Recently Watched

15 Feb

I’ve seen some great movies and one interesting series pilot in the last couple of weeks. Nothing like two snow days to help you get caught up on all those nagging Netflix and Hulu curiosities, right? They are all dramas, but they stuck with me because they focus on character growth (or downward spiral, in some cases). Wait a second, I just noticed that 3 of the 4 center around crime/police drama. I wouldn’t say that was my favorite subject matter, but it has produced the most poignant TV show I’ve ever watched, The Wire, so I am definitely open to the genre. Crime dramas are great at facilitating discussions of ‘What is good and what is bad’ and other deep questions. If you have some free time to catch up on some great watching material, please read on!

Out of Sight

This movie is probably the least ‘serious’ of the 4 options. One reason it interested me was completely unrelated to the quality of the film, and that was Jennifer Lopez’s presence. After seeing her judge on American Idol (my guilty pleasure, sorry) it was interesting to see an early acting sample from her. And really, she was pretty good. She and George Clooney had great chemistry at the very least. Okay, back to why you should watch it. In short, it is a cool, funny, well edited (some interesting ‘stop action’ choices were made) non-linear story about a career bank robber who is looking for something different than growing old in jail. Along with Clooney and Lopez, Steve Zahn shines as a clueless criminal.

127 Hours

If you haven’t heard of this one, it is based on the harrowing real life experience of adventurer Aron Ralston , who to survive had to perform self surgery. Before you are impressed by my stomach of steel, I will admit I didn’t watch one second of the infamous arm amputation scene – and I even tried to hum through it until Ike made me stop. I get horrible sympathy pains and I really didn’t feel like experiencing searing pains in my lower arm. But other than ‘the scene’ I really enjoyed this Best Picture nom. James Franco does an excellent job of owning the screen as he slowly weakens and grows more introspective in his limited space. The thought from the movie that keeps running through my head is the main character’s self accusation. He says something to the effect that this rock that trapped him was waiting for him his whole life. That got me thinking about fate, and what habits I have that could be leading me to my own inevitable rock. But of course it will have to be a symbolic rock because after this movie, I don’t plan on shimmying down any narrow gorges anytime soon.

The Pledge

In great Turn of the Screw fashion (if you haven’t read it, I’ve provided the Wikipedia link, but you all need to catch up on your Henry James, people! I kid. ), this movie builds the ‘is he crazy or not’ tension beautifully. Anyone who has dared to see the The Shining knows that Jack Nicholson can play a great ‘on the edge of sanity’ kind of guy. But this time he’s a freshly retired cop who has pledged (thus the title, see?) to get to the bottom of his final case, a grisly kid murder. I liked the questions that kept coming to my head during the film. And bonus! This one is available via Netflix watch instantly.

The Chicago Code

Finally, Ike and I watched the first episode of “The Chicago Code” via Hulu. Although the show isn’t charting new territory (how many new crime dramas come out each year? Answer: tons), the first episode established great characters and story telling techniques. I enjoyed the character narrated back stories; I thought that was a nice touch. I also think the, ‘bring down corruption’ plot push will make for a lot of interesting turns. The first episode was already full of gang wars, cop shootings and more. So, we may just try to keep up with this new show! No promises though.

There you go! I’m sure you were all breathlessly awaiting a ‘what’s on Alexis’ recently watched list’ update. Well, you can breathe easy now. You’re welcome.

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