Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rickey's Film Corral: Rounding up Movies You Were too Damned Lazy to See

Rickey's periodic analysis of the various cinematic offerings currently showing at a a movie theater near you. Up this week are two purported Oscar contenders.


Gran Torino. This brooding movie dares to pose the question what happens to a guy like Dirty Harry when he retires? Does he get along with the ethnic neighbors? Does he mellow out? Does his unfathomably deep thirst for vengeance subside? The answer to all of the above is a resounding no. Indeed, "Gran Torino" is Eastwood's latest attempt to atone for his earlier cinematic roles--a mournful analysis of an angry old man haunted by his violent past. And it's pretty decent, even if a bit on the formulaic side. Believe it or not, after a little while, you'll grow tired of watching a leering Clint Eastwood utter really really racist things. The middle section of the film is the most enjoyable, as Eastwood begrudgingly takes a young Asian boy under his wing and teaches him the ways of the world, in his own fashion. There's some genuinely touching stuff as the humanity gradually creeps back into Eastwood's character. Then, there's a "shit just got real" moment, setting up the obligatory climactic showdown. It's essentially "High Noon" set in Highland Park, Michigan. Unsurprisingly, the star of the movie is Clint Eastwood. Even at the age of 78, he makes phrase like "get off my lawn" sound downright menacing. Let's see a contemporary action hero like Schwarzenegger try to pull that off when he hits that age. Does Rickey recommend you see this? Sure, why not. It's an intimate character study featuring great writing and acting. At the very least, it's better than "Space Cowboys."

Slumdog Millionaire. Yeah, Rickey was probably the last person in the world who hadn't yet seen this. Maybe somebody can help Rickey out, but what's all the hubbub about here? It's "Oliver" set in India, featuring a visual bombardment of whimsical non sequitirs. So what? It's frenetic and visually exhilarating, but it's also empty fluff and hardly an Oscar contender. The central conceit of the film involving the kid's answers to the game show questions relating to one of his hard life lessons was far too cutesy for Rickey's liking. And how exactly does a film featuring electro torture, waterboarding, child prostitution, a corrupt cop who resembles an Indian version of Jeff Goldblum, and a young boy covered head to toe in feces qualify as the feel good movie of the year? It's official: 2008 has been a terrible year for movies if something like "Slumdog Millionaire" is being seriously considered for best picture.

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7 comments:

George said...

But you see, with the economic crash, we are all a young boy covered in feces! And he's happy and smiling! And it feels good!

Slumdog Millionaire teaches us all very important lessons about accommodation.

Smitty said...

Slumdog Millionaire teaches us all very important lessons about accommodation.

Funniest post on the web all day.

I would love to see Gran Torino, if for no other reason than it was filmed in Michigan.

As for Slumdog...no thanks. haven't seen it, don't plan on it. I won't levvy an opinion, as I haven't seen it, other than to say that it appears that it is the kind of movie that won't hold my attention.

Alex L said...

I don't think Slumdog is even out in Australia yet. As much as I like the acter from his previous work I dount it would be a film that would do it for me.

Alex said...

slumdog millionaire - great potential for porn movie name.

steves said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steves said...

Reposted because I can't edit for shit.

Haven't seen either movie, but will probably throw Gran Torino on my queue when it comes out for home release.

I just glanced at the list of best picture nominees. Usually, I have seen at least a few, but not this year. I will admit that none of them look all that interesting.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
--This one looks somewhat interesting, but just makes me think, meh.

Frost/Nixon
--I love the history surrounding Watergate. That being said, historical pieces like this usually disappoint me.

Milk
--Same as the previous. I have seen a few documentaries on Milk that were really good. I also don't really care for Sean Penn.

The Reader
--This actually looks interesting. I may try the book first, though.

Slumdog
--Looks very uninteresting. Now that I have read Rickey's review, it looks even more lame.

Rickey Henderson said...

Take Rickey's word for it, don't see "The Reader." It has the stupidest cinematic conceit ever.