My recent luck with movies has not been as good as with books, LA Confidential aside. Here’s what The Beloved Spouse and I have seen over the past few weeks, in no particular order.
Lawless. Not sure what to say about this. The acting is excellent, the story is compelling, production values are first rate; I can’t find anything wrong with it. Yet…something is missing. Shia LeBoeuf is better than I expected, and Guy Pearce has become one of my small handful of favorite actors; Tom Hardy was a revelation. With all that, this is a movie that manages to be less than the sum of its parts. (We watched the bonus features, as these will sometimes provide an insight that might have been missed. Not this time.) Lawless was good—I’m not sorry I watched it—but it should have been better.
Cinderella Man. Stumbled across this on cable. Just as I was about to turn away due to the unrelenting suffering of the Braddock family, director Ron Howard shifted gears and gave us an uplifting story that not only doesn’t get any sappier than it has to, it’s history is defensible. (At least by Hollywood standards.) Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti are excellent; I still don’t know how Renee Zellwegger gets work.
Stand-Up Guys. Al Pacino, Christopher Walker, and Alan Arkin as three wise guys well past their prime. They are as good as you’d expect, and this film has its moments, but not enough of them. The director and screenwriter would have been better served letting these three old pros have their heads. It would have been worth watching just for that. I can’t say not to see it, but only if you’re stuck for anything else, and in the mood for nostalgia night.
Purple Violets. Has the distinction of being the first movie released through iTunes. That is its only distinction. Eminently missable, and I’m an Edward Burns fan.