Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Ninth Gate (1999)

Netflix DVD with Lauren on 10/30/11
This reminds me a lot of Rosemary's Baby in tone, which is most likely due to Roman Polanski as the director and the heavy occult theme. I think that I would have liked this a lot if the pacing had just been fixed. The movie is over 2 hours long, with the first 55 minutes or so dedicated entirely to set up. Once the first hour is over, you feel like you've been subjected to some kind of lecture on the mythology and history of Satanism. From there, the film moves with a very deliberate pace, though never quite introducing characters fully and building towards three separate and oddly-spaced climaxes. I enjoyed the film, but I most likely won't ever watch it again.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 99

The Stepford Wives (1975)

Netflix DVD with Lauren on 10/29/11
Surprisingly, this is based on a book by the same author as Rosemary's Baby. And I think it would have been really interesting to see what a director like Roman Polanski or even Tim Burton in his really early years would have done with it. The problems that this film has are more products of its era than the actual production. It's slow and almost deliberate, taking time for audiences to put the clues together and catch up to what's going on. Modern audiences don't need all of the bread crumbs that are dropped. That being said, this is far superior to that awful remake with Nicole Kidman a few years ago.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 98

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Merrill Auditorium with Lauren, Andy, and Dad on 10/28/11
This is one of the few original "monster movies" that I had never seen. Lon Chaney, father of Lon Chaney Jr. (duh) of The Wolfman fame, is the iconic Phantom, with the skull-like appearance and secret lair under the Paris Opera House. I'm not really familiar with the original book, nor have I seen many adaptations of it, but I definitely enjoyed this. We went to a special showing, complete with a 7,000 pipe organ playing the soundtrack - it's an amazing experience to see a silent film now with live accompaniment!
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 97

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Carriers (2009)

Netflix Streaming on 10/10/11
This is like Contagion with a micro budget. Or, like Contagion meets Zombieland. It's pretty good! It's a roadtrip movie, through the west as the four main characters head to the ocean, to a place where they believe they will be safe from the virus. It's never really clear what the virus is, or how it started, but it's fast-moving and they aren't afraid to kill off main characters. It's also made clear that they aren't looking for some mythical community that is virus-free - they're just looking for a place with no other people where they will be free of the danger of infection. Overall, solid low-budget horror film.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 96

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The End of the Affair (1999)

Netflix DVD on 10/9/11
I have to read this novel for one of my upcoming workshops, and since this got a couple of Oscar noms a few (okay, 12) years ago, I figured it was time to Netflix it. And it's okay. It's just not really memorable at all. The story is told in retrospect from the man's point of view, except for a bit in the middle which inexplicably shifts to the woman, and meanders to its inevitable end. It's slow, which is not necessarily bad - it just makes it feel a lot longer than its 1 hour and 35 minutes. Which is probably saying something. Also, I think the casting is off, because to me, there is really no question between Ralph Fiennes and Stephen Rea.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 95

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oceans (2009)

Netflix Streaming over 10/7/11 and 10/8/11
This is Disney's latest addition to their version of Planet Earth, but their camera work and wow-factor just doesn't live up to PE. Some of the underwater shots were really cool, and the satellite images of pollution spilling out of rivers into the ocean was effective, but technically, the rest is a little mediocre. The one truly moving/heartbreaking scene was when the freshly-hatched turtles make their break for the ocean and half of them get eaten by seabirds. Even some of the babies that make it to the ocean aren't safe. Overall, interesting but not mind-blowing.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 94