Quick Takes – 10.02.11

Moneyball (2011)

Grade: A- | 2nd Viewing

During our podcast review of Moneyball we talked about Brad Pitt’s performance as being more internalized than we are used to seeing from the actor. On second viewing, I noticed more externalizing of his character, making it more of a typical Pitt performance. He relies a lot on food to show his mood, he uses physical walks and other movement to give indication to his state of mind. It is still an excellent performance, but less groundbreaking upon a second viewing.

What really stood out to me was how well this movie stands up to a second viewing overall. Despite the straight forward storytelling, the dialogue is so fantastic that it is a pleasure to sit back and listen to it unfold. Every interior dialogue heavy scene is equally balanced with a minimalist exterior baseball stadium scene that makes for an excellent contrast and shows the audience where the action of baseball really takes place. The brain of a baseball team is in the clubhouse, but the heart is on the field.

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Grade: A | 2nd Viewing

Federico Fellini’s masterpiece about the indolent lives of the rich is one of the best examples of that particular genre since the plays of Anton Chekhov. Not only does Fellini examine the emptiness of a static life of luxury, but he does so with surprising wit and perspective. The streets of Rome appear emptier than they ever would at any hour of the day as the characters drift aimlessly towards the next social gathering. Marcello Mastroianni is particularly memorable as the tabloid journalist who is welcomed into every circle despite his association with the hated paparazzo.

Fellini masterfully addresses numerous themes including impotence and lack of privacy. The overall idea seems to be that fame and riches bring with them a sense of numbness that leads one to wandering places rather than moving forward. There are characters that exhibit various extremes such as Nico, the orgiastic actor, and Maddalena the playful woman who never quite reveals her true feelings towards Marcello. It is a marvelous movie with new things to discover upon each successive viewing.

What movies did you see this week?

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  • really want to see Moneyball …

    movies i saw:

    1. Drive. A (one of the best movies of the year no doubt, visually stunning with everything in the right perspective, some truly memorable scenes and i loved the soundtrack too.)

    2. Contagion. B (Best movie of this sort, i liked the was made. pretty scary too.)

    3. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark. C- (it was seriously bad movie, not the worst horror movie but still not good at all)

  • Jose

    Moneyball
    1st viewing
    Not going to lie, I was thoroughly unimpressed with this movie. I mean, it lacked a consistent direction. Was it a drama with a few funny moments it it or was it supposed to have a “real” honest Documentary feel to it mixed live footage of the Oakland team, or another drab feel good story of the little guy finally getting his due. To me, it was dull mess, and the pacing was awful and several scenes lasted way too long, particularly the ending.
    C+

    Hot Fuzz
    5 Viewing
    Before this viewing I’ve always hated this movie. I’ve never understood the appeal of it and found it to be incredibly full of itself, and yet in this viewing for some reason I actually enjoyed it. Makes me wonder if frequent viewings of movies I hate will eventually have me turn around.
    B+

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    9(?) Viewing
    My brother and I found this playing on tv and realized that its been years since we’ve seen it. Still love it, and I need to get a DVD of this, I only have the VHS.
    A

  • “Body Heat” – A

    Brilliant piece of film noir. Stellar atmosphere and great performances by Turner and Hurt. Loved it.

    “Midnight Run” – A

    Can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a film this much. Just an endlessly quotable movie, and it’s a decent action flick as well.

  • The Rules of the Game: A
    I took your suggestion from a few weeks ago and it paid off. A very impressive film that’s definitely ahead of it’s time in many ways. The cinematography was paticuraly outstanding, not to mention the performances and screenplay are great as well.

    A Trip to the Moon: A
    I was looking in my ‘1001 Movies to See Before You Die’ book and realized I still hadn’t seen this. So I headed on over to YouTube and checked it out. Very interesting.

  • @Brandon – Glad you got a chance to check out ‘Rules of the Game’, Brandon!

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