Sunday, May 29, 2011

Deliverance (1972)

Netflix DVD with Lauren on 5/28/11
There is a whole lot of expectation built up around watching this for the first time. All anyone seems to know about it is centered around that one scene in the woods that includes the rape and attempted rape of two main characters. But in reality, that's not really what the story's about. It's about surviving in the woods against really stacked odds. The story structure has huge problems - the last third is made up entirely of falling action and there are really only three action scenes in the whole movie. Moments of horrifying and disturbing action are diminished by the long stretches of talking and boredom. Definitely not what I expected.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 39

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Netflix DVD on 5/24/11
Romeo and Juliet acted out by those hideous little garden gnomes! Yeah. I wasn't impressed. There is nothing more interesting about this retelling than there is about any other. Actually, that's not true. The only interesting/moving thing about this film is the story that the plastic flamingo tells about how he lost his true love. Plus, there's an inside joke about plastic pink flamingos that goes all the way back to BE Girls Lacrosse, but that really only makes it funny for me. For the most part, skip this one.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 38

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Roommate (2011)

Netflix DVD over 5/21/11 and 5/22/11
Yep, this one is just as bad as I had heard it was. Lyla Garrity from Friday Night Lights gets stalked by that girl from Gossip Girl (that's what Leighton Meester is famous for, right?) and chaos ensues. Except, nothing really serious happens until the very end (except for that poor kitten - and I don't even like cats. I hate them actually). And when the end does come, it's a lot of violence action jam packed into 10 minutes or so. Don't waste your time.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 37

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

The Nick with Kat, Anna, Eric and Chris on 5/20/11
The first Pirates film is awesome, the second two not so much, and I was wary when I heard they were making a fourth. Turns out, it's pretty good. It's definitely fun to watch (and the special effects are just as good as ever) and the new directions that the characters each take are interesting. Is it a fantastic film? Not really. But it's good fun for a night out, and the effect at the end of the Fountain of Youth is great - makes me think that's what Raiders of the Lost Ark would have looked like if it had been made today. Forgive the Little Mermaid moment and just go with it!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 36

Cleopatra (1963)

Netflix DVD over 5/18/11, 5/19/11, and 5/20/11
I know, usually I try to at least limit it to two days that it takes me to watch a movie, but this is four hours long and epically boring. Elizabeth Taylor plays Cleopatra as a lovesick girl with a singsong voice who gets what she wants because she whines for it - not at all like the strong and icy Egyptian queen who had her brother executed to usurp his power. Caesar and Marc Antony are similarly weak. I'm using the term "biopic" loosely, since the details of Cleopatra's actual life are pretty lost to historical fiction. The costumes and sets are pretty elaborate but not all that accurate, and I'm nearly positive that there were never any redheads in Ancient Egypt.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 35

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Fall (2006)

DVD on 5/18/11
This is a weird, weird movie. It takes place in a hospital in the 20s, where a paralyzed stuntman befriends a little girl with a broken arm. He starts to tell her stories as a bribe for stolen drugs from the dispensary and the film switches to faraway places such as India and the South Pacific. There are several movies that do this, and do it far better. The colors are pretty, but the production value is very low. When you don't have a lot of money, you shouldn't try to do lavish sets and stories. Also, everyone but Lee Pace needs to work on their acting chops.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 34

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Runaways (2010)

Netflix DVD on 5/15/11
Considering that Kristen Stewart is best known as virginal (at least till Breaking Dawn), innocent Bella Swan and Dakota Fanning is the golden child actress of the last decade, this is a big, dark move for both of them. Drugs, random graphic sex, choppy 70s haircuts - not at all what audiences are used to. The story is also dark and pretty sad. Joan Jett and Cherie Currie produced great rock music, but it came from very hard lives (as most great rock music does). Overall, the movie has a dark, gritty look to it that I don't love, but both actresses sell their roles.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 33

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Adam and Kat on 5/9/11
Okay. I haven't read this book, but it seems to me that it's a lot about railroads. And I know that the book is epically long - especially if it's going to be made in three films. Whatever subtext there is in the book that doesn't make it about trains definitely got lost in the translation to film. The casting is good (which, along with now being able to talk about the story, is why I went to see this) and the effects were not terrible, at least for the shoestring budget that I'm sure this had. If parts 2 and 3 get made, I'll go to see them, but I won't cry if they don't.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 32

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thor (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Kat, Anna, Sadie and Adam on 5/6/11
Ah, Marvel - how I love thee! Here continues the epic journey toward The Avengers. At first I was disappointed that Alexander Skarsgard didn't get the titular role here, but Chris Hemsworth was pretty badass and completely hysterical. It's also worth noting that, aside from the scenes in Asgard, this entire film takes place in one tiny New Mexico town and never once feels suffocated by the restrictive location. I like Marvel films so much more than DC ones because they are just far more fun. Batman is broody whereas Iron Man and Thor are just having a good time. And Idris Elba showing up as the Gatekeeper of Asgard was a great bonus!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 31

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Scream 4 (2011)

Saco Cinemagic with Ben on 5/5/11
This had the potential to be really bad (much like Scream 3 was), but I found it very fun! It's self-aware (just like all three before it), and pokes fun at Hollywood's recent obsession with reboots. They rounded up a pretty good cast of young actors and a fantastic group of cameos. I've heard that they're considering making 5 and 6 in the series, but that's pushing it. This one was more of the same good and, I'll admit, I wasn't able to call the ending. But if they try to push the new generation idea any further, they will just end up with a Saved By the Bell: The New Class situation. Nobody wants that and besides, this franchise has a reputation to protect.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 30

Sunday, May 1, 2011

All the King's Men (1949)

Netflix DVD on 5/1/11
Another down on my quest to see all of the Best Picture winners! I watched the remake of this with Kate Winslet not too long ago and honestly, I don't really like either of them. This one is better than the remake, but I still find all of the main characters detestable. Again, I find myself asking, what else was nominated for best picture that led this to win? When the characters are repugnant and the plot is boring, there is no reason to watch the film.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 29

Jane Eyre (2011)

The Nick with Kat on 4/30/11
I just finished reading this, breaking my cardinal rule of never reading the book first. However, with a handful of very minor changes, this stays incredibly true to the original. Even though I still haven't read anything by Jane Austen and can therefore not make any kind of comparison, I can safely say that I really like the Brontes. I thought that they got the mood of the story right with the film, and besides the fact that Michael Fassbender is way too good-looking to be Edward Rochester, I thought that the casting was very good as well. Well done!
My Netflis rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 28