Two weeks back we watched “Cinderella Man”. Another awesome performance by Russell Crowe, he happens to be my favorite amongst the present crop of male character actors in Hollywood. His characters are so richly textured, their emotions so raw that they stay with you long after that first encounter in the darkened theatre. If they ever remade “Wuthering Heights” into a movie I would love to see Russell Crowe play Heathcliff. He would also make a very nice Mr. Darcy. Anyways the hero worship aside, the Cinderella Man like The Million Dollar Baby starts out as just another boxing movie but halfway through has a change of heart, stops peddling the game and starts telling us about the lives of its characters. So we get to meet the man with the girlish nickname, the family he is trying so hard to provide for and the hopelessness around him. I know it sounds very melodramatic but go ahead and watch it just for its gloomy portrayal of the Great Depression. I don’t think I have watched any other movie (apart from “The Grapes of Wrath”) that has captured the gloom of the economic slump so well- without a wee bit of romantic air brushing.
This weekend we watched “Crash”. It was one of those spur of the moment decisions (besides the other option was to watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith!!!). I would highly recommend this movie to everyone. Crash approaches racial stereotyping in a common sense manner…it accepts the fact that we are all fundamentally good and racial stereotyping is a reaction to circumstances – this is the basic premise of the movie and it takes this premise and turns it upside down so many times that the audience is left disoriented at the end. The lines between good and bad blur as the creepy racist transitions to a saviour and the good kid turns murderer. In the game of life, each character goes through his/her personal hell and makes choices. Like the game of Knights of the Old Republic each action pushes you that much closer to either the Light or the Dark Side. Besides the moral amibiguity, the movie keeps you on your seat’s edge with its tight, gripping story telling and star cast. Watch out for rapper “Ludacris”….some really good acting there.