Sunday, January 02, 2005

Moving Sideways into Open Water


You know your instincts might be on target when the New York Times feels it needs to contradict your impressions.

My instinct, as an infrequent movie-goer who has had enough of Hollywood, is that Sideways has staying power well beyond this movie season. And I can’t remember laughing out loud so frequently in a movie theater, or buying into each character on the screen so completely.

Sideways avoids the current Hollywood conventions of quirkiness-as-hip, and is written for adults who want to laugh as well as relate to the life-challenges faced by the characters. What’s also noteworthy here is that this movie is brilliantly casted – you couldn’t imagine another actor playing the part any better. Well-written, confidently directed, honestly acted, this movie would get my vote if I cared about the Oscars.

Along the theme of avoiding Hollywood conventions. . . Open Water, the low-budget indy film, is now out on DVD. Critics will deride certain aspects of the script and the acting, but for me, this is the type of movie I want to see more of: an honest attempt at presenting a real, life-threatening situation played straight without the Hollywood bells and whistles. A great movie concept based upon a true story, it puts the viewer in a predicament and let’s you wonder about how you would react. Shot in a semi-documentary style, you don't feel that you are being manipulated, but honestly presented with the circumstances at hand.

Between this past week's tsunami and seeing Open Water, I think we'll avoid the beach vacation this year. . .