Scott’s Film Geek Journal is a daily account of all the films I watched in a given day. No full-length reviews here (unless they’re being linked), these are brief rundowns of my daily viewing habits. Some films I’m seeing for the first time, some I’m seeing for the hundredth. Some days will only have one or two entries, some will have more. But this should give a clearer picture of where I’m at on a daily basis. Hope you enjoy it!
DAY 4: JANUARY 4, 2013
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012) – first viewing – A bi-polar man whose marriage has fallen apart is released from the mental hospital and goes to live with his parents. Although he claims he’s trying to get his life back together, he has mood swings, refuses to take medication and is obsessed with getting back his now absent wife. He meets a young woman who is also psychologically damaged, especially since the death of her husband. He befriends her and eventually makes a deal to help her in a dance competition, in exchange for her communicating with his wife.
This is another great film from David O. Russell (whose name I always feel the urge to apostrophize, sorry David). It’s a funny, sad and memorable story that brought a smile to my face. The script is aces all around, very tight with wonderful characters.
The film is already good. But what elevates this film from good to great are the two lead performances. Bradley Cooper shows us he’s more than just a pretty face. Hopefully, he’ll continue to take interesting parts that show what he can do across a wide array of genres. There’s a big difference between Brad Pitt and Josh Duhamel, and Cooper is on the right track showing he has more in common with the former. Also, this film makes it official: I will see any film that Jennifer Lawrence is in. Between this and THE HUNGER GAMES, she grew as an actress by leaps and bounds in 2012. Impressive considering she was already one of our most interesting rising stars. Now, she’s just one of our most talented young actresses.
Oh yeah, here’s something interesting. Chris Tucker is in this movie. I didn’t know that originally and I had trouble placing him. He wasn’t annoying and was actually quite funny. But that couldn’t be because those are two qualities Tucker hasn’t presented before. Nope, he did and he’s on my cool list finally.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is an amazing heartfelt film that you should run out and see before it disappears. In fact, you should see it instead of our next, critically acclaimed film… ★★★★ (out of ★★★★)
LINCOLN (2012) – first viewing – LINCOLN is a long series of speeches and stories, masquerading as a film about Abraham Lincoln trying to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution – the amendment that abolished slavery. The best things in the film are the sets and the lighting, both of which are quite exquisite. The acting is also mostly top-notch, with a few notable exceptions. It was nice to see Daniel Day-Lewis portray Lincoln with a more accurate representation of his actual voice.
But the despite the loquacious verbosity of the dialogue, the film itself it drier than the food I fed my dog this morning. Tony Kushner’s screenplay plays like a Ken Burns documentary without the narrative thrust. Speilberg seems to be taking a nap somewhere behind the camera. Even John Williams’ score is uncharacteristically awful. It’s a bunch of white politicians talking with other white politicians, without any real sense of the conflict or urgency the film is attempting to convey. And God in heaven, how can you have a film that addresses slavery in every other breath without actually showing slavery?!?
This film is getting lots of acclaim and is sure to win a few Oscars, maybe even some very big ones. But people seem to be enthralled by the amount of pedigree involved and in some of the performances (most notably Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones) and is overlooking how dull and drab this film is. Personally, I don’t care what the zeitgeist says. A well-acted snoozer is still a snoozer. ★½ (out of ★★★★)
RUN LOLA RUN (a.k.a. LOLA RENNT) (1998) – Lola (Franke Potente) gets a frantic call from her criminal boyfriend, informing her that he’s lost 100,000 Deutschmarks of mob money and if he can’t get it back, he’s a dead man in twenty minutes. What follows are three alternate timelines in which Lola races to get the cash and meet up with her boyfriend before it’s too late.
This movie was a big deal during the latter part of the indie boom of the mid-90s. After a couple of decades of having their head up their collective ass with their Hollywood-only attitude, Americans were discovering some of the intriguing voices in independent and foreign films. There were stirrings before of course, always one or two every year, but back then it was happening in a very big way.
Fifteen years later (!), the film plays for me much like it did back then. An enjoyable, visually stimulating film with a fine performance by Potente. But then, this film is basically successful for its eye candy and continuous supply of adrenalin. Not for anything particularly great about the story itself. Interesting that director Tom Tykwer’s later films would for the most part have a slower pace. While RUN LOLA RUN is still a good film, Tykwer’s later films like HEAVEN and the recent CLOUD ATLAS are much better. ★★★ (out of ★★★★)
Total films watched in 2013 so far: 11
My soundtrack for January 4, 2013: “I’m your faithless companion.”