Releases for 3.31.09

I would have seen Marley & Me, and probably would have recommended it, but with the subject matter being what it is (about a family dog), I thought it best to avoid it.  Besides, than I’d ruin the pattern of having all of my movies this week begin with the letter S.

The ones to see:
Slumdog Millionaire
Special

The one to avoid:
Seven Pounds

More detailed reviews below…

Slumdog Millionaire

This one had its work cut out for it… an Oscar sweeping machine that also seems to be adored by anyone who’s seen it?  I still don’t think it was the best movie of the year, but it’s a choice I can actually agree with for the first time in a while.  The story was simple enough, but, as with any well told story, the highlights were in the subtle details.  There were a number of “twists” I saw coming a mile away (and I’m generally not the most perceptive when it comes to that, I’ll admit), but the movie didn’t depend on these turns for its strength.  The movie is told in flashbacks, and my favorite actors in the movie were the youngest versions of the main characters… those little guys were great.  I enjoyed the fact that the movie was at times hilarious and at others devastatingly solemn.  The movie wraps itself up nicely, and it takes us along for the ride, though even in the most “obvious” plot turns, it never felt dishonest.  At it’s heart, Slumdog is a sweet little story, and that keeps us going along with it.

Special

When I first picked up this DVD, I knew I had to get it.  The premise of an average guy becoming a superhero sounded wonderfully potential for good things, and failing that – it sounded very similar to a script I’ve been working on for a while.  When things first start getting wacky in the movie, I was really glad to see that it was not left ambiguous… the movie lets us know right away the truth of the main character’s situation.  From that point on, we’re with him anyways because he’s a lovable fella, but there are no tricks.  There are, however, a couple of surprises during this man’s journey to become a true self-assured hero, and one scene in particular made this entire movie for me.  It’s near the end, and our hero has been beaten to near-death.  He enters a grocery story, and the entire segment that plays out at that point (as well as the final conclusion of the movie that follows) really cemented what the movie was all about – and I loved it.

Seven Pounds

Will Smith can act decently enough.  He did some interesting things with the character in this movie, but it’s too bad that the movie is really crappy overall.  The worst part about everything is the odd choice to be so freaking mysterious about what is going on.  I am well aware of what it is to slowly unveil parts of a character’s story throughout a movie’s storyline, but with Seven Pounds the audience has no real clue what is really going on in until the last 15 minutes or so of the movie – I can’t remember exactly, I’d stopped paying too much attention.  In The Dark Knight things are constantly happening that the audience doesn’t quite understand, but the revelation of these events comes soon after.  Seven Pounds doesn’t reveal anything for a very long time, and it doesn’t create intrigue – it creates boredom.  So, that right there is its greatest problem.  The second issue is the entire conclusion of the movie.  I won’t spoil it here for you (ask me and I will, though), but with how the movie ends I wasn’t sure if the point the movie was trying to make was insane, or if it was just really poorly constructed.  I think I understand what the intentions were, but there are a few elements of the plot that really, really detract from this supposed meaning.  I was left scratching my head asking, “Really?”  There are a few great ideas and moments in the movie, though, and for the first time I can now say I’m a fan of Rosario Dawson.  She was just so darn likable in this movie… not enough for me to recommend it, though ;-).

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About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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