Recommended movies and one to watch

I just have to apologize to Tony Gilroy (the screenwriter of Bourne Ultimatum and director of his new film) and Wes Anderson, Roman Coppolla, and Jason Schwartzman for not doing everything in my power to promote their new movies since their new films Michael Clayton and Darjeerling Limited are great films, so if you’re in the mood to watch a great film this weekend, one of those two should be good choices.

Darjeerling Limited is in its 6th week of release (but only about 3rd week of release for the Washington Metropolitan Area as it’s been playing in a scattering of movie theaters) and Michael Clayton is in its 4th week of release, so this isn’t exactly flashing news, and there are great films to see, not limited to The Bee Movie, American Gangster, and the upcoming Lions for Lambs, but if none of those float your boat, Darjeerling Limited and Michael Clayton are two of the best movies i’ve seen this year (I’d put only 3:10 to Yuma and Sicko in the same class as them) and even though they’re playing in fewer screens and all the buzz about them might have dissipated, I think there’s a lot to like in both of them and they are great cinematic experiences.

Michael Clayton is a great thriller. It moves at a fast pace, it’s got great performances by Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson and it poses some really interesting and relevant questions to our day and age.

Darjeerling Limited is made by one of my favorite directors: Wes Anderson. I love the way Anderson layers his films with texture upon texture of visual material on screen and at the same time his scores are so interesting that it’s just a completely different experience to your senses and the the stories and characters on screen complement that as well with their complexities. I also relate to his characters so well. His protagonists usually struggle with a feeling of being trapped by their relationships and gradually come to appreciate all the people who are part of their lives. The focus is usually on relationships between people, usually the non-romantic kind, and they never feel artificial in any way. This film focuses on three brothers and the ordeals of these three syblings on a trip to India seem far-fetched unless you’ve had a sybling yourself.

This isn’t anything too far away from Wes Anderson’s past work, so if you like him or don’t like him, than I don’t recommend seeing it, but it’s unique compared to his other pictures and it transports us to to a different place: Quite literally, with the film set in India, as well as who he presents us with. Adrien Brody, who’s never been in a Wes Anderson movie, fits right in alongside Jason Schwarzman, Anjelica Huston, and Jason Schwartzman.

As for films I’m looking foward to seeing:
Bee Movie-I’ve heard mixed reviews but I think it seems like an interesting enough story and the hype is overpowering
Lars and the Real Girl-To see what Ryan Gosling is up to, and this story about a guy and a blow-up doll who he pretends is his girlfriend just sounds too good to resist
American Gangster-Director Ridley Scott can be counted on to deliver
Bewoulf-Well, I read the book (or rather the poem), now I gotta go see the movie. One of the interesting marketing strategies: They’re flat-out admitting that they’re tampering with the source material, like it’s news. Have you ever seen a movie that copied the book line-for-line?
There Will be Blood-About a Texan oil family, considered an oscar contender
Charlie Wilson’s War-Mike Nichols previously directed edgy material such as Primary Colors, Birdcage, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff, and Graduate, he’s usually got something interesting to say about his subject which in this case is the Iraq war
Juno-Could be this year’s Little Miss Sunshine
Lions for Lambs-Definitely think this film will be great. Unlike most of America, I don’t think jumping on a couch means translates into bad movie producers. I think whatever Cruise’s acting ability or religious views are, he’s always had great taste in movie projects and is an excellent producer. This film will be really good.

In other news, there’s a film festival in Falls Church’s State Theater on November 13th, which should feature some pretty exciting work.

We also have the Writer’s Strike going on which is a pretty dangerous thing to the state of television at the moment. For one it reveals the sad truth that all the beloved figures that we like to watch on TV late at night, don’t actually make up their jokes or speeches. That actually surprised me in the sense that Jay Leno, for example, is a prolific stand-up comedian: He tours cross-country whenever his show is on hiatus, and he doesn’t bring writers along, so you’d think he could write his own jokes. But again, this affects everyone: The Daily Show, Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Leno, Letterman, Spike Firestein, Furgeson, unfortunately.

The main discomfort I’m having with this, is that the usual place to go to for topical spins on current events are these late night talk shows, so i can’t really get any humorous commentary on the writer’s strike, at the moment.


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