Saturday, September 24, 2005

Flight Proof

Two days, two movies. Now wouldn't it have been cool if I could have summed up my vacation this way: ten days, ten movies? But, since I've been on a viewing streak lately, way before my week off, there just weren't 10 new films I still wanted to see this week. And I'd probably die of bloat from all of the Diet Coke if I tried to see one each day. (Essential for my movie enjoyment - Diet Coke and popcorn.)

In the last two days I saw two high profile films starring two high profile actresses: "Proof" with Gwenyth Paltrow and "Flight Plan" with Jodie Foster. An interesting combination. Jodie is my age (just two months younger) and as she was a child actress (I clearly remember identifying with her in "Courtship of Eddie's Father"), I have always thought of her as a touchstone for "my" generation. As an actress, she's smart, strong, funny, and (most importantly, I think), discriminating in her choices. As a person, she's - well, that's my point. We don't really know, because she's thankfully discrete. Now, Gwyneth is 10 years younger, but I think she's of a similar ilk. Yes, she has the rock star husband and the oddly-named child, but she comes across as more normal than, say, Cameron Diaz. She also has the Oscar, which gives her the reputation of being the better actress, although is "View From the Top" really any better than "The Sweetest Thing"? (Side note, of course is that both films co-starred Christina Applegate - who is now a respectable Broadway actress? Sometimes I think I fell asleep and woke up in Bizarro-land.) Enough rambling: my point is that I consider Gwyneth to be one of the few actresses of her age who could conceivably have as strong a career as Jodie. (And, no, Christina Applegate is not in the running, no matter what Broadway success she has. In addition to being in Gwyneth and Cameron's bad movies, she can never wipe away the stink of "Surviving Christmas," "Ron Burgundy" or "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead.") I also think that, like Jodie, she's relatively normal. Look at it this way - can you imagine either of them resorting to the bad plastic surgery that Nicole "Frozen Face" Kidman has had lately? Nicole, by the way, is 38, halfway between Jodie and Gwyneth in age.

So, the movies themselves? Oh, yeah. Can you tell I'm not bubbling over with enthusiasm? Don't get me wrong, they were both very good. "Proof" had some great acting from Gwyneth, good supporting cast (Hope Davis as a successful forceful woman instead of the neuortic she usually plays!), and compelling story. Except that, even though I never saw the play, I read/heard about it enough that there was nothing surprising in the film. What you think it's about? Is exactly what it's about. You just watch it play out. So I enjoyed watching, but left thinking, "Oh, that's good" but it didn't stay in my mind for very long.

It wasn't exactly displaced by "Flight Plan," either. Again, another perfectly good movie, a strong thriller with some white-knuckle moments and unexpected twists. Jodie is wonderful, as you would expect. But I didn't walk out thinking, "Oh my god, I have to tell everyone to see this."

I mean, you should. You should see both of these films, if you want some quality entertainment amid the mire of Hollywood crap currently out there. But if you want to be completely blown away by something that will haunt you long after you see it? See "Constant Gardener."


Blogger jane said...

I never go to the movies. I like Jodie Foster & saw her in an interview last week. She said she thinks she'll be a rare actress at 75 as others are having so much 'work' done to them. (fake faces)
ohhh i loved courtship of eddie's father. that was such a cute show! we need more of those now.

9:10 PM  

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