Posts Tagged ‘leatherheads

06
Jan
09

Ten Faves from ’08

I don’t know about you, but I was disappointed.

 

If the question is, “What did I expect from the films of 2008?” my answer would be, “A better film year than 2007.” Not to say that 2007 was bad; the tail-end of it made up for most of that year. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of 2008.

 

“Indiana Jones 4” (aka “Indy Gets an X-File”) was ludicrous if not insulting. And speaking of “X-Files” the return of Mulder and Scully to the screen was warranted, but the story wasn’t. “Speed Racer” could’ve been more fun, “Prince Caspian” could’ve used more characterization and plot. “Untraceable” was among those movies that couldn’t have been saved, period.

 

However, it wasn’t all bad. “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight” proved that superheroes can rule the day, if not the box office (although “Hellboy 2” was underrated). Pixar pixel pixies made mechanics emotional with “Wall*E.” Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t just make “Iron Man,” he made “Tropic Thunder” as Kirk Lazarus, an Australian method-actor who undergoes pigmentation-surgery to portray a black Sergeant in Vietnam. And “City of Ember” was the best and most-overlooked kids’ movie.

 

In alphabetical order, here are my Ten Faves from ’08.

 

bank_job1“The Bank Job” – I caught this one on DVD. After I finished watching it, I kicked myself. This movie was interesting, fun, and a great throwback to the Seventies.

 

 

 

 

city_of_ember“City of Ember” – Thoughtful, well-made post-apocalyptic kids’ movie. I was surprised.

 

 

 

 

 

dark_knight“The Dark Knight” – This movie is entirely on a different plain of filmmaking. Kudos to Christopher Nolan on doing such a great job and to Heath Ledger, who gave one of his best performances ever (and his last).

 

 

 

 

hellboy_two“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” – Fun fantasy film from Guillermo del Toro. I really enjoyed this one. “Hellboy” is beginning to grow on me.

 

 

 

 

iron_man“Iron Man” – A great popcorn blockbuster movie to begin the summer with. Robert Downey Jr. was nothing less than perfectly casted. Jeff Bridges had fun being the bad guy.

 

 

 

 

leatherheads“Leatherheads” – Another overlooked movie. George Clooney spent years trying to bring this one to light. It’s funny, quirky, zany, screwball… and made football interesting.

 

 

 

 

son_of_rambow“Son of Rambow” – British indie about kids who learn to make film, not war. Great fun and a tribute to filmmaking (moreso than “Zack and Miri”).

 

 

 

 

transsiberian“Transsiberian” – Emily Mortimer steals this movie from Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley. A great follow-up to “Session 9” and “The Machinist,” also directed by Brad Anderson.

 

 

 

 

tropic_thunder“Tropic Thunder” – I initially thought this was shallow at first, but repeated viewings on DVD make this one even better.”I’m the dude playin’ the dude, disguised as another dude!”

 

 

 

 

wall_e“Wall*E” – Wall*E is the story of the little robot that fell in love. Environmental and biological themes abound but don’t get too preachy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all, folks. See ya at the movies in 2009!

-Chas

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07
Apr
08

Movie Review: Leatherheads

Leatherheads poster

 

Now with 100% pigskin footballs!

 

Starring George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski, Jonathan Pryce, and Stephen Root. Directed by George Clooney

 

It was the kind of movie I needed a girlfriend for.

 

George Clooney is “Dodge” Connelly, an aging football player for the Duluth Bulldogs who has been playing “pro” football for the last 20 years. The year is 1925, and football is relegated more to the being a kids/high school sport than something grown men would partake in. When a game against Milwaukee gets cancelled and their own sponsorship gets pulled, the team goes back to their regular jobs (or trying to find one). Clooney then has an insight: try to sign Carter Rutherford (Krasinski).

 

Carter Rutherford is a former high school athlete and a war hero – he got a group of German soldiers to surrender without firing a shot (which is true, and a funny scene). This sounds too bogus for the Chicago Tribune, who send reporter Lexi Littleton to cozy up to Carter and find the real truth of what happened over there (“over there, over there…”) What follows is Carter’s celebrity taking over the Duluth Bulldogs, the love triangle between Lexi, Carter, and Connelly, and the eventual civilization of football.

 

What I enjoyed about this movie is the nostalgia/homage factor. Yeah, the movie felt like it leaned a bit on “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” but it never stopped believing it was what it was, a throwback to the comedies of the 20’s-40’s. I best describe it as a football comedy meets “His Girl Friday.” Some of the best scenes involve Zellweger and Clooney exchanging rapid-fire dialog with wit.

 

As for historical accuracy… I’m not quite sure how accurate it is. It does show pro-football changing from playing in dirt fields to becoming a legitimate game, complete with “new rules” (the scene were the referees have to check against the new rulebook is classic). And I think it shows how something that was considered fun became something more serious and in doing so, became boring (any football fans out there still with me?)

 

So, why should you check this one out? It’s probably the easiest “date movie” there is on the block. Also, it’s not a “cynical” movie; everyone is in on what’s going on, and they’re doing what they’re doing for fun. The cast looks like it really had fun making the movie.

 

You also may wanna see it because it’s that different from the usual “blow-em-up”/ murder mystery/ special effects laden movie that you popped into your DVD player this past weekend. And with the minute bit of language it has, it’s pretty safe to take your parents/grandparents to as well.

 

My grade: A (because it was different and made well)