Pygmy Reviews #4: Movies

Sleepers (1996)

One Line Description: Four friends get revenge on a juvenile detention guard who abused them physically and sexually when they were incarcerated youths.

One of many movies that I DVRed based on the cast (DeNiro, Bacon and Dustin Hoffman were listed) and the premise. Hoffman has a small part, but the movie also contains Brad Pitt, Jason Patric, Rod Eldard, Minnie Driver and Billy Crudup. Really good movie that takes a long time to get to the premise that DirecTV promises me. It’s nearly an hour before Kevin Bacon shows up and the four principal characters don’t even reach adulthood until at least halfway through the movie. I thought the first half of the movie dragged a bit, but the second half was awesome. I didn’t see the second half coming the way it happened and it was really solid. The cleverness the four friends use to systematically get revenge is great, and creative. Solid movie, with some graphic scenes, and a stronger finish than start.

Glory (1989)

One Line Description: A “based on a true story” account of the first company of all-black soldiers in the Civil War.

A chiseled Denzel Washington won the first of his two Oscars for this one. Another movie I had seen at some point but not in a while. Due to Matthew Broderick’s lack of success later in life, it’s hard to watch in this serious role and not think about Ferris Bueller. Good movie with good themes but I wonder how Hollywooded up this story is. Morgan Freeman is his always solid self and there are a couple of other recognizable faces in here. It’s a good but not great movie, but to be honest I haven’t seen a lot of other Civil War movies to compare it to. 

Up in the Air (2009)

One Line Description: A apathetic man who’s job it is to fire people starts to learn what it’s like to care about other people and himself.

Plenty of Oscar nominations, but no wins in this interesting story about a guy (George Clooney) who works for a consultant company who handles firing people for other companies. Clooney has an almost robotic life of airports, hotels and especially frequent flyer miles. He meets someone he thinks is just like him and tries to bond with her, all while trying to teach the young gun full of new ideas what this job is really about. The family aspect was interesting but in typical movie fashion he gets real involved, real fast. Solid movie. It’s easy to understand why Clooney is a heartthrob, he’s charming as hell. Vera Farmiga continues to impress me. I liked this movie better than most I have seen the last few years.

One plot hole that killed me with this one. Clooney’s job had to have paid pretty well. His apartment was crap and everything he spent day to day was billed to the company. He never came off as rich and as old as he was you would have thought he could just retire and walk away. Anyone else think this? 

Easy A (2010)

One Line Description: After accidentally starting a rumor about her own promiscuity, a teen both struggles and benefits from being the school slut.

I liked Emma Stone a lot in Zombieland and Superbad but this one just didn’t hit the spot. I have no doubt high school has changed since the 10+ years I was there but this one didn’t make any sense at times. Based on what the media says about teenagers having sex, I find it hard to believe that Stone would have been the only one getting around. She herself was solid but the story kind of sucked. The writing was good though, especially from her parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) and her favorite teacher and his guidance counselor wife (Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow). I’d probably steer clear of this one overall though.

The Lovely Bones (2009)

One Line Description: A teen girl posthumously narrates the story of her murder and what transpired after it.

Not sure where to begin…Another movie I stumbled upon based on actors/description on my DVR, but one I vaguely remember hearing about. I didn’t realize until after that fact that it was directed by Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame), but it made a lot of sense in retrospect. Stanley Tucci won a well-deserved Oscar for his performance in this movie set in the 1970s. It was definitely a weird balance between a thriller and a drama, but overall it was good. It was a little slow in the beginning but the 2nd half was solid.