Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DNfromMN - Movie Review - Revolutionary Road And Many More

The Story: When they met in their early twenties, Frank and April (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) were bright, naïve, and full of dreams. Pregnancy happens, so they move to the suburbs; to Revolutionary Road. Kathy Bates sells them the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood, with the perfect neighbors. After several years of feeling stifled, Frank and April plan an escape from the “hopeless endlessness”. This is not a happy movie.

Sam Mendes directed Kevin Spacey to an Academy Award for playing the role his real life wife Kate Winslet plays in this movie. She deserves it. She remains the most reliable excellent actress in every movie (even in fluff like The Holiday).

DiCaprio, on the other hand, did not do so well. It was a very stagey performance. Something that would work well projecting to the back of the theater but does not work in a two-shot. His frustration and anger come across like a childish temper tantrum, not as an adult.

To me, the second hour succeeds so much more than the first. All the tension comes to head, people face their issues, and makes the movie tolerable. However, it feels like the pitch line for this was: From the director of American Beauty, with the stars of Titanic: I give you – American Beauty 2: The Prequel (if Lester Burnham was a 1950s housewife).

What it’s worth: $5.00. Revolutionary Road showcases Kate Winslet’s great acting, and some very memorable supporting actors and actresses, but the second half really doesn’t pay off enough to sit through the first half in its entirety. Read the book, or wait for rental.

Australia: The first 2 hours are great. The last hour is a separate unnecessary movie (except for the last 5 minutes). The child actor who plays Nullah is so charismatic, watch the tourism ads with him in them that Baz Luhrmann directed. They’re worth your time. And yum, Hugh Jackman. $8.50, but leave early.

Doubt: See it. Amy Adams needs to stop playing naïve innocents though if she doesn’t want to stay typecast (she’s good, but it’s essentially her character from Enchanted as a 1960s nun). Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in an acting battle to the death over suspected priest abuse of a minor. $15.

Rachel Getting Married: Anne Hathaway goes dark, playing a recently rehabbed sister-of-the bride. Emotionally this is a bit of a roller-coaster, but any even mildly dysfunctional family will have been witness to one of these scenes in real life. I didn’t understand the multi-cultural-uber-hipster wedding at all, but that’s the only thing I don’t recommend about this. Note: lots of shaky camera, take your Dramamine. $10

Benjamin Button: My pick for movie of the year. I love a good epic, and this did it. Seriously. See it. Just know you’ll be sitting there for 2.5 hours, fully engrossed. I blinked like four times, I was glad when I cried because my eyes were getting dry from staring at how beautiful and amazing this was. $25 – take a friend, buy popcorn, but only a small soda so you don’t have to leave to pee; then see it again.

Seven Pounds: It’s not bad, it’s just about an unlikeable guy. It is a mistake to have the first scene be your movie star verbally abusing a very kind blind man over the phone. It gets better, but more predictable after that. $5 – wait for rental.

The Spirit: Gabriel Macht is hot ,and the first scene of him walking around in his boxer shorts is quite uplifting (to my crotch). The rest of the movie would have made a good Sci-Fi channel TV pilot. It has that rushed, unfinished, not-quite-sure-what-we’re-doing quality that most TV pilots have, and it could have been a great campy TV series like Dark Angel. $2 – wait for cable, don’t spend any money on this.

Slumdog Millionaire: See it. The story of a man who grew up with nothing and only a self-made education goes on India’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The story of his life and how it plays into how he answers questions is so worth seeing. (Note: I have loved all movies directed by Danny Boyle except for The Beach). $15 – buy popcorn, but eat it before the first flashback, you’ll thank me for that later.


selenakyle said...

Thanks, DN!

KellyLynn said...

Great reviews. I still have trouble believing Leo DiCaprio as an adult-type figure in any movie. He may be mid-thirties, but he still has the demeanor of a young guy. I'd probably still see Revolutionary Road, just for Kate Winslet.
I'm also glad Benjamin Button lived up to the hype. Of all of these, we're most likely to see that one.

Unknown said...

To be honest i have never understood the fascination of DiCaprio, to me he seems as sexy as a teletubby.

Unknown said...

As to Elo's acting chops, since Gilbert Grape, I haven't either. I thought his accent in Blood Diamond came and went. And as to The Departed, hello!!!!!! Matt Damon wiped the floor with him. Did anyone really believe that Rose was really into him in Titanic, or just escaping from Billy Z?

shakey said...

Manda ... teletubbies are sexier than DiCaprio. So basically Revolutionary Road is a movie about a couple who want to move.

For some reason every time I see the commercials for Benjamin Button I think of Big Fish. Is it like a fairytale? Also, wasn't there a similar movie? Jack, with Robin Williams?

Ror said...

Nice reviews.

Ya know DN..the last time I was in a movie theatre was back when I still lived in Minneapolis. The movie was Dumb and Dumber!

I will NEVER venture into one ever again. Unless I own one, and I close the doors and run everything myself.

Hey, it could happen!

twunty mcslore said...

Love Danny Boyle, so I definitely need to see Slumdog Millionaire. Did anyone see Sunshine? It was beautifully done sci-fi cheese.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

Benjamin Button is a short story written by F.Scott Fitzgerald. It's probably closer to urban legend than fairytale.

merrick said...

thanks for the great reviews, DN. I have been telling my old man that I want to see ben buttons because it looks so damn good, and he just thinks its because my main man brad is in it .. now, i can show him your review and at least walk away with my dignity!

Megan said...

You forgot about YesMan! LOL, I saw it yesterday with my husband. I usually don't care for Jim Carey's physical comedy, but he toned it down some in this movie and there were LOTS of little funny one-liners.

I would've seen Benjamin Button if it wasn't nearly 3 hours long. Sorry, I'll wait for the DVD

jw12 said...

I LOVED Slumdog Millionaire!!!

The only movie that I'm dying to see is The Wrestler.

Anonymous said...

shakey - it's similar to Big Fish only that it's a spectacular tale and involves a lot of travel. The only "magical" aspect of Ben Button is the whole aging backwards thing.

Something I forgot to put in my review: with Kate Winslet movies, you're almost guaranteed a great hot steamy sex scene. There are two in Rev Road, they both are from start to "finish" 15 seconds and fully clothed, very un-sexy. I was disappointed.

I hadn't seen Yes Man yet. I saw Frost/Nixon today, it's pretty good and the acting is outstanding, but I wasn't prepared for it to be done documentary-style.

amh.producer said...

I want to see Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire. Maybe I will get off my ass and see these films.

Brenda22 said...

I disagree. I saw Revolutionary Road last weekend and I loved it. It's one of those movies that make you think and I thought the 2 hours flew by.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any of these, but I've read Revolutionary Road; also, I'm no expert on movies or Leo DiCaprio. That written, though, the character Frank Wheeler was written as childish, self centered and immature, so Leo may have just played his part well because that's what the character is.

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