- The Way. This was not the movie about the Camino del Santiago, which I had intended to rent. Instead, google play gave me this Barry Shay film about a boy in L.A. who gets involved with gangs, goes to prison, develops his body, and becomes a runner thanks to his parole officer. (Shay plays the parole officer, who sees the kid as sort of a surrogate for his son.) This was actually a pretty absorbing movie, although it was fairly predictable. I do still intend to see the Martin Sheen one about the Camino del Santiago, however.
- Cavalcade. This was part of the Oscar winner campaign, having won best picture for 1933. Based on a Noel Coward play, it traces an upper-class British family (and some of their servants) from the turn of the 20th century through the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic, and World War I. At one level, it’s something of an anti-war film. The whole thing is probably best summed up in the song 20th Century Blues. It’s interesting enough, but watching this now, I couldn’t escape knowing that things only got worse with World War II.
- Enough Said. This was the feature film on a United flight. Bsaically Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays a neurotic (surprise!) who screws up a promising relationship by being a jerk when she also befriends the guy’s ex-wife. James Gandolfini did a good job as the love interest, but he couldn’t salvage this idiocy. Overall, this was one of the worst romantic comedies I’ve ever seen.
- Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The final movie of the trilogy continued to be fairly true to the book. That is good for the most part, but it also means that it shares what I’ve always thought was the main flaw of the final book. Namely, the material after the battles are over and done with is too long and not nearly as interesting. It’s still worth seeing, but one could actually skip the last half hour or so with no loss.
- About Time. United redeemed themselves on movie choices with this sweet romantic comedy about a young man who has the ability to go back in time to relive parts of his life, allowing him to fix various events (from preventing accident to improving a sexual experience). There are limitations on how this works and he ends up learning how to appreciate the extra time for little things. Despite the premise, the characters felt surprisingly realistic and I enjoyed watching this.
- Everything Must Go. I downloaded this to watch ona train trip under the misapprehension that it was a comedy. Despite starring Will Ferrell, it is anything but. I found this a self-indulgent story about a drunken asshole who progresses to being merely unlikeable and pitiful by the end. The premise of a guy living on his lawn because his wife has kicked him out of the house could be comedic. But, given that she has moved in with his AA sponsor in the meantime and isn't living in the house, it doesn’t even make sense. In case you haven’t figured it out, I absolutely hated this movie.
- The Great Ziegfield. This was another Oscar winner, from 1936. It’s hard to say how accurate it was, but it certainly isn’t a particularly flattering portrait of Flo Ziegfield, emphasizing his fiscal irresponsibility and his womanizing. The real reason to watch this is to see the production numbers, including actual performances by various famous people like Fanny Brice. Recommended.
- Under the Same Sun. This mockumentary was part of the Northern Virginia Jewish Film Festival. The plot involves two businessmen – one Israeli, one Palestinian – who try to start a joint solar energy company on the West Bank. They both have skeptical family members and have to deal with the political and personal fall out when the scheme gets publicized. They fight back via social media, with considerable success. This was definitely an absorbing movie, but, ultimately, I found the ease of the social media campaign unconvincing.
Quarterly Movie Wrap-up
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