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)

We Bought A Zoo (Cameron Crowe, 2011)

I really like Matt Damon.  Along with Leo DeCaprio he is among our current living throwbacks to beloved 50’s Hollywood actors (Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart) and I know second hand that the guy is a true gentleman.  I saw this as a good afternoon film for my kids without knowing Cameron Crowe was the director.  Say Anything (1989) and Almost Famous (2000) are really good films where the director’s Kapraesque vision works;  however, when lost to his own devices Crowe deteriorates into empty and sometimes offensive sentiment. Based loosely (?) on a true story of a man (Benjamin Mee, Damon) … Continue reading We Bought A Zoo (Cameron Crowe, 2011)

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)