Oh my gosh, I just watched this yesterday. In fact, I came on to post about it.
Everything you said, man. Really well presented with no agenda. I plan to watch it again ASAP.
Alan M. said:
Last night I watched Restrepo, a National Geographic documentary that follows an army platoon on a year's deployment in Afghanistan. It really is excellently done; it's very basic, just footage of the guys doing their job over the course of the year, with occasional talking-head interviews after the fact — no forced narrative or drama, no background music to create a mood, no narrator or sense of the filmmakers at all. And without an agenda behind it, you really just come to respect and connect with these guys; their moments of frustration and anxiety and sorrow, and their all-too-rare moments of joy.
Despite it being nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar, I don't know that I would call it "best", but it is definitely really good.
For Valentine's Day, I saw Top Hat, the fourth of the 10 films Ginger Rogers made with Fred Astaire. (The American Film Institute theater is doing a retrospective of Ginger Rogers' career, in honor of the 100th anniversary of her birth. Here's a nice overview of her filmography, from the Washington Post: "Ginger Rogers at 100: Even With Astaire, Always Taking the Lead")
Our hero, Fred, who has come to London at the behest of producer Edward Everett Horton to perform in one of his shows. Fred, whose happy feet just can't stop dancin', annoys Ginger, who is in the lavish hotel suite below Horton's. She complains to the management, and Fred and Ginger met, and he is immediately smitten (but then, who wouldn't be?) She's a model for an Italian coutourier, who pays her expenses and dresses her in his best creations just to create a buzz for his wares.
Through a series of situation comedy contrivances, Ginger comes to believe that Fred is producer Horton, the husband of old friend Helen Broderick Ginger takes offense that a married man would be hitting on her, and, as this misunderstanding travels from London to an insanely post resort in Italy, hilarity ensues. Plus eye-popping dance numbers. This movie includes "Dancing Cheek to Cheek" and, of course, "Top Hat," and others, and it's fun to see them in their entirety and see them in the context of the story. And to see the dashing Fred Astaire and elegant Ginger Rogers dazzle with moves that seem weightless.
It's kind of funny, too, to see Fred Astaire as a leading man because he's not the most handsome guy around; in top hat and white tie and tails, he looks like a giant human grasshopper. But he has boatloads of impish charm. And Ginger Rogers? Oooh, wow! Pretty, stylish, possessed of whip-smart comic timing -- and those clothes!
Seeing this film on the big screen, I could understand, in a way I never really did before, how movies take you away to another world. You see this right from the opening scene, at a stuffy men's club in London, where nearly everybody there is wearing white tie and tails, and the few who aren't are dressed down -- in tuxedos. And it was a totally different world here, full of glamour and opulence and elegance and wealth. This was a blast!
I saw Takers on Sunday night. Decent bank robbery movie but with the number of characters in it, it lacked any sort of character depth or development. Still an entertaining movie.
Monday I saw The Other Guys. This was kind of long or at least felt like it. Still a pretty funny movie and parody of cop movies.
I finally saw the Scott Pilgrim movie and I thought it was good, not great. I did think they did an admirable job of cramming over 1000 pages of comics into about a 2 hour movie.
This weekend I saw Get Low. It's a film starring Robert Duval and Bill Murray about an old hermit who wants to have a funeral while he's still alive. It was a interesting film. Great performances. Very entertaining.
For lack of anything else to watch I watched Superman/Shazam:The Return of Black Adam on instant watch on Netflix. This was actually 4 short animated films featuring DC characters. The first was the Superman/Shazam story and it was pretty good, mostly an extended fight scene. Next was the Spectre. Not familiar with him but an interesting story. Then it was Green Arrow. This was pretty good, but it may have been because GA is on of my favorites. Last was Jonah Hex, which was good and dark. I think if the live action movie followed this story line it would have been received better. This set is worth seeing if you're a DC fan. I haven't see all the DC animated movies, the ones I have seen have been hit or miss. This was a hit for me.
I was in the mood to see X2:X-men United again, since it's my favorite of the series. So I plugged it in last night. It's still pretty good.
I think I've left off reporting some of the films I've seen recently. A month back I saw the new Mechanic. I liked it a lot. Also saw Despiciple Me, I didn't like this one as much. I laughed a few times but I don't think it was for me.