One you've likely heard about - Slumdog Millionaire. I had high expectations...it'd gotten excellent reviews and the plot sounded intriguing. But my expectations were nothing close to how good this movie is. Don't get me wrong. It is at times brutal to watch - I mean, it's about a kid growing up in the slums of India, after all. But Danny Boyle and his cast manage to find exactly the right path through the madness, blending honest sadness and atrocity with humanity and humor. There is a scene early in the movie set in an outhouse that sets the pace and tone, and from that point forward you know you can trust Boyle with the story he's telling. And it's a doozy. Go see it. Pay full price. Don't miss out on this film.
The other is a bit of a sleeper. In Bruges. Perhaps you didn't hear about it until it got nominated. Or perhaps you heard about it and have the same sort of aversion to Colin Farrell that I do to Angelina Jolie (or anything associated with her, even Brad Pitt.) Or perhaps you live in a smaller town and it didn't come to your theater. I imagine it was a bit of an art film here. In any case, it's an absolute riot of a comedy thriller. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are hitman who are sent to Bruges to chill after a hit in the UK goes down badly. This is a classic buddy film with a mobster feel and a clever script and interesting plot. Ralph Feines is even good in it...he doesn't even seem like a Nazi, which somehow he always manages to do even when he's NOT playing one. I notice tonight that both Farrell and Gleeson are nominated for best actor. I think they both deserve it, and since the kid from Slumdog Millionaire got robbed by the GG, I hope one of them wins. Bruges is a beautiful city, and they capture it well on film. Gleeson is a clipped professional, and he gives one of the more nuanced portrayals of a character that's been done many times before. Farrell is a boy-racer of the gangster world, but he allows the bravado enough cracks to make his character authentic. But the real joy here is watching these two very different actors play off each other, creating a screen couple that will make me buy this film so I can watch it again and again.
And now, a few thoughts on the Golden Globes. With the time difference in the UK, I never got to see award shows whilst in the UK. It just wasn't fun to watch the edited versions later in the week. And while I probably wouldn't be watching this tonight if I were able to do something other than sit on the sofa, it's secretly delightful to see this.
- My, were celebrities glib to the interviewers on the red carpet. I think Maggie Gyllenhal is going to punch the next person who asks her if Heath Ledger should win for The Dark Night.
- Michael C. Hall should have won for Dexter. Have you seen Dexter? That show is unbelievable.
- Johnny Depp never goes bad. Neither does Meryl Streep.
- Why does Rumor Willis seem so awkward?
- It would suck to be caught smiling in the crowd shots immediately after Heath Ledger won.
- Drew Barrymore looks like she came in character for her Grey Gardens role, bless her. I think it's the hair.
- It is a crime, an absolute crime that the actor that plays adult Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire was not nominated for that movie.
- Emma Thompson's husband is a stone cold fox.
- I bet Rainn Wilson has trouble picking up women. You want to think he's nothing like the characters he plays, but it's starting to look suspicious. And I bet Aaron Eckhart does, too, if they've ever seen that film he did about seducing the deaf girl and then dumping her.
- I wonder if Seth Rogan is stoned. (That was rhetorical.)