Posted by: David Stewart | April 4, 2009

Movie Quick Takes

Some airline movies I saw on my recent overseas trip:

  • Doubt Meryl Streep serves up pure moral confusion soup as the draconian Sister who runs a Catholic school with an iron ruler. Besides the rambunctious boys at her middle school, she suspects the parish priest of molesting a student. Ah, but is the priest guilty? And how low must the sister stoop to get her man?

    Post modern drama needs to have characters with moral ambiguity, and this one has it in spades. There are no white hats, no good guys, except perhaps for the angelic Sister James, played by Amy Adams, who I saw last in Enchanted. Streep gives her hard nun a human streak though, which peeks out periodically.

  • Madagascar 2  Escapees from New York’s Central Park Zoo board a flight with a burning engine and a crew of demented penguins to return home. But they crash instead in an African game reserve, which ultimately causes them to renew their family ties with their respective species and connect with what they truly want in life.

    On a tiny airline video screen, it was hard to detect the refinements in computer animation, but there were some terrific characters, like a granny from New York who can kick a lion’s tail or whip up other humans in deft Lord of the Flies style.

    A good part of the plot seemed like a ripoff of The Lion King. It seemed like the filemakers couldn’t decide on a single plot line, so it seems like like the infinite herd of chimps engaged in airplane repair, were also on board as scriptwriters.

  • Seven Pounds Will Smith, normally our light-hearted leading man takes a grim turn as IRS agent Ben. A tortured soul, Ben obviously has some baggage he is trying to deal with, so he searches out lives that he can "significantly impact for the better."

    To explain more will only give away the whole plot and ruin the movie. As it is, the scenes and dialog are very confusing and seem out of any logical sequence. I’ll tell you now that I had the key plot secret figured out about half-way through the film, but it did not diminish this wonderful puzzle-box of a movie. I highly recommend it when it comes out on DVD.

  • Frost / Nixon Amazing and engaging slice of history that I lived through. David Frost is the lightweight entertainment reporter going up against the recently disgraced, but still defient Richard Nixon. I still remember where I was the night Nixon resigned (I was 14 years old) but it is accessable for anyone who is too young to remember all of this wretched mess.

    A fantastic movie with terrific performances. I’m surprised it didn’t do better at the Oscars.

  • Flash of Genius The inventor of the intermittent wiper, played by Greg Kineer, tries to take his creation and ride it to the big time. But this university professor of electrical engineering is hosed by none other than the Ford Motor Company, who steals the idea and leaves the prof in the dust.

    I honestly couldn’t bare to watch the whole movie. Some films are a little too accurate in portraying the gene of self-destruction that is often linked to the Y chromosome. Anyone who remembers the little movie Tin Cup with Kevin Costner can see this played out in a gentle and funny movie. This one seemed like the poor geek going down and I couldn’t take it.

  • Transporter 3 Explosions, car chases and Jason Stratham’s pectorals and abs. Movie called on account of landing and good taste violations.

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