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I watch movies. On DVD, at the theater, via cable TV. Sometimes I want people to know what I think about the movies I watch, regardless of whether or not they care. I promise I will make my reviews short, but I won't be ashamed to throw around cliches like "beautiful cinematography" and "post-modern irony," so be warned.

Monday, March 27, 2006 :::

Match Point

Why I saw it: I like Woody Allen movies. Even the ones most people hate.

What I think about it: I guess I don't get it. Didn't Woody Allen make this exact same movie 15 years ago and title it Crimes and Misdemeanors? The plotting is almost identical, the thematic content is a carbon copy, and the emotional payoff, although admittedly intriguing and profound, is exactly the same. I guess it's more fun to watch it being played out by hot young actors instead of wrinkly old Martin Landau and Angelica Houston, but still, how can someone tell the exact same story twice and still get kudos for it? Are the similarities between the two not as astounding as I think?

Also, Match Point doesn't benefit from the dual storyline that Crimes and Misdemeanors employs, which means the entire hour-and-a-half-long movie is devoted to telling the exact same story that Crimes and Misdemeanors was able to tell in half the time. Therefore, the first hour of this movie is plodding and almost excruciatingly slow. Although I appreciate the strong character development that this extra time affords, I think it was twice as long as it needed to be.

I also have problems with Scarlett Johansson. I want to like her so badly because she does have a really strong presence on screen and because I absolutely love the first movie I ever saw her in: Ghost World. But I have to start admitting that maybe she isn't the best actress in the world. Maybe she has more X Factor than actual talent. Or maybe it's just because the last movie I saw her in was The Island and it totally blew. It'd be hard for ANYONE involved with that movie to regain my respect. But she's definitely the weakest link in Match Point.

Oh well, it was well made and most people probably haven't seen Crimes and Misdemeanors anyway.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 12:29 AM :: #


Why I saw it: Because it was all Oscar nominated and stuff.

What I think about it: Sometimes an amazing performance can really pull the wool over your eyes; it can be so mesmerizing that you become totally blind to everything else in the movie, including derivative plot devices, poor scripting, mediocre direction, lack of emotional depth, and forced character arches. This is that type of movie. It's in good company, because there are many other highly regarded movies out there that barely stay afloat based on one buzzworthy performance. Charlize Theron in Monster comes to mind. Hillary Swank in Boys Don't Cry is another. Add Felicity Huffman in Transamerica to that list, because her performance is so astounding and so effective, that an otherwise boring and self-indulgent movie becomes almost palatable. The plot has something to do with a pre-op transgender man needing to confront the son he didn't know he had in order to be approved for his sex change operation. The setup is contrived, and the eventual cross-country road trip movie that emerges isn't much better, but Felicity does an amazing job bringing the Bree Osbourne character to life in a realistic and surprisingly understated performance. It was a gamble in many different ways to play this role, and she does a commendable job. It's just too bad the rest of the movie isn't capable of the same quality.

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 12:16 AM :: #


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