Saturday, January 21, 2012

January 2012 Books and Movies

The Iron Lady

Absolutely brilliant. Will it ruffle more than a few feathers? Check. Will it start a war of the words between Margaret Thatcher's supporters and detractors? You bet. Was is a incredible piece of filmmaking on the part of Phyllida Lloyd? Yes, yes, yes! :) It's really had to describe in words, but the way the film moves back and forth between time is just beautiful. Perfect casting, from my favorite, Meryl Streep, to Jim Broadbent, to Anthony Stewart Head, to relative newcomer Alexandra Roach. The costuming was impecable. Of course, not all moments were included (a fact that many people are debating on the internet these days) but the ones that were in the film were carefully chosen to present all facets of The Iron Lady, both positive and negative. It's really a shame that some people are so blinded by their love/hate for the woman, that they can't see the beauty in this portrayal. All I can say is, go see it!

Young Adult

This would have been a really crappy movie if it hadn't been saved by Charlize Theron. She was absolutely beyond brilliant. Her character (the popular girl who makes it in the big city, only to come back to her small town to get her old, but now married, boyfriend back) is so well developed. She is a depressed, delusional, destructive, manipulative narcissist who you want to hate, but like in spite of yourself. She makes you take an uncomfortable look inward, especially if you see some of your own behaviour patterns in there. At first, I was bothered by what I thought was excessive product placement. There were something like 10 brands in the first 5 minutes of the movie. After a while though, it became clear that none of these products were being portrayed in a positive light. It's plausible that there were actually no deals made with any of these companies, and the product placement is an unwanted reminded of a) how juvenile Mavis is, and b) what a screwed up consumeristic society we live in. It's not necessary to see this on the big screen, but it's worth a look at home.

The Guard

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Perfect casting (Brendan "Mad Eye Moody" Gleeson and Don Cheadle), great setting (The Irish West Coast, which I've been to and loved) and fricken hilarious. The accent and common expressions take a bit of getting used to, if you're not familiar, but it's not Trainspotting daunting. The premise is that an Irish Guarda (police) and an FBI agent team up to take down a drug ring. It's a little like Hot Fuzz, which I also loved although I thought Simon Pegg would have made a great addition to the case. Good thing I had already gotten a good dose of him in Mission Impossible 4, where he was fantastic. The Guard is an absolute must see. I kind of wish they had named it The Guarda though, somehow it seems much more authentic.