More movie reviews, including a bonus, extra-special, slightly-drunken review. (Please note that I was not drunk at 10:24 am when I posted this, just typed it up on a Friday night and posted it the morning after. I sensed you were judging me).
Stranger Than Fiction (2005): Let me get this out of the way - I. Love. This. Movie. I love everything about this movie. The writing, the story, the cinematography, the cast...love it all. Will Ferrell plays Harold, a dull IRS agent who can suddenly and inexplicably hear his life being narrated by an omniscient voice. There's the love interest (Maggie Gyllenhaal) - a feisty baker Harold is auditing, the literary expert (Dustin Hoffman) who's trying to help Harold figure out what type of story he's in and who the narrator is, and the narrator (Emma Thompson) who is actually an author writing a book about Harold (who she thinks is only a character). Do yourself a favor - forget what you thought about Will Ferrell before and watch this movie.
Punch-Drunk Love (2002): A downtrodden small business owner with seven nosy and belittling sisters and no social life has to deal with an escalating credit card scheme all while trying to start a relationship with the woman of his dreams. This was a strange movie. That's really all I can think to say. The plot is simple (and strange), but looking back it's also fairly solid. Like Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction, Adam Sandler gives a surprising performance. Very understated and nuanced, especially coming from a man previously seen yelling about SnackPacks and beating up Bob Barker. If you typically like quirkier movies, you'll probably like this one. Otherwise, rent Spanglish for a more mainstream but still great performance from Sandler.
Sophie's Choice (1982): Let me get another thing out of the way - I want to be Meryl Streep when I grow up. And I think you do too. Set in 1947, Meryl Streep plays Sophie, a Holocaust survivor now living in Brooklyn with Nathan, an eccentric biologist (Kevin Kline) who had nursed her back to good health when she first arrived in America. Peter MacNicol plays Stingo, a young Southern man who moves to Brooklyn to be a writer. The three become best friends but as Nathan's behavior becomes more erratic, Stingo becomes curious about Sophie's life and what brought her to Brooklyn. She reveals her experiences during the Holocaust, including the heart-wrenching choice she was forced to make when taken to Auschwitz. Great performances from all three main characters and a supremely depressing story. You have to really invest yourself in the story - the choice is not revealed until the end, at which point you begin to understand Sophie's previous behavior. If you haven't connected to the movie prior to the final scenes, it probably won't resonate too much. It's long and it's slow at points, but overall it's a good movie.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)(slightly-drunken review): You know the story...steal from the rich to give to the poor while wearing tights and waving swords around yada yada yada. The main problem with this movie is that Kevin Costner does not at any point in time attempt to play baseball. If he had just taken a swing at a ball at some point in time or at least given a speech about baseball, it might have been a better movie. The acting is almost universally bad, and from actors who are normally pretty good (really, Morgan Freeman?) which leads me to believe that the script is probably the root of the problem. The script and a distinct lack of baseball are the roots of the problem. The only redeeming element for me was Alan Rickman, who seemed to realize that the script was shit and decided to just make the best of it and have some fun with the part. By the way, I changed the words of the Bryan Adams song to "everything I do...I do it for Rickman..." It's better that way. Trust me.