Friday, September 23, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Brunswick Regal on 9/22/11
Even though I've never seen a Planet of the Apes film, I was excited to see this one because, honestly, I adore James Franco. And it's pretty fun! The CG apes look really unrealistic at times, but I enjoyed the facial expressions on Caesar (the grandfather of the intelligent apes) and the giant silverback gorilla was done well. Brian Cox is once again a slimy villain, as is Tom Felton (aka Draco Malfoy), but that's to be expected at this point. I would be shocked if I ever saw Brian Cox play a straight up good guy - and I still probably wouldn't trust him.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 93

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Debt (2011)

The Nick with Lauren on 9/20/11
This was an absolutely great movie until the last fifteen minutes. It's a framed story about the search for and capture of the so-called "Surgeon of Birkenau," a Nazi doctor responsible for horrible experiments on prisoners. I haven't been able to find anything on whether this doctor was a real person, but the human experimentation in concentration camps certainly was true. The film is so good all the way through - it's a beautiful balance of the two timelines, it's suspenseful, and it's very well acted - but the end completely falls apart. It feels like the writers got to a certain point and then looked at each other with no idea how to end.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 92

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hereafter (2010)

Netflix DVD over 9/15/11 and 9/16/11
Like the last entry, this movie is pretty bad. It got nominated for Best Visual Effects, but there were very few FX to speak of. The plot is split between three different characters, in a way that makes it difficult to emotionally attach to any of them. The only story that is even remotely touching is the poor boy whose twin brother is killed. However, he is onscreen so rarely that it's hard to remember that you feel bad for him. Fail for Clint Eastwood on this one.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 91

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Lauren on 9/14/11
This movie was awful. I had heard that people were saying that it was the first major flop of 2011 and all that, and I had assumed that maybe it wasn't great but that it was at least fun. Nope. It's awful. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are so far above this. Olivia Wilde's character secret? Really? And fighting the aliens magically bridges all of the characters' differences? And how the hell did that boat end up upside down anyway? Do yourself a big favor and skip this one.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 90

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Ben on 9/13/11
This is Guillermo del Toro, who was genius with Pan's Labyrinth and so smart in bringing The Orphanage to the US. This one isn't quite as spectacular. I think that the story could have been really awesome except for two things: it would have been far better handled by a Spanish director (and turned out in the vein of The Orphanage), and it would have been much scarier if the audience didn't see the evil pixie things. They're gross-looking, sure, but seeing them removes some of the horrifying mystery. It's much worse to know that something is moving under the sheets with you but not to see what that something is.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 89

Monday, September 12, 2011

Them! (1954)

Movie Night with Adam, Lauren, Mike, Kat, Anna, and Sadie on 9/11/11
I have a huge soft spot for B horror movies from the 50s. This one in particular is awesome in how awful it is. Giant ants mutated by residual radiation from testing in the New Mexico desert demolish a small town then move on to eat Los Angeles. You all know that the B movie movement was in response to fear over nuclear war and the Cold War - this one is not as overt as Godzilla and not as ridiculous as Plan 9 From Outer Space. Totally a fun movie.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 88

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)

Netflix DVD on 9/10/11
This is a very interesting concept that unfortunately isn't as interesting on screen as it is on paper. Basically the whole movie is Morgan Spurlock in meetings with executives of major brands trying to get them to finance the movie. It's a movie about itself that never has a finale or a climax, because it is the climax all along. We know that the movie gets made, because we're watching it. Even documentaries need storytelling. And Spurlock is a good filmmaker - this is just a misstep.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 87

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Contagion (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Anna, Kat, Lauren, and Sadie on 9/9/11
Honestly, I'm still trying to sort out all the awesome things about this movie. The cast is great, the direction is spot-on (even though I generally don't like Steven Soderbergh) as a tense thriller, and the story is like Outbreak only not ridiculous. It's great! The MEV-1 virus is terrifying because it is suddenly everywhere and it's not so exotic that it's not scary. It's a respiratory illness that kills you. End of story. Not a hemorrhagic fever or a rare form of cancer. It's like the flu. The movie does a great job of highlighting how fast something like that will spread.
My Netflix rating: 5 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 86

Friday, September 9, 2011

Love in the Time of Cholera (2007)

Netflix DVD on 9/7/11
I'm reading this book for my next MFA packet, so I figured I would check out the movie. So far, the book is pretty beautifully written, which is good because the movie is epically boring. Javier Bardem has never been my favorite actor and his character's habit of sleeping with a lot of women to make up for the fact that he didn't get his "one true love." The relationship between the two of them is not portrayed as being strong enough to last for 50 years in the movie. I'm looking forward to the book being better.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 85

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eat Pray Love (2010)

Netflix DVD on 8/31/11
I should say right off the bat that I do not like Julia Roberts. Never have. I don't understand at all why people love her so much. And in this, it never felt like she was playing the main character - she was very close to playing herself. On top of that, the main character in this is whiny and self-pitying, lamenting a situation entirely of her own making and expecting others to feel sorry for her. The only touching part of the whole (much too long) film is when she tries to raise money for a single mother in Bali by contacting everyone she has met throughout the course of her travels. Which is touching because of the single mother, not at all because of her.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 84