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December 13, 2009

Recent Movies

Bulk update:


Jean and I watched the streaming version of Good Night, and Good Luck, which tells Edward R. Murrow's story of confrontation with Senator Joseph McCarthy in a rather compact narrative. It was good, and David Strathairn was great as Murrow.

Jean and I have sporadically followed the career of Jim Jarmusch over the years. It seems that after his initial spurt of creativity, he had trouble settling on a reliable voice for his stories. Night on Earth was somewhat pretentious and uneven, for instance. Save me from Roberto Benigni being boisterously Italian! So it was with mixed feelings that we queued Limits of Control, his current movie. Well, it was once again a bit of a pretentious muddle.

I offered two 'explanations' for this movie to Jean, neither of which jibe with his public statements regarding the movie, which involve a lot of name-dropping of European directors and citations of early surreal detective noir from the continent. No, my two explanations, either of which satisfy me better are:

  1. He had recently read a collection of Jerry Cornelius stories, which were about intrigue and far-flung locations, and always featured bizarre characters with obscure motives.
  2. Jarmusch had recently acquired a desire to visit Spain, and conceived of this movie as a low-effort knock-off that would allow him to write off the trip on his taxes.

There you go. Not very respectful, sorry. I still encourage everyone to watch Stranger Than Paradise and Down By Law (which also features Roberto Benigni being RB).

On my own, I've gone to a few movies in various genres. I recently saw 2012 to fulfill my "go-boom" quota for the month. Then I decided that a stop-motion animated feature written and directed by Wes Anderson based on a Raould Dahl story sounded just weird enough, and attended The Fantastic Mr. Fox (which was actually pretty fun).

Finally, this weekend I went to see The Princess and the Frog, which was a very nice return to the classic forms of hand-animation for Disney. The music was pretty good too. They grabbed me right in the beginning with Dr. John setting the scene with New Orleans spirit! It almost felt like that singular elation that I had in the opening moments of The Little Mermaid!

It looks like Randy Newman (You've Got a Friend in Me) is the standard go-to guy at Disney now. He's very different from Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, but still very good, and appropriate to the optimistic tone of Disney animated features.

Posted by dpwakefield at December 13, 2009 09:21 PM


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