June 18, 2008

Lions for Lambs - $7

Lions for Lambs has been widely criticized and rarely recommended, frankly I'm not sure why.

This is a three part story and though the three parts don't collide as well as they could, they do relate. There is a Professor trying to convince a student to give a crap about something other than himself by relaying a story about two of his former students who fought in Iraq. The third story brings us a one-on-one interview with a powerful US Senator who is making very high level strategy decisions for the war.

Lions for Lambs is a subtle movie with a less than subtle message, I found it to be fair to the issues as it presented multiple sides of multiple arguments.

I honestly can't understand how anyone who likes great acting could dismiss this movie. Cruise, Streep and Redford are fantastic and some of the best performances come from the lesser known actors involved here like Michael Peña and Derek Luke. Even if you don't enjoy the stories being told here the lengthy and well written dialogues being performed by these actors make this movie well worth watching.

I put Lions for Lambs on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $7. I think I'll have to bring you another edition of "When The Critics Get It Wrong" soon starting with this one.


Trev said...

I think the general public cursed this movie before it even came out for two main reasons:

1. Everyone thinks Tom Cruise has lost his mind

2. It's considered a push on the scientologist agenda.

I'm personally a big Tom Cruise/Meryl Streep fan, so I'll definately be giving this one a watch thanks to your review.

Speaking of movies being cursed before release, how about "the happening"? Seen it yet? That would go on my "critics got it wrong" list for sure!

Fletch said...

??? to Trev's number 2. I didn't hear that from anyone, and I sure didn't see it in the movie.

As for Lions, I enjoyed it. I think a better director needed to make it, as it felt way too confined (and even TVish), and though the message was indeed hitting you in the head, I was more than willing to forgive those things because I thought it was a really important message, and one that everyone should hear (again and again).

Then again, there's what I think is probably the larger reason why the movie failed: people don't like to be preached to at the movies, even if the preaching is well-intentioned.

Trev said...

Fletch, concerning #2, it's ALL I heard unfortunately. And I wouldn't suspect it would have much to do with the story.

Isn't it true though, that Tom had to privately fund this movie due to lack of support?

It's just a classic case of people confusing one's career move with a peronal/religious agenda - Just like Gibson after making "the passion of the Christ".

jon said...

please please tell me the critics are wrong about The Happening. I still can't wait to see it. At least Ebert likes it. I don't know whether to trust the rest of the rotten tomatoes.

Tony Tanti said...

trev, I'm not sure what you're talking about here either with #2. I know a little about scientology and I didn't notice anything in this movie pushing their agenda. Was it that subtle?

fletch, you may be right about the direction. This movie could likely have been epic if it was more visually stimulating.

jon, I just saw the Happening last night. Review coming this weekend. Critics are being too harsh but it's not M. Night's best work either.

Trev said...


As I said to Fletch, I wouldn't suspect it would have much to do with the story. I'll back it up because I think you guys are missing me on this one.

Firstly, like I said, I'm a fan of Tom Cruise's acting, so I have no beef with this movie.

However, since Tom has stated that he attributes all of his success to Scientology and that his religion WILL make one successful, the media has jumped all over him and made an earnest attempt to prove him wrong. This media pool is something critics dive into quite willingly it would seem.

Critics need to put down their "People" and "US" magazines and actually WATCH the movies they're supposed to be reviewing!

jeff said...

sorry to say jon, i've seen the happening, and it was laughable. it's an absolutely terrible movie. but I guess we can discuss that more when the review is on here.

jon said...

that sucks jeff. don't tell me that! oh well.

so tanti: i finally saw gone baby gone and totally agree with your $10 rating. in fact, how this thing doesn't win oscars is indiscernible to me.

looking at your ratings, it appears you would have given the nod to Michael Clayton. Really? That's the only one I haven't seen yet. The rest were great. Juno was good. Its the one I'd drop for Gone Baby Gone though.

And Casey Affleck was amazing. I would pay at least $3 to watch him eat cereal.

Sorry for my belated oscar rant. i don't really see them until DVD anymore.

Tony Tanti said...

jon, I agree with your oscar comments. Juno was good but it didn't deserve the critical acclaim. My guess is Gone Baby Gone got ignored because nobody wanted to admit Ben Affleck might be good at something.

jeff, review coming

trev, I see your point now. I hadn't heard that Cruise was anything other than an actor for this one though, am I wrong?