An exceptional movie
By Bruce McKinney
We get our information in myriad ways: through books, the internet, television and conversation to name some. We see movies on television, occasionally online and of course in theatres. With books we tend to take in words and sometimes images. Unless we mouth the words information enters our brains almost exclusively through the eyes. Movies offer a different paradigm: seeing and hearing. In some theatres the chairs shake and a few even provide intentional [as opposed to unintentional] smells. In all these ways we experience the information or story. In the skill of writing it is high art to so envelope the reader that the story comes to life. In the movies it is easier because more of the human keyboard is played although it is never easy as is witnessed by the many movies that fail to resonate with audiences.
I'm a serious reader as is evidenced by the list of books I've already requested be slipped into my coffin before consignment to the next world. I do not go a day without reading, do not intend to and assume the trip won't take longer than Columbus' 28 days to the new world. As I read fast and may not have anything else to do thirty books should be about right. As to a reading light I take it on faith power will be provided. God should be able to light a 60 watt bulb.
While I'm on earth I have more options and movies on the big screen is one of them. For me nothing quite compares with the complete involvement that movies offer and great movies take advantage of to reach me at the deepest levels. So I'm usually looking for interesting flicks. I tend to rely on the online site www.sfgate.com for reviews although I personally interpret / re-interpret their 1 to 5 symbols since they periodically lose their minds and need, like the visually and mentally impaired, occasional help crossing the street.
This year I've been seeing many movies and offer here a brief assessment and rating of some currently available. For those who are looking for an opportunity, reason or excuse to put down the TV controller and venture out here goes. These movies, at least in the San Francisco Bay area, are now playing.
Why good people must stand up
The scale is 1 to 5, 5 being highest.
Movies resonate with different people for various reasons. Hopefully some of these will work for you.
- The Aristocrats ++ I view 4 letter words as punctuation and punctuate most sentences myself. However, unnecessary expletives detract in real life. Provocative but not terribly appealing.
- Capote +++++ This is the story of Truman Capote and involves his non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. If you are homophobic stay away. If you are an open minded human see it. It will be nominated for a best picture and should be neck and neck heading into the stretch.
- The Constant Gardener. Honesty is the ultimate victim. Ralph Fiennes will get a best actor nomination +++ Paranoid men will walk out of this one going "I thought so."
- Flight Plan. Think of this as a two hour advertisement for Amtrak and cruise ships. Jody Foster is very good. Movie an interesting B/B+ ++ She may get a nomination although this is not her best movie.
- Good Night and Good Luck - a movie about Edward R. Murrow, beautifully nuanced +++++. Take a smart person with you and talk about this movie afterward. This movie will get several nominations.
- Jarhead - a thinking man's anti-war movie about the first gulf war. Jake Gyllenhaal will be nominated for best actor but Peter Saasgaard will win for best supporting actor. ++++ Parents will not send their children into Iraq after they see this.
- March of the Penguins. - A movie without a category. Simply superb. Will make people on the Golden
Gate Bridge come down from their ledges. There are good reasons to live and this movie reminds us of the joy of being alive. +++++ Might get best picture if it qualifies, otherwise best documentary in a walk.
- Prime. A movie about a love affair between an older woman and a younger man. ++ Meryl Streep is better than this role lets her be. Uma Thurman is the older woman and every man would like to be the younger man.
- Shopgirl. - This is a cerebral but fundamentally mean spirited Steve Martin movie. A disengaged man does the right things but without feeling. Claire Danes as a vulnerable young woman may get a best actress nomination for her role in this interesting movie. Take your psychologist with you. You'll have plenty to talk about. +++
- The Squid and the Whale. A very real if not very happy movie. It's like reading a very good short story about an unhappy subject. +++ If you are looking for a quality downer here it is.
- Walk the Line. This is a musical for psychiatrists, psychologists and anyone over 50. Reese Witherspoon broadens her curriculum vitae. ++++ Johnny Cash returns to life to correct and update the record. The car almost crashes and we end up happy they're happy.
- The Wedding Crashers. Imperfect and light. A diversion ++ A good movie to see after a bad day.
- The 40 Year Old Virgin. You have enough crap in your life without this.