Here are some of the movies we’ve watched lately:
Taking Chance is a true story, taken from the journal of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl. Strobl, played brilliantly by Kevin Bacon, volunteered to accompany PFC Chance Phelps home to his final resting place after the 19-year-old was killed in action in Iraq. As the war in Iraq continues, it is important for stories such as this one to be told. The men and women who are serving our country deserve great respect, and the ones who pay the ultimate price should be given the highest honor. This is a very emotional movie, and yet one that I think everyone should see. 5 out of 5 bags of popcorn.
Gran Torino stars Clint Eastwood as Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, a widower living in his own world of bitterness and shame. He is extremely prejudiced and wants nothing to do with immigrants, until he becomes the hero of his Hmong neighbors, whether he likes it or not. Eastwood directed this heartbreakingly honest film about prejudice and forgiveness and redemption. If only all of us could be so productive at age 79. 5 out of 5 bags of popcorn.
The International is a thriller set in the high stakes world of international banking. Clive Owen is an Interpol agent and Naomi Watts is a New York Assistant DA; they are working together to bring down a bank that funds arms deals and wars in developing countries. This is a realistic thriller – it ends in the way it would in the real world, not necessarily with all of the right people brought to justice. It is well-acted and intricately-plotted, and the shootout scene in the Guggenheim shouldn’t be missed (although it’s not for the squeamish). 4 out of 5 bags of popcorn.
Music Within is the true story of Richard Pimentel, a young man gifted with public speaking who returns from the Vietnam War without his hearing. He finds that many doors are now closed to him as a disabled individual. His work on behalf of the disabled helped bring about the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which gives the disabled legal protection from discrimination. Pimentel is played by Ron Livingston, one of the most underrated actors of my generation, in my opinion. Michael Sheen is also outstanding as Pimentel’s friend with cerebral palsy. 5 out of 5 stars.
I don’t even know what to say about Seven Pounds. I love Will Smith, but he should have passed on this one. His acting, as well as that of Rosario Dawson, is fantastic, but the film is so depressing that it wasn’t worth watching it. Add to that the fact that I saw the “twist” coming about halfway through, and the film just doesn’t work. 1 out of 5 bags of popcorn.