Movie update: Lord of War — Jarhead

Movie #54: Lord of War. I’m not entirely sure when I saw this, but I did see it, and I kind of enjoyed it. Nicolas Cage is growing on me. It was a movie entirely without hope, bitter and soggy and a little bit political and thoughtful. Done very nicely. I’m not at all surprised it didn’t have a better box office showing.

Movie #55: Elizabethtown. I was going to see this the day it came out (Cameron Crowe!!!), but I fell asleep and ended up at a Saturday matinee. Parts of this movie were just great — pretty much anything that happened in the car (from the driving to Elizabethtown to the driving home), Alec Baldwin, all references to the elaborate bike/knife scheme, everything involving Susan Sarandon, “we peaked on the phone,” etc. The parts that were great really stuck with me. The parts I didn’t like I’ve managed to mostly gloss over in my mind, though one thing felt weird: the movie feels like it’s ending about four times before it really does. The soundtrack, though, is brilliant.

Movie #56: Proof. Oh, this was a good movie. Complex and fast-moving and open for interpretation. I think Gwyneth Paltrow did a brilliant job acting smart and sane and weird and broken and, incidentally, acting under her age. Anthony Hopkins was brilliant, too, and Jake Gyllenhaal as Hal was very good (though I question this casting, a bit — he’s a little too good looking to be the dorky math geek that he’s supposed to be, though he played it well). I like seeing plays adapted to the screen, though usually I’m also distracted in wondering how certain scenes would play on a stage. Here, I was too caught up in the story to wonder until afterwards.

Movie #57: Good Night, and Good Luck. I’ve had only the high school history lessons about the McCarthy era and know even less about Edward R. Murrow, so the first ten minutes or so of this movie really worried me. But it was very well done, tied together brilliantly. David Straitharn was excellent, from the voice to the smoking to the tight control and the confidence. The film ended up with very few well-developed characters, but it stayed interesting. That sounds like nothing, but it’s a black-and-white film with long stretches of just speeches or just newsreel. I really liked this, and really liked the ending.

Movie #58: The Weather Man. Hey, look, it’s Nicolas Cage in another movie that has an ending with basically no resolution. Woo-hoo! Michael Caine is brilliant here, and Cage actually does a very nice job. This movie is a bit like American Beauty in theme — the mid-life crisis, the discovery that nothing’s leading anywhere — but with a different outcome, a different decision made. Every time it edged toward sentimental, it got pulled back, which was a nice effect.

Movie #59: Jarhead. I have been waiting for this movie since reading the book early this year. The book was captivating (I own it, now), and I’ll admit to being very uncertain about how well it would transfer to the screen. The book is told in snippets, out of order, and it was as much a learning experience as a story. The movie actually did this pretty well. It didn’t delve as deeply into anything (obviously it couldn’t, though I missed the family background bits and some of the resolution that the book provided. For instance: Troy died in a car accident, though the movie leaves it open in a way that almost implies suicide (he slid on black ice on his way to work). In the book, Swoff does nearly shoot Fergus over the missing duty thing, but his own near-suicide is a separate matter. The combination was compelling, though it blunted some of the politics of the book. Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing as Anthony Swofford, with some particularly daring scenes, really. I think it’s kind of odd (though I understand why) that most of the promos seem to be highlighting Jamie Foxx’s role in the movie. He’s not a huge part of the action. Really, best acting in the whole thing: Peter Sarsgaard, who won my heart in Kinsey but should, if the movie gods are just, get SOME kind of award simply for his performance in the watch tower scene. Man. Brilliant.

OK, caught up until tomorrow, when I am working through lunch so that I can leave early and go up to catch Green Street Hooligans in Olathe.

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13 Responses to Movie update: Lord of War — Jarhead

  1. ellenneithernor says:

    I feel so bitter at all the movie critics in the world for telling me “Proof” was not that great. I went to see it today and I thought it was awesome — and I saw the play pretty recently so it’s fresh in my memory. Damn you, professional movie judgers!

  2. webcowgirl says:

    GAH! You have surpassed me! I am only 48 and shall just PERHAPS reach 54! Shall I be consoled by the additional live performances I have seen?

    Ooh, and I’m reminded, I need to update my Books Purchased list.

  3. next_bold_move says:

    I had resigned myself to waiting for the DVD on Proof, but now I want to see it in the theater again.

    Peter Sarsgaard is my new celebrity crush. And that’s saying a lot considering I got to see Jake Gyllenhall nude (well, except for the two Santa caps….)

  4. kepkanation says:

    1). Proof is at Liberty Hall. I would go again if it’s still on this weekend and you’re up for it…

    2). You will have to fight Jake’s sister for Peter Sarsgaard, but I’m willing to help you.

  5. kepkanation says:

    Well, last year I think I only made it to 43! So somehow, I’m going to balance out to an average of 52/year.

    I love that icon.

  6. kepkanation says:

    I really thought it worked well as a movie, and I wish I had seen the play beforehand (or could see it now). Roger Ebert had a good review of it, if memory serves. It’s cliche, but he’s become my go-to critic for most movies, as we tend to agree.

    Ben Folds Icon!!! That rocks.

  7. next_bold_move says:

    Awh. I love Maggie, too!

    I guess I will just admire from afar.

    We may just have to do Proof this weekend. Would early Sunday evening work for you?

  8. kepkanation says:

    I will clear my calendar.

    OK, that took three seconds. I believe Sunday early evening (6ish) would work, though I have to talk to the sister about when/where this jewelry party is EVER going to happen.

  9. next_bold_move says:

    I was hoping for 4ish.

    Let me know what all is going on, and we can work around it.

  10. starstraf says:

    you wanna catch a movie sunday? I know Zorro is on pooch’s list but not sure if we can drag him away from football

  11. kepkanation says:

    I’ve had to clear all Sunday plans to go up to KC for the full day, starting with (bleh) the Chiefs game. Maybe some evening this week, though?

  12. simplelyric says:

    Jake Gyllenhaal as Hal was very good (though I question this casting, a bit — he’s a little too good looking to be the dorky math geek that he’s supposed to be, though he played it well).

    Maybe the casting directors had seen October Sky and bought him as something of a science/math geek in that well enough to believe he could do this as well. ::shrugs::

    The film ended up with very few well-developed characters

    I think that’s what most niggled at me while watching (and what kept me from rating it higher on Netflix). I reall enjoyed the movie, too, and it was well done, but I kept wishing it would show us more about the characters beyond the decisions they made at work.

  13. kepkanation says:

    it was well done, but I kept wishing it would show us more about the characters beyond the decisions they made at work.

    I felt this particularly for the Robert Downey Jr./Patricia Clarkson characters, who were pretty empty until the end.

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