Thursday, March 5, 2009

What to see

Slumdog Millionaire deserved the Oscar.

A great concept for a movie. A poor kid answers game show questions that, by destiny, relate to big moments from his life. Each question brings a flashback, from the time he's a tiny tyke in Mumbai until he's well into his teenage years. You probably know most of this by now. A tad predictable, but very engaging. Any movie that makes the audience care about its characters has achieved something.

And it doesn't travel down the same tattered path, not for me anyway. I haven't seen many movies set entirely in India. So, after seeing three of the Best Picture noms (Milk, Frost/Nixon and Slumdog) I'd go with Slumdog, with Frost/Nixon a close second.

Coming out today is Watchmen, another epic superhero movie. I know nothing about the graphic novel so I'll be going into it blind. I've passed up many special effects bonanzas in the past, but this one looks like a doozy. And supposedly, the series is deeper and more complex than most comic book films. Starting tomorrow, the movie season begins in earnest. Here are a few big ones I'm eager to see.

1. Angels & Demons

Count me in as one of the many people disappointed by The DaVinci Code movie. Tom Hanks was fine, but the material did not translate well into the screen. I can damn near guarantee you Angels & Demons will be a big improvement.

Unlike The DaVinci Code, this is a straight up mystery thriller. There aren't many monologues on the secret meaning of a painting, which draws interest in a book but falls flat in a movie. The book is one of the best page-turners I've ever read. You hear this all the time, but seriously, I could NOT put it down, so much so that I got a splitting headache one time after going through 150 pages in one sitting.

2. Terminator: Salvation

I've yet to see the third Terminator movie, but the second one is up there with The Rock as my favorite action movie. I've also been watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a fine show that eschews pure special effects and delves deep into the characters and changes its format from week-to-week sometimes.

Being late to the party once again, I just saw an extended trailer for the film and it blew me away. Christian Bale, while probably a world-class prick, knows how to pick a good movie. He will nail John Connor, that's for sure. This will be our first extended introduction to the Terminator world, post Judgement Day. While I've stopped trying to figure out the time travel effects of this series, the chance to see John Connor become the big threat to SkyNet that he is has me pumped to see this.

3. Public Enemies

Johnny Depp. Christian Bale. Michael Mann. How can this go wrong? The buzz is out there for this movie already. It covers John Dillinger and other thieves while the Feds hunt them down in the 1930s. A film about bankrobbers during bad economic times should strike a chord, considering there's a fair amount of people who want to rob some banks today and others who would cheer them on.

I can smell the Oscar already.

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