Friday, October 21, 2011

Rated D - The Ides of March

Back by somewhat Popular Demand!

This past weekend Erika and I went to see a movie called "The Ides of March". SPOILER ALERT!: Political strategists scheme and scramble to defeat each other to win the Democratic ticket for their candidates while ethics, morals, and manipulation put everyone's future in jeopardy.

Caesar: The Ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Ay, Caesar; but not gone.

Fear not if you are not a fan of The Bard... and also don't fear if you don't know who the Bard is... it's Shakespeare if you still haven't figured that out. You don't have to know the story and you don't have like Shakespeare at all to really enjoy this political thriller... also you don't have to know much about politics... The movie follows young campaign staffer, Stepen Myers, played by Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, Crazy/Stupid/Love) as he and the rest of his crew are about to get their golden boy, Gov. Mike Morris, on track to win the Democratic nomination and on his way to the White House. Morris, played by George Clooney (Ocean's Eleven, O' Brother Where Art Thou?, Batman & Robin... that's right...) is almost perfect, but the other campaign lead by Paul Giamatti (Sideways, John Adams, Big Momma's House... no one is safe!...) isn't down for the count yet. The movie is engaging and entertaining all the way through. The bleak, cold wintery setting and... ahem... uniquely beautiful Ohio backdrop?... sure let's go with that... slows the pace of the film but the performances are terrific and the story is tense and tightly wound, keeping you glued to the story and making you happy you didn't get that Poli. Sci. degree. Though it does have a nicely wrapped story, almost too neatly tied up at times, the story sometimes touches on heavy issues but doesn't take time to explore them. From religion to abortion to forced military service, it taps them all, but it either doesn't have the time or the interest in talking about them for very long which leaves some of the audience wondering why they came up at all. The main thing the movie explores is loyalty: amongst friends, lovers, and coworkers. Watch for a great speech from Morris's Campaign Manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, Charlie Wilson's War... and Twister! Huh? Remember that?...).

To Tie It Back to Health and Fitness...
The Ides of March is borrowed from Shakespeare's most political tragedy, Julius Caesar. Tragedy although sad of course can also be good for us. Aristotle called it cartharsis: a washover of pity and fear as you empathize with the characters you watch, leaving you feeling better than you did before.

"There's only one thing I value in this world and that's loyalty. Without it, you're nothing" - Philip Seymour Hoffman as Paul Zara

Review - I give it 4 over-enunciated lines out of 5

Technically Speaking...
I think this is probably my favorite film that Clooney has directed but for me the best moments here are all of the dialogue between what I have dubbed the "Distinctive Speaking Style Squad" mad of: Gosling the Smarmy Canadian Jersey Mumbler! Clooney the Every. Single. Syllable. Should almost. Have. A punctuation mark. Behind it, Man! Giamatti the Marble Mouthed Goatee Chomper! And Hoffman the almost so effortless I sound bored but not boring!

A LIST OF FIVES... This Week's List... Shakespeare Titles!
1. What Dreams May Come - From Hamlet's to be or not to be speech. A fantasy film revolving around hope, love, and faith. All the things that Hamlet stood for...
2. Seven Pounds - Not really from a line of Shakespeare, but it is borrowed from the idea of a pound of flesh to be paid to Shylock from Merchant of Venice. An interesting if not heavy handed film about redemption and suffering.
3. North by Northwest - Uttered by Hamlet during his madness, Hitchcock borrowed this title for the crazy story of mistaken identity for a spy who... dunh dunh dunh! doesn't exist!
4. Band of Brothers - From Henry V... ya know? Once more unto the breach dear friends! Fitting for this WWII miniseries.
5. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead - From one of the last few lines in Hamlet. These guys got their own play and then a movie was made out of it. I didn't want to use this one, but apparently the others were all very obscure or... The Ides of March...

Still Haven't Seen It?
Bad Teacher - Probably not for everyone especially those who don't want to watch a teacher drinking, doing drugs, stealing, cheating, and whole lot of other things that are frowned upon by most parents... and you know... people. If you can get past that, it's some rude, raunchy humor where Diaz is actually kinda perfect. Funny moments from Jason Segal are a highlight (better known as Marshall from How I Met Your Mother)

Next Time on Rated D - Paranormal Activity 3... but if I can't get Erika on board I'll dig into my list of flicks I haven't reviewed yet like "Moneyball", "Drive", & "The Guard"

Gorilla Man

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