Saturday, December 31, 2011

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Netflix DVD on 12/31/11
Not the best film to end the year with. I remember now why I hate Woody Allen so much. Even if he doesn't appear in the movie, his whiny poor me attitude seeps into every single word uttered by his main character. Owen Wilson is better than this. The concept of the crazy writer who has delusions of hanging out with famous artistic Parisians is not necessarily new or creative, and has been done far better. But this will get nominated for writing, because the Academy so loves Woody Allen. God knows why. Happy New Year everyone!
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 120

Hugo (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Lauren on 12/30/11
This is a sad story for a family film! I know that orphans are often the subject of kid's movies (for some weird reason), but seeing how poor Hugo lives within the walls of the train station was heartbreaking. I like the cast, especially Ben Kingsley and Helen McCrory as Georges Melies and his wife. I had totally forgotten that this is a movie for people who love movies until halfway through. And while the automaton is creepy looking, I can get past it for the sake of the rest of the plot. Love all the famous faces that show up as the others who frequent the train station too.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 119

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Lauren on 12/29/11
This was my first attempt at sitting through a 3D movie in a long time, and will also be my last for a long time. It makes my eyes hurt and my stomach start to roil. So not worth it. All that being said, this movie is great. It's fast-paced and full of adventure, complete with sinister Victorian bad guys and pirates. It is, however, very violent and somewhat dark for a kid's movie. Some of the things they did with the motion-capture animation were pretty amazing and it's my pick for Best Animated Feature of 2011. I have no experience with the Tintin books, so other than the fact that I thought Tintin was a kid, I had no expectations going in.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 118

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Young Adult (2011)

The Nick with Lauren, Kat, and Chris on 12/27/11
This was not at all like I expected. The trailers make it look far more like, as Lauren called it, a black comedy than it actually is. It's far closer to the tone of Diablo Cody's United States of Tara than it is to Juno. It's heavy in places, especially with the gentle treatment of the fact that there really is something wrong with Mavis, and there really is no character resolution for anyone. Despite that, it still feels like a complete story. I definitely laughed, but it also makes you uncomfortable in a lot of places too. Elizabeth Reaser's character of the wife of Mavis's former flame is the most sympathetic and likeable character. She throws the other characters into a much sharper contrast.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 117

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Netflix DVD with Lauren on 12/23/11
Happy Christmas Eve! This was a decidedly weird movie that, by the end, totally worked. I think that it's partially because it was acted brilliantly (Ryan Gosling got a Globe nom for it) but it also has amazing writing. The connections between the characters aren't obvious or predictable, but they are completely believable when the whole thing is over. The whole love triangle with the baby sitter is a little weird, but I can overlook that in favor of the absolute exaggerated realism of the other situations. It's funny and sort of touching by the end. And Emma Stone, of course, is awesome.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 116

Friday, December 23, 2011

Take Shelter (2011)

The Nick on 12/21/11
This is totally different than the poster makes it look. The poster indicates some kind of apocalyptic bug invasion is coming, which would make sense with the title. The movie is actually about a man who suffers from increasingly disturbing visions of the end of the world, mostly in the form of tornadoes, so he builds a huge storm shelter under his backyard. And everyone thinks he's gone off the deep end. Michael Shannon plays him brilliantly, though I was not a fan of the end of the movie. Not only is it incredibly unclear, but it's also kind of tragic. If the end of the world really is coming, he and his family now have nowhere to hide.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 115

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

The Nick with Lauren on 12/20/11
Wow, Guy Ritchie. A fan of the slow-mo? I really enjoyed the story of this movie, actually more than the first Sherlock Holmes, but the heavy-handed stylized camera work was way too much. I was glad to be rid of Rachel McAdams this time around, and I loved Noomi Rapace as Sherlock's second sidekick. Mycroft Holmes was a nice touch, too. Moriarty is the classic villain, and he was played beautifully here. I would say delightful all around, except for the overused slow-mo.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 114

J. Edgar (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Lauren on 12/19/11
I had heard that this was a terrible movie, but Leo is going to get nominated for Best Actor, so I felt that I had to see it. Turns out, it's actually decent. Leo is very convincing as J. Edgar Hoover, and Armie Hammer is heartbreaking as his best friend/unacknowledged life partner. Clint Eastwood makes Hoover into a pitiable character, and by the end, you almost want to forgive him for doing things like wiretapping his own employees. And I wish there was some way to know what was in those secret legendary files.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 113

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Puss in Boots (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Lauren on 12/14/11
This is one of those spin-offs that was absolutely unnecessary and pointless. Puss in Boots was one of the most memorable characters from the Shrek movies, but if this was supposed to be the backstory, it was a huge disappointment. The plot was predictable, the new characters were uninteresting, and the structure was all over the place. Please, please, please, finally leave the Shrek franchise alone from now on. I can't imagine this actually winning Best Animated Feature now that I've seen it, but stranger things have happened. I guess.
My Netflix rating: 2 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 112

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Arthur Christmas (2011)

Westbrook Cinemagic with Lauren and Emica on 12/11/11
This movie is so cute! I had heard that it was good, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Poor little Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy, who is always hot) is so in love with Christmas, and so in awe of his father Santa Claus the 20th, that all he wants is to be a part of the holiday magic. His older brother Steve (a delightfully arrogant Hugh Laurie) has techno-ized Christmas, and when his "perfect" system misses a child, it's up to Arthur to fix things. He and his GrandSanta (Bill Nighy) take the old sleigh for a spin and try to beat the sun to England. It's funny and moving and totally heartwarming on a cold day.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 111

Four Christmases (2008)

Netflix DVD over 12/10/11 and 12/11/11
This is a pretty stupid movie, but it's fun too. I like Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon very much, and they don't seem like a mismatched couple (as happens so often in rom coms). There is nothing new or unique about the characters, though the story is relatively different, and it's not too heavy on the sappy "Christmas magic" message. Good for a laugh, even if not for much else.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 110

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Like Crazy (2011)

The Nick with Anna and Lauren on 12/7/11
Huh. This movie was odd. I'm not sure I buy the romance that the story is trying to sell. Two college students fall in love, the British one decides to violate her student visa to hang out with her American boyfriend all summer, and then red tape keeps them apart. What exactly did she expect was going to happen? Plus, from that point on, the couple grows apart but continues to force their relationship to work. Which it doesn't. The film doesn't end on a happy note, nor does it end on a convincing one.
My Netflix rating: 3 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 109

Monday, December 5, 2011

Margin Call (2011)

The Nick on 12/3/11
This was not at all about what I thought it was about. For some reason, I had expected some kind of political election thriller, but it's actually about the scrambling that takes place when the higher-ups discover a financial crisis in the making and can do nothing to stop it. It's actually very interesting to see how they scramble and what heads they are willing to chop off in order to save their own skins. The cast is great, from Zachary Quinto as the rocket scientist/risk analyst who discovers the problem to Kevin Spacey as the boss to Jeremy Irons as the big boss. I didn't hate any of them by the film's end. One thing that I did find a little strange was the mixing of characters as the story progresses. The lines between the levels of the hierarchy get so blurred, with low levels chilling and drinking coffee with their boss's boss's boss.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

New Movies in Year Three: 108