what made it interesting. I also thought it was well acted. This movie was not easy to watch, but I’m glad I did.
- How Green Was My Valley: This is the tragic story of thwarted romance (among other things) in a Welsh coal-mining village. I thought it was a good movie, though a lot of the events in it angered me. I was also left curious about the sons who were forced to emigrate as the mines cut back. The only aspect of the life there I’d be at all envious of is the beautiful singing. Very watchable, but depressing.
- 42: I love baseball and, of course, I admire Jackie Robinson for handling all the crap he went through in integrating the sport. The movie made it clear how much of an effort Robinson had to go through not to fight back against the harassment he experienced. Overall, it was a reasonably good effort, but it was about 20-30 minutes too long and I hate those predictable slow motion action scenes.
- Wings: This was the first movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture. The Smithsonian American Art Museum was showing it, with a new score by Andrew Simpson. There’s a certain amount of melodrama and, of course, the dialogue for a silent movie tends towards the predictable. But it still works reasonably well after 85 some odd years. I’ll note that Simpson’s score (which he performed) really enhanced the movie for me. In fact, I often forgot that he was there playing the piano. I’m not sure one would get as enjoyable an experience renting a commercially available version.
- American Beauty: The real key to this movie is Kevin Spacey’s performance as a man in the heat of a mid-life crisis. He falls for his daughter’s friend, quits his job, buys dope from the kid next door (who gets involved with the daughter) and, basically, gets everyone he knows angry with him for his abdication of adult life. In real life, I’d think he was being a massive jerk, but I found myself cheering for him in the movie. Dark and strange and definitely recommended.
- Grand Hotel: People come, people go, nothing happens. Nothing, that is, except adultery, burglary, and murder. There are lots of famous lines here (e.g. Greta Garbo proclaiming she vants to be alone) and John Barrymore is pretty appealing as The Baron, a jewel thief who falls for his intended victim. But there are also too many characters and too many sideplots for my taste. In particular, the whole bit with the desk manager waiting for his wife to give birth adds nothing.
A 6-Movie Quarter
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