Thursday, May 14, 2009

Catching up a little

This week Rob and I finally got around to watching a couple movies we've been meaning to see: Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon.


Here is the Rob and Emily scoop:
Slumdog - 3 stars
Frost/Nixon - 4 stars
I'd say we probably agree star rating wise, although I liked Slumdog better then Rob did. People I think just talked it up too much and it didn't quite deliver to the point we expected. We were expecting absolute magic I guess. Instead, what we got was a movie that was quite predictable although it was entertaining. It's a story about two brothers and a little girl from yes, the slums in India. They get separated a few times for various reasons and the main character goes on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire and knows all the answers and is accused of cheating. He reveals to the police how he knows every answer he was asked. This is done through a series of flashbacks throughout his life of when he learns the answer to each question. Showing you it was kind of like his destiny to win his whole life. Cool concept (Rob didn't care for), CUTE little Indian kids, as you can imagine, some of the slums images were tough to see and you get a glimpse of life in a third world country which is always disturbing. I thought the movie didn't go too overboard on that though and kept it lighter then some movies might, basically, I slept that night and wasn't too affected (that's saying a lot for me). Anyway, like I said, it was predicable and offered no surprises which kind of sucks, but overall, it was good. If someone has seen this, what is up with the credits???????? It had to have been some kind of nod to Bollywood-- it was SO CRAZY!! If you haven't seen it, uh, the very end is weird. I kept laughing in surprise but Rob took it as the final insult to a movie that disappointed him a few too many times. He said he liked it right when it was done, but the more time that passed since seeing it, it has worsened with each passing day. So, I will say he thought it was worth seeing while watching, but now might call it lame sauce. I liked it, but can't give it a hardy loved it, but find it worth seeing.


We were both really impressed with this one. The acting, the writing and the symbolism, and the parallels we each found in other presidents (which spawned some good conversations between us), and the cinematography and lighting was all really really good. I think everyone knows what this movie is about, so I'm not going to waste my time on a synopsis. Frank Langella (Nixon) did a great job with Nixon, very believeable. Micheal Sheen did a great job too. I have no idea what David Frost is like, but he was good none the less. There were a few moments where we thought Austin Powers might as well played his part (we independantly both thought this wordlessly and brought it up after the movie). We also thought he look a lot like a 70's era Jack Nicholson. An R rating is pretty surprising, all I remember is the F word a few times which the few times it is uttered is very weird and surprising to hear it coming from a president of the US, so had an impact. I would certainly recommend this to anyone who likes history and politics. I would fully recommend it to people that actually experienced this crazy piece of history for themselves. I was less then a year old during Nixon's resignation, so I have had to learn about the Watergate scandel from other sources, but I can imagine this movie would be even more interesting and effective to a generation ahead of me that followed the news stories as they happened, and more importantly, remember Nixon as he was and what Frost was able to accomplish. It really concentrates on Nixon's attitude and nature and the amazing thing Frost brought out in him. I understood the impact somewhat, but not fully. I just think a greater knowledge of Nixon would generate a greater impact from the movie if that makes sense.
I have a story about an amusing mix up of Richard Nixon the President of the United States and Richard Nixon the Stake President of my childhood involving dad and I, but alas I have to get ready for work, I may add it later.

28 comments:

Pops said...

I watched Slumdog a month ago and I think Emilys assessment is spot on for the most part. I think I lean a little to Robs side. It was interesting and the slum scenes of India was real and well done and disturbing. Intelligent movie making with the flashbacks showing how the kid new the answers to such random questions on the quiz show. Not a movie that I have any warm, fuzzy feelings for. Not like "What About Bob?" that is all over the cable the last few nights and I saw part of the last two nights. "I sail", "He never leaves", "Your father is (sometimes) funny". Lots of quotes, Sue, in that one.
I rented "Frost/Nixon" this morning and can't wait to see it. I remember the interviews being on TV, but don't remember watching them much or at all. I was apolitical mostly in those days. I liked Nixon more that most people did at the end. He and his advisors were so dumb with the Watergate cover up. If they just fessed up at the beginning it would not have been a big thing.

Dan W said...

I didn't like Slumdog as much as I had hoped I would either. Through a weird path, a couple of years ago I ended up listening to the audio book version of the novel it was based on, and like most books vs. film, the book was definitely better. Instead of wanting to go on the show to be able to shout out to the girl, he has a much darker reason for trying out for it--and he ends up connecting with the girl he loved from his past when she shows up as his lawyer! Anyway, Slumdog was good, for sure, but not best picture worthy in my opinion.

And yes the ending was just plain old Bollywood fun. I DID actually like that....

Need to see Frost/Nixon. And Flash of Genius just showed up from Netflix yesterday, so I will be watching that this weekend, I hope.

Sue said...

I thought Slumdog was pretty good. I agree, it was pretty hyped up and wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. The story was pretty interesting, sounds like the book is good, I'll have to check that out. I think the best thing about the movie, and I think most movie critics agree is Danny Boyle's directing. I thought it was amazing. He is a good director, he did 28 Days Later, an awesome zombie movie and Trainspotting. Trainspotting is one of those movies that sticks with you for weeks after you see it. Or in my case, about 12 years after I saw it.

I also have Frost/Nixon here, haven't watched it yet. Probably will this weekend, and am really looking forward to it. Em, if you want to brush up on your Nixon era, I recommend 2 movies. One being All the President's Men of course. Probably in my top 10 of all time favorite movies for me. I watched it on AMC a few months ago and it was especially fun to watch now that we know Mark Felt was Deepthroat. Mark Felt was one of the head guys in the FBI at the time Watergate happened. Not the top guy, but I think 2nd top guy. The movie is great, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman have great chemistry and are really fun to watch. The other movie is Nixon starring Anthony Hopkins as Nixon. He does an amazing job and looks and sounds just like Nixon. I remember being shocked he was going to play him, but he did a great job. It is directed by Oliver Stone, not my favorite. But it isn't one of his over-the-top, conspiracy JFK type movies. It is about Nixon's whole political life, not just the Watergate era, it also touches on his childhood.

Speaking of Oliver Stone, Cam and I watched W a few weeks ago. It is surprisingly empathetic towards George bubudu, (hee hee Cat). The trailer made it seem like a comedy, and it is not. And it made someone like me kind of feel sorry for the guy. Serious daddy issues.

Emily said...

I didn't know Slumdog was based on a book, I think I'll be checking that out also.
I never did see Trainspotting, but I know I should. 28 days later was good. The zombies were so scary because they moved so fast, a real creepy twist on zombies. Boyle's directing was really good. I can't believe Frost/Nixon was nominated I think for 9 Oscars and didn't win any. That is a crime. I love All the President's Men, but haven't seen it since Deepthroat's reveal and I have thought it would be fun to watch it with that point of view. I should Netflix it, I don't think Rob has ever seen it and he liked this movie so much, I am sure he would enjoy it.
I kind of want to see W. I have heard that it is surprisingly sympathetic to ol GW (Chris and Jimmy did a review of it a while ago which I listened to in their archives just about a week ago- I just discovered how to get their archived episodes onto my ipod and have been having a lot of fun with that lately).

Neaners said...

I saw SlumDog in the theatre and enjoyed it for the most part. Yes the Ballywood dancing was strange but entertaining. It was tough to watch some scenes and to see the poor people. I appreciate these movies and feel blessed to live in the United States.
Frost Nixon is definitely on my list to watch. It is in my que so I should be getting it soon. I had to chuckle when Em said she was only one when Nixon resigned. I feel old:)

Dan W said...

The novel is called Q&A, and it's by Vikas Swarup. Again I listened to it on audio book, and my memory is it wasn't that long. It is the basic same stuff about him flashing back to explain how he happened to know the answers to the questions. Some of the snippets are the same as in the film, but there are many that differ, including the one that leads him to want to be on the show.

Sue said...

Em, you'll have to tell me how to get Chris and Jimmy's archived stuff. I could probably figure it out, but I'd rather someone just tell me. I think Rob would like All the President's Men. It's a classic.

I love the zombies in 28 Days Later! The way they move so fast is so creepie and wonderful! That one that they have chained in that alley just gives me the chills! I own it, I think I'll watch it this weekend. And when the drop of blood lands in the dad's eye! I love it! Yep, I'm definitely watching it this weekend.

And Em, Trainspotting is one of the greatest indie films ever made, but I don't want you to see it right now. There is a baby scene that is so disturbing that it still gives me nightmares sometimes. I don't think you should watch it.

Emily said...

Yikes! Bad baby scene, not a good idea- I'll have to pass for an indeterminate amount of time.

Ben said...

Hey everybody! Dan just told me about this a few days ago and I thought I would check it out. I would like to participate in this if it's ok with you guys. Ben

Pops said...

Hey, Ben: Come on aboard, we all would love to have you as part of all this. You are family you know. You will have a lot of stupid stuff to read when you get logged on. Love, dad

Emily said...

Ben! That would be great if you joined. I'll have to get your gmail info so I can make you a contributor and you can write your own stupid stuff for us to read on here.

On another note, I guess I messed up my dates with the Nixon resignation. It was in 74, not 77 I guess. One wonders if I got that date from having Lost on the brain? Pregnancy and Lost brain, what is a girl to do?

Sorry Jeanine, looks like I added another couple of years to your age.

Amy said...

Hey Ben! Glad you've joined the blog. It will be great to catch up with you. Check out my family blog & Haley & Marcus', too. I watched half of "Flash of Genius" yesterday. I'll finish it soon.

Dan W said...

Hey all,

Ben sent his note about ten minutes before we headed out to take him to his training this weekend at Impact. So he will likely not be able to write again until Sunday. Good to have him in town for a few days!

Sue said...

I'm glad you're going to be on here Ben. It's a lot of fun and a great way to communicate with the family. Ben will be staying with me for the next couple of nights and can use my computer if he wants to.

Pops said...

It'll be great to have Ben on the blog and get to know thim better. Glad to hear he is at Impact. I believe that is a good program for him.

Mom and I watched Frost/Nixon tonight and really, really enjoyed it. It brought back so many memories of that era and the mistakes he made and all the names of people I saw on TV and read about. Very well done movie as Emily said so well on her post.

What is Trainspotting? Never heard of it. Is it a depot where trains dispose of waste? Help me here!

Neaners said...

Yeah Ben. Like your dad said it is great to have you join. I know I missed you and have thought of you often. Please let us know how you are and what your plans are. I have heard bits and pieces from Sue etc.. but it isn't like having you write. Take care!

Sue said...

Hey Dad-Trainspotting is a great independant film that came out in the 90's. It is about a group of friends in Scotland who are addicted to heroin. Well, one of them is not, but the rest are. Ewan McGregor is the main guy and he tries to kick the addiction and is pretty successful and moves to London then his friends find him again. It's just really good and good directing and I imagine it is a pretty realistic portrayal of what it would be like to be addicted to heroin.

Have you watched Punch Drunk Love yet? I didn't really mean for my talking about it to be a recommendation. Let me know what you thought.

Haley said...

Welcome to the blog Ben! So, did anyone else watch the season finale of the Office last week? It was a really funny episode, definitely better than some of the episodes this season, most really weren't that great. The finale is though.....Slum Dunder Mifflin-Aire!

Emily said...

Rob and I are two episodes behind and were all set to watch them last night and Rob zonked out. Tonight for sure!

Cat said...

The only thing I remember about Trainspotting was the most horrific bathroom scene ever. Heroine withdrawal...I just can't see that again. B, beware. I think I'll read the book though, it's a really good story.

Cat said...

Holly and Michael are so hilarious together. I hope they get back together. I know that sounds redundant, but I couldn't come up with any other way to put it.

Haley said...

They really are, I hope they get back together as well. By the way, we watched Flash of Genius the other day and we both liked it a lot! Good movie, I always like a true story.

Sue said...

That scene you're talking about Cat would probably put B in a catatonic state. If I'm thinking of the same scene, it doesn't really happen in the bathroom. The guy wakes up at his girlfriend's house and realizes what he did while sleeping and he trys to sneak the sheets into the laundry without her family knowing what happened. And his girlfriend's mom grabs the sheets from him and, well, stuff goes flying. Is that the scene? That scene made me dry heave while watching, but that's what I liked about that movie. It certainly didn't "glorify" heroin use in any way.

Emily said...

I'm thinking more and more that I will never be seeing this film.

Cat said...

Oh, yeah. Now I kind of remember that scene better. I think I mentally blocked it.

Pops said...

I watched "Punch Drunk Love" last week. It was something to think about all Wright, but I don't think I liked it too much. Some funny stuff and wierd stuff but Sadlers character with the anger stuff was a little much. Sweet kinda love story, but all in all it left me cold and angry. Matt saw a lot more funny stuff in it than I did. Just in the 10 minutes that he watched it with me.

B said...

There's no way I will ever see that movie. Ever.

Welcome to the blog Ben!

We are all stoked to see you guys this weekend!!!

Sue said...

I just finished watching Frost/Nixon. I really liked it. Frank Langella was great as Nixon. Remember the birthday party scene and Neil Diamond is singing in the background? Guess who played Neil Diamond? Yep, you guessed it! Jay White, the ND impersonater we saw last summer! hahahahhaha! I now remember him talking about auditioning for a movie and getting the part.