Sunday, October 22, 2006
Three Movies, Three Different Responses
Armed with a "BOGO" coupon, yesterday I rented three movies that I've been wanting to view for awhile, and haven't had the time to see until now. "Mr and Mrs Smith" the action/spy/romance movie, starring Brad Pitt and the lush Angelina Jolie, "A Good Woman" starring Scarlett Johansson (a favorite of my husbands) and Helen Hunt, and "Capote" starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I watched "Mr and Mrs Smith" first, and was stunned by the car chases, harrowing escapes, gunfire and special effects. Not a movie for the faint of heart. Yet with his hair shaved and his age beginning to show, I thought Brad Pitt was always a breath behind the lithe and svelte Jolie. He's still got those sweet baby blue eyes, and can make with the innocent "don't you just want to mother me and take me to bed" stare at the drop of a machine gun cartridge, but I still found myself thinking that Jolie could do better with someone a touch more emotionally mature. Though I find tatoos disgusting and in poor taste, I still think Jolie makes one hot leading lady, and she's a decent actress to boot. The whole plot of two spies sharing a lie of a marriage, and going to counseling, was funny for about 15 minutes, and then it palled by the end of the movie. Note to film makers: Too much snark is a bad thing. The next movie was "Capote," which, if you've ever read "In Cold Blood" will devastate you, and I was not disappointed. Phillip Hoffman had the Capote lisp and drawl down to a science, and he even managed to appear as small as Capote, and as brilliant and petulant. "In Cold Blood" was the first book of Capotes that I read, and it seared me to the soul.It is, without a doubt, a masterwork of American fiction. It did, as the editor in the movie says, "change the way American fiction is written." And I had no idea that Capote was good friends with the marvelous Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," another masterwork of fiction. I was also unaware that neither author would ever finish another novel, and that Capote spent so much time with the prisoners that he fell in love with one of them, and that he watched the murderer hang for his crime. Amazing, horrifying and yet, fascinating at the same time. I am not surprised that Hoffman won an academy award for this role. He deserved it. The last movie was a new take on an old Oscar Wilde story, "A Good Woman." I was sobbing so much at the end of Capote that I had hopes that this movie would be uplifting to my dark mood. Unfortunately, a lot of talented actors are wasted on what appears to be a very thin script. You do get to see the gorgeous Amalfi Coast in Italy, and some luscious fashions and villas, but other than that, it's not a movie I'd recommend.