Ray (Hackford, 2004)

Just re-watched the last half of this very popular 2004 Ray Charles biopic.  Jamie Foxx, as usual, delivers a good performance as Charles.  My problem with the film as with other Academy favorite biopics of recent years is that if you slap a big star on a popular figure you tend to devolve to basic convention in the film making, which happens here.  It’s a by the book bio (no pun intended) pic.  I would rather have seen it as an actual biography in this case.  The editing corrodes to an exact timeframe in the protagonist’s life.  Ray Charles had … Continue reading Ray (Hackford, 2004)

5 Quick Pics

The Girlfriend Experience (Soderberg, 2009) LOVE the way this film looks and I found the script very funny.  At the end the amateurish acting doesn’t distract. *** 1/2 / ***** Drag Me to Hell (Raimi, 2009) The scariest film I’ve seen in years.  Alison Lohman charms as usual and the kitsch works throughout. **** / ***** In the Heat of the Night (Jewison, 1967) Satisfying in the way Rod Steiger’s sheriff slowly develops a vague appreciation of Poiter’s Mr. Tibbs without being overly preachy in the slightest way.  Instilled with a wry sense of humor and stands up well to … Continue reading 5 Quick Pics

Hotel Rwanda (Terry George, 2004)

Director Terry George (In the Name of the Father, Reservation Road) tries to cram way too much content and detail into this account of such horrible events.  By doing so, and by plugging in way too many scenes with a not up for the task Sophie Okonedo (as Tatiana Rusesabagina), the enormity of the disaster is lost to melodrama.  And what a ridiculous turn by Nick Nolte – I didn’t buy that at all.  This is meant to be the Schindler’s List of the Rwandan genocide but it lacks both the technical and emotional achievement of Spielberg’s film.  Don Cheadle (Paul … Continue reading Hotel Rwanda (Terry George, 2004)

Melinda and Melinda (Woody Allen, 2004)

I’m of the mind that Woody Allen has never had a “dry” spell.  And to remind me of this fact all I have to do is re-watch Melinda and Melinda.  For those of you who haven’t seen it Allen revisits one of his favorite devices of telling two tales, one comedic and one tragic, in the same film.  Most famously this was done in Crimes and Misdemeanors, one of my favorite films of all time.  In Melinda we get both the comedy and the drama via a startling performance by Radha Mitchell but the most brilliant thing about this film, … Continue reading Melinda and Melinda (Woody Allen, 2004)