True Grit

Without waiting for local cinemas to catch up with the rest of the world, I got my hands on a copy of “True Grit” – a new movie by Coen brothers, of who I am a big fan.

Every film they do is different from every other, and is a masterpiece of its own.  “True Grit” follows the pattern.  It is a western, with beautiful and authentic cinematics, colorful characters, excellent acting, and simple, yet unique story telling.  The story itself is simple and straightforward – there are no twists as such.  But it tells the story of people with character, courage, and will.  It tells the story of the days that have long past, yet which is applicable to modern days.  It shows people who lived in a very different world, yet were so similar to us.

A 5 out of 5 from me and a recommendation for home collection – you’ll want to see it this movie more than once.

One or three?

While reading through Matt Damon Wikipedia entry on the subject of Jimmy Kimmel, I scrolled further down to his Matt’s personal life, where I found the following sentence:

From 2001 to 2003, he dated Odessa Whitmire, a former personal assistant of Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck.

I know, I know all those jokes about Matt and Ben are getting pretty old now.  But still, the question popped up in my head: is it a single person, as in Odessa Whitmire, who used to work as personal assistant for Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck, or are these three different people, as in Odessa Whitmire, Billy Bob Thornton’s personal assistant, and Ben Affleck?

Before anyone assumes anything, I have to say that:

  1. I don’t care who dates who – that’s their own business.
  2. I have great respect for Matt Daemon, based on many of his movies (I am re-watching the Bourne trilogy at least once a month) and many of his appearances on TV (live shows, talk shows, YouTube interviews, etc).
  3. I have great respect for all those people who made the Wikipedia what it is today.

The above quote looked funny to me probably only because I am not a native English speaker.  That’s all.  Enough with disclaimers – you can now tare me apart and flame me into oblivion.

Green Zone

A couple of weeks ago I saw “Green Zone” in the cinema.  I barely heard anything about this film – only that Matt Damon plays the main character and that it was directed by the same guy who did some of the Bourne trilogy – but even that was enough.  I wanted to go.

First things first.  This film is not like the Bourne trilogy.  There are a few moments that bring back the memories, but overall it is a totally different film.  The subject is different, the characters are different, the way it was shot is different.  Second things second.  I enjoyed this movie.  As most other Hollywood-made war-related movies it had its share of propaganda, but once I switch on the propaganda filter, there was plenty to enjoy.

Matt Damon acting was awesome as always.  He is very natural and very, how should I put it, believable.  It is often easy to relate to his characters just because of his acting, and this film is not an exception.  The visual content of the film was interesting.  While I am not a big fan of handhold shaking camera effect, it works for this film.  And gladly not the whole film is shot this way – only the scenes where it adds to the atmosphere.

There was plenty of background work in this film – scenery, decorations, costumes, routine, etc.  One of the common ways to avoid this work in a war movie is to switch between a command bunker or Washington office and a blind darkness of the jungle, or something like that.  In this film everything is happening in the war zone and story switches between neutral and hostile areas.  This creates a nice feeling of being there.

Now, to the important part.  The story.  While, as I said, it holds plenty of propaganda, I still liked it.  At least it attempted to show things from a different angle and explain how things go wrong and what it takes to make them right.  There is something to think about and even know, a couple of weeks later, I find myself rethinking parts of the movie.  I do want to see it again and probably I will once I get my hands on the DVD.

Overall, a good film.  Recommended.  4 out of 5.

Syriana

Syriana

I rented “Syriana” when I saw George Clooney and Matt Damon on the cover. Not that they are a guarantee of a good film, but they are a pretty good sign of one.  And indeed they both did a nice job in this film, however it wasn’t enough for me.

This time though, my criticism (critinism?) is not of the film itself, but of that particular DVD that I rented.  It didn’t have English sub-titles (although I don’t know if it didn’t have them originally, or if this DVD was a pirated copy).  Half of the movie takes place in Middle East and there is a lot of non-English talk happening.   I couldn’t make much sense out of it, except for the general dramatic mood and some people over there not being very happy with some people over here and vice versa.

Other than that, the film looked to be very nice – it has a certain mood, there is some good photography, and there is also a lot of human appreciation, which is something I like seeing in the movies.  That is when people appreciate other people for just being people.  There aren’t enough films out there promoting appreciation.  It was nice to see this one did.

I’d rate it as a 6 out of 10, with reserving a lot of space on either end of this rating due to not understanding half of what was said.

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…

Matt Damon vs Ben Affleck

Olga and I were talking after watching “Jersey Girl” and a funny thought crossed my mind. It is a well known fact that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are best friends and that they have been participating in the same movies for some time now. The difference though, at least in my memory, is that Ben usually appears with some hot chicks, like say Jenifer Lopez, and Matt is more frequently seen with guys. I maybe very wrong on this of course, but it’s just my perception. Another perception of mine is that Matt is usually appearing in films where Ben plays the main role – not vice versa. So I am thinking like why doesn’t Matt leave the poor guy alone? Why does he have to always show up at his shootings?

And then I remember someone quoting Matt along the lines “Ben is not gay. He is just doing a lousy job of being straight.” So, the funny thought that crossed my mind was that it was actually Matt who was gay and he just feels the need to stick around Ben. :)

Not that I care though. I really enjoy acting from them both and especially when they play together. And on the subject of “to gay or not to gay”, there is a perfectly clear anwser at Google Answers. You are free to think whatever you head is up to though, of course. :)