Monday, September 06, 2010

Yet Another Netflix Catchup

Getting closer to being completely caught up...

(500) Days of Summer. A very clever, well written, and well acted romantic comedy. It’s sort of like the romantic comedy you might imagine Quentin Tarantino writing and directing. I really liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the male lead, a bit more than I liked Zooey Deschanel as his female counterpart. Both are charming, though there were times when the dialogue seemed a little too good to be true – the kind of things that look great on paper, but you rarely (if ever) hear anyone say in public. Overall, very good, with plenty of laugh out loud moments.

Diva. I’m pretty sure that I saw this when it first came out in the early 1980s, but upon this viewing it would seem that I’d forgotten about most of it. The movie was quite the rage right about the time that VCR players became quite the rage, and if I recall became one of the most popular foreign films ever. But who knows, I may be misremembering that as well. It’s definitely an off-beat story, about a young man in France with an obsession for an opera singer with whom he establishes an intriguing but also somewhat unusual relationship. Along the way, a variety of bad guys become involved –some of them just want the bootleg recording he’s made at one of the singer’s recitals, and other more nefarious types want a copy of a tape that has been surreptitiously placed into his satchel. This tape would reveal the surprising leader of a prostitution ring, and there are many folks who want it – some even willing to kill for it. And then there’s also the strange man and young woman who live together in a loft and behave in that off-beat way that you really only see in the movies. They also happen to be one of the best parts of the movie, and become heroes of a sort near the end. I really enjoyed it and would say that it was better than I remembered, but considering I didn’t remember most of it, I’ll just stick with saying that it’s worth a look.

Gone Baby Gone. I’ve been wanting to see this one for quite a while, and it did not disappoint. Ben Affleck’s talent seems to be behind the camera, and his little brother Casey does a terrific job as Patrick Kenzie in this interpretation of the Dennis Lehane novel. The movie is gripping from first scene to last, and exposes the underbelly of Boston in a way that even “Mystic River” didn’t. I was a bit disappointed in Michelle Monaghan as Angie Gennaro, mostly because she’s not quite what I pictured when I read the Kenzie/Gennaro books. Ed Harris is spectacular as a flawed cop, and it was great to see John Ashton – my God, had he been in anything notable since “Beverly Hills Cop?” Amy Madigan is also very good as the kidnapped baby’s aunt, and those who only know Amy Ryan from her role on “The Office” are in for a shock. She is entirely unrecognizable in this role as a mother who couldn’t care less about her child, and scary in her depiction of a woman who basically turns out to be a total loser. After seeing this, I can hardly wait for Affleck’s upcoming “The Town.”

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