96 - American Beauty - 3 stars
Look closer... is the tagline for Sam Mendes's film that takes a deeper look at the smiley facade of suburban life and find everything is not quite what it seems.
Amongst a strong ensemble cast, including an unrecognisable Alison Janney from The West Wing, Kevin Spacey is excellent as Lester Burnham; a sad sack of a man who is ignored by his family, passed over at work and generally miserable before an encounter with one of his daughter's friends reinvigorates his zest for life. Think of it as Fight Club but with rose petals and plastic bags instead of fists.
It does pose several questions, like what ever happened to Wes Bentley? Why does the soundtrack appear in every reality show like The Apprentice? etc.
This movie gets a lot of stick, recently voted one of the 20 most overrated films of all time but I still like it and find much to admire... however if it wasn't for American Beauty we would never have had Desperate Housewives, and for that it must lose a point!
324 - Lone Star - 2 stars
A skeleton is discovered in the desert belonging to the long-time missing former sheriff of Rio County. Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper in his second film of the evening) must delve into the past to solve the murder, even if it means finding out the culprit was his own father, cop hero Buddy Deeds. Buddy Deeds is played in flashbacks by Matthew McConaughey. It is claimed by some to be his best role but they might be saying that just because he dosn't take his shirt off in his one, but everyone knows his best performance is as Wooderson in Dazed & Confused.
If it had simply been a story about solving the murder this film would have been pretty good, as Deeds's investigation will impact the lives of several of the people in the town as it moves to a shocking nd powerful conclusion.
Instead Sayles also brings in a subplot about an Army corporal trying to reconnect with his father. This storyine took important emphasis away rom the main stroy and didn't really interest me at all.
Days remaining - 163 Films remaining - 213