The Departed

How many celebrities can you imagine involved in a single movie?  Try the cast of “The Departed“.  Directed by Martin Scorsese.  Main roles played by Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, and more.  Even one of the co-producers was Brad Pitt himself. There was practically no way to spoil this film.  So, no wonder it won 4 oscars plus a whole bunch of other awards and nominations.

Did I like this film?  Yes.  It was very good.  I liked the story and the way it was told.  I liked acting a lot.  Leonardo did especially well.  And Baldwin.  And Nicholson of course.  And the other ones too.

But.  Something is missing in this film. I can’t put my finger on it though.  I’d rate this film as a solid 8.5, or maybe even 9 out of 10.  But, it was so very close to 10, to a perfect movie, but it’s not.  If you have any idea of what is missing, please share in the comments.  I’d really like to know.  Because the rest of it is so good…

A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men” is the film that I’ve seen many times, but never blogged about it. Therefor I could never remembered what it was about and had to refresh my memory with yet another watching.

Directed by: Rob Reiner
Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollak, James Marshall, J.T. Walsh, Christopher Guest, J.A. Preston, Matt Craven, Wolfgang Bodison, Xander Berkeley, John M. Jackson, Noah Wyle
IMDB raintg: 7.5
My rating: 7.0 *******

This is one of those predictable Hollywood movies that nicely mixes together law and courtroom them with military and adds a personal drama. The film would have been lost on the shelves of history if it wasn’t for the exceptional cast.

Almost every face in the film is familiar. Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollak, J.T.Walsh, Noah Wyle… the list goes on. Even Cuba Goodings Jr. appears in a short cameo. These are the people who delivered excellent performance and not only saved the film but made it very capturing. Yes, even Tom Cruise was good. And you don’t here me saying this that often.

The Pledge

Olga and I watched “The Pledge” on DVD. The cover got all my attention with names like Jack Nicholson, Benicio Del Toro, and Mickey Rourke all over it. I immidiately wanted to watch it.

When the film started I had a strong feeling of deja vu. I knew every scene, but I never could say what will happen next or what else is there in the movie. It’s deep into the second half of it when I realized that I’ve seen it. It is one of my favourites from the passive memory flicks. No matter what IMDB says about this film – it is a very strong drama. I also very much enjoy how symbolical the whole film is. Every frame can be watched separately, kind of like a photograph, and each frame will have a story just within it. Great work there!

Basically, Nicholson plays the main role in the movie and he has most of the screen time. He is excellent as usual, although his make-up is kind of original. He looks very casual. Kind of like everyone else. There is no focus on him what-so-ever. Actually, sometimes in the beginning of the movie it is even difficult to say if it is him or not. As story unfolds, it is, of course, impossible to make a mistake.

Another great acting part was done by Del Toro. His part is kind of short, but it looks very realistic and, well… dramatic.

The film is a little long and slow paced at 123 minutes (just over 2 hours), but if you enjoy compressed and defragmented camera work and composition – that’s you film. Overall, I would rate as a strong 8 out of 10. It does lean towards the 9 a lot.

Something’s Gotta Give

I ‘ve just watched “Something’s Gotta Give” in the movies. Was it good? I can not say that. Was it bad? Well, not entirely. There were some really good moments, but overall it lacked a lot. There was no point in the movie at all. And it was going in such waves that you could actually stop it anywhere after the first 30 minutes without loosing anything. With the same success you could chop of the real ending and put it anywhere in the movie after the same first 30 minutes and it would look natural. Yuck!

There was some great acting done to save the film. If I would to break 4 pounds that I paid for the ticket, I would give all 4 just to actors. 2 pounds would go Jack Nicholson, 1 pound to Amanda Peet, and 1 pound to Frances McDormand. Both Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves were terrible. Keanu was an emotionless brick wall as always. Diane was simply horrible. Especially her crying after breaking up. Production was also below average. There were virtually no scenery in the movie. It seemed like all the actors are straight in front of the camera and that nothing else exists. There were so many opportunities though – the house on the sea beach, Hawaii, hospitals. None of it is important to the filmmaker. Not even for 3 seconds. But all that crap that goes on for two hours without going anywhere is. That’s sad. There is a very strong feeling that there is a woman in charge behind all these. And in fact it is so – Nancy Meyers (writer of the screenplay for “What Women Want“). She is both the director and the writer of the screenplay for this movie. I don’t think that I will see any more of her movies anytime soon. In fact, I’ll try to avoid them as much as possible.

After I’ve almost finished this post, I thought that I am getting too negative about the movie. So I went around and tried to find opinions of some other people. Just to compare, you know. And what was my surprise when I came across the revision by Alex Exler, who wrote almost exactly what I did, but in Russian, longer, and better. If you can read Russian, read his revision here.

Anger Management

Anger ManagementOff to cinema with Lev and Olga to see “Anger Management“. It is a good movie (actually almost excellent) with lots of good humor and good acting. Jack Nicholson is perfect. He just sprays energy around with every word and every movement. I felt the power. Actually, he is excellent in most of the movies I’ve seen with him – “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest“, “The Shining“, “The Witches of Eastwick“, “Batman“, “Wolf“, “As Good As It Gets“. He, for sure, knows how to Act, unlike the bunch of other “talented” pretty faces from Hollywood.

Adam Sandler (who can be remembered from “Big Daddy” and “The Waterboy“) was also quiet good and natural.

Two scenes which I could’ve watched another hundred times are: when they stop the car on the bridge and start thinging the “gay” song and when Adam Sandler was talking to the beautify red-dressed girl in the bar in Boston. These were excellent!