samarama's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

In the Bedroom
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"In The Bedroom" is one of the greatest human dramas of the 2000's. Quiet, compelling, heartwrenching and disturbing, this small yet powerful story was a profound influence on me as a writer and aspiring filmmaker, particularly in its believability. All the characters seemed real, and their pain and devastation extremely palatable.

Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Marissa Tomei and William Mapother all give powerhouse performances. I wish I could make a movie like this. Todd Field is a true talent, though his follow-up film, 2006's "Little Children", was a bit too inert for my tastes. Still, Field has a knack for no-nonsense storytelling and drawing you into movies about everyday people with struggles we can understand, yet hopefully not have to experience.

Charlie Wilson's War
9 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The new Oscar-bait pic from Mike Nichols, "Charlie Wilson's War" is a bit of a dissappointment. On paper it looks like pure gold: The setting is 1980. Afghanistan is struggling against attacks from communist Russia. Tom Hanks plays Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, a womanizing lothario who does little more than take up space until he decides to visit Afghanistan after prodding from his philanthropic ex-fling (Julia Roberts). There he witnesses firsthand the atrocities the Afghans face, and decides to do something about it. With help from a fast-quipping CIA executive (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Wilson raises money to arm the Afghans in a covert war against communism.

The film does have some bright spots. The dialogue is fast and furious, full of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's acerbic political wit and sarcasm. However, Sorkin seemed to have gotten so caught up in the slickness of his words that any real drama here seems an afterthought. In other words, Wilson and his cohorts make it just look so easy. He never really struggles to accomplish anything. No real setbacks, no obstacles to overcome. It's just too easy. So when the time comes when the Afghans do defeat the Commies, it's hard to really care.

What we get instead are a lot of scenes where the actors get to munch on some clever, fast-paced dialogue, but it's more Sugar Pops than Wheaties. Lots of busy work, big speeches, but kind of lacking in the "heart" department. Everyone seems kind of like a caricature than an actual human being.

Performance wise, Hanks is winning as the charismatic Wilson. But you don't like him nor dislike him. He's inconsequential, as is Roberts. Hoffman is funny, but again, doesn't possess any character traits that make him stick after the credits roll. The only one who really seems remotely human is Amy Adams, who doesn't seem to be able to be superficial and forgettable if she tried.

In a year of home runs, "Charlie Wilson's War" is a big league bunt. It's a fine night out if you're a fan of anyone involved, but not essential viewing. There are plenty of other must-sees out this season that better warrant your money.