Why am compelled to record movies I’ve seen recently? It’s a bloggy-brain thing, I guess.
Taking Sides. A 2001 film about Wilhelm Furtwangler, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in Nazi Germany during WW II. Harvey Keitel plays an American assigned to investigate Wilhelm and find out if he was a hero, helping Jews from inside the Reich, or a stinkin’ collaborator. Or something in between. The viewer must decide, because the director doesn’t take a strong stance either way. The movie is obviously based on a script written for the stage and it really only comes alive during those stage-like moments when the investigator and investigated sit in office chairs and face off against each other. Interesting, but doesn’t really work as a film.
October Sky (1999). Great story material; too bad it’s given the Hollywood schmaltz treatment. Based on the true story of Homer Hickam, the son of a coal miner who falls in love with rocketry. The original book was called “The Rocket Boys.” Against his father’s wishes, high school boy Homer (with a few friends) set out to build small rockets, win a science fair, and get college scholarships. Great acting all around. Tough family struggles are vividly portrayed, and it’s an interesting look into a company coal town. But dang, why did they have add the syrupy music, and mix in some hokey, overly-manipulative scenes that make the viewers like Maggie and me groan? Overall, it’s worth seeing, however.