Recovery gives you a lot of time to watch movies. I’m still catching up from last time.
It’s Complicated (2009) This has little to recommend it other than it’s fun to see three performers I enjoy, working together in one film. Single lady Meryl Streep has an affair with her married ex (Alec Baldwin) while being romanced by her architect (a sadly underused Steve Martin.) Predictable hilarity ensues. There are worse ways to spend a few hours.
Drumline (2002) I was never in marching band and I hate extended drum solos, but I love heart-pounding percussion and there’s lots of it in this film. The plot is light: a hot-shot drummer has his comeuppance when he joins a college’s prestigious marching band, learning a few life lessons along the way to the big national competition. I enjoyed this twist on the old-style Hollywood musical. Performances were strong, especially Orlando Jones as the band director, and the musical sequences, especially the battle of the drums segments, were fun to watch.
Persepolis (2007) I wanted to like this more than I did. Based on the graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis translates the author’s coming of age story in Iran during the revolution to the big screen. The most captivating thing about this movie is the visual style, which very much calls to mind the black and white films of German Expressionism. The story, on the other hand, didn’t carry as much impact here as it did for me on the printed page. Still, it’s worth seeing for an affecting glimpse of life in Iran during wartime.
Rescue Dawn (2006) Others might have a problem with Christian Bale, but not me. Putting him in a movie directed by Werner Herzog makes for a must-see film in my opinion. Here, Herzog creates a narrative version of his 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly about Dieter Dengler, the only man to successfully escape from a prisoner of war camp during the Vietnam War. Beautifully shot in the jungle and aided by a great performance by the always watchable Steve Zahn, this is a first-rate prison drama.
Alice in Wonderland (2010) This wasn’t nearly the train wreck I thought it was going to be. A visual feast, even on the small screen, with winning performances all around, save Anne Hathaway, here more annoying than usual as the White Queen. Helena Bonham Carter looked and sounded spot-on as the Red Queen and Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter (predictably bizarre) was suitably mad and mesmerizing. My only quibble was his silly Beetlejuice-like dance that was completely out of sync with the rest of the fantasy. I was thoroughly entertained.