Friday, April 17, 2009

State of Play.

I decided this morning that I wanted to go to dinner and a movie tonight with friends. Seeing as how it was so last minute, I was unable to persuade any of my in-town homies to accompany me. So I fixed my self a salad, cleaned, and decided to go to the movies anyway. I really wanted to see Russell Crowe's latest flick State of Play. I set my facebook status to alert any stragglers and drove down to the theater. After buying tickets, I was standing in line to get a soda when I get a call from A-bomb, who lives like five minutes away. Long story short, five minutes later, we're in our seats watching some pretty amazing previews (Star Trek after finals anyone?). The whole evening reiterated for me a love of going to the movies. There's just something exciting about "going" to the theater instead of just watching at home. Don't get me wrong, I love a good movie in my jammies snuggled up with blankie and Max, but I just love the giant screens, previews, giant sodas, and having to pee worse than I ever have in my life. When I have money, I'm going to make it a habit of going once a week.

So, I'm going to give my thoughts on the movie. No, this is not the next film in My non-AFI Top 100 films and no I won't be doing one in this post. Although I'm going to try and not give any of the twists or ending of the film away, if you really want to see the movie and don't want to know anything about it - consider this fair warning. I'm only human and may accidentally let something slip. Starting below the picture, I will reveal my thoughts on the film and you may not want to keep reading! You have been disclaimered.

So I know I have this school-girl crush/obsession with Russell Crowe and you may think I'm biased, but what I genuinely love about Russ is that even though I have this crush, I still forget I'm watching him in a movie every time I see him in a film. I know that makes no sense, so I will try and elaborate. I don't watch a film and think, "Hmm, Russell looks goofy" or something along those lines; instead, whenever I watch him, I see whatever character he's playing. He let's you get so absorbed into the character and story that you forget that this is the guy who played Maximus and Cort and Bud White and John Nash, etc.m I watched State of Play and got really into Cal - not Russell, and regardless of what you may think of him, his personal life, or my goofy obsession with him, that is a genuine talent and he's a true master of his craft.

That being said, several other performances really stood out. Rachel McAdams continues to impress me. I think this is only the third film of hers that I've seen and I've yet to be disappointed. Helen Mirren likewise makes me smile whenever she comes on the screen. A film stealer for me was Jason Bateman. He's great and has potential to be a new favorite actor for me. Also, a nod to the guy who played Private Dancer for those few episodes on Scrubs. He has a small part and it drove me nuts trying to figure out who he was the entire movie. Thank you IMDB.

The person notably missing from my accolades is Ben Affleck, and it's not all his fault, for once. He was horribly casted. He's supposed to be a Senator who went to college with Russell Crowe and is married to Robin Wright Penn (stellar, as she usually is!). I mean, come on, what is that - like a 15 year age gap? The few little white scruffies they put in his sideburns fooled NO ONE. He looked like a baby next to the giants in Crowe and Wright Penn. I also just don't think he's a good actor. He's anti-Russell Crowe. I've never seen a character played by Affleck where I DIDN'T feel like I was watching Ben Affleck - the exact opposite of Crowe's talent. As a result, the chemistry between him and Crowe was pretty weak, so the whole friend-loyalty theme that was central to the film didn't do it for me.

Not to brag or show off how awesome I am, but I guessed the big twist pretty early (A-bomb was impressed by how soon I guessed it.) That being said, it was worth the ride. The friendship loyalty theme and the whole newspapers as a dying art thanks to blogs theme didn't do much for me, but there were others that did. I really enjoyed the subtle patriotism and military undertones. The "good story telling" theme, playing with Rhetoric and the hiding and revealing of information, was right up my ally - along with all things conspiracy related.

The film was also surprisingly pretty. Interesting camera angels and mise en scene combined with some subtle, some not so subtle humor made the whole picture pleasing when juxtaposed with the dirty story, suspense and violence, and questionable morals.

To sum up: good story telling + conspiracies + Russell Crowe - all things Ben Affleck = PERFECT CARMELA MOVIE!

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