Posts Tagged ‘amelia

12
Nov
09

Movie Review: Amelia

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On a round-the-world flight, she disappeared.

Starring Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, and Christopher Eccleston. Directed by Mira Nair

This is the kind of movie that will eventually be played in history classes while the teacher is busy updating his/her grades and making lesson plans. For better or worse, that’s what it will be relegated to.

Hilary Swank plays the aviatrix who, as common knowledge and every “mysterious disappearance” TV show and movie points out, wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world. On July 2, 1937 she lost radio contact and the rest has been the stuff of speculation and America’s dark romance with the unexplained.

Gere is George Putnam, a New York publisher known for releasing the book on Charles Lindbergh. Suddenly smitten with the presence of the protagonist, he books her as a passenger on a flight set to cross the Atlantic if it can ever happen. With persistence and can-do spirit Earhart pushes for the flight to happen with her suddenly being thrown into the spotlight.

McGregor is Gene Vidal, a single father even more impressed with Earhart than Putnam. Vidal and Earhart become business partners in the world of aviation and a little more off the scene. Earhart breaks off their romance to stay faithful to her husband.

Eccleston plays Fred Noonan, one of the best navigators in the biz. Equally known is his alcoholism. Earhart, having grown up with an alcoholic father, warns him but he reasserts that he will not let it affect his job performance. He disappeared with Earhart on the day of note.

There ya go.

I didn’t hate the movie as much as I was disappointed, which eventually became ambivalence. I’m a fan of a good mystery and along with Flight 19, Earhart’s disappearance became legend. One of the problems with this movie is that it asks more questions than it answers and in doing so doesn’t bother answering anything. What was Amelia’s background before she showed up at Putnam’s doorstep? Why did she do what she set out to do? Was she a lesbian? Et cetera.

Instead the movie plops you into the point in her life where she meets the publisher and does a straight-forward chronology with minimal interruption of flash-forwards where she is hopelessly looking for Howland Island to land on. While there is some “creative interpretation” of her life’s events a good chunk of the movie seems to play out like plot points or a greatest hits collection of deleted/extended scenes.

And therein lies the frustration of grading or gaging this movie: it’s massively uneven. The director seems to intersperse the disappearance with moments from her life leading up to it but fails to give any mention of previous events. Either I’ve watched the programming from too many movies or this one’s story is really lackluster.

Nair seems to touch upon Earhart’s life as as if she’s afraid to make a statement about anything. It’s like someone asking you “do you think she helped champion the cause of womens’ rights?” Your answer is then followed by “well, what do you think?” I honestly felt like I was in back in school and each question (aviation, alcoholism, commercialism, lesbianism) would be featured at the end of the chapter and I would have to skip to the back of the book and turn it upside down to find the correct one (“There it is: seven”) One of the big themes noted in the film was that Putnam controlled her “image” by having her sponsor ads for luggage, cigarettes, etc. She brings it up to him one time and he explains it off, and she never says anything about it again, not even when more people hound her for that fact.

So much is wasted. I’m not a big fan of Swank but she does seem to carry on as if she doesn’t care that no one else cares, which may be a good thing. Eccleston and Gere have odd accents out-of-place for them. The cinematography had some beautiful moments. The soundtrack seemed to be made for a much better movie.

In my honest opinion this movie would have done right by taking a cue from “Hollywoodland.” No one really knows how George Reeve died, but at least the filmmakers gave the “conspiracy theories” on how it happened. And while George Reeve may have been less extraordinary than Earhart per se, at least the filmmakers gave him his do. Sorry for your loss, Amelia.

In regards to historical dramas, one has to ask themselves, would a History Channel documentary on the same subject be more interesting than this movie? On this one I’m gonna say “yes.”

TRIVIA: This is the first movie since 1994’s “Shallow Grave” to feature both Eccleston and McGregor.

My grade: a straighten-up and fly right C-

P.S. For more information on Amelia Earhart, read a book! Or go look her up on Wiki.

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30
Sep
09

October Movie Releases

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – Greed. Avarice. Michael Moore. Documentary. Opens October 2, 2009

“The Invention of Lying” – Ricky Gervais movie about a world in which everyone tells the truth and his character ‘invents’ lying. Barring any fibbing, the movie opens on October 2, 2009

“A Serious Man” – Coen Bros. movie about a man trying to find clarity in the Sixties. Opens October 2, 2009.

“Whip It” – Ellen Page returns to the screen as a teen who finds her calling by joining a female roller derby team. This is also the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. Opens October 2, 2009

“Zombieland” – As if we can’t get enough zombie movies, this one has Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as two guys who must escort a band of survivors to safety. Also stars Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray. Opens October 2, 2009

“Couples Retreat” – Couples are on a tropical resort island to work out their marriages. Stars Kristen Bell, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, and Jean Reno. Opens October 9, 2009

“Law Abiding Citizen” – Gerard Butler plays a man whose family is murdered. Jamie Foxx is a hotshot lawyer presiding over his case. Butler goes to jail and after 10 years begins plaguing the city by executing carefully-plotted assassination plans from his jail cell. Opens October 16, 2009

“The Stepfather” – A guy returns home from military school to find his mother with a new man. Is he everything he’s cracked up to be? Remake of the 80’s flick with Terry O’Quinn. Opens October 16, 2009

“Where the Wild Things Are” – Spike Jonze adaptation of the classic kids book. I’m there! Opens October 16, 2009

“Amelia” – A look at Amelia Earhart, the aviator who disappeared flying over the Pacific in 1937. Stars Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Virginia Madsen and Ewan McGregor. The film lands on October 23, 2009

“Saw VI” – Are you tired of playing games? Evidently they’re not. The mayhem ensues on October 23, 2009

“The Vampire’s Assistant: Cirque Du Freak” – A boy named Darren Shan meets a mysterious man who turns out to be a vampire, then takes him on the long road to becoming one. Stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Fugit. Opens October 23, 2009

“Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’” – The documentary on MJ’s last days. There ya go. Opens October 28, 2009

“The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” – Sequel to the 90’s cult classic about two brothers defending their neighborhood from Russians wanting to take over. This time around they’re in seclusion in Ireland when word of the death of a priest brings them out of hiding to solve the case. Stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and Billy Connolly. Opens October 30, 2009

“Youth in Revolt” – Michael Cera is a teenager who falls for the girl of his dreams and develops a split personality who creates havoc. Wasn’t this “Fight Club?” Also stars Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, M. Emmet Walsh, Justin Long, and Fred Willard. Opens October 30, 2009

30
Jun
09

Movie News and Views June 30, 2009 Trailer Edition

“Not Quite Hollywood” – “Oz-ploitation”: the 1970’s and 1980’s era of Australian filmmaking. “Mad Max” wasn’t the only movie to make it across the pond. Showing in limited release (which sucks for anywhere but NY and LA) on July 31, 2009

“Cold Souls” – Paul Giamatti plays himself, a tormented actor who seeks relief through “soul extraction.” Opens in limited release on August 7, 2009

“Shorts” – Robert Rodriguez movie about a small suburban community centered around the Black Box company, which is a be-all end-all do-everything gadget. A mysterious rainbow-colored falls from the sky and has the ability to grant anyone’s wish. Opens August 7, 2009

“A Perfect Getaway” – Milla Jovavich and Steve Zahn are on a honeymoon in Hawaii when they discover they’re being stalked by a pair of killers. Opens August 14, 2009

“Spread” – Guy (Ashton Kutcher) who sleeps around in a life of privilege meets girl (Margarita Levieva) who does the same. Sorta reminds me of Audrey Tautou’s “Priceless.” Opens August 14, 2009

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” – Based on the novel about a man (Eric Bana) who has a genetic disorder that causes him to time-travel when he’s under duress. He tries to have a relationship with a young heiress (Rachek McAdams). Go back (and forward) in time on August 14, 2009

“The World’s Greatest Dad” – Robin Williams is a recently divorced poetry teacher who dreams of being a novelist. And then a whole bunch of bad stuff happens. Opens August 21, 2009

“Final Destination 4” – A guy named Nick O’Bannon goes to the racetrack with his family and friends and receives a premonition about an accident. He saves them and cheats Death, which isn’t the kind of thing Death takes kindly too. The 4th installment of the series opens August 28, 2009

“Whiteout” – Kate Beckinsale is a U.S. Marshal assigned to Antarctica who must solve a murder case in 3 days or else be stranded with the killer. Based on a series of graphic novels. Opens September 11, 2009

“The Invention of Lying” – Ricky Gervais movie about a world in which everyone tells the truth and his character ‘invents’ lying. Barring any fibbing, the movie opens on September 25, 2009

“Shutter Island” – Scorsese pic about two U.S. Marshals sent to a mysterious island to track down a criminally insane patient. Stars Leo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo. Opens October 2, 2009

“Zombieland” – As if we can’t get enough zombie movies, this one has Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as two guys who must escort a band of survivors to safety. Also stars Abigail Breslin, and Bill Murray. Opens October 9, 2009

“Amelia” – A look at Amelia Earhart, the aviator who disappeared flying over the Pacific in 1937. Stars Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Virginia Madsen and Ewan McGregor. The film lands on October 23, 2009

“The Box” – James Marsden and Cameron Diaz are a couple with a kid living in dire circumstances when a mysterious stranger gives them a box that has a button on it. Pressing the button will reward them with $1 million however, it will also kill someone else in the world they do not know. Based on the Richard Matheson story, “Button, Button.” Decide if you will press it on October 30, 2009

“Old Dogs” – John Travolta and Robin Williams are two business execs on the verge of the Biggest Business Deal of Their Lives and have to take care of 6-year-old twins. Uh, yeah. Opens November 25, 2009

“Daybreakers” – 2017. A plague has changed most of the human race into vampires, which are threatened with a dwindling blood supply. Meanwhile a researcher (Ethan Hawke) struggles to find a way to save the human race. Opens January 8, 2010

“The Last Airbender” – Based on the Nickelodeon TV series about a successor to a long line of Avatars who must stop the Fire nation from taking Earth, Air and Water. Opens July 2, 2010