Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30, 2010

A League of Their Own (1992)
#69 on my Top 100 List
Here we go - the home stretch! After this, I only have seven days left in this year. I can't believe how fast it's gone! I love baseball and this is one of the best baseball movies I've seen. Tom Hanks gives a great performance as a washed-up lush of a former ball player who is roped into managing one of the first all-girls' baseball teams that was formed while the MLB players were overseas fighting in WWII. Madonna also gives a convincing performance as a former dance hall girl as does David Strathairn as the league manager (though he's always fantastic and I don't just think so because he was in LA Confidential). The movie balances comedy with drama, especially in a pivotal scene where one of the players learns that her husband has been killed in the war. Plus the movie spawned a phrase and taught America a lesson that even real life baseball players remember - there's no crying in baseball!
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

January 29, 2010

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
I figured since I watched Ed Wood, I should follow it up with the movie that made the real Ed Wood famous (or rather infamous). This has been dubbed the worst movie ever made and boy is that true. It's one of those that's so terrible it's almost good - you can see the strings on the "UFOs" that fly over Hollywood (that are clearly two paper plates glued together and painted silver), the cardboard headstones fall over if anyone walks too close, and when star Bela Lugosi died halfway through filming, they got a body double who walks around with a cape covering half of his face to finish his scenes (though I suppose that it is notable that this was Bela Lugosi's last film). The writing is terrible, the acting is terrible, and poor Ed Wood thought that he was making a masterpiece. Half of the movie is pieced together stock footage. I have to give this three stars, mostly out of morbid amusement.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

January 28, 2010

Ed Wood (1994)
#75 on my Top 100 List
This is one of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton's best collaborations, in my opinion. Johnny Depp is absolutely brilliant as Edward D. Wood, Jr. - the worst movie director of all time. The cast that Burton put together is awesome and includes Bill Murray as transvestite Bunny Breckinridge and Martin Landau in his Academy Award-winning performance as Bela Lugosi. Burton's decision to make the film in black and white makes in greatly reminiscent of the films that Wood himself made, deludedly thinking that they were bound to be remembered forever. Well, they were in fact remembered forever, but certainly not in the way that he intended.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 27, 2010

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
#3 on my Top 100 List
This whole trilogy revolutionized the way that mainstream audiences looked at fantasy and this one was the one that started it all. Beyond that, this launched Viggo Mortensen as a bone-fide action star and Orlando Bloom as the quintessential heartthrob of the early 2000s (who happens to be really good with a bow and arrow). There are several journeys within this movie, most obviously Boromir's arc from noble Gondorian prince to weak and greedy soldier and finally back to a man of honor. Merry and Pippin start out the story as young and naive - only at the end when they sacrifice their freedom for Frodo do they start to see the gravity of their situation. The nine actors playing the members of the Fellowship create a beautiful relationship that lasts throughout all three movies, though it evolves as it goes. This movie is the creation of an entire world and none of it disappoints - the Ringwraiths are scariest when they're on horses, demon Bilbo is beyond creepy (even if it's just a split second), and that is the best damn old man/wizard fight I've ever seen. But one of the most impressive things about this entire trilogy is that with all of those amazing special effects, some of them are still just old-fashioned hard work - forced perspective and "bigatures" (miniature models that can tower to over 11 feet) look perfect and far more realistic than the fallback CGI that any other film would have used. I saw this in theaters more than any movie to date.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January 26, 2010

Memphis Belle (1990)
#36 on my Top 100 List
This is a highly-fictionalized version of the story of the real B-17 Bomber that was first to finish its tour of duty during WWII and return home. It includes Eric Stoltz before he created the Cylons, Sean Astin before he went to Middle Earth, and pre-Titanic Billy Zane (and as a side note - long live Titanic with its pure box office totals, unbloated by 3D or IMAX ticket prices!). It's interesting how they tell the story, showing the crew as they go on one final mission. The tiny crawlspaces on the plane become the setting, the fire of enemy fighters is a constant presense, and everyone but the two captains becomes a gunner, regardless of their other jobs (even the navigator and the radio operator). Then, once the mission is done, everything is unimportant in the face of returning home (even Mona - the beloved gun of Jack, the left waist gunner). David Strathairn is awesome, plus Harry Connick, Jr. sings! Also, this is the first place I heard the true meaning of SNAFU.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Monday, January 25, 2010

January 25, 2010

Gettysburg (1993)
#2 on my Top 100 List
This is an epic film that I think only history dorks like me love and I do love it. It is, for the most part, historically accurate (and those inaccuracies were all put in for a reason - mostly moving main characters closer to the action) and a large part of it was actually shot at the National Military Park in Gettysburg. Equal attention is given to characters on each side of the war - Joshua Chamberlain and John Buford for the North and Lee, Longstreet, Pickett, and Armistead for the South - with no obvious bias. The scene of Chamberlain's bayonet charge down Little Round Top is one of the most moving scenes I've seen, as well as the entire Pickett's Charge sequence. I also like that this is more than a traditional war movie. Great attention is given to specific relationships and how they are affected by the war - mostly the best friendship between northern General Hancock and southern General Armistead and the brotherhood between Tom and Joshua Chamberlain (C. Thomas Howell's performance as Tom is where my love for him comes from). Martin Sheen as Lee and Sam Elliott as Buford were sort of miscast looks-wise (which is obvious from the opening credits as photos of the true historical figures dissolve into photos of the actors in costume) but they both play the parts well otherwise. The battlefield realism is pretty good, so far as it went before Saving Private Ryan changed the game five years later.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24, 2010

Almost Famous (2000)
This is only sort of a biopic, since Cameron Crowe fictionalized his real life experiences, but it's close enough. It was different than what I was expecting (though I'm not really sure what I was expecting) but I really liked this movie. Kate Hudson and Billy Crudup were fantastic - I think that both are highly under-appreciated as actors (especially after Billy Crudup's performance in Watchmen and Kate Hudson's in Nine this past year). It's almost a road movie masquerading as an insider film, where the main character is more important than the plot (it does have a plot though, which is important and overlooked in favor of characterization in some instances). The rock stars and groupies are pretty realisticly written, which led to Cameron Crowe's Oscar win. Also, watch for a very young Jay Baruchel and Rainn Wilson in bit parts.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

January 23, 2010

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
#47 on my Top 100 List
I meant to watch this back around Halloween, since it feels like a Halloween movie to me, but I missed it and since it's on the list, I had to watch it now, despite the fact that it felt totally out of season. This movie is very creepy right from the very beginning with the spine-tingling lullaby that plays over shots of a gothic old apartment building (in real life the Dakota in Manhattan). Mia Farrow is perfect as the waifish unwitting mother of Satan's child - it's horrible to watch her suffer through the pain of her pregnancy and her perfect drugged calm while she's being raped by the devil is what makes it one of the most disturbing rape scenes I've seen in a film. The end is also creepy, made moreso again by Mia Farrow and the look on her face just as the story fades to credits.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

January 22, 2010

The Lovely Bones (2009)
A lot has been said about what they cut from this movie. I have yet to read the book, but regardless of what's missing, this is still a really disturbing movie. Stanley Tucci is normally so adorable - I don't want to see him playing a creepy neighbor who rapes and kills little girls! Saoirse Ronan is fantastic as Susie - the girl who narrates her own death and afterlife, though the scenes in limbo don't really seem to fit with the rest of the film. They're jarring as opposed to effective. By far the best parts of the movie are the scenes of the family dealing with Susie's death. There was a great shot of a poster advertising the rerelease of the Lord of the Rings novels - nice inside joke, Peter Jackson!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 21, 2010

The Young Victoria (2009)
This is one of the better biopics that I've seen recently. I don't know how closely it follows real life, but Victoria and Albert are adorable in this movie! Coincidentally it was written by Julian Fellowes - the same guy who wrote Gosford Park, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. The movie is also beautiful in every way - the costumes, the art direction and the makeup are all flawless. Emily Blunt is very convincing as the young willful queen though her on-again-off-again political relationship with Lord Melbourne is more annoying than plot-advancing.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 20, 2010

Gosford Park (2001)
Usually I can take or leave Robert Altman films, but this one works on so many levels that it's hard not to love it. It's one of those films that's nearly impossible to peg as either a drama or a comedy because it truly is both. The division of one story between two distinct points of view ("above stairs" and "below stairs" being the terms given to the rich and their servants) is flawless and the way that the servants become invisible to the audience during above stairs scenes just as they are to the characters is great. The murder mystery plotline seems almost unnecessary and the murder itself doesn't happen until an hour and twenty minutes into the film. Most every British actor you can think of is in the cast (leading Ian McKellen to joke at the Golden Globes that he represented the tiny portion of British actors not to appear in it), plus Bob Balaban and Ryan Phillipe sporting a delibrately bad Scottish accent. Maggie Smith in particular is fantastic.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 19, 2010

Apollo 13 (1993)
#57 on my Top 100 List
There is a difference between emotionally charged and emotionally manipulating. Some directors (for instance, Michael Bay) are really great at blowing things up, but rely on emotional manipulation to get a response from audiences. Ron Howard doesn't need to do that. The last fifteen minutes of this movie are so tense that the audience's nerves are almost completely frayed. The release that comes at the end is a completely emotional release - no manipulation needed. Of course, it helps that this is a true story. I think one of the strengths of the film is that it focuses equally on the astronauts stuck in the dead Apollo 13 capsule in space and on the team of people in Mission Control working around the clock to bring them home alive. Both sides of the story are important and they create two different dramatic environments. The sound effects in this movie I found particularly effective (so, by the way, did the Academy) and this is one of James Horner's better scores - it doesn't sound like everything else he's ever written.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 18, 2010

The Life of David Gale (2003)
#73 on my Top 100 List
I know that a lot of people hate this movie - it's too heavy-handed, it's poorly-written, etc. - but I saw it for free at an advanced screening in Boston and met Kevin Spacey at a Q&A afterward, so I love for that reason alone. I'm biased. I could definitely do without the random spinning camera and the various words that flash across the screen, but I think there is a good story buried beneath the anti-capital punishment propaganda. Kate Winslet and Kevin Spacey both give good performances, making a lot out of what they were given.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17, 2010

The Jungle Book (1967)
Happy Golden Globes day! This is the last film that Walt Disney himself worked on before his death in 1966. It has catchy music and fun characters, including Baloo the Bear and King Louie (voiced by the jazz legend Louis Prima) as well as the villainous Shere Khan and Kaa the snake. Kaa is voiced by Sterling Holloway, who was also the voice of Winnie the Pooh and let me tell you - it's really disturbing to hear Pooh's voice coming out of the mouth of a giant man-eating python. Look for an appearance by a quartet of vultures who are curiously reminiscent of a certain Fab Foursome from Britain. Also appearing is Phil Harris as Baloo - my favorite Disney voice actor. And what is Bambi's mom doing in India?
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

January 16, 2010

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
#68 on my Top 100 List
This is most people's favorite Indy film and though I understand why, the fun romp that is Raiders is still my favorite. But there are some absolutely wonderful things going on in this movie! Sean Connery as Dr. Henry Jones, Indy's strict academic dad, is great and there are some fantastic one-liners ("The pen, Henry!" "He chose...poorly" and "The Ark of the Covenant/Are you sure?/Pretty sure" being some of the best). This one returns to the form put forth by Raiders, featuring the return of Salah and pitting Indy against the Nazis who are once again trying to steal important biblical artifacts. Instead of the powerfully destructive Ark of the Covenant, this time they're after the mythical Holy Grail and its promise of immortality. I sort of wish that we had never learned the secret behind the name Indiana, but oh well.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
This is the odd installment of the Indiana Jones saga. The funny parts are much funnier than the other two, but the dark parts are much much darker. We see the dark side of Indy himself when he is possessed and enslaved by an Indian cult that rips out hearts. He even tries to sacrifice the girl of the moment (Kate Capshaw) and his sidekick, the scene-stealing Short Round. Where does Short Round go for the rest of the movies? He's awesome! He's the best part of this entire movie. Maybe he's mad that Indy tried to kill him. This one also chucks out any scenes of Indiana working in an academic setting. It bothers me that, even though this is the second of the trilogy, it supposedly takes place a year before Raiders. How does that make sense?
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

January 14, 2010

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
#33 on my Top 100 List
Indiana Jones might be one of the most terrible archeologists in the world. He destroys temples, he mistreats artifacts, and he has that pesky problem of letting priceless historical pieces fall into the hands of the Nazis. However, these may just be the most fun adventure movies of all time. Harrison Ford plays Indy as a man who can is absolutely believable both as an adorably dorky history professor and a whip-wielding badass adventurer. Karen Allen is by far the best girl (sort of like a Bond girl, but there is no acceptable pop culture term for her - Indy girl? Doesn't work) of the series, which the producers obviously knew since she was the one they chose to bring back for the newest installment. Speaking of the newest Indy movie, the only moment that was its saving grace was its reference to this one, when the lost Ark of the Covenant makes a brief appearance at the beginning. You know how much I love continuity! The special effects are a little Ghostbusters cheesy, but this does include possibly the best stop-motion face-melting scene in the history of cinema.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 13, 2010

Black Hawk Down (2001)
#15 on my Top 100 List
I've seen this movie many times, I've read the book, and I even vaguely remember when this actually happened - I still don't understand how things could go so wrong so fast. It's a confusing, frightening melee where everyone in the city is hostile and deadly and the night feels like it will last forever. But even through all that, the film never loses sight of the characters, juggling different groups (the humvee column, the Rangers, Delta Force, the pilots, and those back at command) without any confusion. The cast is varied and all are phenomenal - besides Josh Hartnett and Eric Bana, there's Ewan McGregor, Jason Isaacs, Tom Sizemore, Ewan Bremner, Ioan Gruffudd, Sam Shephard, Hugh Dancy and Zeljko Ivanek. Oh look, William Fichtner's there again too! Also, if you look closely, there are bit parts by Orlando Bloom and Jeremy Piven. The sound effects are particularly good throughout the whole film. The two scenes that stand out the most are the opening sequence that shows the bodies of Somalis who have died in the famine while titles explain how the warlords have been hoarding the food supply and the surgery scene that rivals the amputation scene in Gone With the Wind for being disturbing.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 12, 2010

The Hurt Locker (2009)
For a movie that's being heralded as one of the best films of the year, there is not a lot going on here. The plot is made up of a bunch of tense ten-minute scenes of bomb deactivation with no overarcing story that ties them together. It's like all of the individual firefights in Black Hawk Down without the overall story of the helicopter crash. There are a lot of big name actors in this, but don't get too attached to anyone, because people die left and right. The main character is an adrenaline junkie, who loses any respect that the audience may have had for him with his actions at the very end. I will say that when the movie is supposed to be tense, it's very tense. There's also a really cool shot of someone's eye through the sight on a sniper rifle.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11, 2010

Nine (2009)
This movie is not to be confused with 9 or District 9, although maybe the filmmakers should wish it would be, since both were better (and considering that 9 was about creepy sentient dolls made of burlap sacks, that's saying something). It was completely unimpressive. Daniel Day-Lewis mopes and whines and screws around on his wife for two hours and yet the seven women in this movie are all obsessed with him. Why? Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench and Kate Hudson are all fantastic, while Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard are pretty blah (though, to be fair, I really can't stand either of them and probably nothing would make me like their performances). Sophia Loren and Fergie appear only in weird, out-of-place black and white flashbacks and, though they both play their roles well, feel totally unnecessary. The songs were hit or miss for me - I really liked "Be Italian," "My Husband Makes Movies," "Cinema Italiano" and "Unusual Way," but the others were boring. Also, all of the musical numbers are presented as fantasies that the main characters are having and feel disconnected from the actual plot. Not sure why this got so many Golden Globe nominations.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2010

Munich (2005)
#93 on my Top 100 List
Between this and Defiance, Daniel Craig proves that he's never more badass than when he's playing a kick-ass Jew, except when he's playing James Bond. With him and Eric Bana on the team sent to track down and destroy the terrorists responsible for the 1972 massacre of Jewish athletes at the Munich olympics, the terrorists really don't stand a chance. I especially like the way that they dealt with Eric Bana's character, since onoe really can't go through events like those in the film and not be changed by them. John Williams' score is perfect. I don't know how accurate this is in regards to the real reaction to the Munich killings, but this version of events makes for very good drama.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

January 9, 2010

Leap Year (2010)
I think I may have lost my ability to tell if a movie is good or not if Matthew Goode is in it. He's so distracting (not that that's a bad thing). But Kat and Anna have assured me that this was a pretty good movie. There's nothing surprising about it - everything plays out just as you expect it to - but if as long as you go into it knowing that, it's fun. The Ireland locations are beautiful, though none of the scenes that supposedly took place in Boston looked like Boston. There are only really two recognizable buildings in Boston - the Hancock tower and the Pru - and neither made an appearance. Not a great way to establish location. My question about the movie is, when is this supposed to take place? Back in 2008? Two years from now in 2012? 2010 isn't a leap year, guys.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

January 8, 2010

American Beauty (1999)
#30 on my Top 100 List
This movie is all about performances. Kevin Spacey is absolutely phenomenal as a man who discovers that all of the beauty has been drained out of his life and decides to take it back. He won Best Actor for the role and I think that it was absolutely deserved. Allison Janney is very powerful as a suburban housewife driven deeper and deeper into her own madness by her cruel husband, even though she's onscreen very little. The look of the movie is very unique, between the lush and bright red rose petal Lolita fantasies that the main character has about Mena Suvari's character, the repetition of movement and slow-motion in the scenes between those two characters, and the dry gray look of everyday life. Kevin Spacey's monologue at the end is a very touching, appropriate ending.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

January 7, 2010

Chinatown (1974)
#48 on my Top 100 List
I love this movie mostly because it took the Film Noir style and, by adapting it to things like color and more freedom to discuss the political atmosphere, transfigured it into Neo-Noir. That then paved the way for movies like LA Confidential and Memento. Besides Faye Dunaway's performance ("My sister! My daughter!" remains one of the most iconic moments in film history), the true stars of the movie are Jerry Goldsmith's musical score and the backdrop of the city of Los Angeles. The struggle to bring water to a city brought forth from a desert is a very real one and I don't doubt that in the city's early days, the sort of corruption that appears in this movie was widespread. Also, now that I'm reading A Bright and Guilty Place, which is about LA's early days, I get the whole thing that Hollis Mulwray talks about concerning the broken dam that flooded part of the Valley.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

January 6, 2010

The Princess and the Frog (2009)
All hail Disney's triumphant return to hand-drawn animation!! I'm so happy that this movie exists and that it's so well-done and touching. (By the way - sorry I haven't updated in a while! The website hasn't been letting me in.) Tiana is a fantastic princess in the model of Jasmine or Belle, plus she is the first African-American princess in Disney history. The movie also returns to the traditional Disney form of incorporating musical numbers into the story, taking the lead of The Aristocats and using jazzier songs as opposed to the straight-up "Disney music" style of more recent movies. The most beautiful moment of the film, though, comes toward the end. I'm not going to ruin it for anyone, but for those of you who have seen it - Evangeline.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5, 2010

GoldenEye (1995)
#50 on my Top 100 List
This is a fantastic James Bond film. It's Pierce Brosnan's first turn as the famous super-spy, it introduces Dame Judi Dench as M (who has never been more badass in her life), and it got adapted into a pretty great video game (and I don't even like video games). Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid in Harry Potter) shows up as an ex-KGB agent. Sean Bean (Boromir in Lord of the Rings) is Bond's former parter. Famke Janssen (Jean Grey in X-Men) is awesome as a homicidal nymphomaniac. And the late great Desmond Llewelyn returns for one of his last performances as the MI6 weapons inventor Q. My only complaint is the character Boris. I adore Alan Cumming, but I really truly hate Boris. In the video game, you used to lose the level if you shot him, but I always shot him anyway. His whole "I am invincible!" thing is incredibly irritating. The reveal halfway through of the identity of the mysterious crime lord Janus is one of those great cinematic moments and the fight at the end between Janus and Bond on a radar antenntae cradle is awesome.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

January 4, 2010

Rebecca (1940)
#23 on my Top 100 List
Just one year after Laurence Olivier played Heathcliffe, he returned to play another dark literary character - but his Maxim de Winter is much more tragically sympathetic than Heathcliffe. Poor Maxim, just like everyone else in the film, is haunted by the memory of his dead wife Rebecca. Though she's never seen even in pictures, Rebecca is as much as character as anyone else in the film - maybe more. She and the estate Manderley form an atmosphere so foreboding that not even the unnamed narrator is able to be comfortable there. The creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, certainly doesn't help, as she is one of the greatest subtle and understated villains in cinema. This was Hitchcock's first American film - and his only to win Best Picture - and his career only went upward from there.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3, 2010

King Kong (1933)
#27 on my Top 100 List
Back before the advent and (in my opinion) overuse of computers in filmmaking, a man named Willis O'Brien did the special effects for this movie, seamlessly blending live action with puppetry and almost single-handedly perfected stop-motion animation. The attention to detail with the Kong figure and the others (mostly dinosaurs that inhabit Kong's island - and by the way, since when are brachiosaurs carnivorous?) is absolutely fascinating. The special features on this DVD go into how they combined live action and stop-motion in the same shot, as well as how the scenes with Kong rampaging through New York were done. But all in all, it's a love story and it ends tragically as every good love story must, with one of the greatest film lines of all time. I also feel the need to pay tribute to Kongfrontation - the greatest theme park ride to ever exist. Damn you, Universal Studios, for tearing it down!
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2, 2010

Zodiac (2007)
#49 on my Top 100 List
I absolutely love David Fincher. Normally with scary movies or scenes, I can break them down in my head to the point at which they're no longer scary. You know - the music is ominous, the lighting's really dark, you can't see around that corner, etc. There is one scene in this movie that takes place in a basement and no matter how many times I watch it, it still terrifies me. David Fincher is the only director who can still scare me. The structure of this movie is also fascinating - the actual Zodiac investigation lasted over 20 years and though the movie's a little long at 2 1/2 hours, it doesn't drag. In fact, if anything, it gets more and more tense as Robert Graysmith gets drawn deeper into his own obsession. Jake Gyllenhaal plays him very well. Robert Downey, Jr. is great as the eccentric reporter who originally tries to crack Zodiac, though seeing him fall apart through drugs and alcohol is a little uncomfortable. And keep an eye out for Elias Koteas as the police sergeant from Vallejo - also known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles's Casey Jones!
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

January 1, 2010

Avatar (2009)
True to all the hype, the visuals in this movie are amazing. The story is only so/so, but that's also to be expected. I doubt there were many people who went to see this for the writing, since - let's face it - it's really a fantasy version of Fern Gully with more explosions. It's no surprise that the movie looks as great as it does, since the visual effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic and the dream team behind Lord of the Rings, WETA Workshops and Richard Taylor. Zoe Saldana's performance was the standout, especially since it was all motion-captured. Also, now that I know that Joel David Moore is actually in this movie, his role in the episode of Bones centered around this movie's premiere is much funnier. The musical score jumped out at me, but only because half-way through, I realized that it's really similar to Titanic. Plus the banshee cries are nearly identical to the velociraptor roars in Jurassic Park. May not be the most original film of the year, but it's certainly one of the best-looking.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars