I took the afternoon off today and we went to see Eight Below -- yes, it's a Disney movie, and yes, it's fairly predictable in the way it pulls at your emotions -- but I enjoyed watching the dogs and wept through most of it anyway. I'm all for certain kinds of genre movies -- they can be perfectly satisfying if you know what you're getting in for. Now if only the movie theatre would have a "bring your dog" show the way they do for the "babies welcome" matinee (which we try to avoid) -- I know our eldest, who loves to watch animal shows on TV, would really love it. We're definitely going to get the DVD when it comes out so she can dream of being a sled dog.
We rented Red Eye recently, and I was really surprised at how much I liked it. It came out around the same time as Flight Plan, which we did see in the theater -- I was interested in that coincidence/conjunction and what it says about cultural anxieties about air travel. But seeing Red Eye made me realize how much both films are also about anxieties about women's professionalism. Seems like Jodie Foster's been all about anxious mom movies lately, but one of the premises of FP is that her character's career is what makes her valuable to the highjackers. Same thing is true in RE, but it's a much more engaging and surprisingly feminist movie (who would have expected this from Wes Craven?). Over and over the film suggests that the heroine has to put up with condescending crap from her father and Dr Phil, disguised as "caring." One of her first tips that Creepy Guy Gillian Murphy is a bit off is when he pulls the same thing. Her response: a protective white lie. Women's instincts at observing trouble are lauded (even down to the 11 year old solo traveler) and so is fighting back. Thoroughly enjoyable, even on our moderately sized TV.
Chumscrubber, an indy film that we missed in the theater, was a real gem -- group it with Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Darko, and maybe Elephant -- though it's much more like the former two in tone and style. Suburbia is bad, and no one understands teenagers. And loss is hard to manage. It's quirky, but has real feeling driving the story.