Sunday, January 30, 2011

193. January 25/30, 2011 - Countdown: The Sky's On Fire (1998)

According to this film, the hypothetical hole in the ozone layer is going to kill us by cooking us to death as we hike in the desert (a valid danger, but not limited to times when there is a hole in the ozone layer) and by driving hoards of bugs into our homes (scarier when it was the Bug Man on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). This is fun to watch as a bad movie and definitely funny to think of as being taken seriously. Bradley Whitford looks a little like a tool with such short hair and John Corbett is sort of adorable as the Scientist Who Saves The Day.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

192. January 28/29, 2011 - Little Children (2006)

Besides all of the actors being awesome, the most striking thing about this film for me this time around was the odd use of voice over. The invisible narrator is very nearly reading sections of prose right out of the novel. Normally I see voice over as a storytelling crutch (which, as my friend Adam pointed out, is what we're all taught in Screenwriting 101), but here I think it's a stylistic choice. The filmmakers know that they could convey those same things through dialogue or action and are choosing to create the tone of the film with the voice over. It's effective, but very strange.

Original thoughts are here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

191. January 27, 2011 - All the King's Men (2006)

This is not the Best Picture winning film from the 40s (though that is climbing higher on my Netflix queue) but rather the remake with Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, and practically every other actor known to man. It's okay, I guess, but very forgettable. Not exactly what the filmmakers were going for, I'd bet. Sean Penn's character makes me want to punch him - I was glad for the ending of the film. I'm hoping that the 1949 version is better.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

190. January 27, 2011 - The Craigslist Killer (2010)

Yep, it's a Lifetime movie. And yes, it's sort of overdramatic. But it also only happened a year or so ago. When real life events get turned into movies (even Lifetime ones) that soon, they're bound to be melodramatic. I will say that I find it hard to believe that his fiancee would be that dumb in real life. Please tell me that they hyped that up for the movie. Also, I'm offended that they put the killer in a BU sweatshirt - I know he was in BU Med School, but do you really have to remind all of us BU grads about that?
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

189. January 26, 2011 - Tron: Legacy (2010)

Giant. Waste. Of. Time. The visual style was not interesting in any way - if I wanted to watch an 80s video game for two hours, I'm sure I could find an arcade somewhere. Tones of black, gray, and blue are not visually exciting when that's all you see all the time. The bad guys were like the mutant love child of the Sith, the Cylons, and Cobra Commander and not in a good way. Cillian Murphy and Michael Sheen had great cameos, but that's all the good I can come up with.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

188. January 25, 2011 - Iron Man 2 (2010)

This movie might be ridiculous and more far-fetched than the first one, but damn, it's fun! War Machine is so awesome; I don't even care that Rhodey steals the armor in a totally jackass move. And this may be the one time so far in my life where I don't hate Mickey Rourke. Oh wait, I didn't hate him in Sin City either - but these are the only two instances so far.

I saw this twice in the theaters, entries for which are here and here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

187. January 25, 2011 - True Grit (2010)

Okay, as you all know, I hate the Coen brothers. However, there are exceptions to every rule - I really liked this movie. It has all of the great things about a western, but without the nauseating, holier-than-thou, racist anti-hero that so often turned up in the classics (I'm looking at you, John Wayne). The girl was pretty good and Jeff Bridges was fantastic. Matt Damon felt a little unnecessary, but he wasn't annoying. Josh Brolin has never been my favorite actor - I don't love him here either. Thankfully, his part is small - it is the search for him that's important, not finding him.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Sunday, January 23, 2011

186. January 22, 2011 - Romance & Cigarettes (2005)

I don't understand why they chose to make this into a musical. If John Turturro (who wrote and directed - notice he has not written or directed since) had gone with a straight gritty comedy, this might actually have been worth watching. The story is pretty simple, but simple doesn't have to be bad. I just don't understand why everyone had to burst into song every five minutes. Especially the weird scene that included the women in bright red teddies. And Kate Winslet singing underwater - Titanic was in 1997. And she may have been underwater, but she certainly wasn't singing. Don't waste your time or your Netflix queue spot with this one.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

Saturday, January 22, 2011

185. January 21, 2011 - Finding Neverland (2004)

Though Johnny Depp isn't great with the Scottish accent, this is still a powerful and moving film - one that makes me tear up every time. I know that in real life there were questions about why JM Barrie was so close to the Llewelyn Davies boys (and that's addressed with a single, almost throw-away line in the film), but why do we all have to be so cynical? Kate Winslet is fantastic as always, though she got nominated for Eternal Sunshine that year, not this. Also, as I watched the movie this time around, I learned that Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, the mother of the inspiration for Peter Pan, was the aunt of Dame Daphne du Maurier, who wrote Rebecca and the short story version of The Birds.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Thursday, January 20, 2011

184. January 18/19, 2011 - Animal Kingdom (2010)

Australian family crime drama at it's height and still not all that interesting. The pace is too sluggish, the characters aren't engaging enough and the actors mumble way too much. I think that the acting was solid, but it was so hard to hear them that I'm not sure. Perhaps this is a sound mixing problem? Also, Guy Pearce shouldn't ever wear a mustache like that again. This has received a lot of critical acclaim but I just didn't see it.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

183. January 14/18, 2011 - Kick Ass (2010)

They weren't kidding when they said this was violent! And it's violent children on top of that. It's definitely a funny movie, not afraid to poke fun at other films or at itself, but it's also disturbing. Chloe Moretz must have been, what, 12 in this film? Such things should not be coming out of that young a child's mouth (and I worked in a middle school). I'm not a Nicolas Cage fan in any circumstance, so he wasn't a big addition for me. Overall, fun, but just meh.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Thursday, January 13, 2011

182. January 12, 2011 - The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Okay, I get that Gone With the Wind is Southern propaganda as much as this movie in Northern propaganda, but I think the attitude of Southerners toward the occupying Union soldiers is a bit more realistic in the former. Proper Southern ladies, for the most part, weren't subject to Stockholm Syndrome and didn't end up falling in love with the dashing Union army doctor. Please. I don't particularly love Westerns, but John Ford should stick to making those. John Wayne is less obnoxious when he's playing a cowboy (and that's saying a lot, since Ethan Edwards in The Searchers - kind of an a*hole).
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Monday, January 10, 2011

181. January 9, 2011 - The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)

Um, no. When one hears "the sorcerer's apprentice," they think Mickey Mouse dressed in a red robe and blue wizard's hat commanding hordes of zombie brooms. Or the music that inspired that scene. And both of those are acceptable. These filmmakers should have known better than to try to tell a half-thought out sorcery story in the days of Harry Potter, especially one as poorly written and visualized as this. Nicolas Cage should probably just retire from acting now and save us all the trouble. Poor Jay Baruchel - I know that he's talented, but this is just sad.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

180. January 9, 2011 - The Chronciles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

I know that people are pretty divided on the Narnia series. And people seem even more critical of the films. Personally, I like them - I think that they are fairly well made (except the first one) and I am old enough to ignore the blatant Christian allegory if I choose. I have NOT read the books (somehow I missed them as a child), and while I do know the general idea of how the story ends, please don't say anything to spoil it. This one is the one to introduce cousin Eustace, who may be the most irritating child character I've seen in a long time, but the dragon was cool. And Caspian is still hot.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Sunday, January 9, 2011

179. January 8, 2011 - The Tourist (2010)

I understand now why this movie was submitted for the Musical/Comedy category at the Golden Globes - the closest I can come to defining the genre is as a romantic heist caper comedy. One of my friends described it as being like a slapstick thriller from the 40s and I agree with that. I also realized that I just don't get the Angelina Jolie thing. I was super jealous of her hair and wardrobe in this film, but other than that, she's just not a big deal. The movie itself was actually really fun, up until the end, when it falls victim to its own twist ending. I've seen it happen over and over again with novels - where the ridiculousness of the twist negates any good feelings you have about the rest of the narrative - but it's rarer in film. Unfortunate.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

178. January 4, 2011 - Pride (2004)

Nothing more than a live action The Lion King, this takes beautiful live animal footage and gives it cheesy special effects to make the lions talk. It had such an amazing voice cast that I thought it would be worth watching - at least it was short. Poor Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren and Sean Bean. And really, does anyone believe Martin Freeman, even just his voice, as a villain? Disney did it better.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

177. January 4, 2011 - The King's Speech (2010)

This is a fantastic story and one that I think gets overlooked by history. Queen Elizabeth II is quite a wonderful Queen and she's one of the longest-reigning monarchs (the longest?) and all that, but this story of her father's paralyzing inability to speak clearly is fascinating. Not even supposed to be King, George VI (or Bertie) starts out bitter and hopeless about his speech impediment. Only after his sort of slimy brother (played fantastically by Guy Pearce) abdicates so that he can marry his divorced lover does he put his full trust in his speech therapist Geoffrey Rush. All of the performances are spot on and it's painful to watch Colin Firth struggle to speak. Look for Oscar nominations soon!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

176. January 3, 2011 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

I can't say enough how much I love the opening fight scene of this film. The Death Eater ambush over Surrey against the six different Harrys is lightning quick, but it still manages to be tense and heartbreaking (you know what I mean). I really love this one. Steve Kloves didn't butcher the script too badly and David Yates somehow made 300 pages of camping seem interesting. I don't think I can give it higher praise than that.

My first entry, from the midnight show, is here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

175. January 1, 2011 - Black Swan (2010)

#95 on my Top 100 List
I know I've said this before, but this is the most disturbing movie I have ever seen. Natalie Portman plays a dancer falling apart onscreen and the audience is drawn into her terrifying hallucinations. Normally I am not a fan of films where the audience can't tell what's real and what's imagined but somehow it worked here. It's incredibly disturbing and chilling but amazing at the same time. Will definitely stay with you for a long time. Happy New Year!
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

174. December 28/31, 2010 - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

This one really is leaps and bounds better than the first one. The technical specs are better, the emotional connection to the characters is stronger, and the characters themselves are far less irritating. I enjoy the fact that all Narnians band together in this chapter to fight against the Telmarines, regardless of whether they fought with or against the White Witch. I have yet to read this book, so I don't know if she shows up there like she does in the movie, but I enjoy little continuity throw-ins like that.

My first entry on this one is here.

173. December 27/28, 2010 - Lethal Weapon (1987)

Normally I like action movies. Die Hard, Indiana Jones, James Bond - bring 'em on. I like things blowing up and shootouts and characters having to escape from danger. But this one somehow just didn't do it for me. There's nothing wrong with the acting or the writing; I just could not get into it. I will say that Mel Gibson was pretty good as the suicidal cop, especially since the majority of his great roles are in historical epics. And the fact that he's sort of crazy now. He and Danny Glover have an odd sort of chemistry. Again, I can't point to any single thing that was bad - it's just not my thing.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars