ron howard is sort of growing on me and it is starting to scare me. don't get me wrong his movies are cheesy and contrived and always end in some predict- able fairy tale ending, but if that is what you are looking for noone does it better than him. in general i am not a huge fan of really commercial directors. but whereas spielberg's films always seem to reek of profit avarice (or awards avarice) i see more real vision in his protege howard's. i mean, i realize that howard plays to his audience, which is sort of his achilles' heel, but in his case i still see that he has a sort of passion for the work that he is doing. it isn't so mechanical or prescribed like the work spielberg does.
i am actually really glad he made the da vinci code
, which surprises me more than anything else regarding the film. i think howard did about the best job he could have making this story into a movie. i mean, i read on the oscar igloo and stuff people predicting this film would be competitive come awards season and stuff, and i was actually pretty incredulous. this is an interesting story, but i always felt it would make a better thriller/horror, summer blockbuster than a dramatic awards contender. howard did a great job of taking the most filmic parts out of the story and emphasizing them on screen and deemphasizing the more literary parts. some of the most entertaining parts in the movie are sophie's auto getaway from the embassy and the part when andre vernet holds up langdon and neveu in the armored bank car. meanwhile howard practically ignores major issues in the text regarding codes hidden in da vinci's work, etc. i think this was a great choice by howard as director, because these are parts that are best read, but not very viewable on screen. he made this movie exactly what it should be, a fun summer flick, the best to come out since twister
unfortunately this is the second ron howard film in a row i have really enjoyed, the previous being last year's cinderella man
. after vomiting in my mouth a little after watching his earlier studio hits Apollo 13 and EdTV, i definitely never thought i would start being a ron howard fan. but then i watched the missing
, and i was really surprised at what a legitimately good movie it was. the missing
is a western starring cate blanchett as this white woman whose child is stolen by indians. it is surprisingly dark by howard and doesn't stray away from some really serious issues like race, class and colonialism. even though this movie is imperfect, the fact that he was willing to make it (and the fact that he got cate blanchett to be in one of his movies) made me respect him a little more.
then there is cinderella man
. i LOVE this movie. it is one of those chick flick type films you can watch over and over again and you never stop crying. i really couldn't believe how much i liked this movie last summer when i saw it at the catalina. it is a (semi?-) true story this depression era boxer named jimmy braddock who overcomes tremendous obstacles to take care of his family during a difficult time. i think it is really uncomfortable watching boxers. it is so silly watching grown men hit eachother for sport. but i find myself cheering on russell crowe as braddock in cinderella man
. this movie is a rare hollywood product: a fun eminently watchable flick that is at the same time a great, respectable work of art, well written, acted, directed, etc. and it will probably go down as the most underrated film of last year.
so i guess now i gotta go out and rent a beautiful mind
. i have avoided this movie for three years now on the grounds that it was howard's boring pretentious oscar vehicle. but since i have decided to forgive howard for apollo 13 and since bettany, connelly and crowe are pretty much three of my favorite actors, i can't stay away from this movie any longer. i will go rent it this weekend, and let y'all know if it is as bad as i expect it will be.