Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shawshank, Expendables 2, and Bernie



A co-workerof mine loaned me a copy of The Shawshank Redemption months ago, and I dilly-dallied and avoided watching it until just recently. That was an error, as to my mind it’s the movie that should have won Best Picture in 1994, not Forrest Gump.

There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said about this movie, since it’s already moved into the ‘near classic’ category. Morgan Freeman was superb, the script was excellent, Tim Robbins was very good (but not up to Freeman’s level), and so on.  I liked it start to finish, ‘cepting that saccharine, overly sentimental scene where the power of music moves the soul of every hard core rapist and murderer in the prison.

Grade: an easy A+



Bernie , which is based on a true story, is a dark comedy starring Jack Black as the titular character. Bernie is a soft-spoken, much beloved funeral director who gets involved with the wrong crowd in his Texas town; the ‘wrong crowd’ being a cranky old widow played by Shriley MacClaine. When Bernie has had enough and kills her in fit of anger his role as town hero should be over – but lo and behold it’s just begun.

Black was excellent in the movie, and as Lisa pointed out I doubt he had to be convinced to star in another movie that lets him sing and dance and act the fool. The story was solid, the characters convincing, and the cast strong. There’s not a lot more to ask for in a film.

Grade:  A


The Expendables 2, unless I'm way off, was not intended to expand our appreciation of film as an artistic expression of the human soul. Good thing that, because this is a ridiculous, over-the-top film with a view of warfare and violence culled straight out of the mind of a 10 year old boy. 

It was also a lot of fun. 

Kudos to Chuck Norris for his cameo, but I was happiest when Arnold was in on the action. It's good to see the Guvenator back where he belongs, on the big screen. 

Grade: B 

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