Movie Review: Good Will Hunting (1997)

“Just playing”… with a little help from his friends

Will: Beethoven, okay. He looked at a piano, and it just made sense to him. He could just play.
Skylar: So what are you saying? You play the piano?
Will: No, not a lick. I mean, I look at a piano, I see a bunch of keys, three pedals, and a box of wood. But Beethoven, Mozart, they saw it, they could just play. I couldn’t paint you a picture, I probably can’t hit the ball out of Fenway, and I can’t play the piano.
Skylar: But you can do my o-chem paper in under an hour.
Will: Right. Well, I mean when it came to stuff like that… I could always just play.

For a subtitle, I was going to use something like political-romantic, psych thriller buddy movie, but the quote above suggests the more descriptive “I could just play.” Both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck at that time in their careers (1997) have been in front of a camera a few times… and they’re smarter than the average bears. Who knows how the creative process works? Just as Sylvester Stallone hit a grand-slam home run his first time at the plate, writing and acting Rocky, Damon and Affleck do the same with Good Will Hunting… and they hit their monster homer at Fenway Park in Boston, no less, where they actually grew up as friends. Continue reading

Movie Review: Invictus (2009)

Eastwood hits another cinematic homerun __ 10/10

InvictusFrancois Pienaar: I was thinking how a man could spend thirty years in prison, and come out and forgive the men who did it to him…

… and just in time for the Oscars. [I’m wondering whether the Academy Awards or the other various award ceremonies have some rules regarding release of movies by a particular director or studio at end of year. For example, “For Oscar consideration a given director/studio is limited to two November/December releases in a five-year period.” I don’t think Eastwood or Malpaso calculate that sort of thing, but I’ll bet a lot of others do. Heck, an Academy Award nomination, let alone a victory, is major ducats in the bank for everyone associated with a film. …random thoughts there.] Continue reading

Movie Review: Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)

Best-in-breed Western, like Hombre __ 9/10

GeronimoGeronimo: With all this land, why is there no room for the Apache? Why does the White-Eye want all land?

What a treat! Get out your fond memories of Dances with Wolves, then take in a quasi-documentary treatment of the handling of the great Apache leader, Geronimo, by the US Government White-Eye military hierarchy. With a coterie of some of the best actors working in Hollywood in 1993. Also, keep a box of Kleenex nearby for how it ends up… or be prepared to weather another seething storm of outrage against government cruelty. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Green Zone (2009)

First class war story, war for the truth __ 9/10

The Green ZoneThe Green Zone is an Iraq movie that gets right to the point. Director Paul Greengrass is a veteran of the Bourne movies, specifically numbers 3 and 4: The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. So right from the gitgo—immediately following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003—we see Army boots on the ground as Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his men are tasked with quickly finding weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)… the existence of which was the Bush administration’s main pretext for the invasion. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

This “golf as life” allegory works like a champ

The Legend of Bagger VanceRannulph Junuh: Grow up Hardy!
Hardy Greaves: It ain’t time for me to
grow up, Mr. Junuh.
Rannulph Junuh: You’re daddy is out sweeping streets because he took every last dime he had, and used it to pay up every man and woman he owed and every business who worked for him, instead of declaring bankruptcy like everyone else in town, including your best friend Wilbur Charles’ dad, Raymond, which is why he’s able to sit around all day long on his dignity! Your daddy stared adversity in the eye, Hardy. And he beat it back with a broom. Continue reading

Movie Review: We Bought a Zoo (2011)

Family fare with a Waltonian pickmeup _ 8/10
Review by Brian Wright

We Bought a ZooBenjamin Mee: You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.

Lily Miska: [to Kelly during the opening of the zoo] If you had to choose between people and animals, who would you pick?
[Kelly doesn’t answer]
Lily Miska: Me, too. People! Continue reading

Movie Review: Hereafter (2010)

Humanitarian exploration of afterlife ___ 9/10
Review by Brian Wright

HereafterDirected by Clint Eastwood
Written by Peter Morgan

On the surface, Hereafter is a fairly straightforward story of two individuals—George Lonegan (Matt Damon) and Marie LeLay (Cécile De France)—who have near-death experiences that result in special understanding that seemingly drives them toward each other across the continents. But their internal struggles with having a unique ability to ‘see in the world of the dead,’ the characters with whom they pass through their lives, and strangers who are drawn to them—particularly to Lonegan, who has reluctantly spent some time in the psychic market—make the film a complex tapestry of, usually benign, behavior.

Continue reading