Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

Winter Movie Roundup April 7, 2010

I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since I’ve posted anything! Was I despondent over the unusually frigid and lingering Dallas winter? Was I too baffled by this season of Lost? Was I going on hiatus just like most of my favorite shows? Is my pregnancy using up all my energy, leaving me with a nasty case of writer’s block? I suppose it could be all of the above, but now that spring has arrived, and since I just returned from a rejuvenating trip to Vegas, I am ready to get back into the blogging game. I’ll start small, with mini-reviews of all the movies I’ve watched over the past couple of months:

  • The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – This movie was just “okay.” I didn’t know anything about it before I watched it, except that Johnny Depp and Heath Ledger were in it. I did enjoy Ledger’s character, and the visual effects were as elaborate and imaginative as they were advertised to be. What was missing for me was a solid, cohesive plot.
  • Shutter Island – This is the best movie that I’ve seen so far this year. Everything about it was well done and entertaining: the story, the musical score, the special effects, the character development, the acting, the writing, the setting… The suspense was riveting, the mysteries were perplexing, and a couple of the dramatic scenes even had me in tears. Martin Scorsese isn’t a film legend for nothing. He knows how to make a movie work on all levels. Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Leonardo DiCaprio were all excellent in their roles, as were all the supporting cast. I would watch this movie again as a rental, but it is best seen on the big screen. I may even read the Dennis Lehane book that it is based on.
  • The Wolf Man – The theatrical trailers for this remake of the old classic were very well done and had me excited about the movie. The actual film didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but it was still entertaining. How can you go wrong with Anthony Hopkins, Benicio del Toro, and Hugo Weaving? Vampires get all the media attention these days, so it was nice to see werewolves have a momentary return to glory. (Although, I’m guessing there will be a renewed interest in them after the third installment of the Twilight series hits theaters this summer…)
  • Away We Go – I originally saw this movie in the theater last summer, and enjoyed it enough to rent it for a second look. It’s about a couple(Burt and Verona) who, having recently found out they are expecting a baby, decide to hit the road in search of the ideal place to raise their child. Their journey takes them such places as Arizona, Miami, and Montreal. The first thing the movie has going for it is a screenplay by Dave Eggers, who also wrote the film adaptation for Where the Wild Things Are, and has written many well received novels. His quirky, refreshing style is very evident in the characters and the plot. The most obvious evidence of his influence is the characters themselves: Burt’s histrionic mother (played perfectly by Catherine O’Hara) and obscure art collecting father (Jeff Daniels); Verona’s obnoxious, highly inappropriate former co-worker (a hilarious Allison Janney) and her “glass half empty” husband (an extremely low key Jim Gaffigan); and Burt’s “cousin” LN (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is the most touchy feely mom you’ll ever encounter. And that’s only a few examples of the colorful cast. But this isn’t just a comedy. While the humor is plentiful, you really care about the main characters, and the story turns sentimental (in a genuine, refreshing way, though – not a sappy sweet one) at times. The soundtrack enhances the nostalgic, American road trip feel of the movie. I already listed several of the all-star cast above, and they are all great in their roles. I was especially surprised by how well John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph worked together. Burt and Verona are very different characters from their usual roles on The Office and SNL. This movie is definitely worth seeing, especially if you like quirky comedy-dramas.
  • Terminator: Salvation – After all the mixed to disappointed feedback I’d received about this movie when it was first released, I had very low expectations when I rented it. As a Christian Bale fan, I wasn’t going to skip it completely, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was actually rather good. It was much better than Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It was an intense action movie with impressive sound and special effects, and plenty of attractive actors flexing their muscles. Christian Bale actually had the less interesting role as John Connor – I was more intrigued by Sam Worthington’s tragic hero Marcus Wright. Worthington is still fresh on my radar after my introduction to him in Avatar. Now that I’ve seen him in Terminator, he’s on my list of actors whose movies I’ll always make a point to watch. In case you are wondering, others on that list include Christian Bale, Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Jackman, and Johnny Depp.
  • Supernatural: Season 4 – So, I know this isn’t a movie, but I invested a lot of time catching up on seasons 1 to 3 of this show over the last few months. While it’s not always the most well written or produced show, it is highly entertaining, and brothers Sam and Dean are two of the most fun characters you’ll see on a tv show. I plan to wait until the fall to watch season 5 on DVD, but after the huge season finale cliffhanger, I may have to watch some of those episodes online.

I think those are the only movies I’ve watched over the last couple of months. I’ve mostly been watching tv shows and college basketball. What movies have impressed or disappointed you lately?