Yesterday Kim and I watch three movies in the theater. (That’s after I watched Troy earlier in the morning.) We’ve performed this multiple-movie-watching feat a few times before – the first time was on my first birthday with her, when we watched Tomb Raider and Atlantis – the Lost Empire. The theme for that day was very loosely “Archaeology”.

Never before have we watched three theater movies in one day, though. The theme for yesterday was “Movies to watch before the Golden Globes.” Last year it was “Movies to watch before the Oscars”, but we’re moving it up this year, I guess. Here’s a quick impression of each movie:

Hotel Rwanda – this movie was a lot like Schindler’s List but not as melodramatic. The genocide in Rwanda was largely glossed over elsewhere in the world, and this movie really makes you feel guilty about that. Don Cheadle did very well in his role, and it would be great to seem him win an award in general, but I don’t know if he was the best actor of the year. One of the best things about this movie is how they treated the subject gracefully – the director put you in the moment, but without drowning you in gore and the horror of it all, which could easily have been the case.

Closer – I really didn’t want to watch this movie, Kim really did, and it was playing at the right time; in fact, this might have been my favorite movie of the night. That’s not because Natalie Portman plays a stripper, either. And it’s even in spite of Julia Roberts, who now makes me wary of movies (she was fine in this one). The real strength of the movie is the dialogue, and the counterpoising of the two male characters. Everyone in the movie is flawed, but everyone is empathetic. By the end, I was pulling for Clive Owen’s character the most (he put in a terrific job acting), with Natalie Portman a close second (coincidentally also a great actress in this movie). There’s no real need to see this in the theater, but I wouldn’t expect it to show up on Sunday afternoon TV anytime soon – it’s rated R for a reason.

Million Dollar Baby – This is heartwrencher hidden in the trappings of a funny underdog boxing movie. The first two acts of the movie were surprisingly good – they followed the expected formula, but the followed it well, with the kind of genuinuity I’m starting to appreciate and expect from Clint Eastwood. The last act of the movie was a right hook from out of nowhere, and that’s all I can really say. It fits the rest of the movie in style, if not tone and speed. I guess I can’t really complain about the way they made the movie, but I almost wish Clint would have just finished off the formula he started so well. Oh well.

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