DVD Roundup

I haven’t done a DVD roundup in a while, so here are a few quick reviews of films I’ve seen in the last few months:

On a night when you’re feeling really comfortable, successful, and like you’ve got everything together, put Hotel Rwanda into your DVD player. Two hours and two minutes later, you’ll emerge in a shell-shocked realization that the rest of the world doesn’t operate as easily as the one just outside your living room. This is a difficult film to watch, even as it spares us the most gruesome violence. Does this type of thing still happen in our “highly evolved” society? You bet it does. 8 out of 10

Hostage was at best mediocre. The film, which features Bruce Willis trying to save an seemingly endless number of hostages, is like an introspective version of Willis’ earlier success, Die Hard. The Die Hard genre of cinema and introspection go together about as well as mayonnaise on pizza, and Hostage only proves the rule. The whole “kidnappers-are-people-too” idea grows wearisome, and while a sullen Willis worked for The Sixth Sense, it seems awkward in Hostage. 4 out of 10

Secondhand Lions: It’s been out for a while, but I’ll admit that I was surprised that I liked this film so much. Haley Joel Osmet pulls off a perfect sissy-boy who learns to grow up a bit when he spends a summer with his eccentric uncles played by Robert Duvall and Michael Caine. Duvall hilariously evokes the kind of “man’s man” that you rarely see anymore. 7 out of 10

Finding Neverland: First, bore me to tears, and then proceed to tell me that a man destroying his marriage in pursuit of another woman is a good thing in the long run. Peter Pan never did grow up, and neither did this movie’s plot. 4 out of 10

The Life Aquatic: This is the second time I’ve tried really hard to like a Wes Anderson film. This is the second time I’ve failed miserably. Something about Anderson’s humor either goes over my head or is just not funny to me. 3 out of 10

In Good Company: I liked this movie because it shows us that the new and idealistic isn’t always the best approach. It’s the most un-Hollywoodish portrayal of family life I’ve seen in a long time, and Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace both give outstanding performances. It’s one of the best movies for character development of the year. 7 out of 10

3 thoughts on “DVD Roundup”

  1. I pretty much shared your likes and dislikes on this list, although I liked The Life Aquatic a bit better – I think it is nihilistic, at root, but it shows up the lostness of that nihilism underneath the veneer of campy humour.

    Hotel Rwanda is aweful/awesome, yes. I loved Secondhand Lions when it came out, partly because it was one of a handful of “it’s okay to be a MAN” movies that came out at about the same time.

  2. Gideon: I’m glad you noted that about The Life Aquatic — I think that it was indeed very nihilistic, I just couldn’t put my finger on it before.

    In Good Company does tend to surprise in that it breaks with the expected mold so drastically.

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