Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Movie Reviews, From My Seat On The Couch... The One With The Half-Empty Box Of Tissues On It

It’s February: The month I like the least. It’s about 8-degrees outside. I have a never-ending virus. I haven’t been able to get out very much. I can’t taste food. I wake up with a nose so stuffy I have to get up every few hours.

So in the interim, when things aren’t very exciting, I’ve been watching a lot of movies, care of my free Blockbuster Online Trial:

1)The Station Agent: I liked this quiet little movie about a dwarf named Finbar McBride. He inherited a train station in New Jersey. The whole film (warning: spoilers) pivots around people’s treatment of Finn. He quietly ignores catcalls from street kids like “Hey – how’s the little wife?” He gets frustrated when he can’t protect a woman’s honor: her abusive boyfriend began yelling. When the dwarf interceded, he simply got pushed aside. Later, he gets so drunk he passes out on a railroad track. The last image he believes he’ll ever see is the lights of the oncoming engine. (last spoiler warning) – In the morning, he awakens – his watch was smashed on the tracks, but the train’s wheels proved too far off the ground to… well, kill a dwarf… so here’s a guy that doesn’t want to talk to anyone – yet somehow is cajoled by two neighborhood misfits – into an unlikely friendship. What struck me about this film – was how passive Finn was – he sought no one out, required nothing but a little respect from others – and simply let life happen to him. In the end, he found friendship – but he wasn’t really looking… Or maybe he was.

2)March of the Penguins: The funny thing that happens when a documentary dresses up as a narrative… I fall for characters, but don’t get all my questions answered. I think I actually have more questions about emperor penguins than I did before I watched this film.

3)Bullets over Broadway: I just love John Cusack. In this role, he plays David Shayne, a near playwright. I guess I love Cusack because his roles are always these conflicted men, who unlike Finbar McBride, are fighting every day to gain identity ground… His Shayne is a combination of Martin Blank (Grosse Point Blank), John Trager (Serendipity), and my favorite, Rob Gordon (High Fidelity). In this silly little tale, Shayne is given the opportunity of a lifetime: his play will be produced on Broadway, if and only if he agrees to cast Olive, the tripsy-dipsy girlfriend of his mobster financial backer. Olive sucks – but the real truth is – Shayne’s play isn’t very good. It isn’t until Olive’s cocksure bodyguard helps Shayne do a rewrite that the action really heats up. It’s an altogether watchable film. I was especially impressed with Diane Wiest - who gave an amazing performance.

4)American Splendor: I liked the convention of this film far more than I liked Harvey Pekar, the protagonist. Pekar, the real-life creator of the comic book ‘American Splendor,’ appears in interview-style as Paul Giamatti is “That Guy who doesn’t really look like me” who portrays Harvey in the vignettes that reenact Pekar’s life. Especially interesting: When Harvey Pekar appeared on the David Letterman Show – Giamatti appears in the greenroom, but it’s the real Pekar who shows up on screen. Overall – this is truly a redemption tale of a guy who’s “almost there…” Maybe more like David Shayne than I care to admit.

5)Auto Focus – This film really bothered me – and despite the appearance of Willem Dafoe, it’s one of those movies I regret sitting through. The story of the unsolved murder of Hogan’s Hero star Bob Crane, I thought the film was going to be more of a mystery. Instead, it just depressed the snot out of me (And now that I’m trying to shake my cold, maybe I should watch it again…) (Forget it. I won’t do it.) Director Paul Schrader and I went to the same college. I’ve heard him speak, I’ve read his book – but I can’t help but feeling that he should be seeing a therapist – not working out his life issues on film (et, tu, Quentin Tarantino).

Okay – I sent back The Aviator, and another movie I can’t remember – because as it turns out, I didn’t really want to see them after all.


  • At 2:32 PM, Blogger Trixie said…

    The Aviator was way too long. It's best that you sent it back. It was great until the time got to us. Then it just sucked. It's that magical ability of a good film to become a bad film simply because it is way to long.

    Hope you feel better soon!


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