Tuesday, April 27, 2010

47. April 26/27, 2010 - The Way We Get By (2009)

This documentary is surprisingly moving and powerful. The three subjects of the film - a widow with two grandchildren being deployed to Iraq, a WWII veteran with cancer, and an elderly man of the community - are tireless in their goal of meeting all of the soldiers returning from overseas as they return to the US through the Bangor International Airport in Maine. They each have their own issues to deal with, but they don't let them stop them from shaking hands and giving hugs at 3:40 in the morning. Would have made me cry had I not been showing it to a class full of teenagers.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Monday, April 26, 2010

46. April 25, 2010 - Old Dogs (2009)

This is a pretty stupid movie, but I'll admit that I laughed out loud at some parts. John Travolta and Robin Williams are both better than this. I watched this because I'll watch most anything that Seth Green is in and seeing him singing karaoke in Tokyo was pretty hysterical. There's nothing deep or special or different here - cheap laughs abound but some of them are actually funny. Watch it if you want mindless fun.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

45. April 23/24, 2010 - Land of the Lost (2009)

Um, why did I put this on my Netflix queue again? I never thought that the trailer even looked amusing. But I suffered through it, if only to be able to write a bad blog entry for Kat to read! This is the perfect example of how far Will Ferrell has fallen. I know that he has the potential to be funny and the ability to act, but where is it here? Why are Anna Friel and Danny McBride (who was so funny in Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express) dragged along for the boring, predictable ride? The T-rex is sort of funny, but the production design for that entire sequence is ripped straight out of The Land Before Time, which, though I adore it, is still an animated movie from the 80s. Really?
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

Friday, April 23, 2010

44. April 22, 2010 - Pirate Radio (2009)

This was made by Richard Curtis - the same guy who wrote and directed Love Actually, which I adore to no end - but it's just not that good. The cast is great and it's based on a fun true story - all of the elements are there but they just never come together. There's no real plot and what they try to disguise as conflict falls flat. Even so, I will say that if you can make it through the very drawn-out ending, the final scene is really good. Touching, even.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

43. April 21, 2010 - Angels and Demons (2009)

I think that this is a better film than The Da Vinci Code mostly because the story is more interesting. Four Cardinals are kidnapped on the eve of choosing a new Pope, apparently by the Illuminati. The kidnappers threaten to kill them off one by one, displaying their bodies in various places around Rome. Let the chase begin! It's a little less heavy-handed than Da Vinci Code and the supporting cast fits together better. There's a twist, of course, and I saw it coming - though I think I may have had it ruined for me before, so I can't claim full points on calling it.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Sunday, April 18, 2010

42. April 18, 2010 - 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

This is another of the great teen movies of the 90s and one of the only versions that makes Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew a palatable story. It's what made Heath Ledger a star and these scene where he serenades Julia Stiles from the bleachers is how I want to remember him. Forget The Dark Knight or anything else - for me he will always be Patrick Verona. On the other hand, this was one of Andrew Keegan's last roles. Whatever happened to him? Allison Janney is the most memorable, however, in her small role as the school guidance councilor who spends her free time writing a porn novel in her office.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Friday, April 16, 2010

41. April 15/16, 2010 - The Da Vinci Code (2006)

This has a pretty impressive cast and the book it's based on is definitely a cultural phenomenon - so why isn't the movie better? I can't even point to any specific flaws. It just doesn't grab and hold your attention like it should. I do find it fascinating that this story - which is a work of fiction and has never claimed to be anything else - caused such an uproar. The only thing that this movie does is make me want to visit all those historical tombs that they go to in Europe, but let's be honest - I would have wanted to do that anyway.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Thursday, April 15, 2010

40. April 15, 2010 - Post Grad (2009)

This movie has the potential to be really frightening to any girl (or guy) who has graduated college and suddenly finds that whatever she had planned for the rest of her life isn't quite as easy to get as she had thought. Zach Gilford is adorable as the girl's best friend, though that isn't unique to this movie - he's adorable in everything that he does (and I actually have to stop and think about what his real name is - my immediate reaction is just to call him Matt Saracen). And, let's be honest, Jane Lynch makes everything better. Even when she's not a reformed hooker like in Role Models or the tyrannical coach of the McKinley High Cheerios - when she's just playing the straight character against a cast of eccentrics - she's still brilliant. And Rodrigo Santoro - so hot. At least Alexis Bledel in this movie doesn't make the same mistake that Laura Linney does in Love Actually.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

39. April 13/14, 2010 - Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

This movie has definitely has flaws, but it is an interesting combination of sword-and-sandals epic and religious historical action movie. Orlando Bloom was still a little young and inexperienced to carry this whole movie, but he's decent and he's backed up by a group of amazing actors who show up for brief periods including Michael Sheen, David Thewlis, Liam Neeson, Kevin McKidd, Brenden Gleeson, Jeremy Irons, Martin Csokas and Edward Norton as the King of Jerusalem hidden behind a gleaming mask due to his leprosy. The battle sequences are shot beautifully, but that shouldn't be surprising. Ridley Scott has proven over and over that he knows how to shoot an action scene.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

38. April 13/14, 2010 - Being John Malkovich (1999)

I'm only labeling this as a comedy because both IMDB and Netflix list it that way, but it's a very dark comedy. This is a really strange movie. I don't know why I'm surprised - it is Charlie Kaufman after all. This definitely feels darker than some of his other stuff though (with the exception maybe of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, because that movie is seriously frakked up). John Malkovich is great at playing himself as a poor unsuspecting guy who has a whole bunch of strangers possessing his body for fifteen minutes at a time. Poor Cameron Diaz gets stuck with an awful wig that rivals Claire's squirrell wig on Lost. Also, the end of this movie is really, really creepy.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

37. April 12, 2010 - The Lost Weekend (1945)

Watching this brings my grand total of Best Pictures I have not seen down to 14. Out of 82, I'd say that's pretty good! It's a very dark movie, both in look and in content, about a man left to his own devices for a weekend despite the worries of his girlfriend and his brother. They're right to worry, of course, since the main character Don is a raging alcoholic who scours the city for a drink, going to far as to pickpocket the woman sitting next to him at a restaurant and destroy his own apartment looking for the last bottle he knows he has hidden somewhere. I'm not wild about the end of the movie - I think that it's a cop out to go that far and not pull the trigger, so to speak - but it would be an even darker and more upsetting movie if they had. Plus, this was made during the Production Code, so there were rules about what could and couldn't be done in regards to that sort of thing.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Saturday, April 10, 2010

36. April 10, 2010 - Date Night (2010)

Tina Fey and Steve Carrell should be in movies together all the time! This, much like The Hangover last summer, is way funnier than it has any right to be. Sure, the plot is totally ridiculous, but with two leads like that, it's almost impossible not to be funny. Add to them Mark Wahlberg, Ray Liotta, Taraji P. Henson, Common, cameos by James Franco and Mila Kunis, and (best of all) William Fichtner (because he's in everything!) and you have a fantastically funny cast. Be sure to stay to watch the outtakes over the credits and the stinger at the end!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

35. April 5/10, 2010 - Cruel Intentions (1999)

This is a really fun movie. Ryan Phillipe and Sarah Michelle Gellar have a great vicious chemistry onscreen, though the fact that their characters are step-siblings makes it a little creepy. This is a New York City that very few people get to see (at least in real life - with the advent of The Real Housewives of New York City, everyone gets a peek) and it's darkly seductive. How much is fictionalized? Who cares - it's fun to watch!

My original thoughts are in the entry here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

34. April 7, 2010 - Clash of the Titans (2010)

First of all, the title here is a little misleading - the film starts out with a voiceover telling the story of the Titans and how they were defeated by Zeus and the other Olympian Gods, but there are no Titans in the film at all. Because they were defeated by said Gods. So then, how exactly do they clash? This is a lot like Jennifer's Body - it's actually a terrible movie but it's so much fun to watch and get sucked in to that you barely notice. I automatically compare a lot of it to Percy Jackson, since that is my favorite pop culture adaptation of Greek mythology, but this stands up. I do like Uma Thurman as Medusa in Percy Jackson much better than the weird snake-creature that this one has and I didn't really appreciate that Zeus's armor shone and dazzled in the bright white Olympian light almost to the point where you couldn't see him, but I do get what they were trying to do.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

33. April 5, 2010 - How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

This movie is totally adorable. It has a few flaws (for instance, if they're Vikings, why do they all speak with heavy Scottish accents?) but overall it's fun and cute with a plot that keeps your attention. That's often where a lot of kid's movies fail for adults, but this one definitely did not. The scene where Hiccup and Astrid are riding Toothless is like "A Whole New World" on a dragon but minus the song - just as cute! My other minor complaint is that Great Mama Dragon looks a little too much like Roland Emmerich's horrible version of Godzilla. No good.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Sunday, April 4, 2010

32. April 4, 2010 - The Betrayal - Nerakhoon (2008)

The major problem with this documentary is that it doesn't know what it's about. The first segment is about the consequences of the US occupation of Laos during the Vietnam War, but then it shifts into a story about Laotian immigrants living in New York. That's nice and all, but the two stories don't really go together and frankly, the first one was more interesting. There are a lot of interviews, most of them subtitled, and very little story. Picture quality is also lacking. How did this get nominated?
My Netflix rating: 3 stars