Tell me about your recent movie rentals

Just saw the Illusionist. Loved it, even though I spotted the ending early. I do confess that I am growing tired of Paul Giamatti who seems to be everywhere lately. I don’t know why Edward Norton isn’t higher on my favorite actors list because he does a superb job every single time I see him.

Saw Good Luck Chuck. I didn’t hate it. But I can’t say I liked it either. It could have been good. I couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a gross-out comedy or a romantic comedy. By trying to be both it ended up succeeding at neither. There were a few moments of sweetness. Jessica Alba was smoking hot.

Saw *Gwendoline *but really only rented it to see Tawny Kitaen naked. Bad acting, bad script, bad directing. But I got to see Tawny Kitaen naked.

Saw Shoot 'em up. An over-the-top action film that was all go from the first moment. I liked it, but although I am usually the one who says: “If you wanted reality, what were you doing at a movie?” I have to say that it just went too far too often. It was: impossible action, impossible action, impossible action, ooo, now you went too far and lost me.

What are you watching?

King of Kong : awesome

Eastern Promises : awesome

Once: boring. Turned it off.

The Invasion: boring, but watchable.

Eastern Promises: loved it.
The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: excellent. Casey Affleck really deserved to be nominated for his performance.

I’m catching up on some 1970s movies I missed the first time around:

The Assassination of Trotsky: Muddled account of the Stalin-directed assassination of the Marxist apostate in Mexico in 1940, with Richard Burton as Trotsky. Directed by the usually talented Joseph Losey, it could have been much better.

Lady Sings the Blues: This surprised me. I assumed it was Berry Gordy’s vanity production for Diana Ross. But it’s a real movie, with an intelligent screenplay. And Diana Ross is no amateur in the acting department in her movie debut. The movie has little relation to the real Billie Holiday’s life, but no matter, the real Billie Holiday invented a lot about her life too.

Up next:

Mary, Queen of Scots, with Vanessa Redgrave in the title role and Glenda Jackson as her cousin and enemy Queen Elizabeth.

Thank you! I was starting to think that I was the only one who didn’t like this movie. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood or something, but I just kept waiting for it to capture my attention, and it… didn’t.

The Last Picture Show: I liked it. Interesting to see Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Randy Quaid, and Cybil Shepherd in their much younger days.

Waking Life: I thought it was really interesting, but I didn’t get to finish it because the DVD player wasn’t reading the disk.

Recent rentals -
Hot Fuzz - funny but not as funny as I thought it would be, if that makes sense
Sunshine - well done sci-fi with actors I really like.

watching all of the “Alias” TV show with my daughter, cause we missed it when it was originally on.

I’ve been renting the BBC show Monarch of the Glen. It’s not the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s nice to have a change of pace once in a while. Beautiful scenery and lovely men in kilts.

The King of California. It was all right. A little heavy handed, a little cute, and no subplot, but all right.

Eastern Promises- good movie (not great, but good- and damn, Viggo ain’t shy is he?)

Straight Jacket- low budget comedy about a 1950s pretty-boy superstar who marries a secretary to hide the fact he’s gay. Some laugh out loud moments but not as funny as the same creative team’s drag queen fest Girls Will Be Girls.

Ken Burns’ THE WAR (the one about WW2)- still watching it. It’s good, but nothing like his Civil War in quality or coherence (though he’s dealing with the entire world [through 4 towns] and 85 million soldiers rather than a few million Americans on the eastern seaboard)

Superbad- I may be the one person in America who couldn’t watch this blockbuster without hitting the fast forward button. I can appreciate low brow humor, but just didn’t like this one.

Eastern Promises—As already noted, an excellent film.
Miss Potter—About my favorite children’s author, Beatrix Potter. Not as much of a chick flick as you might think. My husband thought he was going to hate it but he quite liked it.
This is England—It’s about a young boy who becomes involved with a group of skinheads. It was recommended to us by Netflix and we both really liked it.
Just received Sicko, The Jane Austen Book Club and 2 Days in Paris in the mail today.

ETA: Sampiro, I didn’t like Superbad, either.

A recent Netflix rental was Kobayashi’s Harakiri. I was completely blown away. The Criterion release is a 2-discer, but I only had the one via the rental. It had a trailer and a great commentary track. I definitely want to pick this up for my collection.

You wouldn’t think that a movie that spends about 80 percent of its running time with one guy sitting there telling a story would be so compelling. But it is. Of course we get flashbacks and such to fill it out but the primary focus if the human condition, not flashing samurai steel (although we get that in the last 20 minutes or so.). The film’s running time flew by as I was totally engrossed.

The DVD looked and sounded great. Highly recommended.

“After all, this thing we call samurai honor is ultimately nothing but a facade”

You’ll be happy to know that Casey WAS nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for that role. The film, which I loved, was also nominated for Best Cinematography. Roger Deakins, the cinematographer, was double nominated. He also worked on No Country For Old Men. He’s never won an Oscar and he’s the favorite. Casey doesn’t have a chance in his category, but I’m very happy for him that he was recognized. I think he belonged more in the lead category, but what can you do? I also loved Brad Pitt, who’s always a good actor, and did an excellent job here as the wary and resigned Jesse James. Also worth a mention is Sam Rockwell as Ford’s brother Charley, Sam Shepherd as Jesse’s brother Frank, and Paul Schneider (also great in Lars and the Real Girl) as Dick Liddil. My only complaint about the movie (and it’s a tiny one) is that Mary Louise Parker didn’t have much to do except look pretty and be there to scream over Jesse’s body. Any actress could have played that part.

Btw, Viggo Mortensen was also nominated for Best Actor for Eastern Promises.

La Vie en Rose. As always, I dislike movies that spend too much time in flashback, but Marion Cotillard’s performance was absolutely flawless. And I loved Edith Piaf’s music already. So, I was pretty impressed, despite my misgivings.

Khadaji, if you liked The Illusionist, check out The Prestige. Similar subject matter, came out at the same time, has David freakin’ Bowie in it.

As for me, my last few rentals include (this is off the top of my head): Buffalo 66 - Loved it. I suspect I’ll be watching it again and again over the years. It took a while for me to warm up to it, but I think the way that director Vincent Gallo’s own character develops in spite of himself and without letting us know until the very end, is incredible. The whole time, you think that he’s actually not growing or changing at all–and then at the moment of truth, you realize that

Altered States - Also awesome. Definitely something all psychonauts and most scientists can dig, I think. You know how An American Werewolf in London was cool when it actually got down to the action, but all the exposition was repetitive and boring? Altered States took a similar format and actually made the exposition fascinating. The protagonist is the archetypical psychonaut and the archetypical scientist, willing to throw everything away for the sake of empiricism. He actually reminded me quite a bit of a friend from my first semester of college, who I’m rather fond of and miss dearly. The ending was orgasmically climactic.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance - I was disappointed. It was a gorgeous film and technically well-done in a lot of ways, but stuffed to the brim with cliche, especially when we found out the protagonist’s motive. Granted, there was a certain catharsis in the final revenge scenes, but the exposition was just too drawn-out.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God - Seven different kinds of awesome. I don’t think anyone can make you feel the crushing superiority of nature over man the way Werner Herzog could. And I’ve also never seen anyone play crazy as well as Klaus Kinski.

Oh man, this thread is getting me all excited about my movies again! I’m going to have to go pop in Street Mobster. (Or maybe Blacula?)

Sampiro, I love The War too. I got the whole box set. I haven’t been watching it lately since I started my month of unlimited rentals down at Citizen Video. Oh, shit, that reminds me, it’s up tomorrow! I better watch my movies and go pick up some more!

yellowval, I’ve been waiting to hear some recommendations for This is England. I’m gonna have to go check it out.

I loved The Illusionist too.

I just watched Across the Universe–it wasn’t all that. There is another CS thread about it.
I also watched Elizabeth–the Golden Age and it pretty much sucked except for the costumes.

I rented The Brave One and The Assassination of Jesse James… and have higher hopes for them.

I am also watching season four of Six Feet Under and season four of Nip/Tuck via Netflix. Both good.

Planet Terror (half of Grindhouse) - absolutely loved it. Take a bunch of '70’s movie cliches, put them in the hands of a very talented director, and stand back. The only DVD where I watched all of the extra features, then watched the movie again.

We also saw Eastern Promises recently. Loved it; loved Viggo.
Other rentals during the past month:
Ratatouille–loved the animation; the pace of the movie was a bit frantic.
The Kingdom–didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. The scene where

Jason Bateman almost has his head cut off

had me pulling the stuffing out of the couch. (I’ve loved Jason Bateman since he was a kid in that show where he and his mom’s boyfriend constantly tried to outsmart one another. It ran for about 5 minutes in the 80s. Off to imdb to find the title.)
The Simpsons Movie–liked it; hated my husband singing “Spider Pig” for the next two weeks.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry–my husband’s pick. I hate, hate, hate this genre of soul-sucking “comedy” and Chuck and Larry was no exception.

[pointlessly proud of accomplishing a mundane task] That’s the first time I’ve used spoiler tags in a post! Hope they worked. [/ppoaamt]

I had never even heard of it, so I had no expectations going in or any idea what it was about. I was pleasantly surprised but don’t want to give away too much by talking about what I liked. Let me know what you think of it when you’re done.

Rambo Trilogy - Never saw them before, but they’re big dumb action at its finest.

War of the Worlds (Tom Cruise Version) - I can’t believe it took me so long to see this, but it was cool. Damn Tom Cruise for losing his mind.

I finally signed up for Netflix and so far I’ve gotten Confederate States of America and the first season of Rome, both because of what I’ve read about them here. I’m slowly filling up my queue as I think of movies I’ve missed in the past or had recommended here.