Monday, November 06, 2006

Movies: October 30 - November 5

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005): This first full length feature Wallace and Gromit film was very well received by critics and it was long awaited by fans of the Wallace and Gromit animated shorts. This is claymation at its finest and tells the story of Wallace (human) and Gromit (dog who is smarter than most humans) as they try to stop rabbits eating up the gardens of their neighbors before the giant vegetable competition. There is quite a bit of humor and while the humor does not feel quite so overwhelmingly British as the shorts do, the jokes did not connect quite so well with me. Wallace and Gromit is an impressive piece of movie making, but it was an overall unsatisfying experience. Others, I am sure, will love it.

A Prairie Home Companion (2006): Welcome to Minnesota. This movie takes a behind the scenes look at Garrison Keillor's radio show of the same name on the fictional last night of its broadcast when their radio station has been bought out by a group in Texas (not that some other network wouldn't pick up the show, being a nationally syndicated program, but that's a different point). The movie is a combination of behind the scenes reminiscing and wackiness as well as the on stage production of the show. The cast features Keillor and some of the real life cast of the show along with Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, John C Reilly, Tommy Lee Jones, Lindsay Lohan, Woody Harrelson, Maya Rudolph, and Virginia Madsen. Folks, that cast is reason enough to watch the movie. I've heard a handful of episodes of Keillor's show and I suspect long time listeners will get more from the movie, but this cast directed by Robert Altman in what is likely one of his last movies (Paul Thomas Anderson was on set as a back up director in case Altman was unable to finish), it's a decently entertaining movie and worth the 100 or so minutes of your time. It won't make you say "woo", but I enjoyed it.

The French Connection (1971): I think the car chase where Gene Hackman is trying to keep pace with an overhead train in the middle of the city is somewhat overrated. It was exciting and impressive and well shot, but at the same time it was a let down because, well, it is a car chasing a train. The train does not dodge. Hackman weaves in and out of traffic, but the chases in Ronin or the Bourne movies were more exciting. Otherwise, a good movie, Best Picture and all that, well done and Hackman is a great actor. It did not move me.

I decided to delete my recording of Unleashed (2005) after watching the first 25 minutes. Decent fight sequences, but I could not muster up enough effort to care for the characters or the movie and Morgan Freeman had not even appeared yet.

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