Bolt * * * ½
Directed by: Chris Williams & Byron Howard /2008
With Pixar taking all the high-end computer animation highlights (and rightfully so), it’s causing a few others, even parent companies, to push themselves more. However cute or clever, they still falter, leaving me wanting Brad Bird to have soul writing and directing on any and every animated feature released today. “Bolt” started strong but fell short for me as it turned into a buddy-road picture that I’ve seen one too many times. I understand it’s animated…and for children…but, as each new wacky character (except for the pigeons and the fat kitty that looked like my Mazzy!) intervened, I fell back sighing instead of laughing. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a good time and found a bit of heart of in it. In the end I give “Bolt” some points as it was cute and better than “Kung Fu Panda”. Though, I’m just really ready for Pixar’s “UP” to come out.
Slumdog Millionaire * * * * ½
Directed by: Danny Boyle / 2008
“Slumdog Millionaire” is Danny Boyle’s best movie. My third time was even better. The Academy Awards has done a great job of selecting Best Picture the past three years, movies that are both artful and a thrill-joy to watch…movies that can be watched many times over. There is rarely a week that goes by inside my movie mind where I’m not thinking about or wanting to watch again “The Departed”, “No Country For Old Men” or “Slumdog Millionaire”. Boy, oh Boyle!
Flags of Our Fathers * * * *
Letters From Iwo Jima * * * * ½
Directed by: Clint Eastwood / 2006
Some directors struggle making a decent war movie, let alone two very powerful ones in one year while in their mid-70s, and not to mention one of those being a foreign language film. Clint Eastwood is putting guys half his age to shame and I think his best work might come in the next 20 years! He’s the Bruce Springsteen of filmmaking and Bruce Springsteen is the Clint Eastwood of songwriting! “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima” explore often over-looked territories in the war department. From the perspective in and out of the fight, both films explore the roots and ideals of patriotism, freedom, propaganda, heroes, family ties and human spirit. No matter your color, country or creed these things are universal and war is the enemy. -djg