Saturday, May 05, 2012

Seen in April

Javier Bardem in "Biutiful", image via The Hollywood Reporter

Another poor month for movies. I blame hockey, napping and the rest of my life. Two of these movies were seen on planes and the third, Biutiful was so difficult to watch I took two nights to view it. In general, I continued to watch TV shows like Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Life on Mars and Futurama, just not a lot of movies. Here's what I did see.

The Descendants
George Clooney plays Matt King whose wife is laying in a coma after a boat racing accident. The same day he's told by doctors that his wife won't regain consciousness and will die, his daughter tells him that his wife was having an affair. Matt King is also the trustee of an entitled Hawaiian family that owns a large portion of land that they wish to sell but which islanders wish to remain undeveloped. Matt King's wife was a daddy's girl who was reckless, a little self-centered, a little vain and adulterous but Matt King's Father thinks he was to blame for the accident. Matt King's life has become very complicated and George Clooney portrays his doubt, anger, resentment, and isolation very well. Perhaps you don't care for George Clooney. I cannot help you there but this is a thoughtful film that faces its own conundrums head on.

My Week With Marilyn
Colin Clark is a dogsbody on a 1950s film directed by Sir Laurence Olivier and featuring Marilyn Monroe. As Colin says "[Olivier] is a great actor who wants to be a movie star and [Monroe] is a movie star who wants to be a great actor." As Marilyn's entourage encircles her and her husband Arthur Miller deserts her so he can return to New York to work she seeks comfort in Colin's adoring gaze. This is his story of his brush with the great beauty of that era and how friends and admirers were more in love with the image and idea of Marilyn than the person. She was loved and desired by so many but never found love — or so I imagine that's how the elevator pitch went. Despite the film's failings, you really do forget that Michelle Williams is playing Monroe or that she ever appeared on a dopey teen soap opera.

Mad Men Season 5
Oh Don, your insecurity is ruining your life and everybody else's. I forgot Don Draper was such a buzz kill. As Draper's stiff collar rubs up against the coming massive changes in American life and pop culture, one wonders where the man who wooed us went?

This is the saddest film I've seen in a long time. How can a film called "Biutiful" be a sadder film than one called Melancholia? There is and this is it. The last act is almost grueling. Javier Bardeem, is of course, incredible. The film is beautiful, and a heartbreaking, thought provoking portrayal of family, love and loyalty in a modern broken place like Barcelona.

Louie, Season 2
I fear that I am finding the work of great comedians more insightful than therapy, religion, or books. Louis CK is one such comedian. He is the man who can crack the lid off of your deepest, scariest thoughts by cracking wise. I realize Louis CK isn't for everyone, but my gain is everyone else's loss. Note to self: pick up a copy of his live NYC show.

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