Friday, September 10, 2010

The Last Few

I'm getting really, really into movies. I've got a giant list of ones I want to see or rewatch sometime soon. Here's the ones I've gotten to so far and how I feel about them.

1. 500 Days of Summer- seriously changed my life. Helped me discover a lot about my own past history and made me fall in love with Zooey Deschanel. Of course, I am already in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and have always thought he embodies my dream guy, but I was wrong. Tom, his character, is my dream. Great movie, great soundtrack, FANEFFINGTASTIC cast. A.

2. Almost Famous- have always been intrigued by this movie, but just finally really watched it. So so good. I love Cameron Crowe movies anyway and this being semi-autobiographical made it so much more interesting. Simple and sweet set in the most perfect time period in musical history. My favorite performance? Jason Lee. Billy Crudup was good too, but Lee really had soul. Vastly appreciated the guest appearance by Miss Zooey. A-.

3. Sleepers- most disturbing movie I've seen in a while. I even lost sleep over this, despite the title. And I like disturbing movies! Splendid acting, and actually my favorite Robert DeNiro performance ever. Good story, crazy that it was partially true. The only thing I really didn't like at all was Minnie Driver's role. I like her and all, but her character served no purpose except to add a female to the film. B+.

4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High- disappointing. I love Cameron Crowe, as previously mentioned, but I thought this was a little hokey. Lots of boobs, not enough content. Sean Penn was super creepy. Overall, pretty disappointing, but a few okay roles saved it from being a total doozey. C+.

5. Say Anything- Made me love John Cusack. I thought this was a super cute story, even with the cheesy 80's music blasting from that boom box. Ione Skye is a gorgeous girl and I really loved her character and the portrayal of her relationship with her father. This is another Crowe film, right? B.

6. Stop-Loss- Okay, so I wanted to see it because of Jiggle (JGL). It turned out moving, but the acting performances were not fantastic. I really am not a fan of Channing Tatum or Ryan Phillipe. Or that chick he left Reese for. Still a pretty thoughtful story, and the whole idea of the Stoploss program is something that was brought to my attention. C.

More coming sometime I'm sure.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Sunshine Cleaning
Directed by Christine Jeffs
Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin

Sunshine Cleaning is a story about family when it comes down to it. I was skeptical about renting it when I read that it was produced by the same people who did Little Miss Sunshine, shares a similar title, and features Alan Arkin as the kooky but lovable grandpa.  Not that I didn't like Little Miss Sunshine, I just didn't want to be disappointed when they turned out to be the same movie.

The film follows the lives of two sisters, Rose (Adams) and Nora (Blunt).  Rose was the popular girl in high school who everyone wanted to be friends with but reached a peak there.  Now, she is a single mother of Oscar (the unbelievably adorable Jason Spevack) and works cleaning the homes of wealthy neighbors.  Nora is the family rebel, covered with eyeliner and tattoos, still living with her dad in the house she grew up in and sort of dating some douche she doesn't really give a shit about.

Mack, Rose's high school beau now married, meets Rose weekly in a cheap motel where they engage in a no-strings-attached affair.  Of course, however, there are always strings.  Rose is still hanging onto him in the hopes he will leave his wife or he will confess his love for her.  Through Mack, Rose learns of the lucrative business of postmortem clean-up and seizes the opportunity for her sister and her to make some extra cash so Oscar can get into a private school.

The key to the movie is the relationships.  The relationship between Nora and Oscar, Oscar and his grandfather, Joe (Arkin), Rose and Winston, the kind, one-armed loner who works at the cleaning supply store, and that between Nora and Lynn, who meet through a not so coincidental run-in.  The true center, though, is the relationship between Nora and Rose.

The girls explore their shared history, often flashing back to a scene of them when they're little, playing in a sprinkler.  They argue and fight before eventually coming to a boiling point in their relationship that culminates all that they are to each other.  The relationship is a thing of beauty, the kind that only sisters who know what it means to rely on each other have.

Easily one of the more moving films I've seen in a while and the acting is spectacular.  A definite must-see.