Monday, April 21, 2008

The weather outside is weather

I have seen two great but very different movies recently.

Snow Angels, directed by David Gordon Green, tells an interwoven story of several lost and troubled characters, reaching a tense and heart-wrenching climax that we know is inevitable. The film features Kate Beckinsale in a very powerful performance as an over-stressed single mother dealing with her teetering-on-the edge ex-husband, played by the brilliant Sam Rockwell. Meanwhile, a teenager named Arthur, played by the increasingly impressive Michael Angarano (known best to me as Jack's son on Will and Grace) tries to make sense of his own life, while falling for a quirky new girl named Lila, played by Olivia Thirlby. Amy Sedaris gives an a great supporting performance as well.

Bookended by a strange and compelling marching band performance of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," Snow Angels is a powerhouse of tension. Because of the flashback nature of the narrative, we know from the beginning that something bad is going to happen to one or more of these characters, but the fact that we do not know exactly what is coming makes for a gripping drama. Most of all, though, Snow Angels is a wonderful character study full of superb performances.

I do not think I really need to explain the premise or anything else about Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But I will say that it made me laugh a lot. I definitely recommend it. Jason Segel (who wrote the movie) is charming and clever, but the real surprise to me was Mila Kunis, who has always been okay on That 70s Show, but she really shines in this movie. Like other Apatow-produced films, FSM has a big heart, but it is also a raunchy laugh fest. I enjoyed this very much.


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