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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