The extended director’s cut! I didn’t start out paying too much attention, and I ended up paying even less attention, after less than halfway through I decided the movie definitely sucked. Performances fine, cinematography fine, story even fine, but screenplay silly and overall kinda crappy. Full of those Gangs of New York “blood stays on the blade” recurring moments of extreme character poignancy that mean very little to us, the audience.

So I’m not sure that it even matters, but Orlando Bloom is a blacksmith whose wife killed herself after their kid… died… somehow. Liam Neeson rides by, claiming to be Orlando’s dad I think. Orlando doesn’t want to go with him on a crusade to redeem his wife’s unholy death, but after killing his assistant and burning down his own shop, he decides maybe he’d better. Neeson dies soon, I’d venture. Orlando hits Jerusalem, where mighty king Ed Norton in a fancy leper-mask is always being betrayed by evil & scarred Jeremy Irons. Orlando is maybe in love with Norton’s sister, then I stopped caring at all and a whole lotta shit I already don’t remember happens.

Hmmm… from the writer of Martin Scorsese’s very star-studded Infernal Affairs remake. And the director of Gladiator, I should’ve remembered. Katy didn’t like it either, to say the least.

Very, very pretty movie. More a motion photography exhibition than a movie. The music was pretty good but the Lawrence-Fishburne voice-over poetry was unnecessary.

Elephants, hyenas, kids, kids on elephants, women with hyenas, hawks, sand dunes, etc. Seemed more like something I can use to scavenge stills for my screen-saver than a movie I’ll want to sit down and watch again. Katy seemed to like it. Helped that it was so short.

Ashes and Snow

Good ol’ Fargo.

I remembered reading a discussion about Marge’s Japanese classmate and what exactly he’s doing in the movie, but now I uselessly can’t remember any of it.

Fargo

Generally enjoyable little Christmas movie. One of Katy’s faves, but I still thought I’d hate it… was surprised not to. Lost my notes, if I made any, so attempted story reconstruction:

Hugh Grant is the Prime Minister in love with his fired secretary. Liam Neeson lost his wife and his young son is crushing on a classmate. A young black guy marries Keira Knightley while his young white guy friend secretly loved her. An aging rocker wins the irony vote with his self-consciously awful xmas song. Laura Linney has a retarded brother and likes a co-worker. A writer likes his translator. Alan Rickman wants to cheat on Emma Thompson. A dude from the Office likes his co-star in a porn movie. A lame dude goes to rural US to get chicks. BB Thorton’s the president, R Atkinson’s some giftwrapping guy in a fancy store. That cover it?

Love Actually

Putting aside all the Tom Cruisey shenanigans and South Park sketches, he’s a really good actor for this type of movie. Fun fake faces, costumes, cars and brain bombs. The action scenes make my eyes hurt, and it’s all action scenes.

Billy Crudup, looking not so familiar, was the inside man and Phil Hoffman was an endearing psycho killer. Everyone else did whatever, and probably did a fine job of it. I was all caught up in the tension of the thing and the wild missions… thrilling. Took exception to the happy-sappy final scene, where all survivors (TC, wife, three teammates, commander L Fishburne and the comic-relief tech guy) laugh and cheer, the camera taking turns showing them smile in close-up. But later read a fine explanation of how Cruise maybe got brain-bombed or never woke up from eating a live electric cord, and the ending is a dying fantasy. Katy had a point in the action scenes having way too many cuts, but that’s nothing new.

Should this really be compared to Ghost World, which was a whole different kind of movie? Sure, why not. Both try to mix humor with failure and both have Steve Buscemi in ’em.

Art Con is disillusioned with the art-school crowd and has nothing nice to say about the students, their teachers, rich successful artists, or lonely bitter failures. Pretty harsh outlook (but of course). A few interesting bits – our kid being more accepted as a famous serial killer (not “innocent” since he did burn down an apartment building, killing many) than he ever would’ve been as an artist, and the “outsider artist” cop being celebrated for making daringly crappy paintings. Kind of an easy-target comedy, like Best In Show, but meaner. Angelica Huston didn’t have much to do. Katy didn’t seem too enthused.

A social issues movie. Indians girls who are widowed (before even realizing they were married in some cases) are sent to live in widow-houses as beggars and whores. Our little protagonist and a free-spirited strong-willed young woman daren’t defy their fat tradition-bound elders, and so surrender to their fates till a young male idealist, too late to save the young woman, sacrifices the girl to the Gandhi Train. Before that, the y.w. drowns herself in the river, our girl brings holy water (too late) to a dying woman, and a parrot is murdered.

Full of pretty shots and good performances, but in retrospect a lightweight and obvious script. Seems the whole movie is meant to make us feel bad about these widows, being oppressed by their religion/culture, like Los Olvidados or Salaam Bombay. None seem quite as good, or quite as depressing as Germany Year Zero, but depressing poor-people movies are never my favorites. Nor are happy rich-people movies, for that matter. Katy seemed to like it, but didn’t say much.