The Messenger (2009)

The Messenger is the first movie Oren Moverman directed and it stars Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone and in a small role Steve Buscemi.

Will (Ben Foster) returns from Iraq after he was shot. Since he’s not fit for going into war anymore, he gets assigned to Captain Stone (Woody Harrelson), who is responsible for personally notifying the next of kin of fallen soldiers when those soldiers fall. During this job, Will meets the freshly widowed Olivia (Samantha Morton) and falls in love with her.

The Messenger is not a movie that speaks for or against the war. Instead it looks at the personal tragedies that arise from it. It does so with a lot of sensitivity and compassion. And it’s wonderfully acted (remind me again, why isn’t Ben Foster world famous yet?). If that wasn’t enough reason to watch it, it’s also funny.

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Answering Questions Asked Through Google XIV

You know, it worries me that there’s apparently more than one person out there who want to know whether Olympia Dukakis died or what happened to William Baldwin.

But here’s the new questions:

“when will more twilight stuff come out?”

There won’t be more “twilight stuff”… I mean, except for the movie (November 29th in the US) and it’s sequel(s). Stephenie Meyer is not going to publish another book, apparently, she doesn’t even want to publish Midnight Sun. That’s it. The series is finished.

“does kristen stewart smoke?”

According to the Female Celebrity Smoking List (oh, the wonders of the internet), no, Kristen Stewart doesn’t smoke.

“is brad meltzer a christian”?

I have to say, I don’t really know. Research is inconclusive. I, on the other hand, am conclusive and I’d say Brad Meltzer‘s Jewish. Could be wrong, though. Not claiming to really know!

“does ben foster have any tattoos?”

Yes, Ben Foster does have tattoos. You can see them here and here.

Well, I hope I met all your informational needs!

Holy Shit

Do you know that feeling, when you watch a movie you haven’t seen for a really long time and suddenly there’s this actor or actress who got famous (or at least known to you) in the meantime and you’re like “holy fucking shit, that’s him/her???”? I have a run, I’m telling you.

It started last week when I watched Erin Brockovich and I saw that, holy shit! George, the Biker-boyfriend, is Aaron Eckhart!

These past days I used my sick-time to watch Freaks & Geeks, which I have once seen the pilot of and really liked but never had the time to continue watching (and btw. it died an untimely death – it’s a good show). And there in the first episode is Eli, a “special” kid and holy shit! it’s Ben Foster! (who, btw, also has a great role in My Name Is Earl.) Another thing which gave me this feeling, although I hadn’t seen the episode before was in the second to last episode – a (hilarious) cameo by Ben Stiller.

And now we’re entering the embarassing territory. I felt like watching Beverly Hills, 90210. (Ok, when you’re done being shocked and booing, let me just say that I never was really into it but I had some of those books accompanying the series, inherited from some family friends and I kind of liked them and I felt a bit nostalgic and as I couldn’t get a hold of the books, I decided to watch a bit of the series.) Anyway, right there in the pilot, minute 42, the doorman: holy shit! It’s Djimon Hounsou! And also, holy shit, one of the guys at the party is Glenn Quinn!

OK, that’s about it, right now. I just had to share.

All-but-Irish Men in Ireland and Non-American Cowboys

P.S. I Love You was exactly as it should be: wonderful. Funny and sad and full of gorgeous guys. I mean, I knew Gerard Butler was hot, but then getting Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a bonus was perfect. The only thing a little weird was that it was set in New York. K. said that it’s an Hollywood law that RomComs can only play in NY but honestly, the ending seemed a little strained because of that. I can only assume that Hilary Swank can’t fake an Irish accent. Interestingly enough, neither Gerard Butler nor Jeffrey Dean Morgan are from Ireland (GB: Glasgow and JDM: Seattle). At least for someone like me (non-english-native and never been to Ireland), their Irish accents were very believable.
Richard LaGravenese brought us a perfect chick flick. (This time there’s not too much pathos as in Horse Whisperer or the we’ve-all-seen-that-before effect from Freedom Writers…)
K. will lend me the book tomorrow, can’t wait to read it.

Before I start talking about 3:10 to Yuma, a little disclaimer: I was never a Western fan. I never watched the classics and am not that interested to do so in the future. Therefore, I might lack a little understanding for the genre and the cultere within. But the ending just left me puzzled.
(Warning, spoiler ahead!)
Why the hell did Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) help Dan Evans (Christian Bale) in the end? I mean, you are in the middle of strangling someone then he tells you he’s never been a hero but can’t let his kids know and suddenly you stop and make him a hero? That just doesn’t really make sense to me.
(Spoiler end.)
Maybe, apart from a lack of understanding for Westerns, I also have a severe lack of testosterone to understand them anyway.
K., who has a profound education in Spaghetti-Westerns, told me that it cited a lot of movies (like exploding horses and the such). Therefore, it gets a little more credit but altogether there was too much “huh?” for me.
Things I enjoyed about it: Well, watching Christian Bale (looks and talent) and Russell Crowe (looks and I know there is some talent buried deep down somewhere) is always a treat. Luke Wilson‘s brief appearance (not necessarily because of him but because of the whole scene). Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk‘s character). Ben Foster‘s acting (seriously, this guy knows how to act. 10 minutes in the movie and I already thought: Psycho! Judging from his performance in X-Men: The Last Stand I wouldn’t have thought that possible).
Interesting: Neither Christian Bale nor Russell Crowe are Americans (CB: somewhere in Wales and Russell Crowe: Wellington [New Zealand, damn, I thought he was from Australia… It’s probably good, he’ll never read this blog…]).
The whole thing is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard who I thought I didn’t know and K. mistook for some other writer. A little research shows: not only have I seen movies which were written by him or based on one of his novels (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Out of Sight) but I actually have a book by him (Mr. Paradise). I can only excuse this by blaming, first, the size of my private library and second, the fact that I haven’t read it yet and third, that I am a bad human being.

I’m sorry that this isn’t very coherent but there are really many things worth noting in this film and it’s one of those which get better the more you think about it. I really enjoyed everything up to the ending, I think it was beautifully done (but James Mangold already proved himself before so that was no suprise) and well played. It didn’t shrink from the violence nor did they have to show everything in all gory details. But I’m no Western fan and this film won’t change my mind. Maybe I will understand the ending someday but until then I’m afraid it’s number three of worst Christian Bale movies (Number 2 being Reign of Fire and Number 1: American Psycho [so much potential – great book, great actor – just going to waste]). I’d only recommend it to male Western fans.