Mystic River (2003) runs deep

This is one movie in which you will be impressed and effected by. You will not leave the cinema unmoved.

If you were to judge the Best Picture nominees by combination of acting, script and direction, I’d pick this as the winner. Basically this movie kept my interest from start to finish. It was very well done. It’s impossible to not get any emotional involvement in the story. It’s one that cuts deep into you. This has to be the best non-epic of the year.

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The Terminal (2004)

So the big Spielberg/Hanks movie is not doing as well as originally expected. Why is this happening – the movie got great reviews, and the star power is attractive. What went wrong?┬áHere’s a few ideas that have crossed my mind as I watched “The Terminal” this past weekend.

Right off the bat, I admit I’m a Spielberg junkie. I may not know his birthday or the names of his kids, but I really love most of the movies he makes, and have been caught defending failures like “Amistad” and “A.I.” Why? Because he’s a man with a vision, who just happens to be very successful, and allows that success to blur his vision from time to time. I can live with the occasional hiccup, as long as it’s followed by stronger, more entertaining film. That’s why I defend Spielberg’s weaker movies – they’re the in-between projects that still make for good entertainment, just nothing extraordinary.

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Bon Voyage (2003)

Movies like this one rarely get the attention they deserve. It’s not just the “European” stigma and low budget. It’s not the “tough to read” subtitles. I think it’s mainly because the movie is unusual, and therefore, difficult to sell, and even more difficult to digest. Not to say it’s a heavy movie. Not at all. It’s just an atypical experience.

I saw this movie about 7 months ago, at the Toronto Film Festival (love the city, love the festival, wish more people came here and discovered it for themselves). Sorry ‘about the plug – the film fest is an annual tradition for me, and seeing any of these movies picked up for major distribution is always a pleasure. Especially if a movie is not a “sure bet”, and not a crowdpleaser.
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Jim Carrey in yet another serious role? Kirsten Dunst in a dramatic turn? A film with no specific narrative, and no standard timeline? You probably think that it’s one of those “art” movies that are going to go over your head, have all the critics salivate for a few months, get a few awards and be forgotten. You might be wrong.

What a movie! What a script! Regardless of how much money this flick will make at the box office, it’s one great achievement. And, to make things even more interesting, let me tell you right away, this is a very “accessible” movie. Not dumbed down, but rather, presented in such a way that you can view it as a love story, or as a study of human nature’s futility. The movie works on many levels, and you’re not required to “get” everything in order to come out of the theater feeling satisfied and entertained.
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