Happiness (link): The official line in one sentence - "Three middle-class New Jersey sisters all have their problems with their families and sex lives." This movie is messed up. One can guess that the main topic is "happiness" and how different people seek it in different manners. And when I say different, I mean very different. To wit, Pilip Seymour Hoffman is an obscene phone caller and Dylan Baker is a psychiatrist and a pedophile. Yeah, not for the faint of heart. I thought it was "okay" at best. Just a bit too messed up for me - so much so that you lose the direction (of the film) for the unsavory details (like the pedophile).
L4yer Cake (link): I bought and watched this one because it stars 007 himself, Daniel Craig. Don't make the same mistake I did. First off, this is a British flick, and I don't mean "British" like Lock Stock or Snatch where you can still understand the dialogue. To put it bluntly - I turned on the English subtitles and I needed them. Second, the plot is convoluted and confusing. Granted, I probably lost a bit since I only turned on the subtitles 1/3-1/2 of the way through, but even so it was not clear. I suspect it could have been a good movie with an interesting plot if only the dialogue and plot were clearer. Clearly this is not a ringing endorsement.
"Doubt" (link): Saw it at the Schubert Theatre in New Haven courtesy of movie.girl. Stars Cherry Jones in the lead role. The official line:
Set against the backdrop of a Catholic school in 1964, DOUBT is the story of a strong-minded woman faced with a difficult decision. Should she voice concerns about one of her male colleagues...even if she's not entirely certain of the truth? The play examines the line between gossip and truth, discipline and compassion, certainty and doubt.I thought it was an excellent performance of a truly interesting work. There was no definitive point of view or answer espoused. Everything was very ambiguous, lending to the overall theme of doubt. There were so many good subtopics and quotations. An excellent play that certainly got me thinking about doubt and uncertainty. I highly recommend it if you get the chance.
Little Miss Sunshine (link): Wow. I liked this one. The plot is really just to hold together collective observances of a very dysfunctional family. But it works. It works really well. If you like thinly-plotted movies that give you a glimpse of imperfect people in odd situations... well, granted that's an odd preference for movies, but it describes this one fairly well. It's worth seeing if you at least occasionally watch movies that critics also enjoy.