Sunday, November 07, 2010

Time For A Netflix Catchup

As son #2 keeps reminding me, I'm way behind.

Sideways. I liked this one a lot. Paul Giamatti pulls off a difficult trick, which is making a guy who is kind of a snob, kind of a geek, and a bit of an ass come off as friendly and likable. Thomas Haden Church is great as his friend who definitely is a jerk, especially when it comes to women. You can't help but like the guy, and I'm sure that everyone has met a guy like him at one point or another in their lives - the frat boy who never grows up, who has money and acts as if he is entitled to have or do just about anything, including treat women poorly.

At its heart, it's a road movie. And the road trip in this case is a fun one, a wine trip. I'm a Cabernet person myself so I didn't really get the obsession with Pinot Noir, but I can definitely agree that Merlot is not anywhere near the top of my list.

The real surprise to me was Sandra Oh, who - for reasons that are not entirely clear - I was prepared to dislike. I ended up liking her character quite a bit, as I did the character played by Virginia Madsen. They're both level-headed people who seem to have come to grips with life's little vagaries much better than their male counterparts.

Get Smart. Not great, but fun. Nothing could come close to the original TV series, but this was definitely a lot better than "The Nude Bomb," the 1980 flick starring the original stars of the series. Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway were fine as Agents 86 and 99, but the real acting highlight was probably Dwayne Johnson, who has a pretty darn good touch when it comes to comedy.

Rushmore. This was my first exposure to Wes Anderson, and I can't say I was that impressed. It had its moments, but overall there really wasn't a single character that I cared about, and most of them - particularly Jason Schwartzman in the lead role - I just found annoying.

Slumdog Millionaire. It's a good thing I knew this one had a happy ending, otherwise I might not have made it until the end. Overall I thought it was very good, but it's going to take me a while to figure out whether it really deserved the Oscar. The concept of using "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" was brilliant, but I'm not sure that the execution was up to the idea. The questions seemed a little too easy, and (and this is hardly the movie's fault) every time I looked at the host, I kept thinking of the actor's role on "24" last season as the leader of an unnamed Arab country. The movie was expertly done, but struck me as a little contrived.

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