Friday, March 28, 2008

Panthergirl's Picks and Pans of the Week

Picks:

Into the Wild (DVD): Sean Penn's beautiful film about Chris McCandless, the young idealist who leaves home after college, donates his entire $24,000 savings to charity, in a quest for ultimate freedom in the wilds of Alaska. I hadn't read the book (by Jon Krakauer) so I didn't know how the story ends. Hal Holbrook's performance is truly worthy of the Oscar nomination that he received...incredibly moving.

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The Bank Job (in theaters): A really fun ride about a bumbling group of bank robbers who don't even know the magnitude of the robbery they are committing. One of those rare "Thromedies" (Thriller/Comedy) that will leave you feeling completely entertained. And that's the point, right?

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The Tudors: I'm still finishing up Season One on DVD, but I've already decided to get Showtime before Season Two starts. Riveting and beautiful to look at.

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Monsters HD (on the Zoom Network). I hate the current horror film genre, and I'm too scared of films like The Omen (gave me nightmares for two weeks) and The Shining (still can't watch the whole thing), but Monsters HD shows classic (and not so classic) old monster movies as well . The kind that usually wound up on Mystery Science Theater. So bad that they're good. It's commercial free, except for the Monster Channel promos in between the films, which are masterpieces in and of themselves.


Pans:

Dan in Real Life (DVD). Steve Carrell plays a widower raising three daughters who goes to a family reunion weekend and falls hopelessly in love with Juliette Binoche in 5 minutes, during a chance meeting in a bookstore. As it turns out, she is actually the new girlfriend of his brother, and they spend the rest of the film trying not to let the rest of the family know that they are hot for each other. I love Steve Carrell and I love Juliette Binoche, but this film is really a piece of crap. If it deserves an award, it would be "Most Inane Monologue in Any Film, Ever" for a speech that Binoche's character gives in the bookstore at the beginning of the film. Who talks like that??

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Mildred Pierce: OK, so this isn't really a "pan". I watched this on TCM the other night. Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for her performance as a struggling working woman who is desperately trying to please her spoiled brat daughter. What struck me was the scene where her younger daughter (probably 6 years old) dies of pneumonia. She dabs a couple of tears from her eyes, and someone offers her "a nice hot cup of tea". Heck, my ex-husband cried more than that when the Knicks lost the playoffs in '94.

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Doctors: I have what appears to be the flu. Yesterday, I left messages for two doctors: my internist and my pulmonologist. I have asthma, so when I get a cold or flu I have to vigilant about my lungs or I'll wind up in some serious trouble. I left detailed messages, saying that I need an Rx for antibiotics or prednisone and neither doctor returned my call. WTF??