Thursday, January 3, 2008

Movie Reviews

Another way I shall endeavor to entertain you here, Dear Reader, is by providing little movie and book reviews about things I read and watch. I'm a fairly rabid consumer of DVD rentals from the local library since we turned off our cable (and didn't install an antenna for getting regular network) TV in August 2005. I didn't want to be sitting home without a job watching Oprah. Not to knock Oprah, but you know, I just didn't want that. Plus, the library is a 2-minute walk from our house, and you can just about anything you can imagine there for free free free. Can't beat that with a stick. I've been slowing down on books, but I hope to pick it up as I wean myself from the boob tube.

So, without further ado, my first review on this blog, of the movie The Last King of Scotland, starring Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy. Oh, wait, I should say, that I personally can't stand spoilers of any kind. I prefer to know as little as possible about movies when I go to see them. My ideal movie situation is just showing up, sitting down, and not even knowing what is playing. Tricky to accomplish in real life. So, I am going to try to give away as little as possible, so my reviews might be more just opinions and recommendations, but I will submit them for your perusal nonetheless.

I liked this movie. I didn't like the violence, but the acting was top notch, the cinematography was also very good, casting brilliant, story well-written and tight, and there were some surprisingly steamy scenes that were very well done. James McAvoy is utterly dreamy, so I will have to seek out other films/shows with him (hello, IMDB). Forest Whitaker was incredible. I didn't know much of the history that this movie covers (Idi Amin's rise to power and his subsequent corruption and brutality in Uganda), so it was also somewhat educational, despite the kernel of the story being entirely fictional.

I would recommend this film to those with a strong stomach or the willingness to watch a fair few scenes from behind your arm and/or muted. The extras on the DVD were especially interesting, because the film was made in Uganda, and many people there remember Amin's reign of terror none too fondly. I wonder how hard it must have been for them to see Amin come alive again in Forest Whitaker.

I also watched The Education of Shelby Knox last night. Eh. It was alright. I really wonder how the film came to be made at all, because it just wasn't too phenomenally interesting (the star is a bit of a drama queen, which almost gave it a reality show feel at times), and how did these filmmakers happen to connect with their subject? I wouldn't really recommend this film unless sex education in public schools is a big passionate issue for you.

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