Richard Kelly’s The Box doesn’t bother explaining anything and in the end the whole thing boils down to the work of one of six groups: hyper advanced aliens, sentient lightning, government experimentation, magic, Cameron Diaz’s deformed foot or God (those last two might be the same thing).
The Crazies (2010) - Also more entertaining than it had any right to be. But then, I really think Timothy Olyphant is an underappreciated actor. He’s not ever going to win an Oscar, but he does an excellent job in everything he’s in.
Unthinkable - Interesting, but ultimately stupid, movie about using torture to find the location of a trio of atomic bombs a terrorist has planted somewhere in the US. His reasons for planting the bombs puts this one into double :rolleyes::rolleyes: territory.
Iron Man 2: Robert Downey Jr’s spoiled asshole playboy bit kept me entertained, for the most part, although I feel as if I should intensely dislike the character. Some nice fights, not long enough to bcome boring. The villainous inventor/industrialist was unbelievably stupid.
Predators: Adrien Brody plays a much better badass than I expected, but the movie itself wasn’t very exciting. Nice special effects.
Session 9: Brooding, dark, slowly building tension, mostly awesome. It’s hard to avoid the thought “Haven’t we seen this all before?”, though. Honestly? We have; “my other personality is a murderer!” leaves me shrugging. But the film was put together with enough skill to make it worth watching.
Below: There were some nice touches, but overall it was boring and terribly predictable. I do have a soft spot for horror movies that leave the audience wondering.
I think I’ve only seen, like, four movies since Christmas. They were:
Despicable Me - I liked it. The plot was kinda meh, but it was funny with a lot of physical comedy. Kinda like a two hour long loony-toons short, with the cuteness factor dialed up to 11.
Book of Eli - Not sure why I didn’t like this, but I just found it kinda boring. Could have done without the over-the-top kung-fu, I think. Just made what was trying to be a grity realistic post-apocalyptic film too unbelievable. Also felt like Kevin Costner should be in it somewhere.
Alice in Wonderland - It was pretty, anyways. But it took itself way too seriously, Alice and Wonderland as epic fantasy just doesn’t work.
Avatar - I liked it. Deservably gets a lot of grief for its “paint by numbers” type plot, but honestly I kinda liked that they kept it simple plotwise, since the point of the movie was obviously to create a neat world. And I actually prefer it to other fantasy/sci-fi films where the creators throw a bunch of complicated and more or less random twists and turns so that the whole movie is spent trying to figure out the complicated politics of some imaginary world that we’re only going to experience for a few hours anyways (see, for example, the latter Pirates of the Carribean Movies).
ETA: oh yea, I saw Iron Man II somewhere in there too. I didn’t really like it either, I think I just might be getting bored of superhero movies. I’m kinda hoping Hollywood moves on and finds another genre for their big budget blockbuster dollar.
Greenberg. Certainly not your typical Ben Stiller movie. Not sure whether I liked it or not. A darkish comedy that isn’t big on plot. The female lead, Great Gerwig was good though.
The Green Zone. Really had no desire to see it. According to the DVD case, Ebert gave it 4 stars and I wanted to use up my last Blockbuster in-store exchange rather than waste it. If you’ve seen one Iraqi war movie with its hyper editing and a lot of that “go! Go! GO!!” dialogue, you’ve seen them all.
Five Minutes of Heaven. Thought it was really good. Great performance from the lead actors. Not to sound presumptuous but were I in charge, I would have made several changes to the story. Also had to watch this one with the subtitles on since the thick Irish brogue is indecipherable at certain points.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Liked it. More of whodunit than anything but not exactly run of the mill and the two leads were excellent. Not a great film per se with a few holes here and there but watchable due to the excellent acting.
The Man with a Movie Camera (1929, Vertov) – Quite simply the best movie about movies ever made, and a giant in filmmaking history. Cutting edge and profoundly clever and innovative, the movie hasn’t dated a bit and is still immensely entertaining. To watch it with the Alloy Orchestra performing live is even a greater treat. A film that never gets old. Wow.
Haxan: Witchcraft through the Ages (1922, Christensen) – An incredibly creepy historical overview of satanism, both its practice and its mythic influence. The recreations are genuinely bizarre and horrific, and the Matti Bye Ensemble’s accompanying score is a revelation in atonal moodiness.
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929, Pabst) – More florid and melodramatic than Pabst’s masterpiece Pandora’s Box, this film lives and breathes by the effortless charm and charisma of the amazing Louise Brooks. She elevates the material and the emotional tenor every step of the way, and manages to humanize some setpieces that could easily come across as cruel or exploitative. Primarily a star vehicle, but one worth checking out.
Inception (2010, Nolan) – A lot of fun and meticulously constructed, with a first-rate cast that does justice to a smart and intricately-crafted plot. Definitely worth revisiting, primarily because I found that the emotional core of the film got lost a little in the nesting doll framework. A little frustrating that I wanted to care more about Cobb’s plight, but it’s a provocative film and one I look forward to seeing again (as soon as I’ve caught up on all the other films in release I haven’t seen yet).
Despicable Me - Liked it, although the villain became soft-n-sweet a bit too quickly for me. Lots of laughs, adroit physical comedy, and good visuals. A solid B+.
Dark City - Long a favorite of mine, and this is the director’s cut, which omits the opening V/O and adds some short but consequential scenes left out of the original release. Intricate, intriguing, moody and hypnotic. Roger Ebert’s commentary on the DVD was quite interesting - he clearly loves the movie as much as I do. Definitely A+.
Knight and Day - Despite the reviews and some big plot holes, I actually thought it was good. Both Cruise and Diaz are looking a little too long in the tooth for this sort of thing, though. Some good jokes (“It’s just one of those things,” “It’s all good” and “What number would you like?” were standouts), and fun, mildly-plausible action sequences. I’d give it a B.
Taken - Extraordinarily implausible revenge flick. A bit too sour in tone to really be fun, but seeing Liam Neeson use his spycraft was interesting, and Maggie Grace is always nice to look at. I’d give it a C.
“Dear Wendy” - watched on Netflix. … boring for the first half hour, interesting for the next half hour, conflict introduced makes me oddly uncomfortable since it seems vaguely racist… oh, boring again.
Outloud moment “Whoa! That’s Billy Elliott all grown up!”
“Cyrus” - watched in Theater. good, but not as funny as I thought it would be. I also realized that the only way they could have made it funnier was by upping the ante with Jonah Hill’s character’s antics and making Marisa Tomei’s character a moron to keep the plot going. I’m glad they didn’t do that.
Outloud moment “Hey! That’s Eagle Rock. I know where they filmed that!”
(6 years in LA and I still get those)
“The Kids Are All Right” - watched in theater. Good, but not as great as people are saying it is though. Very funny. Benning decided to play her character as a man more than just a butch lesbian. Juliane Moore is amazing looking and very good. Ruffalo is hilarious. Best explanation for lesbians liking gay male porn that I have heard.
Outloud moment- “So what happens next?” “She remains an alcoholic and none of their personal problems get dealt with?”
“In Bruges”- on dvd. Really good. Funny. Bizarre. Beautifully shot. Racist dwarf! Harry Potter actors everywhere!
Outloud moment- “I forgot that I actually like Colin Farrell.”
Despicable me - Loved it! Giggles and swoops, and uses 3D the way it should be used - to make you want to barf on a rolleer coaster. Nothing philosphical or profound, just pure entertainment. Fantastic score, cute characters, good voicing. Will probably not stand up to repeated viewing. Only 1 potty break (means the little one was enthralled.)
Toy Story 3 - Good 3D and color - lousy music. The plot gets a little thick and complicated for the tykes, and we had to take multiple potty breaks (usually a sign that the plot drags from the shorties’ PoV.) Missing a scene here or there had little effect on the overall story, so “D-” for editing. Definitely do not want a home copy of this one.
Princess and the Frog - A+++ on all counts. Plot is great, moves at just the right pace for the little ones, incredible color, amazing music, and excellent voice acting. Even after 80-some plays I still root for this one when she’s choosing a movie. No. Potty. Breaks. first and only.
Can’t remember the last movie I saw before that. . .
When in Rome – Terrible. A hodgepodge of all the traditional Rom-com elements haphazardly thrown into a big stinking pile of suck. Why so many decent actors got pulled into this one I’ll never know.
Leap Year – Not bad. A Rom-com very similar to 1997’s The Matchmaker. Very predictable, a little too sweet, but otherwise paced well with likeable characters in a quaint setting. Amy Adams shows her limits as an actress again however.
District 9 - Wow! Why hadn’t I seen this before? A great film from start to finish. Awesome action, great characters, superb acting, and deep empathy. A near masterpiece.
The Disorderly Orderly – A supremely stupid film, and kind of creepy too. I chuckled at a few of the slapstick scenes, but mostly I was disgusted at bad this film was. Terrible and weird.
Copying Beethoven - Ed Harris as Beethoven was surprisingly entertaining. Everything else was lame: the blatant Amadeus ripoffs, the completely fictional female copyist, the misplaced feminist empowerment message, and, most laughably, ghost-conducting as proxy-sex during the first performance of the Ninth Symphony (no I’m not kidding). Lame, lame, lame.
Iron Man 2 - Pretty good, but nowhere near as good as the first. Like most superhero sequels, it just felt too bloated with too many unnecessary characters and convoluted shenanigans signifying not very much. Like its predecessor, it’s best scenes were smaller character moments.
All The President’s Men - Absorbing journalistic procedural about the Washington Post’s investigation into the Watergate break in and how it brought about the downfall of President Nixon. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman were compelling as Woodward and Bernstein and Alan J. Pakula’s direction was immaculate and his ability to generate suspense with shots of people speaking on phones and scribbling notes is amazing. However, the shear volume of names, dates, facts and figures can be overwhelming and somewhat distancing if you’re not up on your Watergate history. This wouldn’t have been a problem upon its initial release in 1976 when the scandal was still fresh but I think younger viewers might do well to skim through wikipedia before watching.
Alice in Wonderland - Tim Burton. Yawn. Man, is that guy stuck in a rut. However, I did get a kick out of a newly empowered Alice going off to China to exploit growth opportunities in the opium trade.
I’ll watch about anything on netflix, so these are the last 5 I saw, all last week.
Mystery Team: a bunch actors from NBC’s Friday night sitcoms try to solve a mystery Encyclopedia Brown style. Had some very funny moments, but was mostly pretty flat. C+
The Princess and the Frog: I’m not exactly the given dynamic, but I liked it well enough. Pros: hand drawn, a few decent musical numbers. Cons: couldn’t stop thinking about racial dynamics in New Orleans in the time period this was set, and how Disney just ignores such things. B+
Kamikaze Girls: this was one of those “netflix thinks you will like THIS movie” picks, so I had no idea what it was about going in. Turned out to be a fairly funny, clever movie about youth subcultures and a friendship between 2 girls. Nothing groundbreaking, but a good time. Another B+.
Franklyn: Another netflix suggestion, but less successful than KG. Either boring or hole-riddled. C
Maltese Falcon: I’d never seen it. I liked Casablanca better, but I can see why it’s a classic. I would have liked more Peter Lorre, but that’s just me. A
Rules of Attraction - Litterally Patrick “American Psycho” Bateman’s little brother going through his senior year of college with typical hit early 2000s cast.
2012 - Powering brain down nooowww…
The Invention of Lying - Charmingly funny Ricky Jarvais film
Jack and Silent Bob Strike Back - BONNNNG!!!
I’m not sure why it sucked so bad. It had a pretty good cast. Shitty dialogue though and predictable Stephen King “band of childhood misfit friends from Maine reunite as adults to fight a monster” story.
The A-Team - I used to watch this show every week with my dad, from first grade on. Nostaligia doesn’t make it a good movie.
The Broken - So, I finished watching this movie, and the first thing I thought was “was I paying attention? Because I’m pretty sure that they implied [something absurd]. That can’t be right.” Nope, turns out I nailed it. I read a review and someone said it was “fast paced.” What were they comparing it to, paint drying?
Babysitter Wanted - Um…well, that was different. I expected a silly slasher movie, not that.