Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29, 2009

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
Remember how I said after Episode I, the Star Wars franchise had nowhere to go but up? Wow, I was wrong. The pathetic video-game animation, the ridiculous plot about Jedi having to rescue Jabba the Hutt's kidnapped son - this is what Star Wars has come to? Also, Anakin Skywalker has a Padawan? I seriously doubt that anyone on the Jedi Council thought that that was a good idea.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

April 28, 2009

Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)
The print that I have of this movie wasn't great, but any movie made in the 30s or before, unless it's something major like Gone With the Wind, is lucky to have a watchable print surviving at all. I am very much a fan of using film instead of digital technology, both for production and projection, but when I think of all the features that have been lost to time, I do appreciate how digital technology has been used to preserve what we have. As for the movie itself, it suffers the same problems that any movie of this kind would - it's boring to watch a man talking to himself on a deserted island for any length of time. This isn't silent, but it's a very early talkie, meaning there are long stretches with no dialogue or sound effects.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 27, 2009

Pinocchio (1940)
I don't remember how much I like this movie until I watch it. It's sort of like a lost Disney movie for me (not to be confused with the actual lost Disney movie, The Black Cauldron, which I don't really like). I would say it is the most moral-heavy of the Disney movies, but it is so in a way that's so innocent that you can't really hold it against it. The animation is stunning and the film gave birth to what would become the theme song for everything Disney - "When You Wish Upon a Star." There are two very disturbing and upsetting scenes in the film, first when Lampwick transforms into a donkey and second when Pinocchio is lying in the water after the wave washes them all ashore. These two only go to show how sanitized and censored Disney movies became the later they were made.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Monday, April 27, 2009

April 26, 2009

Blade: Trinity (2004)
Unlike the first two Blade movies, this one is self-aware enough to bring humor intentionally into the story. Parts of the first two may have been funny, but not because they were supposed to be. This one brings in the introduction of the vampire hunting group the Nightstalkers and faces off against the greatest vampire enemy of all time: Dracula. The end is a nice close to the trilogy while also leaving the door cracked open for the ever-possible Blade 4.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

April 25, 2009

The Soloist (2009)
I've been waiting since November to see this movie and I wasn't disappointed. I really couldn't care less about Jamie Foxx, but he wasn't the star of the movie. The plot may follow the story of Nathaniel Ayers, but Robert Downey, Jr. as Steve Lopez completely steals the spotlight. He has this way of delivering witty lines so straight and conversational that if you aren't paying close attention, you'll miss them. I saw it first in Iron Man, but it's also present here. His delivery of these makes his performance all the more enjoyable. This is not a happy or uplifting movie in any way, but it's good.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 24, 2009

Withnail and I (1987)
Based on an unfinished novel by Bruce Robinson, this cult film follows two friends who try to escape their dreary London life by fleeing to a cottage in the countryside. Though I'm not a huge fan of British humor, this is definitely a funny movie. It also uses satire to look at some darker sociological issues. Richard E. Grant plays a great Withnail, though I think he looks like Christopher Walken in this movie. Also, the soundtrack includes "All Along the Watchtower," which surprised me at first until I remembered that we're all a little bit Cylon.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 23, 2009

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
After Episode I, the Star Wars franchise really had nowhere to go but up. The second installment is a vast improvement over the first, but still doesn't even begin to reach the original trilogy in terms of, well, anything. The acting is not terrible - they did what they could with some really cheesy lines. Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson, and Natalie Portman are the highlights of the entire prequel trilogy, I think. The movie of course suffered from too much CGI, but what did you expect? It's Star Wars. I enjoy the overall story too much to really dislike this movie.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars