Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Walking the Birth Line in Philadelphia

Only 13 More Days Until The Deuce Weekly Returns!

Before we begin, note that I've added links to all sorts of fun and various things in the Super Bowl Diary, including one to The Sports Guy's own diary.

Saw two movies for the first time, and saw another one for the first time in a long time...

The first is "Birth". This stars Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Anne Heche and this kid named Cameron Bright. Okay, so here's the set up... Nicole plays Anna, who has lost her husband and is still grieving, even years later. In fact, she's still grieving when she decides to remarry, marrying Joseph, played by Danny Huston (you might know him from Leaving Las Vegas, as "Barman 2"). Anyway, this 10 year old kid pops up (Cameron, who plays "young" versions of characters in at least half of his roles) and says he's the reincarnated version of Sean, who is Anna's husband.

Its a very weird movie with really no point. I invested 110 minutes into this movie, and the end has no substantial payout. Nothing. Since I figure you'll probably not see this movie, let me tell you how crappy it ends... after an hour and a half of this kid trying to convince Anna not to marry Joseph, that he's really Sean, he tells her that he's really not Sean. And thats it. Plus you get the disturbing picture of Nicole Kidman sitting in a bathtub with a ten year old boy. She's one of my favorite actresses, sitting close to the top of the "All Time Hot Actresses List" (which has had Ashley Judd at #1 for forever), but she just hasn't made the kind of movies in the last few years like the ones that made me fall in love with her to begin with... Dead Calm, The Others, Moulin Rouge, To Die For, even that suckfest The Peacemaker was better with her in it. And admit it--Cold Mountain was only good because of Jewel being in it. But I digress...

Next, I saw the movie "Philadelphia" for the first time in several years. Because this movie is a little older, 1993, some of you may not have seen it... but its fantastic. Tom Hanks is Andrew Beckett, a solid attorney with a long history of success who is suddenly fired after "losing" an important file. He sues the law firm, feeling they fired him because it becomes known that he has AIDS... and that he's gay. Beckett hires Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington, to represent him, and they go after the big guns in the law firm.

Both Tom Hanks and Denzel are fantastic in this movie... remember, up until now, Hanks had been the guy in Turner and Hooch, and The Money Pit and those silly 80s movies--there was no Forest Gump, or an Apollo 13 or a Cast Away at this point, or even a Sleepless in Seattle... this was a major turn for him. Denzel had won an Oscar for Glory, but I dare say his character here, frightened by the fact he knows nothing about AIDS and how to get it, and how repulsed he is by Andrew Beckett's homosexuality, trumps his role in Glory. Just a great movie.

Finally, Stephanie & I finally saw Walk the Line" this week. Absolutely fantastic. Joaquin Phoenix... you know, if he insists that his name is not pronounced "Joe-Quinn", but instead "WahKeen", but still spells it like Joe-Quinn, then we'll call him WahKeen... is great as Johnny Cash, but the real treat in this movie is Reese Witherspoon. I have always been a Reese Fan, because even though the first thing that pops in your head is "Legally Blonde", she's got lots of other stuff... in fact, we'll do a column on her later. There is too much to say, and right now, we're talking about Walk the Line.

Reese is simply brilliant as June Carter, who is only slightly in the movie for the first third, but when Johnny gives in to his pill addiction and has his world collapse around him, she takes center stage, being his friend and helper and eventually his wife. I would luuuuuuve to see Reese pick up an Oscar for this part.

The movie starts right before Johnny is set to take the stage at the now famous Folsom Prison concert, and begins a flashback to his childhood (is that really the guy from Terminator 2 as his DAD??) on up through marrying his childhood sweetheart, Vivian (played by Gennifer Goodwin, who falls into The Jennifer Herndon Circle of Almost Beauty) and eventually meeting June Carter. You see Johnny Cash rise to the top, take the fall and crawl his way back up. Its also fun to see unknown actors play legendary artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Elvis and Waylon Jennings, who was actually played by Waylon's son Shooter.

The music is grand, you find yourself humming to Folsom Prison Blues and Ring of Fire, even as you see them being constructed, and to be honest I dont know much about June Carter's music... that being said, I would buy a Reese Witherspoon album right now if she had it out. Both Wahkeen and Reese did all their own vocals, and it was pratically flawless.

Bottom line is, I loved everything about this movie... I can see this being a Remote Stopper soon enough.

Dave's Movie Ratings
Birth: $$
Philadelphia: $$$$
Walk the Line: $$$$1/2
$ - Crap. Better film on teeth.
$$ - Eh. Not the worst I've ever seen, but not far from it.
$$$ - Not bad. Not my favorite, but I would watch it again if it came on TV
$$$$ - Very good film. Very well done, well acted, great movie.
$$$$$ - Absolutely Brilliant Movie.

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