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Movies, Movies, Movies

Ian and I continued our support of WWII movies last weekend with a double feature.  Defiance on Friday night, and The Reader on Saturday night.

George R.R. joined us for Defiance.  I had read a review that dismissed the movie as two hours of people yelling at each other.  Other reviewers gave it good reviews.  I fall into the good reviews camp.  I really enjoyed this movie.  Daniel Craig was amazing (and very easy on the eyes).  Ian and I kept leaning over to each other and whispering about how he would be so perfect to play the lead in Ian’s movie — the barely controlled violence.  The strong sense of justice.  And did I mention he’s really easy on the eyes.

I very much liked the relationship between the brothers.  Liev Schreiber turned in an equally powerful performance.  The movie also did an excellent job of differentiating between the various people who fled to the woods to escape the Nazis.  Another movie that did this really well was ALIENS.

I thought the direction was quite good.  You could tell what the hell was going on rather than quick, close cuts that tell you nothing.  There was also an assault on a transmitter station that was shot in a really intriguing way that sold the action very well — visually interesting but not confusing.

Saturday night Ian and I went off to watch The Reader.  This is an amazing movie.  My one complaint is that it takes a little too long to unspool, but, my god, the ride is breathtaking.  Every performance is a jewel, and Kate Winslet must win the Academy Award for this performance.  Ralph Feinnes is also in the film, and turns in a fragile, affecting performance.  Then there’s the young German actor, David Kross, who plays Feinnes as a young man.  He writes every emotion on his face, but not in an over-the-top way.  You can see a teenage boy trying to cope with a situation that is both exciting terrifying, and overwhelming.

I urge people to see this film.  It’s the equivalent of a semester in film school.

Sunday night Ian, Ty and I watched my preview copy of Slumdog Millionaire.  I was underwhelmed.  It has a charming way of telling the stories that manages to take the curse off of flahsbacks (and that is a real accomplishment in my book.  I hate flashbacks.)   

There is a muscular, energetic directing style, and the performances are charming, but ultimately it ended up feeling very predictable.

Of the five nominated pictures there’s only one I haven’t seen — The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I’ve got a review DVD so I’ll watch it when I get home.  It’s an impressive line-up.  Milk, The Reader, Frost/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Slumdog Millionaire.  

Right now my vote is for either The Reader or Milk.  I may revise that after I see Benjamin Button.

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