Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31. March 31, 2010 - Jennifer's Body (2009)

This is one of those movies that you know is terrible and yet, somehow it manages to be completely awesome and enjoyable too. While I don't necessarily agree with the casting of Amanda Seyfried as the nerdy best friend, I really like her as an actress so I'll go with it. It's gory and horrifying and funny all at the same time, though I didn't need to see the copious amounts of black vomit that demon-possessed Jennifer spews from time to time. So far, Diablo Cody has never gone wrong in my eyes, between this, Juno and the fantastic Showtime show United States of Tara.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

30. March 28/31, 2010 - Ponyo (2009)

I know that everyone seems to love Miyazaki's films, but I don't get what is so special about this lame version of The Little Mermaid. Why does Ponyo, in goldfish form, have a human face and hair? If she could turn herself human at any point, why bother fighting with her father about it? How is her father humanoid anyway? Human Ponyo is incredibly irritating and, while the animation is pretty (and hand-drawn, which you all know I love), it feels simplistic. Just rent The Little Mermaid instead - it's better-looking, it has Oscar-winning music and Sebastian is always a good time!
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

Monday, March 29, 2010

29. March 29, 2010 - Couples Retreat (2009)

Other than a very pretty location, this movie has very little to offer. It's not funny, none of the characters generate any sympathy, and the shark scene proves why some directors should never even try CGI. I can forgive the actors somewhat (Vince Vaughn is usually awesome, Jason Bateman was in Arrested Development, and Jon Favereau made Iron Man) but overall this was a tragic mistake. It's like a super-trashy episode of Temptation Island (is that redundant?). And I have never seen that kind of yoga before.
My Netflix Rating: 2 stars

Sunday, March 28, 2010

28. March 27/28, 2010 - The Invention of Lying (2009)

I feel like the title and the premise of this movie are both a little misleading. The idea is that this is a world where no one can tell a lie. What it actually is is a world where everyone not only tells the truth, but also says exactly what's on their mind at any given moment. That makes for a movie that is less funny and more uncomfortable. Rob Lowe is saddled with a horrible pair of thick black glasses, Jennifer Garner has to say things like, "I'm going to go finish masterbating," (honestly, even if you couldn't lie, you wouldn't say that to your date!) and Ricky Gervais is not nearly as funny as usual. I'm very much looking forward to his next movie, Cemetery Junction, but mostly because Matthew Goode is in it.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

27. March 24/26, 2010 - New Moon (2009)

This movie really is highly enjoyable. Though I like the Cullen family (Jasper, Alice, Rosalie, Emmett, Esme and especially Carlisle, none of whom are in this movie very much) far more than I like Edward, Bella or Jacob, this one's still fun. I still maintain that the special effects are far better than those in Twilight and the soundtrack is fantastic. I can't wait for Eclipse, when the other Cullens (especially Jasper) get to show off how badass they can be. Let Edward be all mopey and emo - the rest of his family easily makes up for it!

The original Bonus Midnight Movie entry can be read here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

26. March 22, 2010 - Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

What I really don't get about this movie is why these two brothers thought that it was a good plan to rip off their parents' jewelry store. I get that Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character has some issues with his father, but do they hate both of their parents that much? Couldn't they see that things like that never go smoothly? Also, two brothers sleeping with the same woman is just sleazy. The way the story is told is very interesting - it's actually similar to Atonement, where one scene is shown over and over again but from different points of view. The performances are pretty good and the look of the film is very gritty.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

25. March 20, 2010 - Julie & Julia (2009)

Wow, I didn't mean to get this far behind in writing blog entries! I'm sorry! Paul and Julia Child in this movie are absolutely adorable together. Of course, that may have to do with Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci's performances, but Amy Adams is also adorable and I find her Julie Powell irritating. Meryl Streep's impersonation of Julia's voice and speech patterns was spot-on. Very fun film!

The original entry, which marked the halfway point of my year of movies, is here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

24. March 16/17, 2010 - Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

Barring the obvious fact that dinosaurs were extinct way before mammoths and sloths were even a twinkle in the evolutionary eye, this movie is sort of cute. It goes back to the ideas of the first Ice Age movie, conveniently forgetting how lame the second one was. There is a little too much of Scrat - the little rat thing always going after the acorn - and the concept of a Savage Land-type place (that's an X-Men reference by the way) hidden under the ice sheets is far-fetched, but the characters are good, the humor is there, and the animation does look very good. Adding in a sympathetic T-Rex character can be dangerous (see all the dreaded Land Before Time sequels) but here it works.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Monday, March 15, 2010

23. March 13, 2010 - Emma (1996)

It's fitting that I watched this so soon after Clueless, since this is the story on which that film is based. I'm not that well-read in Jane Austin (which several of my friends are trying to change) but this was a very fun movie. The cast features several familiar faces, including Ewan McGregor singing (years before Moulin Rouge) and Polly Walker in a sympathetic role (which Kat, Anna and I find odd, since it seems that she usually plays characters who are continually plotting others' demise). All in all, a great time!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

22. March 12/13, 2010 - My House in Umbria (2003)

This is a drama that tries sometimes a little too hard to be a mystery. Even so, it succeeds in being a touching story - mostly because of Maggie Smith. Everything she does turns to gold as far as I'm concerned. Whether it's playing old Wendy in Hook or Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter, she commands every scene that she's in. Chris Cooper is painfully cruel as an American guest in her Italian villa home and the little girl's performance is very powerful. Despite its flaws (strange extended dream sequences and a weak sideplot about terrorists), this is a beautifully-shot and touching story.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Friday, March 12, 2010

21. March 11, 2010 - Katyn (2007)

I first learned about the Katyn Massacre when we watched Enigma a few weeks ago. This was already on my queue since it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film last year, so I bumped it up a little bit. Other than the fact that I am decidedly not in a foreign film mood right now, this was very good. It's dark and depressing of course, being that it's about the mass murder of thousands of Polish officers, but it's well-done and affecting.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

20. March 10, 2010 - James Dean (2001)

I am not a huge James Dean fan. I recognize that he was a great actor of his time and I am very curious as to what his career would have been like if he hadn't been killed in a car crash after three films - Paul Newman-esque? More like Marlon Brando? Or would he have suffered the fate of other young actors who faded early? But as much as I'm interested in him in that respect, I really don't get him as a heartthrob. I do, however, really like James Franco, which is what led me to rent this. It's a very interesting look at a life that I knew little about and a fun look at what filmmaking was like in the 1950s. Elia Kazan is a major character, as is Martin Landau, but they don't appear as wooden charicatures of famous people - they are portrayed as real people, just like Dean.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Monday, March 8, 2010

19. March 8, 2010 - Alice in Wonderland (2010)

I am a big Tim Burton fan, but I don't think that he is great when it comes to CGI. Granted, the whole concept of Wonderland is hard to pull off without the use of intense visual effects, but this felt over the top to me. The story is already over the top - he didn't need to enhance it as much as he did. I think that the human elements of the film were by far the best - Johnny Depp was brilliant as the Mad Hatter and Anne Hathaway was subtly hilarious as the ethereal White Queen. The one CGI element that I really enjoyed was the Cheshire Cat - there is a thoroughly creepy character who was made whimsical and funny. It's interesting that this is a mash-up of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and the poem Jabberwocky - I've never seen a version of the Alice story that incorporates the poem before. Also, was that Alice vs. the Jabberwocky we were watching or Frodo vs. the Witch King?
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

18. March 7, 2010 - Fever Pitch (2005)

I have a confession to make - I am a Red Sox fan. I am a deeply devoted, superstitious, wait-in-line-for-nine-hours-for-tickets Red Sox fan. As such, I love this movie. Though, that being said, I care very little for the plot or characters. It takes place in 2004 and every time I see the clip of Doug Mientkiewicz catching that final out in the World Series, therefore breaking the Curse of the Bambino and sending the city of Boston into a weekend of unrestrained ecstacy (see, I told you), I get choked up all over again. Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore are fine, but this is about the Red Sox. How this book is actually about soccer is beyond me.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

17. March 6, 2010 - Clueless (1995)

I really, really love this movie. It's slightly sad now, considering that this is what made Brittney Murphy a well-known actress, but that's the nature of film - actors and actresses live on and all that. It is extraordinarily dated (what teenager today would understand the reference in "Searching for a boy is high school is like searching for meaning in a Pauley Shore movie"?), but if you can remember the mid-90s for what they were, that almost makes it more fun. Besides, all conversations are made better with a strategically-placed quote. For instance - "What is that?" "A dress." "Says who?" "Calvin Klein!" Classic.

My first entry can be found here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

16. March 1, 2010 - The Last Station (2009)

James McAvoy plays a very similar character in this movie as he does in The Last King of Scotland - except instead of having to deal with a genocidal dictator, he has to deal with some intense, heavy Russian family drama. He plays the personal secretary to aging author Leo Tolstoy and gets embroiled in an all-out war between Tolstoy's wife and his friend Chertkov. Paul Giamatti plays a really good villain, by the way. Kerry Condon proves that she can act in something other than Rome, but beware of a couple very awkward sex scenes.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

15. March 1, 2010 - The Damned United (2009)

I really like Michael Sheen, first as Tony Blair in The Queen and all the way through his delightfully sadistic turn as Aro in New Moon, so I figured - underdog sports movie with Michael Sheen? Absolutely! And then I remembered that I don't know anything about soccer. Or care anything about soccer, for that matter. Also, how do I manage to find every movie shot documentary-style that I don't know is shot documentary-style?
My Netflix rating: 3 stars