Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Perflix of the Day

Quit my job a few weeks ago...it was a cushy job that paid well and afforded me the freedom to come in after 9 and leave at 5, work out every day, and work from home pretty much whenever I wanted.  Sounds ideal right?  Yeah, but the work was boring and menial and it was in the soul-sucking health insurance industry which is like the anti-christ to me.  I like to be paid well, but make it count you know?  Give me a challenge and turn me loose, don't micro-manage me and waste my time with work that should be done by hungry kids right out of college.  Management 101.  Anyway, the job search has kept me away for awhile.  I have seen a number of movies that I wanted to share with you though, and I figure I gotta get them in now as I'm coaching t-ball and that's going to ramp up soon.

Spring came early to Oregon again this year.  The climate models have been right on so far...from what I understand the human race has 50-60 years left on this rock and after that maybe a small percentage of us carry on.  So make it count.  Get an electric car if you must have a car.  Plant a tree.  But do something.  (There is no snow in Alaska for Christ's sake - this is for real!)  Otherwise the only entertainment you're kids will have when they're your age is a campfire.

Ok well that was a little over the top but you get the message...

Now, here's what I've seen lately and my thoughts:

Birdman is wonderful and deserved best picture of 2014. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010) and starring Michael Keaton. I thought Keaton gave a brilliant, Oscar-worthy performance, but I haven't seen The Theory of Everything yet to know if Eddie Redmayne really deserved the win. Keaton's performance would be hard to beat by any standard. But maybe I'm biased.  I was in a good spot in my life when he was at his pinnacle, so I'm a bit nostalgic for him, Richard Dreyfus, Mickey Rooney, Rob Lowe - those guys; let's call 'em the comeback kids.  I would call Birdman a drama but it it's quite funny and I've seen it described as a comedy which I think is just strange.   I am just so glad to see Keaton find so much success. You can tell he works hard at his craft and you can see the intensity and seriousness, and maybe a touch of vulnerability, in his eyes.  He put his heart into this one and I'm glad to see it spring-boarding him into more big box-office projects.  I hate to see great actors get put out to pasture and that's one of the redeeming qualities of Hollywood - it gives real talent a second chance.  And to that I say bravo! Inarritu also deserves praise for this project and Birdman makes me curious to go back and watch Babel, Biutiful, and 21 Grams again which all struck me as quality films at the time. I also want to see Amores Perros which I guess is his first feature that propelled his filmmaking career. This may be an ignorant statement, but to me it seems his directorial style has some similarities to the Coen brothers and to Ridley Scott, but maybe it's because they've all done southwestern drug movies (the Coens' with No Country For Old Men, Ridley Scott with The Counselor, Inarritu with 21 Grams and Babel.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is very good storytelling and I would recommend it.  I most enjoyed it for the biographical content about the life of P.L. Travers and how she came to write Mary Poppins.  I never really understood what Mary Poppins was all about (not having read the book but having watched the movie a gazillions times with my son Colin who used to love the chimney sweep scene during which he would run around the living room with a broom).  Playing Walt Disney, Tom Hanks is wonderful as always (I just want to hug the guy), and Emma Thompson (as P.L. Travers) turns in a performance I was surprised to learn did not earn her an Oscar (but then again she would've been up against J-Law in Silver Linings Playbook which definitely takes the cake).  Nice sentimental movie for a rainy Saturday.

I don't often do this but I found Speed Racer to be unwatchable.  I endured it for maybe 15 minutes but found it very annoying and hard to watch with all of the frantic cuts - it reminded me of the Lego movie in that respect.  It's like watching a shell game - interesting for about six seconds then I'm over it.  What can I say my eyes got tired.  Maybe you'll give it more of a chance - and let me know if you do and feel free to comment.

I have a lot more to write about, including some new additions to Perflix, but will save it for tomorrow - here's a preview of what's to come:

The Machinist

The Gruffalo & The Gruffalo's Child

Oh Brother Where Art Thou

Mary Poppins

  1. Alien
  2. Top Gun
  3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  4. The Road
  5. Warm Bodies
  6. The Shining
  7. School of Rock
  8. Say Anything
  9. High Fidelity
  10. Fight Club
  11. Risky Business
  12. Star Wars
  13. Brokeback Mountain
  14. Animal House
  15. Jerry McGuire
  16. Silver Linings Playbook
  17. Dallas Buyers Club
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  19. No Country for Old Men
  20. Tangled
  21. Children of Men
  22. War Games
  23. 28 Days Later
  24. The Graduate
  25. From Dusk Till Dawn
  26. Lost in Translation
  27. The King's Speech
  28. Planet Earth
  29. Snowpiercer
  30. Frozen

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