Monday Movie List ~ Films I’ve Seen in 2010, Part Two
Reds — March 1, 2010 / Turner Classic Movies
Warren Beatty was never an actor who interested me, so, other than Bonnie and Clyde, I’ve never made an effort to watch his films. However, last year I saw a documentary about filmmakers of the seventies and it was so favorable toward Beatty in his early years that I became very interested to explore his career. I knew that Reds was his pet project and I knew that he made the movie with lover Diane Keaton, so that seemed a great place to start. On the one hand it’s truly a great film with exquisite cinematography and an engaging story. On the other hand, it has a running time of more than 3 hours. And honestly, it’s not that engaging. After the first two hours the film really became dense and less interesting to the point where I just really wanted the story to conclude already. I helped it along a little to reach the end, and I’m sure that’s the only time I’ll watch it. The visuals were beautiful, Beatty and Keaton were superb, but I just got tired of the story before it wrapped up.
Splendor in the Grass — March 1, 2010 / Turner Classic Movies
Since the Turner Classic night was a focus on Warren Beatty, I continued with the next offering. And Splendor was a perfect palette cleanser. Beatty’s feature film debut set him up as a classic American collegiate, and seeing him in this role finally helped me understand his enormous appeal through the 60s and 70s. He was truly mesmerizing and so attractive in his very young days, which reminded me how attractive a man he really is. It’s funny how that happens after only being familiar with an actor in his later years. But despite the magnetism of Beatty, this film is really about Natalie Wood and her character of Deanie. She’s fairly astonishing at times as she portrays a young woman in love with Beatty but unable to be with him. It leads her to a mental breakdown, and her life changes forever. Her performance is the heart of the film, and though it’s a tragic story, it’s quite enjoyable from beginning to end.
Dreamgirls — March 13, 2010 / TV broadcast
I saw Dreamgirls when it was released to cinemas and absolutely loved it, but I hadn’t watched it again since that one day. I appreciated that it didn’t lose its lustre on the small screen and that the music is still as powerful as it was the first time. Jennifer Hudson, again, is mesmerizing. I always love when a film holds up on multiple viewings.
The Time Traveler’s Wife — March 13, 2010 / Pay-Per-View
I always intended to read the book upon which this movie was based but never quite got around to it. When Eric Bana was cast as the male lead, I was thrilled and looked forward to the movie’s release. And then I didn’t make time to see it even then. Thankfully, there was a free PPV movie and nothing else to watch. I enjoyed it, too. But it’s not all it could’ve been.
August Rush — March 13, 2010 / Starz
This film, however, was more than I ever imagined it could be. From the charming performances of Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers to the tremendous heart of the story itself. Everything about the film and the musical moments is nothing short of enchanting.
No Reservations — March 14, 2010 / Starz
I’m not a fan of so-called chick flicks, and this movie had that tag written all over it. But I do appreciate Aaron Eckhart and generally enjoy Catherine Zeta-Jones, so I knew I’d make time for the film eventually. And as it turned out, it was better than I imagined. Kind of sweet, actually. Eckhart is its heart and its beauty, but in the end it’s also a nice little film all around.
Lying to Be Perfect — March 14, 2010 / Lifetime
After No Reservations it seemed appropriate to watch this Lifetime original movie. I don’t watch Lifetime movies. Ever. But this particular film starred Poppy Montgomery and her real-life partner Adam Kaufman, and she played an overweight woman struggling to find discipline in her life even as she discovered a man who had no concerns over her appearance. There’s a smaller story in the midst of it, as well, but the bulk of it boils down to the romance between the two. And while it’s a simple film, the two actors were incredibly endearing as an onscreen couple. It was also refreshing to see that Montgomery was carrying her post-pregnancy weight at the beginning of the film, making her character all the more relatable and her story all the more believable. I actually found the movie enjoyable and not quite as saccharine as most Lifetime movies.
Layer Cake — March 14, 2010 / Starz
Daniel Craig starred in this film from a few years ago, and since I came love him as the most recent James Bond, I thought it necessary to see one of his earlier acclaimed performances. Unfortunately, I didn’t last longer than 30 minutes before I became completely bored. I “watched” much of this film in fast-forward mode and really didn’t care at all.
American Psycho — March 14, 2010 / Starz
Much like with Craig, I was interested in seeing Christian Bale in this critically acclaimed film with a cult following. I knew he played a serial killer, and I knew it would be gruesome, but I was not the least bit prepared for its depravity. Even with the bits of humor mixed in and the sudden shock of an ending, it was just too much for me to look past. And so again, I skipped through much of the film and just listened to enough dialogue to keep up with the story. Sometimes what is proclaimed great is really just in the eye of the beholder.