The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Movie Reviews (Vol. 3)

So this week there are a few more reviews than last week. But I didn't make it out to all the movies I wanted to see. Blame? The middle school retreat I am on this weekend. (Hopefully next week I can play catch up with Reign Over Me and Shooter. The current Netflix selection is Casino Royale, The Heart of the Game and Buffy, Season 2, Disc 4.)

Saturday afternoon I saw the new film Pride which stars Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac. And to tell the truth, I am biased for films like this. I guess the idea of a person who comes in and inspires a group of people towards a common goal rings a little too close to home for me to be objective. That being said, here is my review.

I think Pride is an good film with some great performances that tells a true story. The story is of Jim Ellis, a collegiate swimmer during the Civil Rights movement who moves to Philadelphia and serves at a run-down, soon to close, public recreation facility. From there, he grows a team and teaches them about swimming, competition and pride. On the whole, I think it is a good film worth watching. Howard gives a great performance and continues his streak of picking good roles. (Though, he is scheduled to play Jim Rhodes in Iron Man, a film I am skeptical about because of Robert Downey, Jr. playing the lead. But, hey, everyone's got to get paid sometime...)

Saturday night, I opened up a Netflix envelope and watched the film Stranger than Fiction. And I have to say, it is a very, very good film with some strange-ness that could be distracting but I found to be immensely endearing. For starter, Will Ferrell plays a comedic role that is a far cry from the kinds of characters he has played in films like Talladega Nights and Blades of Steel. And he does it extremely well. Additionally, I now think that Maggie Gyllenhaal was jobbed out of an Oscar nomination for her amazing portrayal of a woman that is smart, funny, sexual and intense. (And as long time friends know, I have always had a little thing for the ladies that are a little odd. She fits the mold.)

The premise is that Will Ferrell plays an IRS agent who can hear a woman who is writing a story about his life and his impending death. It feels a little bit Ground Hog Day-ish but it works and is smart. The author, played by Emma Thompson, eventually comes to realize that the character is a real-life person after he has fallen in love and begun to live a life outside the mundane life that he had lived. I highly recommend this one, as it shows Ferrell has some better chops that we give him credit for, and the story is smart, funny and odd, which is unusual from the Hollywood establishment.

I also saw the recent film A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe. It is a decent film, but not great. I generally file it in the category of movies where the "adult-you" is somehow confronted by the "child-you" and comes to the realization that you are a jerk. Pretty basic and simple. There are some interesting plot twists and turns but on the whole, catch it on cable.


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