this review is really a week late. me and jp saw these two last week in the ol' high school double feature. you know, when you buy tickets for one movie and then after that movie, you go to the bathroom and wait ten minutes and then go into another theater and catch the second movie. except the timing was so impeccable, we were able to walk out of million dollar baby about half way through the ending credits and walk right into the sideways theater undetectec and getting one of the few decent seats left. i know, we're criminal geniuses, but hey, that's an extra $5.50 in my pocket. anyways on to the reviews.
million dollar baby starts out like most typical sports films. just take any plot involving a washed up coach or trainer (eastwood), add in his equally washed up buddy (morgan freeman) and then add in a nobody who has the heart of a lion (hillary swank), and voila - movie. and that stuff is interesting and fun to watch. lots of chuckles, which seems atypical for an eastwood directed movie. but then at all at once, the movie takes a left turn from the sports movie formula and then becomes the type of allegorical moral study that is typical of eastwood movies. i'm not going to give away plot lines, but i don't think that most people are expecting a happy movie. in any case, i think that eastwood really does well as a director here. i was totally sucked into the movie. the editing, the acting, and the pace was near perfect i think and it seems to me that eastwood should probably prevent marty from winning his narwhale oscar (although i haven't seen the aviator yet). all in all, this is a really really good movie, and i really do recommend this to most anyone. i think it will appeal to both arty movie types and popcorn movie types. final grade: a solid A.
the first thing i have to say about sideways is that paul giammatti got completely jobbed by the oscar nominating process. not in the way that jim carey got screwed, but in a real way. his is one of the most memorable performances that i've seen in a long time. his character is so believable, so flawed, and so easy to identify with, that i can't imagine oscar not recognizing him. not that it matters since it seems that jamie foxx is going to run away with this thing for his performance in ray (again, haven't seen it yet). but in any case, this movie in almost every way was an enjoyable experience. it's hilarious. the two principals, giammatti and thomas haden church of wings fame turn in two well acted and well comedically timed performances. you will be laughing out loud several times throughout the movie. and it's a good meditation on how complicated romantic relationships can be in a way that is a thousand times more accessible than say another oscar type movie, closer. especially after just seeing a movie like million dollar baby, i left the theater in a very good mood. you really do need to go see this movie. i don't know if it has a best film oscar type of feel to it, but it's definitely one of the best movies of this year. final grade, another solid A.