THE FILM YAP » widower We Never Shut Up About Movies Mon, 20 Oct 2014 04:12:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Heroes of the Zeroes: Up Sat, 13 Nov 2010 05:01:13 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

Rated G

Lifelong companionship can be a treehouse for two, a haven where everyday occurrence elevates into unforgettable memory — shared silly in-jokes, dozes turning into cuddling naps, meaningful words of encouragement.

We compile these blessings of time to combat its curse: It quickens as we slow, forcing us to clear shelf space for dreams and gird ourselves against the inevitable.

This is how 2009’s “Up’s” wordless opening montage left audiences speechless: As Carl and Ellie Frederickson age, viewers felt their love and wept for time’s crushing blow. Pixar’s most devastating prologue earned its saltwater. But it preceded a joyous story of floating test balloons on new friendships.

At 79, Carl has a bread-loaf face, bad hearing, beady eyes, eyebrows as thick as a push-broom and a dozen deadbolts on his domicile — designated for demolition by developers.

Russell is an ambitious scout seeking a badge to help Carl cross the street. But he’ll help Carl navigate something more dangerous than traffic — an Evel Knievel-sized chasm Carl has created between youthful idealism and septuagenarian rage.

Their inventive odyssey involves flying homes, flightless birds, talking dogs and the importance of promises made — buoyed by playful wit, beautiful color schemes and Michael Giacchino’s swooning score.

In some ways, adventure is about escaping death’s closure, but it’s also about clinging to life’s openness — letting one escapade’s end evolve into something new. Not only a tremendously affecting story about indomitable love, “Up” reminded us it’s never too late to embrace the possibilities we felt when we were small.

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Heroes of the Zeroes: About Schmidt Sat, 09 Jan 2010 05:01:06 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films from 2000 to 2009.

“About Schmidt”
Rated R

Usually known for shredding the notion of altruism to bits, co-writer / director Alexander Payne delivered what became, ultimately, a story about keeping consistent the kindness in one’s heart.

2002’s “About Schmidt” studied the character of one lonely old man (Jack Nicholson) trying to make a shred of difference after his wife dies. But it also depicted a fascinating microcosm of misery that found something with which every viewer could empathize. The result generated as many honest tears as brutal laughs.

Too often in his career throughout the Zeroes, Nicholson found himself overwhelmed by the need to be “Jack!” (See how he torpedoes “The Departed.”) Aside from the broad comedy of “Anger Management,” there was no film in recent years in which Nicholson’s vulpine persona really worked onscreen.

Here, Nicholson mutes his ego, vanity and virility — much as in 2001’s equally stunning “The Pledge” — and delivers what is easily his best modern-era performance.

In one of the decade’s most moving conclusions, Payne not only redeems his main character, but turns the tables on the cynicism that we, as an audience, have brought to one specific plot element. (You’ll know it as soon as you hear the name Ndugu.)

Like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with “21 Grams,” this was the Payne film deserving of the Oscar love lavished on “Sideways” (itself great in a sly-fox fashion). “Schmidt’s” quiet magnificence only grows upon further viewings and reflections.

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