I saw two movies this weekend that I can recommend without reservation. Both were on my list of hotly anticipated flicks from a month or so back. Both came through with the goods. Seriously. Loved them. Top ten love.
On Friday I saw Capote. It's in a limited release around here (outer Bumfuck, OH), but I caught it at the lone arty theater in Dayton. Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance is reason enough to check out this film. Stunning. No, really. He's too large to be the elfin Capote and he doesn't look especially like Capote at first glance but he does mimic Capote's voice and mannerisms exactly. Wouldn't matter so much if he didn't. He's fascinating and complicated and when he's in the shot, you can't tear your eyes off him. I just loved the way this movie looked as well. Most of the shots are tight, so many closeups, and the scenes are small and conversational. It's deliciously claustrophobic. When we get some glimpses of rural Kansas mixed in, they are all the more panoramic and gorgeous (and eery) for the contrast. Wait, there's more. This film moves at the pace of life. The people, though a smidge extreme, are real. We don't always know their motives. They don't seem to know them themselves. Sound familiar? Love, love, love.
After having seen THAT goodness, the bar was set kinda high for the Saturday matinee of Walk The Line. Did Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash raise that bar? Pretty fucking close, dude. This movie worked so well because, again, you are not seeing an actor doing an impersonation. This brotha is inhabiting The Man In Black. When he growls the trademark, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash", you don't even think twice. Perfect and you're just along for the country rockin' ride. If you loves some Reese Witherspoon like I do (seriously, the girl can charm your socks off), you'll not be disappointed either. Reese as June Carter gets to charm and joke and cajole and break your heart. And they both sing their asses off. Sing.Their. Asses. OFF.
If you're thinking about seeing either of these, do it. Cash and Capote, though so completely different, were both men with some genius. They were both men with childhood demons. They were both men who battled addiction. They were both men supported by loving folks who recognized their flaws, but also their goodness, even when the men themselves could not. They are played in these movies by two protean actors in full, commanding flight. Yay!