This weekend the Spousal Unit and I participated in our almost-annual tradition of the pre-Oscar moviethon. Friend Kelly was our fine guide (meaning he did the schedule, which is the hardest part), and we were also accompanied John, Robert, and Kimberly (*waves*). There are spoilers ahead. Consider yourself warned.
We saw this on Saturday, because we just couldn't fit it in on Sunday. Next year we've decided to split the whole thing up over two days, which will mean more movies with less stress. Munich was a hard watch. We look on as Eric Bana is beaten down by death and futility, in the end becoming a hollowed-out version of himself. The transformation is subtle and watchable. One complaint I've heard is that the movie lacks character development. With the exception of Bana's Avner, this is probably true. The rest of the cast are pretty one-dimensional, given substance only as a seemingly tacked-on effort to create sympathy before something horrible happens to them. Nonetheless, this movie is worth watching; just don't see it when you're full of weltzschmerz, or the despair may kill you.
Mrs. Henderson Presents
This was the first of the Sunday movies. This is a fun romp, utterly charming, and even a little believable. Judy Dench and Bob Hoskins have sizzling chemistry in this story about a theatre gone naughty (sort of) in WWII London. It makes me want to find an excuse to use the phrase "what about naked girls?" While Dench's performance was lovely, it doesn't touch Huffman's in Transamerica, but I could still see her getting the Oscar on the strength of her career. Yes, yes, I know it's supposed to be for the performance. We all know that sometimes it doesn't pan out that way.
Howl's Moving Castle
We had never been to the Mission, and despite the noise, I think it's a grand place to grab a burger and a movie. Unfortunately the movie was...pretty boring. I was charmed by the Castle itself, but beyond that I found it to be slow-moving and uninspired. I haven't seen Wallace and Gromit, so I'm hoping for Tim Burton's Corpse Bride to take Best Animated Film.
Walk The Line
June Carter and Johnny Cash had one of entertainment's Great Affairs. Their passion is recorded succinctly in June's "Ring of Fire". That's why it's such a shame that Witherspoon and Phoenix had no chemistry. I didn't believe their love, especially Witherspoon's. The two actors did a passable job in a passable movie. I would liked to have seen more focus and more passion from this great love story. I hope someday, someone does it right. I have a feeling Witherspoon is going to get the Oscar, and I'm going to be throwing shoes at the television.
Good Night, and Good Luck
I admit I dozed during bits of this--but not because of the movie--it was just past my bedtime. This was a tight, well-done portrait of a pivotal moment in time: when Edward R. Murrow stood up to Eugene McCarthy. Beautifully directed and shot, every frame is a delight. The dialogue is bright, the pacing is exact, and the characters are developed in a mostly "show, don't tell" fashion of which I heartily approve. Clooney has me in his cheering section for Best Director.
I'm stopping at Borders tonight to see how many more nominated films I can grab for us to watch before the Big Day. This will be the year we've seen as many of the films as possible. We are at least having a lot of fun trying.