Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At the Movies

Holidays & traveling slowed down my movie-going from mid-December through early January, but I'm starting to catch up. And since there are so many interesting and or fascinating movies now coming into the theatres, I figured this week would be a good time to post about some of the flics I saw in the past few months that stood out for me. And I'm wondering what your opinions are? I'll limit it to three.

First---the new Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. playing Holmes as no one has ever played him and partnered by Jude Law's marvelous new look as Dr. Watson. Personally, I loved the new take on Holmes & Watson, and I hope there's a sequel. Downey captured Holmes brilliance, his flair for the dramatic---taken to new heights in this version---and even shows a vulnerability, especially in those scenes with the alluring Irene Adler, who's bested Holmes twice in the past. Downey is an excellent actor as he's shown many times in the past, and he conveys Holmes' fascination, sexual attraction, and reticence all at once whenever he's around Irene.

I also loved the iconoclastic bare-chested & bare-knuckled boxing scenes, which showed a physical side to Holmes never ever imagined, combined with a scientific knowledge of a human body's weak points made for a truly innovative scene. Of course, as I've mentioned here many times, I'm not a hide-bound traditionalist who hates to see any changes to old favorites. I'm not opposed to change, but I am very, very picky. Not all changes to traditional stories come off well.

Second---The Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen all year. I love Sandra Bullock's work and thought she did a marvelous job in The Proposal, playing an unlovable character. But, Bullock outdid herself in The Blind Side. This movie is based on a real story about a family rescuing an African-American teenage boy who had fallen through the cracks and was completely abandoned by "the system." He turned out to be a fantastic athlete. This story could have been played for pathos and melodrama, violins rising in the distance, but it wasn't. It is a rollicking comedy with funny and witty family scenes, which also tug at the heart. Bullock is hilarious as the take-charge mom.

Third---is Avatar. If you haven't seen it yet---run, don't walk to the theatre and see it as soon as you can. It is fantastic. I know that word is overused, but this movie deserves the adjective. The storyline is a good solid action-adventure with environmental and spiritual themes woven in, all played out in this lush, tropical futuristic world with a sympathetic hero (Sam Worthington) who infiltrates the natives' tribal world and gets transformed by the experience. Supporting actors are excellent, and James Cameron of Titantic & Terminator fame really knows how to create a moving action flic. But the sheer seductive beauty of this world he's created is incredible. You have to see it to believe it. And I didn't see it in 3D. I saw it in regular 2D, and it still grabs you.

How about you? Did you see any of these? Loved them, hated them, indifferent? Share your thoughts with us.