Good Night, and Good Luck
Good story, good acting, good camera work, good message. Gorgeous black and white film. I don't know why, but I was mesmerized by Robert Downey, Jr.'s face whenever he was on-screen. The boy was born too late. He shoulda been a contemporary of Bogart with the way his face looks in shades of silver grey.
Boooooooring. And I'm a big Seinfeld fan. I recently saw his act live and laughed for 45 minutes straight. So how could such a funny man make such an uninteresting subject? Perhaps the filmmakers discovered that off-stage Jerry is just too mild-mannered to make riveting viewing. That can be the only explanation for letting an incredibly obnoxious up-and-comer comedian by the name of Orny hijack the film. Not only was I not rooting for the underdog, I was desperately wishing for him to be put to sleep. In addition, Comedian contained quite possibly the worst editing I've ever seen in a documentary. The only redeeming value of watching this film, personally speaking, was discovering Susannah McCorkle's delightfully bubbly cover of an Antonio Carlos Jobim Brazilian jazz jewel entitled "The Waters of March" as it played over the closing credits. That song gave me a second reason to be happy the movie was over.
Man on Fire
An overblown, painfully predictable, but snappily color-saturated thriller about an occasionally alcoholic bodyguard, played by Denzel Washington, and his precocious ward, played by Dakota Fanning. As Dakota's character reaches out to her grumpy guard shortly after their introduction, I cleverly saw through the fuming friction and anticipated that this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
"I wonder when they'll have the scene featuring their first shared smile?" I thought to myself. About 15 minutes later, I was obliged in spades.
"You smiled!" cries Dakota to Denzie. Holy heck. No she didn't. I will give this movie credit for being the first in my memory to totally suck the tension out of a story dependent on tension by "unexpectedly" "killing" a character at the midpoint, leaving the "shocking relevation" at the end of the film no choice but to waddle in like a lame duck. Boo. Hiss.