Quickie Reviews

So, my DVD kick continues. This is what I’ve been renting lately:

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Quick Stats: Directed and produced by Ridley Scott. Music by Hans Zimmer. Won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, and Brad Pitt (in his first major Hollywood role).

Plot: Two best friends take a break from their unfulfilling lives for a two-day vacation. One unexpected and tragic incident at a roadside bar changes their plans and the women become fugitives.

Verdict: This is one of my mom’s favorite movies, and now that I’ve finally seen this 90’s classic, I can see why! This movie was really, really good. The acting is very solid, especially the performances of the two lovely leads. The writing was fresh and real, which is saying something considering it’s been nearly a decade since the movie’s release. Thelma & Louise is a well-done action movie with a movie. It’s about self-discovery and empowerment, but it’s unpretentious about it. After I watched the movie, I researched it (movie nerd, I know) and I found out that it was actually pretty controversial at the time. I guess since I grew up in a post-Thelma & Louise world I didn’t realize that, but the movie was a big deal. It even made the cover of Time magazine- you can read the article here. So overall, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a very worthy rental.

Once (2007)

Quick Stats: Independent Spirit Award winner for best foreign picture. Academy Award winner for Best Original Song. All songs were composed and performed by the two leads.

Starring: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová.

Plot: In Dublin, two struggling musicians meet and spend a week writing and playing music together.

Verdict: This movie is perfect for a rainy day. It’s so sweet and intimate, you fall in love with the leads immediately. The music is absolute wonderful- the song “Falling Slowly”, which won the Oscar, is enough reason to watch this movie. The movie is also real and relatable- the two leads were first-time actors and some of the dialogue was improvised. Once may not be as polished as some Hollywood productions, but it’s homeyness sets it apart.

Iron Man (2008)

Quick Stats: Based on the Marvel Comics character. Directed by Jon Favreau.

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges.

Plot: An origin story focusing on Tony Stark, the playboy CEO of Stark Industries, a weapons company, turned Iron Man superhero.

Verdict: I should say first that I’m a very casual comic book fan, and I prefer Marvel over DC. I definitely didn’t know who Iron Man was until this movie came out, and I didn’t get around to watching until a few weeks ago. And no, I haven’t watched the sequel yet. The original though is a blockbuster that works. I think what sets it apart is the performances- RDJ, Paltrow, Howard, and Bridges do what award-winning actors do best: act. But is it the best superhero movie ever? I don’t know, but I think Peter Parker may be more my type.

Bright Star (2009)

Starring: Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish.

Plot: A biopic focusing on the famed poet John Keats and in particular his romance with his muse, Fanny Brawn, in early 19th century England.

Verdict: This was a really beautiful movie starring two beautiful people. I’ll admit at times Bright Star can be a bit slow, but the ending is very emotional and totally worth the steady build-up. If you enjoy movies or books like Pride & Prejudice, then Bright Star is a must-see. Oh, with Ben Whishaw playing Keats… well, let’s just say the English language has never been sexier.

Julie & Julia (2009)

Quick Stats: Nominated for Academy Award for Best Leading Actress. First major motion picture based on a blog (yay!).

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci.

Plot: This movie tells two contrasting story lines. Julie (Adams), almost thirty and unsatisfied with her career, begins a blog chronicling her experience cooking through Julia Child’s epic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her journey is contrasted with Child (Streep) beginning her legendary culinary career.

Verdict: This was a really pleasant movie. It may not be ground-breaking in terms of the writing or direction, but it’s delightful to watch. (Although you should probably eat beforehand- all that French food can make you quite hungry!) Tucci gave a very warm performance, but Streep was absolutely remarkable.As much as I love Sandra, I think Streep was robbed of her third Oscar! The bottom line though is if you think you would enjoy this movie, you probably will!

So what do you think? Have you seen any of these movies? Any new recommendations?

~ Sarah