you remind me of everything that followed

It was movie weekend. My brain cells and liver appreciated the rest, though I have to admit that last weekend was a hell of a lot more fun.

Over the past 6 days I've watched 5 movies.

First up: The Fighter, with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.

This is an absolutely terrific film. Wahlberg is wonderful as always; I would pay to watch him read the phone book. Bale, though, gives a chilling, unforgettable performance. I thought he was pretty good before; after seeing this, I'm convinced of his brilliance. One of the best movies I've seen in years.

Feast of Love, with Greg Kinnear and Morgan Freeman.

Loosely based on the Charles Baxter book by the same name, it is absolutely heartbreaking. It is also sort of stupid at times, and a couple of the performances are forgettable, but I loved the book and also really liked the movie.

Faster, with Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) and Billy Bob Thornton.
  1. Dwayne Johnson is in the same category as Mark Wahlberg for me--meaning that I'd pay to watch him do just about anything. A 6-hour documentary on tooth-brushing? Sign me up. Reading Chaucer? Why not. There's just something about him that...works...for me.

  2. This movie is not all that great. It has thrilling moments and whole patches of snores.

  3. OliverOliver Jackson-Cohen--a sort of neo-Jake Gyllenhaal with a bitchin' accent--is something else to look at (holy crap is this guy hot) but his acting...well, he's got a way to go before he'll be worthy of carrying Christian Bale's water.Jake A big part of what he does in this movie is to drive a very nice car, very, very fast. While doing so, he has the identical facial expression throughout: chin tucked down, a slight grimace, staring up through his upper eyelashes. It's like watching somebody who's had Botox injections try to emote. Don't get me wrong, it was still a pleasure to see him onscreen, but it was almost like watching the same take, over and over.

  4. I've never seen a Billy Bob Thornton movie before. Weird, huh? I discovered that: (a) he's not a terrible actor (like I'd previously thought); (b) he really wasn't hard to watch (like I'd feared); and (c) he [he, meaning, the character, "Cop", not he, Billy Bob Thornton, the actor...I think?] reminded me, in visceral but hard to describe ways, of an attorney that I know. Oddly appealing, twitchy, super intense, seemingly invested in the moment but simultaneously miles away. Frustrating. The sort of personality that either immediately repels or strongly draws one's attention, inspiring one to go to ever greater lengths to capture and retain their notice. I do love a challenge.
The Namesake, with Kal Penn and Irrfan Khan.

Based on the book by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake is a long film, tender without being sweet, gorgeously filmed. Kal Penn is wonderful, as always, and Irrfan Khan was a lovely surprise. I expect this to play around in my mind for a long time. [The title quotation is from this movie.]

Rushmore, with Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.

My Wes Anderson kick continues; all that's left are the short film Bottle Rocket and the recent Fantastic Mr. Fox. Though this can't touch The Royal Tenebaums as my favorite Anderson film, it was good. Jason Schwartzman was extraordinary as the high school nightmare misfit Max Fischer. Bill Murray is one of those actors that I will never understand; he is so singular that I can't believe I can still dredge up any suspension of disbelief. Somehow, though, he was totally real as Herman Blume, Max's wealthy slob rival for the affections of a 1st grade teacher. I liked it.

There are two more DVDs still on the table before I'm through the current bunch, but it'll be a few days before I see them. April is creeping up fast, and regular readers know what that means...!

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