It’s not often that one comes across something like A Very Murray Christmas. It’s not terrible, it’s not great – it’s a disappointment, but I’m not sorry I watched it… I wouldn’t even call it an oddity of mediocrity, because it’s not necessarily mediocre. It just kind of… is. Read the rest of this entry
If ever there was a movie that lived and died by its cast, St. Vincent is that movie. (And this movie lives.)
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How could a movie about a compelling subject with this cast have so little teeth? Monuments Men just doesn’t have any bite – the flick can’t hold an audience.
OK, I’m done with the weird mouth metaphors. Read the rest of this entry
As Wes Anderson films are a comedy genre unto themselves, they can really only be compared to each other. As unfair as that may be, it’s apparent that The Grand Budapest Hotel , while an entertaining film, falls short of expectations. Read the rest of this entry
I wouldn’t call Hyde Park on Hudson a riveting film, but it’s certainly watchable. It’s full of lots of fun and interesting performances, particularly from its leads: Bill Murray (as President Franklin Roosevelt), Laura Linney (FDR’s cousin, Daisy), Olivia Colman (as Queen Elizabeth – Movies and shows featuring Olivia Colman just keeps popping up, don’t they?) and Samuel West (King George VI).
Hyde Park on Hudson is really just a short snip of people’s lives. It gives us a chance to see a side of FDR that is not well known, but I think The King’s Speech covered all we’ll ever need on King George VI. I suppose the movie is about Daisy, but frankly (if you’ll pardon the FDR-ish pun), Daisy just isn’t that interesting and their story arc together isn’t especially compelling – this goes with for the ark between FDR and the royals, too as we know the hist and the movie doesn’t do much to heighten the tension. In fact, the movie’s settings and manner sorta downplay the lead up to the second World War, which seems impossible, but people fretting over eating hot dogs at picnics will do that to a picture.
Definitely check out Hyde Park on Hudson for the performances, but don’t expect a great film. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
If you’ve seen one Wes Anderson movie, you’ve seen ’em all… but that doesn’t mean they’re not all awesome. Life Aquatic is a bit outside the usual WA box and The Royal Tenanbaums is a bit darker than most of the other movies, but essentially, they all have similar themes, visual elements and at times, even story points, like writing plays, suicide, the slightly-exotic-unobtainable-girl, or running away. Rushmore might be typical Wes Anderson fodder… but it’s damn good fodder. If you want the cliff notes version of WA movies without anything too heavy happening, than Rushmore is the WA flick for you.
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Before I get into this, I just want to make it clear to you that Groundhog Day is one of my favorite comedies of all time and Bill Murray is a great hero of mine, so you’ll get little objectivity from me.
Groundhog Day is the 1993 classic comedy about a weather man stuck on the titular day of the same year, doomed to repeat it over and over again for no reason and with no hope of escape.
You can’t help but laugh at this trailer – on the one hand, there’s some funny stuff there. On the other hand, it’s got that really silly trailer voice over style and script that makes you cringe: lines like, “But he’s about to find out…” and “But now, he’s discovering…” Also, the shot with Phil punching Ned in the face is not the take that appears in the movie, but whatever. The character actors are great, Bill Murray and Chris Elliot are hilarious, and Andie MacDowell is at her most tolerable. Harold Ramis directs, and does a damn fine job, too – I love his visual style and timing.
The most interesting thing you can say about Groundhog day is that the original screenplay contained elements that would have ruined the film, and making the movie ruined Harold Ramis and Bill Murray’s friendship for over a decade. Apparently, the screenplay opened in the middle of the narrative, Rita and Phil were both going through the loop together, an ex-girlfriend at channel six put a voodoo curse on Phil which initiates the time loop… Those were bad ideas.
All that aside, it’s fair to say that the movie raises questions that it doesn’t even attempt to answer, such as, “Why is Phil repeating the same day over and over?” or “What will it take to get the loop to end?” or “How long is Phil stuck in the loop?” or “What is causing the loop in the first place?” Answering any of these questions would have probably turned the movie into an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the thing that makes Groundhog day such a great movie is that you never wonder about any of these questions for a second while you’re watching the movie because it’s done so well. The movie is a character piece, about how and why Phil changes and deals with situations as he grows into a better, more mature person. Groundhog day isn’t just one of the great offbeat comedies of the nineties, it’s one of the best films of all time. I have seen this movie an uncounted number of times – it never gets old, and I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it. Long live Groundhog day!
My Rating: 5 out of 5
I can’t stop there… here are a few of my favorite bits from Groundhog Day, completely out of context:
- PHIL: Be the hat!
- The scene where Phil tells Rita everything about everybody in the diner.
- PHIL: Well, my father was a piano mover, so…
- The suicide montage. What other movie has a suicide montage?
- PHIL: Rita! || NANCY: Nancy. || PHIL: Whatever.
- PHIL: Don’t play with me, pork chop! What day is this?
- PHIL: Don’t drive angry!
- PHIL: Intelligent, supportive, funny… Me, me, me… || RITA: He’s romantic and courageous. || PHIL: Me also.
- PHIL: I don’t know where you’re headed, but can you call in sick?
- The Jeopardy! scene.
- PHIL: Morons, your bus is leaving.
- Breaking the alarm clock montage.
- PHIL: Too early for flapjacks?
- When people dance to the first two songs at the party. What the hell are they doing?
- LARRY: He might be OK… [truck explodes] Well no, probably not now.
- All of the Ned scenes. PHIL: So, did you turn pro with that whole belly button thing, or…?
- PHIL: He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.
- And this. Just watch this.