Monday, August 21, 2006

One thing we share is an ideal of beauty

Do you love Miss Toni Collette like I do? She's all over the cineplex right now, starring in the last two movies I've seen. Let's discuss them, shall we? The first is The Night Listener, which stars Robin Williams and Miss Collette, and these two leads put some good stuff up on the screen. For Williams, I think it's one of the best things he's done. I'm not a huge fan though, so that could be faint praise, but he's very good as a radio essayist who, while rebounding from a broken romance, gets wrapped up in the life of a sick boy and his mother. Miss Collette plays the mother and she is stunning. As thrillers go, though? The Night Listener-- not so thrilling. It does have some cool things to say about how we filter and edit our experiences until they little resemble what may have actually transpired. We all live in our own world and the next guy's version is a helluva lot different. The movie has some serious flaws in my opinion, but it's worth checking out for the performances alone. Not sold yet? Bobby Cannavale is in it and he's playing gay again. And he's still pretty. Yeah. Grab a pack of Junior Mints on your way in. Let me know what you think.Now for the main event. Like the first, this one is chock full of fabulous performances, but add to that better direction, a more coherent plot and a generous helping of yuks and guffaws and you have Little Miss Sunshine, y'all. It's the most fun I've had at the movies this summer. I think the casting director for this flick deserves an Oscar right now. Everyone is just spot on in this thing, from subtle glances to big scenery chewing stuff. A dysfunctional family roadtrips in a broken down van to get their daughter, Olive, to a child's beauty pageant after she pins all her chubby lil' hopes on it. Sounds pedestrian as plots go, and it might have been in lesser hands. I can't decide who I loved more in this. Toni C., sure, but Greg Kinnear (his best since As Good As It Gets), Steve Carell (I did NOT know he had it in him) and Alan Arkin (never fails to fascinate me) are fantastic. And the little girl who plays Olive, Abigail Breslin, will crack you up and break your heart. Seriously. It's a wonderful time at the movies. Thank me later.


maddie said...

Well, you know, movie discussion? I am here. :)

Since I don't really like thriller, creepy type movies, I was going to skip The Night Listener - but I didn't even know Bobby was in it, and I LOVE him, so maybe I'll have to go. I'll at least rent.

Now. Little Miss Sunshine. I saw it on Saturday, and LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Such a perfect slice-of-life film, typical family road trip kind of thing, but the cast, writing and direction made it great. My favorite 2 characters - Steve Carell as the uncle: I like him on the Office and in movies, but he blew me away in this. So subtle. Funny, but not over the top as in his past works. The brother was my other favorite. He added so much to what could be a nothing part, not talking and all. He and the uncle made such a great team.

Everyone was so great (who doesn't love Toni C.? - this is my fave performance since Connie and Carla), but those 2 guys put in such a completely heartbreaking and entertaining performance.

I am definitely going to see it again, and probably buy it. I hope it catches word of mouth and more people go to see it. Such a cute movie.

Ur-spo said...

I too give two thumbs up for 'Sunshine'; the metaphor of a family traveling as best they can, hanging together was funny and touching.

Q - 60's girl said...

Yay Toni Collette, i lurve our Toni in every movie she has made :)

The Other Andrew said...

I read "The Night Listener" originally because it was written by Armistead Maupin, and enjoyed it. I think they have made the movie darker than the book, because the book has psychological thriller aspects but isn't really a 'thriller' as such. I loves me some Toni C. She was brilliant in "Muriel's Wedding" and just gets better with each role, although I wasn't much of a fan of "Connie & Carla". I'll have to catch "Little Miss Sunshine".

Michael said...

Maddie, of course you/we loved it! Though not my favorite character, I agree that the kid playing Dwayne completed the impeccable casting. Loved the scene at the water with him and Steve Carell. I can see myself picking up the DVD. So many scenes that'll hold up to multiple viewings, not least being that talent competition. As for "The Night Listener", it'll be worth a Netflix rental. I think it's being marketed as a thriller, but as I said, not so thrilling. It is a good time at the movies, though. Toni is awesome, if a bit creepy, in it. And then there's Mista Cannavale, who makes me stare slack-jawed and miss out on some dialogue, esp. if his bait is in the frame.

Michael said...

ur-spo, just plain fun and yes, it speaks to what families are...and that they come in all shapes and sizes.

Q, by all means see this one if you haven't. Toni is just mad talented. And funny as hell.

TOA, I think the movie may be truer to the book than the marketing suggests, but that's just a guess on my part, having not read it. I hope you give us a review of LMS, Drewbie.