Monday, March 28, 2011

Super Troopers (2001)

Movie Night with Mike, Kat, Adam, Anna and Sadie on 3/27/11
So...I don't really get the big deal about this movie. It was definitely funny and I laughed and all, but when people talk about it, they talk about it as the funniest film to ever grace the silver screen. Not so much. I'm very picky about what I find funny (for instance, Dodgeball = hilarious, Anchorman = dull) so it's possible this is just a taste thing. It's not to mine. Still, glad I finally saw it so I know what all the fuss has been over.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 20

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Parking Lot Movie (2010)

Netflix DVD on 3/24/11
This had the potential to be really interesting, but it screwed itself by trying too hard. If it had just been a simple doc about the comings and goings of this one particular parking lot, I think that it would have been a fascinating look at our society. However, what it actually is is a bunch of employees showing their worst face - goofing off, yelling at and insulting customers, and expressing their bitterness at the world. Could have been awesome, but unfortunately wasn't.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 19

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flushed Away (2006)

Netflix DVD on 3/23/11
There are kids' movies that are also subtly for adults and then there are kids' movies that aren't. This one is not. It's entertaining and cute and Ian McKellen makes a fantastic villainous Toad, but there are no sly jokes or allusions to sail over children's heads and yet make the adults snicker. Cute adventure story for kids, but that's it. Really, I shouldn't have expected anything else, since there were also the people who made Over the Hedge. The singing slugs were pretty great, though.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 18

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paul (2011)

The Nick with Mike, Kat, Chris and Sadie on 3/22/11
After not loving Hot Fuzz as much as I wanted to, I was wary about this one. It's fantastic! I liked it as much as Shaun of the Dead. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have written a very funny film that is self-aware enough to poke fun at itself alongside of some of the most beloved sci-fi films from the last 30 years. The cast is also great, with surprises popping up everywhere. Seth Rogen was the perfect voice for Paul. I was impressed that some of the alien effects were done with puppets instead of CGI. The blend is pretty good.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 17

Monday, March 21, 2011

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Movie Night with Anna, Kat, Mike, Adam and Sadie on 3/20/11
This is an odd movie stylistically and it takes a while to get used to. But, all of Baz Luhrmann's films are like that. The casting is absolutely spot-on (though Leo makes Romeo into the ultimate emo kid and Claire Danes looks remarkably ugly when she cries), especially with Harold Perrineau as Mercutio and John Leguizamo as Tybalt. It's interesting to see what they cut out and what they emphasize. If you can get past the glut of neon and odd editing patterns, it's worth watching.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 16

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

Netflix DVD on 3/18/11
The son from United States of Tara checks himself into a mental institution...why exactly? It's very clear from the beginning that, while he has some issues with depression and self-esteem, he's clearly not psychotic and doesn't belong there. I think that this is an issue with the performance, honestly. Keir Gilchrist doesn't play Craig like someone who is desperate enough to kill himself. Overall, this feels like it's trying to be a light-hearted version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but what the filmmakers don't seem to understand is that you can't make a subject like that light-hearted without it falling flat and feeling false. A good try, I guess, but not at all a success.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 15

Waste Land (2010)

Netflix DVD over 3/17/11 and 3/18/11
This documentary is confused. It starts as a story about art, becomes a story about the "pickers" in one of Brazil's largest landfills who pick recyclable material out of the rubbish, then again becomes about art. I think that it would have been far more effective if it had stuck to one or the other. The story of the pickers is touching by the end, but it felt like too little, too late. As a technical note, the subtitles are printed far too small on the screen - it makes them intrusive and distracting as opposed to normal subtitles that just become part of the watching experience.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 14

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Devil (2010)

On Demand with Karen and Dale on 3/12/11
Considering that everything M. Shyamalan has done in the past 7 or 8 years has been really terrible, this is actually not half bad. He only wrote this one (no directing) and, more importantly, he doesn't make ill-advised cameos/bit roles. They don't hold back too much on the freakish deaths and the face that shows up on the camera isn't as creepy as the one in The Exorcist but it is pretty weird. All in all, not a great movie, but certainly more entertaining than Lady in the Water.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 13

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Restrepo (2010)

Netflix DVD on 3/11/11
The "other adaptation" is loose here, since no writers are listed on the film. However, it was made while Sebastian Junger was on assignment to write an article for Vanity Fair. It follows a platoon stationed in one of Afghanistan's most dangerous valleys as they spend a year at Outpost Restrepo (named for their KIA medic). Sort of like a real-life, modern-day version of Platoon (which, by the way, is the only time I have actually liked a performance by Charlie Sheen). It should be riveting, but it just isn't. I think that's probably a flaw with the editing - too much downtime where nothing happens and too much confusing camera work when something DOES happen, all at the same time. I will say that the testimonials given by the soldiers are pretty heartbreaking.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 12

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rango (2011)

The Nick with Chris on 3/9/11
This isn't really a kid's movie with inside jokes for adults, but it's not an animated adult's movie either. It falls somewhere in between. Some of the things they say are actually a little shocking and it's pretty violent for a kid's movie, but there is definite family appeal as well. Rango is a great character reminiscent of all of Johnny Depp's past roles, at times timid and other times all bravado. He pokes fun at himself, referencing when he played Captain Jack Sparrow and Don Juan DeMarco. The other voice cast members are delightful, though much more difficult to place. And finally, those weird lizard eyes, where the skin extends around most of the eyeball, really freak me out. Even animated ones.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 11

Monday, March 7, 2011

Waiting for "Superman" (2010)

Netflix DVD on 3/5/11
This is a very subtly upsetting film. The lack of quality education in this country is a problem that is easily ignored unless it directly affects you - in other words, most parents aren't concerned as long as their child's school is doing okay. Here, we follow a handful of children (six or seven maybe?) whose schools aren't doing okay as they and their parents struggle to get them better options - charter schools, private schools, college prep schools. The audience gets attached to each child and - spoiler alert - not all of them get accepted. You're left with a feeling of helplessness as the kids go back to what they had, suddenly out of options. Definitely makes you think. Also, this is much more visually interesting than this team's last doc, An Inconvenient Truth.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 10