Friday, March 12, 2010

DVD Round Up: Precious and Whip It!

I was eager to see Precious now that it's out on DVD, as it never came to a theater near me. Given all the love, and ultimately two Oscars (Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay) this movie has received and knowing how dark the subject might be, I was nervous that it couldn't live up to expectations. Clarice Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a 16-year-old near illiterate teenager in Harlem in the 1980s. She's pregnant for the second time by her father, and blamed for this by her mother (Mo'nique). She has used her ability to day dream to escape the horrors of her home life and maintains a self-contained hopeful inner life. She's kicked out of school for being pregnant, but offered a chance at an alternative school that seems to help at-risk or troubled girls get their GED. The teacher, Paula Patton, gives her hope that life could get better and when her son is born, Precious decides she's had enough of the abuse her mother doles out. It's pretty violent watching them fight, and you're never sure what will set Mary off. Mo'Nique's performance was definitely Oscar worthy, both for the quick transformations she makes when the social workers come by, and the halting confession she gives at the end trying to explain why she is the way she is. It's a pretty terrific movie, and the acting performances are exceptional, down to the smallest parts. It's not an easy movie to watch, but it is a very good film. 4.5 of 5 stars/lambs

Whip It! was another movie that never came near where I live, but finally arrived thanks to Netflix. This is Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, and Ellen Page's first big film since her Oscar nominated turn in Juno. She does attempt to rein in the smart-alecky attitude from Juno but you can see it emerging as she gains confidence by joining a roller derby team - The Hurl Scouts. She lies about her age and joins Drew and Kristin Wiig and becomes the new star of the team. Juliette Lewis is the star of the rival team, and attempts to shut down Page by outing her age. Page has been lying to her parents about what she's doing. Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern play her parents who want her to excel at Beauty Pageants, but Page is eager to do something a little more risque with her life, but doesn't want to hurt her parents. Like most of the characters in this movie, there's no commitment to a single story or idea, and it makes for a muddled mix of coming of age, sports triumph, teenage rebellion, and taking charge of your future. Good, but not great. 3 of 5 stars/lambs


MrJeffery said...

great writeups. i loved precious too!

Rachel said...

I felt slightly different on both films than you.

I thought Precious was a good film overall (review in a day or two), but without those two main performances, it would've been just average. Those performances really make it what it is.

And I liked Whip It a little bit more and thought it was a fun little film. Light and fluffy, sure, but a good time nonetheless. Like I said in my review, I'm glad Drew didn't bite off more than she could chew.

Troy Coolon said...

thanks for this blog and your comments:

Here is a Whip It Luv Story set to the remixed tune of Let Me Blow Ya Mind by Gwen Stefani and Eve

eyeheartorange said...

Can't wait to see Precious. I have a feeling it's a tearjerker.