An Affair to Remember (C). I had never seen this classic film, which I believe was further immortalized in Sleepless in Seattle — which I have also never seen. Anyhoo, you probably know all about this movie already. Cary Grant (Bringing Up Baby) plays international playboy Nickie Ferrante. Nickie is taking a cruise from Europe to New York, where he will give up his freedom by marrying a fabulously wealthy heiress. But he doesn’t count on meeting feisty Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison), who is herself engaged to marry a wealthy businessman. Romance and (supposedly) comedy blossom on the ship, and the lovestruck couple agree to test their feelings by going their separate ways for six months, and then meeting atop the Empire State Building if they still feel the same way at that time. The second half of the movie is pure melodrama. Frankly, the movie just didn’t do it for me. The comedy is lame, and there are some really painful musical numbers. But of course Cary Grant is a pleasure to watch, and Deborah Kerr is lovely. And I was surprised at one scene in which the two main characters are both revealed to be Catholic, in a nice and respectful way. So it’s not a complete waste of time by any means.
The Living Sea (B-). Once again, Little Rock’s IMAX theater puts itself on the cutting edge by showing a fresh documentary from . . . 1995. Narrated by Meryl Streep (It’s Complicated), this is a pretty standard ocean-going documentary, placing a slight extra emphasis on the interconnectedness of all the oceans. There was some wasted time, as with extended footage of a bunch of surfers, but there were also some decent stretches, such as a look at a peculiar salt-water lake in the Pacific island nation of Palau. Considering the price tag was under $6 for the movie ticket, popcorn, and coke, I thought it was a pretty good deal.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (D). I don’t like the Harry Potter movies; so sue me. The one before this one had a few moments of humor that made it reasonably tolerable. Something about a love potion making the rounds at Hogwarts, I do believe. But this film indicates that the last one was an aberration. HPATDHPI is a determinedly grim and gray spectacle as Harry and his two chums Hermione (Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Ron have to go out into the big, wide world to try to defeat the evil Sauron, er, I mean Lord Voldemort. There’s lots of running about, a few fight scenes that are cut so rapidly you have no idea what is happening, and a couple of brief but unpleasant torture scenes. It’s rated PG-13 for a reason, people.
The Big Lebowski (A-). I am sorry I have missed out on the pleasure of this Coen brothers movie for so long. A plot summary can’t begin to convey how bizarrely off the wall the film is. Jeff Bridges (Starman) is an amiable California slacker named Jeff Lebowski, known to his friends simply as The Dude. He likes to drink, smoke marijuana, and bowl with his buddies Walter (John Goodman, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Donnie (Steve Buscemi, The Island). But then a couple of thugs mistake him for a wealthy old man who happens to share his name, and then when the old Lebowski’s trophy wife (Tara Reid, Josie and the Pussycats) gets kidnapped, he taps The Dude to be his ransom courier. Things quickly spiral out of The Dude’s comprehension, much less his control. Julianne Moore (Children of Men) is hilarious as the old man’s avant-garde-artist daughter. A couple of dream sequences are way, way over the top. (How does one conceive of the image of Saddam Hussein getting your bowling shoes for you?) Oh, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is in the movie, too. I laughed out loud several times, and I never stopped rooting for The Dude. If you like the Coen brothers’ quirky sense of humor, this cross between Raising Arizona and What’s Up, Doc? should hit your funny bone.
The Social Network (A-). This movie’s been out a while now, but I just now got around to seeing it. I don’t know why it took me so long. I think I was concerned my expectations would be too high after seeing so many good reviews. Plus, I was annoyed to read that parts of the movie, which is about the invention of Facebook, were apparently just made up by the filmmakers. Nevertheless, I found the movie completely absorbing. Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, Zombieland) is a Harvard freshman, a computer genius, and an utter misfit. His girlfriend dumps him in the first few minutes of the movie, and in a vengeful, drunken state, he concocts a website that will allow users to rate the attractiveness of the gals at Harvard. It quickly crashes the school’s computer system. Then, it’s on towards the behemoth we now know as Facebook. Zuckerberg got sued over Facebook in two different lawsuits, and much of the story is told through deposition scenes and flashbacks from those scenes. It all works, although Zuckerberg himself–so lacking in warmth and human understanding that he almost seems autistic–remains a mystery to the end. I’d be fascinated to know his side of the story.
Rented this from the ATT on-demand service. I wish I could demand that ATT give me back two hours of my life. I think I was supposed to be horrified about the merger of human and animal DNA in this creepy little film. I was horrified by it when I saw it in The Fly and The Fly II. Adrien Brody (wasn’t he supposed to be a good actor?) and Sarah Polley (ahh, Zombies) head up this film and the science lab. Obviously, their science experiment goes too far (it grows, is smart, has wings, a wicked tail, and wants to reproduce). This movie specializes in the lowest common denominator — what would it be like if a human and animal hybrid had sex with a guy, and then what would it be like if the human and animal hybrid changed sexes and then raped a woman. Wow. What a bad idea. I am sad to do it, but I give it an “F.”
True Lies for the year 2010. Perhaps the praise is too high, but this movie reminds me of True Lies – action packed, some humor, impossible stunts, and an original take on a rehashed story. A group of older spies must come out of retirement to stop the folks that are trying to kill them one by one. Mayhem ensues as the older spies prove they still know a thing or two about a thing or two. I give it a “B.”